This Week's Story

Squanto's hard times help him on an unusual mission to the Pilgrims.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Twice-Kidnapped Rescuer
part two

Samoset was back, but not alone! He walked into the wilderness town of Plymouth with Chief Massasoit, 60 Indian warriors, and Squanto. The Pilgrims were not terrified. Already, they had endured a frightful ocean voyage and a terrible winter, during which nearly half of their people died. Only 54 remained. But instead of being bitter, they had become one.

Spring was coming, but the Pilgrims faced starvation. They desperately needed food and skills to survive in this new land. Would these visitors help? What about Chief Massasoit, who was the leader of several small neighboring tribes? The chief welcomed the Pilgrims and accepted them as friends. Later a fair peace treaty was made that lasted forty years.

When Massasoit left Plymouth, Squanto remained. Who was he? His is a curious story! When he was about 18, he lived where the Pilgrims now were living. He was kidnapped, taken to England and taught the English language so he could give information about his homeland.

Squanto spent nine years in England, acquiring many new skills. Finally, he was allowed to return to his home across the ocean.  Unbelievably, he was kidnapped a second time by a ship captain. This man was a slaver. He tricked Squanto and 19 other Patuxet Indians, pretending he wanted to bargain with them. Instead they were captured, put into iron chains, and taken to Spain.  Each was sold for $1,400.00. Squanto was bought and rescued by Catholic priests, and introduced to the Christian faith.

Soon he left the Catholic monastery in Spain. From England he found his way home, crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the fourth time. It was fourteen years since he had first been kidnapped. He longed to be with his tribe.  But, nothing remained of his people.  Where his friends and family had lived, now there were skulls and bones. There were no signs of murder or war, only of disease. Squanto wandered around where he used to hunt, where he hoped to live. In despair he went to a neighboring tribal area where Chief Massasoit felt pity for him and allowed Squanto to live with the tribe.

Then Samoset made his surprise visit to the Pilgrims. He told Squanto how the Pilgrims were like babies dumped into woods.  They knew nothing of the land. Squanto understood survival and especially in his home territory. Soon his mission was helping the Pilgrims.

His first lesson was teaching them how to catch fat slippery eels and prepare them as a sweet, delicious food. He showed the young men how to squish eels out of mud with their bare feet, and pick them up with their hands.

Another lesson was planting corn the Indian way using fish for fertilizer. Catching the fish was an adventure.  Squanto taught the Pilgrims to stalk deer, plant pumpkins, make maple syrup, find plants for medicines, and choose good berries. They learned how to earn money by trapping beaver and selling their furs.

 A beautiful summer brought a wedding, trading with Indians, and a bountiful fall harvest. The Pilgrims were filled with thanksgiving to Squanto, to Massasoit and his tribe, and certainly to God. Governor Bradford declared a day of public Thanksgiving, which we now celebrate in the United States every year in November.

          This is Barbara Steiner speaking. It has been my pleasure to share with you this inspiring story from American history.

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I've often wondered how our early ancestors from Europe learned skills necessary for survival.   from Janet

Dear Janet,

Our ancestors certainly had to possess strength and courage to survive!    Leah

Squanto's story is very interesting. The way that Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to survive made me want to see how I would survive in the Pilgrim's place.    from Sunny

Dear Sunny,

Your statement reminds me of the blessings we sometimes take for granted.   Leah

It was amazing how even though Squanto had gone through so much, he still found it within himself to help others.   from Jenny

Dear Jenny,

 I agree. I believe we should all take time to help others.   Leah

It was that Samoset acted like the Pilgrims were normal people he was used to being around and having food that he liked.  He was understood as though he had no accent.  Interesting that the Pilgrims must have tried to  save their children from death, as the adults were dying.    from Ian

Dear Ian,

I can only imagine the struggle for survival that the Pilgrims faced.   Leah

Even though Squanto was kidnapped and went through a lot of trials, he was being prepared for a future mission.         from Andrea

Dear Andrea,

Your statement reminds me of this phrase;  If God brings you to 'it" He'll bring you through "it".  Often we don't see the bigger picture.    Leah

An inside scoop on why we celebrate Thanksgiving!  An example on how God uses different people's struggles for a greater purpose.   from Caleb

Dear Caleb,

Often seeing a greater purpose is a challenge.    Leah

It was a very nice story.  I love learning about our country's history!   from Kenna

Dear Kenna,

Mrs. Steiner is teaching me historical and biblical facts with each new story I read.     Leah

What really caught my attention was that Squanto was kidnapped a second time.  Also, when Squanto returned to his village there were none of his people left, except bones and skulls.  It didn't look as if there was a war, but that his people had died of disease.     from Fatima

Dear Fatima,

Squanto endured much hardship, and still made helping the Pilgrims his mission, and reason to live.    Leah

It amazes me how God worked in Squanto's life and even allowed him to be captured a second time.  from Liz

Dear Liz,

The second kidnapping was not all tragedy for Squanto.  Many of his experiences prepared him to help the Pilgrims find a new life in the New World.  Leah

Squanto was surprised by the Pilgrims.  He helped them to catch eels.  They were thankful to Squanto and God.  from Grace

Dear Grace,

I think more Pilgrims survived due to Squanto's help. This story reminds me to help others.  Leah

There's alot to this story! It must have been hard for Squanto to lose his family and everyone from his village.  from Wyatt

Dear Wyatt,

I believe God used Squanto's trials.  Helping the Pilgrims became Squanto's mission.   Leah


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