GAME IN PLENTY
I can well fancy that you are wondering why I do
not speak of what we had to eat in those days when we
were living in caves, waiting for the remainder of the
company to arrive that it might be decided where the
city was to be built.
There is little need for me to say that we had brought
with us enough of pickled beef, pork, meal, flour, and
such things, to keep hunger far from us a full year;
but straightway we were done with making those
shelters which served in the stead of houses, we came to
know that there was an abundance of food in the
forest and rivers.
I had thought we were in the midst of plenty while
in England, where one might buy whatsoever he
desired, provided he had the money with which to
pay for it; but here it was as if you need only venture
out in any direction to get food such as would have
caused the mouth of a king to water.
 The wild pigeons came into the forest near us in
such numbers that one could hardly see the sun when
a flock flew overhead, and I, with none other to
help me save Jethro,
have knocked down
from the branches of
the trees, after the
birds had gone to
roost, a full two bushels of them in a single
evening. What is
more, I have actually
seen the birds settle in
such great numbers on
a single limb as to
break it off because of
their immense weight.
Mother preserved as many of these pigeons as she
could care for in what jars of stone or delft we brought
with us, and had it been possible to step out and buy
all the crockery-ware she wanted, I dare say we might
have had of potted pigeons enough to serve us as food
a full year, if so be one could eat of such meat for so
long a time.
Nor were pigeons the only game to be found in these
woods of Penn. He who was a fair marksman could,
by going less than half a mile into the forest in the
 early morning, or just when the sun was setting,
bring down a wild turkey of from twenty to forty
pounds weight; and let me tell you that there is
no more pleasing meat than can be found in a turkey
that has been roasted on a spit, before a fire of chestnut
wood, until the outside is crisp like that which, in
England, we call the crackling of a young pig.
Then what think you of deer meat so plentiful that
one may buy a fine fat buck for two shillings? We had
so much of venison during the winter when we lived
i n the cave that I have more than once turned up my
nose at it, and yet an alderman's nose might well
grow red at sight of the haunches mother served to us
on that makeshift of a table which I had built.
We also had not a little of bear meat; and although
others may eat that kind of food, if they are so disposed,
it tastes too nearly like fresh pork on which sugar has
been sprinkled, to please me.
Then there were elk in the forests as large as small
oxen, and rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, and partridges
in great numbers, while on the water could be found,
in season, swan, geese, ducks, teal, and many other
kinds of fowl.
Jethro and I went often into the forest, making as
excuse that we would have a turkey, some partridges,
or, perhaps, a deer; but the taking of game for food
required but little time, and we spent the remainder
 of the day watching the wild creatures who had not
come to know what a cruel enemy man is to them.
My father held strictly to it that it is sinful to kill
more than may be needed for food, and I have come
to have the same belief. God gave them to us that we
should not go hungry; but surely the poor creatures
were never put in this world that we might find sport
in depriving them of life.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics