Front Matter Why This Story was Written The Leaking Speedwell Searching for a Home After the Storm Wash Day Finding the Corn Attacked by the Savages Building Houses Miles Standish The Sick People The New Home Master White and the Wolf Inside of the House A Chimney Without Bricks Building the Fire Master Bradford's Chimney Scarcity of Food A Timely Gift The First Savage Visitor Squanto's Story Living in the Wilderness The Friendly Indians Grinding the Corn A Visit From Massasoit Massasoit's Promise Massasoit's Visit Returned The Big House Burned The Mayflower Leaves Port Setting the Table What and How we Eat Table Rules A Pilgrim Goes Abroad Making a Dugout Governor Carver's Death Bradford Chosen Governor Farming in Plymouth Cooking Indian Corn The Wedding Making Maple Syrup Decorating the House Trapping Wolves and Pigeons Elder Brewster The Visit to Massasoit Keeping the Sabbath Holy Making Clapboards Cooking Pumpkins A New Oven Making Spoons and Dishes The Fort and Meeting-House The Harvest Festival How to Play Stoolball On Christmas Day When the Fortune Arrived Possibility of Another Famine On Short Allowance A Threatening Message Pine Knots and Candles Tallow From Bushes Wicks for the Candle Dipping the Candles When James Runs Away Evil-Minded Indians Long Hours of Preaching John Alden's Tubs English Visitors Visiting the Neighbors Why More Fish are not Taken How Wampum is Made Ministering to Massasoit The Plot Thwarted The Captain's Indian Ballots of Corn Arrival of the Ann Little James Comes to Port The New Meeting-House The Church Service The Tithingmen Master Winslow Brings Cows A Real Oven Butter and Cheese Settlement at Wessagussett The Village at Merrymount The First School Too Much Smoke Schools Comforts How Children Were Punished New Villages Making Ready for a Journey Clothing for Salem Food for the Journey Before Sailing for Salem Beginning the Journey The Arrival at Salem Sight-Seeking in Salem Back to Plymouth

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

Trapping Wolves and Bagging Pigeons

Our fathers dig deep pits, which are covered with light brushwood, in such portions of the forest as the wolves are most plenty, and many a one has fallen therein, being held prisoner until some of the people can kill him by means of axes fastened to long poles. Father has built many traps of logs; but I cannot describe how because of never having seen one.

Thomas Williams killed seven wolves in four days by tying four or five mackerel hooks together, covering them with fat, and leaving them exposed where the ravening creatures could get at them.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis


Twice before the snow was melted, the men of the village had what they called a "wolf-drive, "when all made a ring around a certain portion of the forest where the animals lurked, and, by walking toward a given center, drove the creatures together where they could be shot or killed with axes.

Sarah and I do not dare venture very far from the village because of the ferocious animals, and if the time ever comes when we are no longer in deadly fear of being carried away and eaten by the dreadful creatures, this new world of ours will seem more like a real home.

I wish it might be possible for you to see the flocks and flocks of pigeons which come here when the weather grows warm. It is as if they shut out the light of the sun, so great are the numbers, and father says that again and again do they break down the branches of the trees, when so many try to roost in one place. Any person who so chooses may go out in the night after the pigeons have gone to sleep, and gather as many bags full as he can carry, so stupid are the birds in the dark, and even when they are not the most plentiful, we can buy them at the rate of one penny for twelve.