By Stacy B. C. Wood, Jr.
New Plimoth, Cape Cod Sunday, 14 January 1621 (O.S.)
On this day a party went ashore to return John Goodman and Peter Browne to the ship Mayflower. They had been lost for two days. Herewith follows Master Edward Winslow's relation of the events:
Friday, the 12th: "This day two of our people put is in great sorrow and care; there was four sent to gather and cut thatch in the morning, and two of them, John Goodman and Peter Brown, having cut thatch all the forenoon, went to a further place, and willed the other two to bind up that which was cut and to follow them. They did, being about a mile and a half from our plantation. But when the two came after, they could not find them, nor hear any thing of them at all, though they hallooed and shouted as loud as they could, so they returned to the company and told them of it. Whereupon Master Carver and three or four more went to seek them, but that night they could hear nothing at all of them. The next day they armed ten or twelve men out, verily thinking the Indians had surprised the,. They went seeking seven or eight miles, but could neither see nor hear any thing at all, so they returned, with much discomfort to us all.
"These two that were missed, at dinner time took their meat in their hands, and would go walk and refresh themselves. So going a little off they find a lake of water, and having a great mastiff bitch with them and a spaniel, by the water side they found a great deer; the dogs chased him, and they followed so far as they lost themselves and could not find the way back. They wandered all that afternoon being wet, and at night it did freeze and snow. They were slenderly apparelled and had no weapons but for each one his sickle, nor any victuals. They ranged up and down and could find none of the savages' habitations. When it drew to night they were much perplexed, for they could find neither harbour nor meat, but, in frost and snow were forced to make the earth their bed and the element their covering. And another thing did very much terrify them; they heard, as they thought, two lions roaring exceedingly for a long time together, and a third, that they thought was very near them. So not knowing what to do, they resolved to climb up into a tree as their safest refuge, though that would prove intolerable cold lodging; so they stood at the tree's root that when the lions came they might take their opportunity of climbing up. The bitch they were fain to hold by the neck, for she would have gone to the lion; but it pleased God so to dispose, that the wild beasts came not. So they walked up and down under the tree all night; it was an extreme cold night. So soon as it was light they travelled again, passing by many lakes and brooks and woods, and in one place where the savages had burnt the space for five miles in length, which is a fine champaign country, and even. In the afternoon, it pleased God, from a high hill they discovered the two isles in the bay, and so that night got to the plantation, being ready to faint with travail and want of victuals, and almost famished with cold. John Goodman was fain to have his shoes a long while after ere he was able to go."
The above story is taken from Mourt's Relation—A Journal of the Pilgrim at Plymouth in the version edited by Dwight B. Heath and published by Applewood Books of Bedford, MA. The original text was published in England in 1622 and was the first published eyewitness account of the Pilgrims voyage to America. Believed to have been written by Edward Winslow and William Bradford, it begins with their departure from England on 6 September and ends with the choosing of John Carver as the first Colony governor on 23 March 1621. This book, too, still in print.