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The Pilgrims then endured a second “starving time.” As the winter of 1621-22 began, 35 more Pilgrims were dropped off, empty handed, from a ship. As the Pilgrims’ food supplies dwindled, there came a time when everyone was rationed at five kernels of corn a day.

Miraculously, no one died of starvation that winter, and the faithful Pilgrims prospered in years to come. For a long time thereafter, whenever a feast was held, everyone was served a plate containing just five kernels of corn, “lest anyone should forget.”

Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at