Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
A SAVAGE PEOPLE
T grew colder and colder every day, but still the Pilgrims
had not found a good place to build their homes.
So Governor Carver, William Bradford, Captain Standish, and
others again sailed away in their boat. They carried guns
and axes, blankets, and food enough to last them many days.
It was December now, and the bay was full of ice. The
driving snow and sleet cut their faces and froze on their
clothing. Some of the men nearly died of the cold.
Every day they went ashore to see if there was a good place
to settle. There were so many things to be thought of.
They must find a place near the woods so they could get logs
for their houses and wood for their fires. Yet the forest
must not be too near, for they must have a clear space in
which to plant their grain.
There must be a deep, safe harbor, and above all, a stream
of clear, fresh water.
They landed again and again, but it was hard to find a place
which had all these things. They would search all day and at
night make a camp in the forest.
One night after a hard day's tramp, they built
 a great fire and cooked their supper. They could get plenty
of fresh meat in the forest, and they had brought bread,
beans, and dried peas from the ship.
After they had eaten their supper and had
prayers, all went to sleep except the two men who
were to watch.
The light from the flames fell upon the tired faces of the
men as they lay in a circle about the fire. It touched
lightly the trunks of the tall trees, and stretched long,
dark shadows across the hard frozen ground.
Sometimes they saw shining eyes peering at them from the
darkness, but the animals were all afraid of the fire and
soon slunk away.
About midnight the watchmen heard a long, loud cry in the
distance. It sounded like the yell of Indians.
"To arms! To arms!" they cried.
The Pilgrims sprang to their feet and seized their guns. A
long time they waited and listened, but no Indians came.
"Perhaps it was only the howl of wolves or foxes," said the
men, as they lay down again.
The Pilgrims were up before the sun, next morning, cooking
their breakfast and preparing to sail farther along the
shore. While some cooked the meal, others carried blankets
and guns down to the boat.
 While they were sitting about the fire eating their
breakfast, they heard a frightful sound near by.
"Woach! Woach! Ha! Ha! Woach!" came the cry.
The Pilgrims sprang to the boat for their guns. They fired
several shots into the forest thinking to frighten the
Indians, but on they came.
Nearer and nearer sounded the cry. "Woach! Woach! Ha! Ha!
In the faint morning light the Pilgrims saw the forms of
many savages slipping from tree to tree. Then whiz! whir!
whir! sounded the arrows, as they flew thick and fast. Two
of them stuck in John Howland's coat, and one struck Captain
Standish above the heart, but he had his armor on and the
arrow did no harm.
The Pilgrims quickly sprang away from the light of the fire.
They tried to protect themselves in the dark shadows of the
Whiz-z-z! Whir-r-r-r! The arrows were flying from every
direction, but not an Indian was to be seen. They, too, were
well hidden behind trees and bushes.
The Pilgrims kept very still. Then the Indians grew bolder.
They crept silently toward the camp, their dark forms
looking like dim shadows in the forest.
This was just what the Pilgrims were waiting for. Bang!
Boom! roared the muskets. One
 of the bullets struck the Indian chief in the arm. He could
not draw his bow again. With an angry yell the savages fled
into the forest.
The Pilgrims followed them a short distance, shouting and
firing their muskets. When they returned to the camp, they
picked up many arrows. Some were pointed with a sharp bit of
deerhorn, and some with eagles' claws. These arrows the
Pilgrims sent to England when the "Mayflower" returned.