| American History Stories, Volume I|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Stories of early exploration and founding of American colonies, conflicts over religion, and troubles with the Indians, culminating in the French and Indian War. Ages 8-12 |
SHIPS OF THE NORSEMEN
 Many, many years ago, O, so many that I fear you could
not count them even, this country in which we live was one vast expanse
of woodland and fields, mountains and swamps.
There were no cities, no villages, not even a
single house to break the view across the wild fields.
The whole country looked as it does now in those places
which have not yet been built up.
Did you ever stand on a high hill and look off across
the country where not one house
 was to be seen? How broad the fields looked and how
strange it was to see the sky dipping down and seeming
to rest upon the hills and trees away off at the horizon line!
Well, that is the way it looked to the little boys and girls here
so many years before the white people came to this country.
We do not know very much about these little boys and girls, and
their fathers and mothers; for they knew nothing about writing, and
so left no books to tell us about themselves.
We know that they used to live in tents, which they called
wigwams; that they called the women squaws, and the baby boys and girls
papooses; and that they were all called Indians by the white men.
These Indian people, according to our ideas, were very
rude and wild. The fathers spent
 their time in hunting and fishing. The mothers stayed about
the tents, kept the fires going, tilled the ground, raised the
corn, cooked the food, such as it was, and loved their
children just as mothers do the world over.
The little boys and girls had no schools, no books, no toys
to keep them busy; so they spent their time
playing about the tent or learning to fish and hunt and
Perhaps you think they had lovely times with nothing
to do; but I am afraid they sometimes had very hard
If I were to tell you the way the tribes of Indians used to
pounce down upon their homes, and slay the fathers, burn
the mothers, and steal the children;
and the way the children used to huddle into their tents
during the cold, cold winters, I think you would not envy them
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