T was now nine weeks since the Pilgrims sailed from England.
No one had thought the voyage would be so long. The captain
felt sure they must be coming near land, but he could not
tell just where they were.
Many times a day, a sailor climbed high up on the mast to
look for land. Still there was nothing to be seen but the
wide sea,—not an island, nor even a ship.
At daybreak one cold November morning, a glad shout rang
through the ship. "Land! Land!"
Yes, there lay the land—that new land which was to be their
home and ours.
There were no rocky cliffs like those of England. Before
them rose tall, green pine trees, and great oaks still
wearing their dress of reddish brown.
Not a town or a single house could they see. No smoke rose
from the forest to tell them where a village lay hidden. Not
a sound was heard but the whistling of the cold wind
through the ropes and masts, and the lapping of the water
about the boat.
"This is not the sunny southland we had hoped to find," said
their governor, John Carver. "The storms have driven us too
far north for that."
 "No, this is not the sunny southland, but land of any sort
is a joyful sight after our long voyage," replied Elder
Brewster. "Let us not forget to thank God, who has brought
us safe to this new land."
It was too near winter to sail farther south. Near by the
Pilgrims must find the best place to make their home. So the
little ship sailed into the quiet bay and dropped anchor.
Perhaps it, too, was glad the long voyage was ended.
The water in the bay was so shallow that the ship could not
reach the shore. So the men quickly lowered the small boat
the "Mayflower" carried. Then Miles Standish, William
Bradford, John Alden, and several of the others climbed down
the rope ladder into their boat and rowed away. They carried
their guns and axes, and had an empty keg which they hoped
to fill with fresh water. That which they brought from
England was almost gone, and all were thirsty for a drink of
cold, fresh water.
The sun had gone under a cloud, and the wind was wild and
cold. The icy water dashed over the hands of the men as they
rowed. When they reached the shore, they pulled the boat
upon the sand that it might not drift away.
"I think two or three would better stay near the boat while
the others go into the forest," said Captain Standish. "We
should be in a sad
 plight if savages were to steal our boat while we are all
So John Alden and William Bradford stayed near the boat.
Floating on the shallow water, or flying through the air,
were hundreds of wild fowl. The Pilgrims had not tasted
fresh meat since they left England. What a treat some of
these wild birds would be!
The two men knelt behind their boat and kept very still.
After a while the birds came near to the boat. Bang! Bang!
flashed the guns, and bang!—bang!—bang! rang the echo.
Away flew the birds, but John ran along the shore, and waded
into the water, picking up the ducks they had killed. "We
will have a supper fit for a king, to-night," said John to
himself, as he carried the birds back to the boat.
Then they built a fire of dry branches, to warm their
stiffened fingers and dry their clothes. When the wood was
all ablaze they piled green pine branches upon the fire.
There was a sharp, crackling sound, and a cloud of black
"If the men get lost in the forest they will see this smoke
and know which way to go," thought Bradford, as he piled on
the sweet-smelling pine.
Then they cut some dry wood to carry back to the
"Mayflower," for the fuel was all gone, and the cabin was
very cold. In the bottom of the
 boat was a pile of clams which the men had dug from the
It was almost night when Captain Standish and his men came
out of the forest. They carried some rabbits, and their keg
was full of fresh water which they had found not far from
All day they had not seen a house or a person. When they
reached the top of the hill, one man took a glass and
climbed a tall pine tree. He was surprised to see that the
ocean lay on both sides of the forest. The land seemed like
a long arm stretched into the sea.
This was not a good place to make their home. The harbor was
too shallow and there were no rivers or large brooks where
they could always get fresh water. The little ponds they had
found would dry up in the summer.
The next day was the Sabbath. They would spend it quietly on
the ship, and on Monday perhaps they could look farther.