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Ruth of Boston by  James Otis

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THE SEARCH FOR FOOD

THEN it was that our pinnace was made ready for a voyage, and with five of the strongest men on board, was sent along the coast to trade with those Indians who called themselves Narragansetts, taking with them everything in the way of trinkets which was in the general store, or could be gathered up from among the housewives.


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[70] Great was our rejoycing, five clays later, when the men came back, bringing with them an hundred bushels of Indian corn. This seemed like a large amount of food, and yet, so many were the mouths to be fed from it, it was, so father said, scarce enough to hold life in our bodies three days, if so be it had been divided equally among all.

Father told us that three men, who were of the poorer people, had walked all the way from Boston town to Plymouth; but even there, where a harvest had been gathered, they could get no more than one half- bushel of meal made from Indian corn.

It was a time of famine such as I pray God we may never know again. In my home, until these dreary days, there had been no scarcity of food, and yet again and again did I save a crust of rye bread, thinking it a dainty to be nibbled upon slowly so that I might have longer the pleasure of eating.


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