44o The Book of Indoor and Outdoor Games
though the heavens were clear when they assembled, and the drought as like to continue as ever, yet before their departure the sky was overcast and in the morning came showers of rain continuing fourteen days. A vessel loaded with provisions shortly after came to their relief, and their cup of blessing was full.
Sensitive to the least of God's tokens of favour, this little theocracy, in pure, spontaneous gratitude, at once appointed a day of special thanksgiving.
The modest feast that followed the service of praise in the meeting-house consisted in most instances of little more than a dish of meal, water and salt, boiled together. Ground-nuts (peanuts) and clams were probably added, since these are referred to by the writers of the times as being often their only resources.
Another scene: A day of public thanksgiving and rejoicing was set apart on account of the happy termination of King Philip's war. The little band congregated in the lower part of their fort—which was their meetinghouse—every man with his sword and matchlock, while a sentinel on guard paced up and down the flat roof, and a cannon looked ominously from the battlement.
Suddenly Church and his men appeared, bearing the severed head of their late enemy, the Indian chief. The grim trophy was set up on a pole in Plymouth village. Gathered about the great fireplaces in each little kitchen living-room, what tales of hairbreadth escapes from their dusky foes were then told that afterward became valued family traditions, to be rehearsed with delicious horror in the days of peace, plenty, and prosperity that followed!