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Mayflower, Day by Day - Monday, 26 April 1621

26 Apr 2021 2:58 AM | Soule (Administrator)

Eels: Not for the squeamish

Squanto taught the Pilgrims to fertilise their crops with herring and alewife, but also showed them how to fish for eels.  At this time of the year, the eels lay dormant in the mud; Squanto would wade out into the cold water of the nearby tidal creek (now named, aptly enough, “Eel River,” near Plimoth Plantation).  He would then use his feet to “trod them out.”  The first time he tried this “with his hands without any other instrument,” he returned with so many eels that he could barely lift them.  That night the Pilgrims said they were “fat and sweet.”  Timing is everything here: the sweet, fat eels swim upstream to spawn; on the return journey to the sea, they are bitter and thin.

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