Winslow Saves The Day "Cures" Massasoyt

"There were they in the middest of their charmes for him, making such a hellish noise, as it distempered us that were well, and therefore unlike to ease him that was sicke."

Editors Note: The news that King Massasoyt was near death was likely alarming as it was he who stood between the fragile colony and those other Native Americans who clearly preferred English "removal." 

Edward Winslow: Good Newes from New England

During the time that the Captaine was at Manomet, newes came to Plimoth, that Massossowat was like to die . . .

At length we came to Mattapuyst, and went to the Sachimo Comaco (for so they call the Sachims place, though they call an ordinarie house Witeo) but Conbatant the Sackim was not at home, but at Puckanokick, which was some five or six miles off; the Squa-sachim (for so they call the Sachims wife) gave us friendly entertainment. Here wee inquired againe concerning Massassowat, they thought him dead, but knew no certainty; whereupon I hired one to goe with all expedition to Puckanokick, that we might know the certainty thereof, and withall to acquaint Conbatant with our there being. About halfe an houre before Sunne-setting, the messenger returned, and told us that he was not yet dead, though there was no hope we we should finde him living. 

Upon this we were much revived, and set forward with all speed, though it was late within night ere we got thither. About two of the clocke that afternoone the Dutchmen departed, so that in that respect our journey was frustrate When we came thither, we found the house so full of men, as we could scarce get in, though they used their best diligence to make way for us. 

There were they in the middest of their charmes for him, making such a hellish noise, as it distempered us that were well, and therefore unlike to ease him that was sicke. About him were six or eight women, who chafed his armes, legs; and thighes, to keepe heat in him; when they had made an end of their charming, one told him that his friends the English were come to see him; (having understanding left, but his sight was wholly gone) he asked who was come, they told him Winsnow (for they cannot pronounce the letter l, but ordinarily n in the place thereof) hee desired to speake with me; when I came to him, and they told him of it, he put forth his hand to me, which I tooke; then he said twice, though very inwardly, keen Winsnow, which is to say, Art thou Winslow? I answered ahhe, that is, yes; then hee doubled these words, Matta neen wonckanet namen Winsnow; that is to say, O Winslow I shall never see thee againe. 

Then I called Hobbamock and desired him to tell Massassowat, that the Governour hearing of his sicknesse was sorry for the same, and though by reason of many businesses he could not come himselfe, yet he sent me with such things for him as he thought most likely to doe him good in this his extremitiel and whereof if he pleased to take, I would presently give him; which he desired, and having a confection of many comfortable conserves, &c. on the point of my knife, I gave him some, which I could scarce get thorow his teeth; when it was dissolved in his mouth, he swallowed the juice of it, whereat those that were about him much rejoyced, saying, he had not swallowed any thing in two daies before. 

Then I desired to see his mouth, which was exceedingly furred, and his tongue swelled in such manner, as it was not possible for him to eat such meat as they had, his passage being stops up: then I washed his mouth, and scraped his tongue, and got abundance of corruption out of the same. After which, I gave him more of the confection, which e swallowed with more readinesse; then he desiring to drinke, I dissolved some of it in water, and gave him thereof: within halfe an houre this wrought a great alteration in him in the eyes of all that beheld him; presently after his sight began to come to him, which gave him and us good encouragement. 

In the meane time I inquired how hee slept, and when he went to the stoole? They said he slept not in two daies before, and had not had a stoole in five; then I gave him more, and told him of a mishap we had by the way in breaking a bottle of drinke, which the Governour also sent him, saying, if he would send any of his men to Patuxet, I would send for more of the same, also for chickens to make him broth, and for other things which I knew were good for him, and would stay the returne of the messenger if he desired. This hee tooke marvellous kindly, and appointed some who were ready to goe by two of the clocke in the morning, against which time I made ready a letter, declaring therein our good successe, the state of his body, &c. desiring to send me such things as I sent for, and such physicke as the Surgion durst administer to him. 

He requested . me that the day following, I would take my Peece, and kill him some Fowle, and make him some English pottage, such as he had eaten at Plimoth, which I promised: after his stomacke comming to him, I must needs make him some without Fowle, before I went abroad, which somewhat troubled me, being unaccustomed and unacquainted in such businesses, especially having nothing to make it comfortable, my Consort being as ignorant as my selfe; but being wee must doe somewhat, I caused a woman to bruise some come, and take the flower from it, and set over the grut or broken come in a pipkin (for they have earthen pots of all sizes.) When the day broke, we went out (it being now March) to seeke herbes, but could not finde any but strawberry leaves, of which I gathered a handfull and put into the same, and because I had nothing to relish it, I went forth againe, and pulled up a Saxafras root, and sliced a peece thereof, and boyled it till it had a good relish, and then tooke it out againe. The broth being boyed, I strained it thorow my handkerchiffe, and gave him at least a pinte, which he dranke, and liked it very well. 

After this his sight mended more and more, also he had three moderate stooles, and tooke some rest. Insomuch as wee with admiration blessed God for giving his blessing to such raw and ignorant meanes, making no doubt of his recovery, himselfe and all of them acknowledging us the instruments of his preservation. That morning he caused me to spend in going from one to another amongst those that were sicke in the Towne, requesting me to wash their mouthes also, and give to each of them some of the same I gave him, saying, they were good forke. This paines I tooke with willingnesse, though it were much offensive to me, not being accustomed with such poysonous savours. 

After dinner he desired me to get him a Goose or Duck, and make him some pottage therewith, with as much speed as I could: so I tooke a man with me, and made a shot at a couple of Ducks, some six score paces off, and killed one, at which he wondered: so we returned forthwith, and dressed it, making more broth therewith, which he much desired; never did I see a man so low brought, recover in that measure in so short a time. 

The Fowle being extraordinary fat, I told Hobbamock I must take off the top thereof, saying it would make him very sicke againe if he did eat it; this hee acquainted Massassowat therewith, who would not be perswaded to it, though I pressed it very much, shewing the strength thereof, and the weaknesse of his stomacke, which could not possibly beare it. Notwithstanding he made a grosse meale of it, and are as much as would well have satisfied a man in health. About an an houre after he began to be very sicke, and straining very much, cast up the broth againe, and in overstraining himselfe, began to bleed at the nose, and so continued the space of foure houres; then they all wished he had. beene ruled, concluding now he would die, which we much feared also. 

They asked me what I thought of him; I answered, his case was desperate, yet it might be it would save his life: for if it ceased in time, he would forthwith sleepe and take rest, which was the principall thing he wanted. Not long after his bloud staied, and he slept at least six or eight houres; when he awaked I washed his face, and bathed and suppled his beard and nose with a linnen cloth: but on a sudden he chops his nose in the water, and drew up some therein, and sent it forth againe with such violence, as he began to bleed afresh, then they thought there was no hope, but we perceived it was but the tendernesse of his nostrill, and therefore told them I thought it would stay presently, as indeed it did.

The messengers were now returned, but finding his stomacke come to him, he would not have the chickens killed, but kept them for breed. Neither durst wee give him any physicke which was then sent, because his body was so much altered since our instructions, neither saw we any need, not doubting now of his recovery, if he were carefull. Many whilest we were there came to see him, some by their report from a place not lesse than an hundred miles. To all that came, one of his chiefe men related the manner of his sicknesse, how neere hee was spent, how amongst others his friends the English came to see him, and how suddenly they recovered him to this strength they saw, he being now able to sit upright of himselfe.

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