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THE SWORD OF MILES STANDISH
MONG those who went to John Robinson's church was Captain
Miles Standish. He
was an Englishman, but he had lived many years in Holland,
where he went to help the Dutch fight for their freedom.
Once while he was fighting in Holland, some soldiers went to
the house of an old man who made swords and armor. They took
some of the armor and were threatening to harm the old man
and his daughter.
Captain Standish saw them, and shouted, "You cowards! To
steal from a poor old man! Cowards! Give back everything you
have taken." And the rude soldiers obeyed.
Then to the trembling old man he said, "No harm shall come
to you, so do not be afraid. Your life is safe, and your
daughter, too, is free from danger. Go back to your shop in
The old man could not thank him then; his heart was too
full. But that night Miles Standish heard a knock at his
door. When he looked out, he saw the old sword maker
standing in the darkness. He had something carefully
wrapped in his cloak.
"Captain Standish," he said, "you are a brave, brave
soldier. You are more than that; you are a
 kind and noble man." Then, holding out the gift he had
brought, the man said, "Take this sword and take with it the
heart-felt thanks of an old man whose life and whose
daughter you have saved."
Miles Standish could not refuse without giving pain, so he
took the man's gift. It was a fine old sword which had been
made in the Far East hundreds of years before Miles
Standish was born. On one side were engraved the sun, moon,
and stars. On the other side were some words written in an
old, old language.
The Captain thanked the man and said, "This sword shall
always be my friend. It shall always be ready to help those
who are in trouble." He named the sword "Gideon," and he
sometimes spoke to it as though it were a friend.
But now the war was over, and though it had been ten years
since Miles Standish had needed "Gideon," it always hung at
Captain Standish often talked with the Pilgrims about
their plan of going to America. He thought about the savages
who lived in the new land, and about the ships from other
countries which might try to take their town.
"I will go with you to your new home," he said. "There may
be work for 'Gideon' and me."