A WILD LAND
HE next day some of the Pilgrims sailed along the shore for
several miles, still
looking for a deep, safe harbor and a stream of clear water.
At last they noticed a little brook, and turned their boat
toward the shore. Leaving four men to guard the boat, the
others struck into the forest. Not a sound did they hear but
the rustling of dry leaves as they walked through them, or
the moaning of the wind in the tree tops. The November woods
seemed very bare and lonely.
When they had gone a mile or two, they saw a large deer
drinking at a brook. They stood still and watched him, but
the deer had heard their step. He raised his beautiful head
and listened a moment, then bounded swiftly into the forest.
But William Bradford was not watching the deer.
His sharp eyes had seen something moving on the hilltop not far away.
As he gazed he saw, first the head and shoulders, and then
the whole body of a man appear over the brow of the hill.
Then came another, and another. Could it be John Alden and
the others had left the boat and come after them? Surely
they would not disobey the captain, for Miles Standish had
told them not to leave the boat lest the savages take it.
 But now he could see their dark faces, and their long,
black hair and eagle feathers.
"Look!" he whispered, "Indians! Indians!"
"Perhaps that means work for 'Gideon,' " thought Captain
Standish, as he seized his sword.
"Put away your sword, Captain," said Governor Carver,
gently. "We want to make friends of these people if we can.
Perhaps they can tell us of some town or settlement. At
least we may be able to buy some food from them."
So the Pilgrims waited quietly in the shadows of the forest
until the Indians came near. Down the hill they came, their
quick eyes looking for the print of a deer in the soft
When they reached the foot of the hill they saw tracks which
had been made by no animal of the forest. Neither had they
been made by an Indian's moccasin. There seemed to be
hundreds of these tracks. What could it mean? They stood
close together and peered eagerly into the forest.
Then the Pilgrims stopped from behind the trees, and came
toward them. John Carver, the governor, held out to them
some strings of bright beads, but the Indians would have
none of them.
For a moment they gazed at the white men in terror. Then,
without stopping to fit an arrow to their bow strings, they
Where had they gone? Had the earth opened and taken in her
frightened children? Only
 an Indian knows how to disappear so quickly.
"Ugh!" they said, when they were safe away. "Ugh! Palefaces
The Pilgrims followed the Indians for ten miles, but they
did not come within sight of the savages again all that
day, though they often saw the print of their feet.
"They saw tracks which had been made
by no animal of the forest"
Sometimes these footprints showed where the Indians had
climbed a hill to watch the white men.
 When night came, the men found a sheltered place to camp
until morning. They built a fire, and while two watched, the
In the morning they marched on again, going farther south.
They saw fields where corn had been raised, but not an
Indian, or a house of any kind. No doubt the Indians saw
them very often, and knew just where they were all the time.
A little later in the day the Pilgrims came to some strange
looking houses. They were round and low, with a small
opening for a door; a hole in the top served for a chimney.
The men went from one house to another but could find no
one. They knelt down and crawled into the wigwams, but
there the fires had burned out many days before.
"They knelt down and crawled into the wigwams"
In the wigwams they found earthen pots and dishes, wooden
bowls, and beautiful baskets made of grasses and trimmed
with shells. Now they could see that the framework of the
wigwam was made of long willow branches with both ends stuck
into the ground. Over the frame the Indians had fastened
large mats of woven reeds, which kept out the cold and rain.
From the inside the wigwam looked like a great open
"What is this?" cried one of the men, as he came upon a
little mound of earth near the Indian village.
 "Perhaps it is an Indian grave," replied another.
"No, it is too wide and round for that. We will open it and see what
is buried here."
So they dug away the earth and found a large basket. It was
round and narrow at the top, and was covered with large
leaves. After a good deal
of trouble the basket was raised from the hole and opened.
It was filled to the brim with corn, some white, some red,
and some of a bluish color.
This was Indian corn. It did not grow in
 England or Holland then, and the Pilgrims had never seen
grain like it before. It tasted very good, and the Pilgrims
were much in need of food. The provisions which they had
brought from England were almost gone.
So finally they decided to take back to the "Mayflower" as
much corn as they could carry, and pay the Indians for it
when they could.
Soon they had dug up about ten bushels of corn. Then they
went to the shore and built a fire as a signal for the boat
to come for them and take them back to the "Mayflower."