ble for a public recognition of God's bounty and to rejoice together.
They were so happy that they actually relaxed their austere dignity a little and let nature have sway !
Four men, their best shots, were chosen to go out and shoot game, with which the forests abounded. The supply lasted nearly a week, and some friendly Indians with their chief Massasoit were made welcome and entertained for three days.
The "bill of fare " was further enriched by the Indians' contribution of some fine deer. Various kinds of seafood were procurable, which, with ducks, wild turkeys, venison, barley bread,cakes of Indian meal,and aromatic wild grapes by way of dessert, made a feast that might well have stimulated their gratitude.
It was eaten off pewter plates, and after the entertainment they and their Indian guests exercised themselves in feats of arms. The rejoicings lasted a week. This was not the inauguration of a continuous series of annual festivals, but it was the national Thanksgiving in promise.
This gala week had no successor. In contrast with the last picture was the Thanksgiving of 1623, which year had been full of hardships.
The accounts sent back to England of the plenty of the New World had induced other colonists to try their fortunes, and several ship-loads arrived but slenderly provided with supplies. These were soon exhausted, their crops failed, a severe drought set in, and starvation threatened. Tradition says that in their extremities, rations of five kernels of corn per day were distributed to each person. A day was appointed for humiliation and prayer. Winslow, in his "Relation," tells us that