| Stories of the Pilgrims|
|by Margaret B. Pumphrey|
|Beginning with Queen Anne's visit to Scrooby inn, tells in story form of the everyday life of the Pilgrims in England and Holland, of their voyage on the Mayflower and their adventures in the New World. The Brewster children and other Pilgrim boys and girls are the center of interest. A wonderful book to read aloud in the weeks before Thanksgiving. Ages 6-10 |
A PERPLEXING PROBLEM
HEN they first came to Holland, everything seemed strange
to the English children. The gay-colored houses with their
floors of blue tile, their queer little fireplaces, and
their steep roofs, were very different from the homes they
had left in England.
They had never seen wooden shoes such as the Dutch children
wore. The dikes to keep out the sea, the giant windmills,
and the canals all seemed odd.
Strangest of all was the language. They thought they could
never learn it.
But after they had lived in Holland a few years these
things did not seem so strange. The little English children
began to like the Dutch dress and ways. They liked the canal
streets, the whirling windmills, and the Dutch cottages.
They liked the pretty, bright dresses and gold cap-buttons
which the Dutch girls wore, and wished to dress like them.
They sometimes coaxed their mothers to wear pretty lace caps
and fine earrings such as their neighbors wore.
"It is not right for you to care so much about pretty
clothes," said their parents. "Plain caps and dresses are
more suitable for Pilgrims."
These children soon learned the language of Holland, and
liked it almost as well as their
 native one. Indeed, some of them liked it better, and often
spoke Dutch at home instead of English.
It was now eleven years since the Pilgrims had come to
Holland. In this time many babies had been born in their new
homes. When these little ones began to talk, their parents
taught them to speak English, but when they were old enough
to play out of doors, they heard Dutch all about them, and
when they went to school they heard nothing but that
language. Soon the little ones were speaking better Dutch
This was a real sorrow to the Pilgrim fathers and mothers,
who did not want their children to become Hollanders. They
wished them to remember the English language and English
ways. They feared that in a few years no one could tell
their children from those of the Hollanders.
The Pilgrims often talked about their old homes in England.
Many of them were not so well and strong since they worked
in the mills. Worst of all, many of their children had to
work there while they were still young. Their rosy cheeks
were growing pale, and their backs bent.
The Pilgrims longed for little farms of their own where they
and their sons could work in the open air as they had done
in England, but they were too poor to buy farms in Holland.
"We hear much about the new land across the
sea," said John Robinson, their pastor.
 many Englishmen have gone there and made comfortable homes
for themselves. They say it is a great, beautiful country
where there is land enough for all."
"I am told the ground there is very rich, and the crops
never fail for want of rain or sunshine," said John Carver.
"If we were in America we could make homes such as we had in
England. We could have our own church, and bring up our
children to love and serve God," said Elder Brewster.
"Can we go so far away?" they thought. Between America and
Holland the sea is very wide.
The Pilgrims thought of the pleasant homes and the dear
friends they would leave in Holland. They thought how long
it would be before they could have as good schools as those
They thought of the long voyage, and of the hardships of
life in the new land. There was not a city, nor a town, nor
even a house in the place where they would go. There were no
mills where they could buy timber for their cottages. They
would have to cut down the trees to make their own lumber.
"The Indians live in the forests. They are said to be very
savage and cruel," said Master Allerton.
"We would treat them like brothers and perhaps they would be
our friends," answered the pastor.
 Whenever the Pilgrims met they talked about going to
America. They talked about the broad fields they would own,
and the cozy homes they would build.
"Above all," they said, "we shall be free. We will build our
own church and worship God as we think right. Our children
will be healthier, happier, and better than in this large
And so the Pilgrims decided to go to America. But they could
not all go at once. There would be no houses for them to
live in at first, and many were too old, or too weak, to
bear the hardships of starting the new home.
It was decided that if the greater number of the Pilgrims
went to America, John Robinson would go with them. If fewer
went, Elder Brewster would go with them and be their pastor.
It was soon learned that most of them could not leave Leiden
until later, so Elder Brewster and about eighty of his
friends planned to go that summer.
Only those who were well and strong were to go in the first
ship. Many families would have to be separated for a year or
Elder Brewster's family was large, and he could not take
them all at first. Love and his little brother were too
young to be left. Mistress Brewster could not be contented
an hour if the wide sea lay between her and her little boys.
Jonathan Brewster was a young man now, and
 was working in Leiden. Patience and Fear had grown to be
large girls, and could spin and weave, sew and cook almost
as well as Mistress Brewster herself.
So it was arranged that Jonathan would go on with his work
in Leiden, with his sisters to keep house for him. They all
hoped to be able to join the others in America in a year or
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics