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Even though other settlers have been slaughtered by the French and the Indians, Pa refuses to let his family go east to safety. They, too, are captured, and only young, blond-haired Mary survives, forced to become a part of the Seneca people.
When Phebe's mother decides to join Phebe's father on a sea voyage, the ten-yearold is sent to stay with relatives in the country. Life in 1830 rural Connecticut at first seems rigid to Phebe, and her copy of Mother Goose is a constant source of support. The child comes to appreciate her relatives, their simple life, their generosity, and their sense of fun.