T last spring came bringing health and
hope to the Pilgrims. Again the axes rang
out in the forest, and the half-built cottages
were soon finished. The snow melted from the
sunny hillsides, and the ice in the streams broke
away and floated into the sea.
One morning the men of Plymouth met in the common-house to
make plans for their little army. "On the top of the hill we
will build a large, strong fort, and mount our cannons upon
it so they will point in every direction," said Captain
Miles Standish. "If the Indians make trouble, we will bring
the women and children to the fort for safety. "
As he spoke there was a frightened scream from the children
at play outside. The next moment a tall, half-naked Indian
stood in the door before them.
Three eagle feathers were braided into his long black hair.
Lines of red and black were painted upon his face. In his
hand he carried a long bow, and a quiver of arrows hung
between his bare shoulders.
The Pilgrims sprang to their feet, seizing their guns and
swords. Perhaps he was only one of many who were already in
 The Indian did not move from his place, though he laid his
hand upon a little hatchet at his belt. How sharply his
bright eyes glanced from one to another of the men!
"Welcome, Englishmen!" said he.
"What! Do these savages speak English?" said William
"Look to your guns, men," said Captain Miles Standish in
a low voice. "He may not be so friendly as he seems."
Perhaps the Indian understood the Captain's words, for he
said quickly, "Samoset friend of Englishmen. He come to say
Elder Brewster stepped forward and gave his hand to the
strange visitor. "Thank you for your kind words, friend.
Where did you learn our language?"
"Samoset is chief in little land in the sea. Many English
come there to fish and buy furs. Samoset much good to
"How far away is your island?" asked the elder.
"Come big wind in ship, one day. Or canoe to shore, then
walk, five days," answered the chief.
"And which way did you come, Samoset?"
"Samoset come in ship eight moons ago. English friend give
Samoset and other chiefs long ride in his ship."
Then the Pilgrims asked the Indian to sit down in the
common-house with them. They brought
 him food and drink, and as he ate they asked him many
"Are your Indian friends near here?" asked Captain Standish.
"Many Indians in forest," answered Samoset. "They bring many
furs to trade with white men. Indians great hunters. White
man not know how to make good traps like Indian."
The Pilgrims looked at William Bradford and smiled. He,
too, was thinking of the Indian deer trap in which he had
been caught one day.
"Samoset have Indian friend named Squanto. Him speak good
English," said Samoset, as he took another leg of roast
"Why did not Squanto come with you?" asked Elder Brewster.
"Squanto wise like fox. Him put his paw in trap one time. Him
much afraid of white man now."
"Did the white men not treat him well?" asked Bradford.
Then Samoset laid down his bone and told them Squanto's
story. He said, "Sailor-man tell Squanto to come have little
ride in his white-winged canoe. Then he take Squanto and
twenty other Indians to land of the sunrise, across the
Big-sea-water. He sell them to be slaves.
"After many snows Squanto run away. Good fisherman bring him
back home. He learn English in the white man's country."
 Samoset did not seem in any hurry to leave the village. He
walked about looking in at the doors or windows of the
cottages. He knew the women and children were all afraid of
him, and he seemed to enjoy their fright.
"The women and the children were all afraid of him"
When night came he was still in the village. Some thought he
was a spy sent to find out how strong the settlement was.
They were afraid they would make him angry by sending him
"What shall we do with him?" they asked, as bedtime drew
"I believe he is a friendly Indian. He may stay in my house
to-night," said Master Hopkins.
So Mistress Hopkins made a bed for him on a cot in the
kitchen. But Samoset would not sleep on the cot. He spread a
deerskin on the floor and slept before the fireplace. His
dark skin glistened in the firelight as he slept.
But Master Hopkins did not sleep. All night long he lay and
watched the Indian on his hearth. He dared not close his
eyes for fear he would awake to find his family killed and
his house in flames.
Very few of the Pilgrims slept well that night. If they
heard an owl hoot or a wolf howl in the forests, they
thought it was the yell of Indians come to destroy their
But the night passed in safety, and in the morning Samoset
bade his new friends good-bye. The
 Pilgrims gave him some beads and an English coat which
pleased him very much.
"Come again to-morrow and bring your friends," said William
Bradford, as he walked with Samoset to the edge of the town.
"Tell the Indians to bring their furs and we will pay for
them, but you must not bring your bows and arrows, knives or
hatchets into our settlement."