This Week's Story

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The Pilgrims suffer! Some survive their first winter in the New World. They are surprised by Samoset's visit.

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

An Unusual Visitor, part one

“Indian coming!”

Strange!  Why would only one come?  Captain Miles Standish looked through the window of the common house.

Yes, a tall good-looking Indian man was confidently walking up the main dirt street. He was naked, except for a loincloth.  He spoke, “Welcome!”

Odd! He was in their town, uninvited, and telling them, “Welcome.”

“Welcome,” they replied.

“Do you have any beer?” How could he speak English?  This was the New World of 1621, across the Atlantic Ocean, not where English speakers lived.

“Our beer is gone.  Would you like some brandy?”

He nodded, yes.  The Pilgrim men served him typical English food.  He ate as though it was similar to food he had eaten before.  Where did he learn to speak English and eat English food?  Who was this man?

He finished eating and answered their questions.  “My name is Samoset and I am a chief of the Algonquin tribe.  From fishing captains, who came to the coast of Maine, I learned to speak English.”

They asked, “What can you tell us about the Indians who live around us?”

Samoset answered, “Where you now are living, the Patuxet tribe used to live.   Every white man who landed on their shores was murdered.   A plague broke out four years ago amongst the Patuxets.  It killed all their children, men, and women. It was so horrifying and mysterious that people of the nearest tribes will not come here.  The land now belongs to no one.”

The Pilgrims listened in wonder. The previous fall 102 of them had left England. They were ordinary families, Christians who fled England after enduring severe persecution from the state church.  They hoped to live in the New World with basic freedoms, especially freedom of worship.

As the Pilgrims had crossed the ocean aboard the Mayflower ship, Captain Jones noted that they did not complain about miserable travelling conditions.  Storms meant they stayed below deck with little light or fresh air as the hatches were closed. Then the children were terrified. Vomiting from seasickness was expected. Each day the menu was dried pork, dried peas, and dried fish.  Always there was zero privacy!

The Mayflower arrived at the New World 100 miles off course, not where the Pilgrims had received permission to go by the New England Company.  What government would they be under now?  The leaders of the group drafted “The Mayflower Compact.” All 41 of the Pilgrim men signed it.  This was the first time in written records that free and equal men agreed to create their own new civil government.

The Pilgrims found an ideal setting to build their town.  Building progressed slowly.  They were weak from their long voyage across the ocean, and there was snow, cold, and unending work.  They began dying—six in December, eight in January, seventeen in February, and continuing until 47 were dead.  The children survived the best.

The happiest time of each week was Sunday morning church service.  Unlike pictures sometimes drawn of these Pilgrims they were not dressed in blacks and browns.  Elder Brewster would wear a green satin jacket and Captain Miles Standish had a red cape. These people loved color.  Their services had color, music, prayer, and preaching. Everyone well enough to come, came.

Spring brought Samoset, who stayed with them one night.  One week later he brought an extraordinary man, Squanto.

This is Barbara Steiner speaking.  Next week we will hear the striking story of Squanto.

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