When Penelope heard this, and knew that her son was perhaps sailing to his doom, her heart well-nigh broke. She wept bitterly, and reproached her maidens with not having told her that Telemachus had gone.
"Slay me if thou wilt," said the old nurse, "but I alone knew it. Telemachus made me promise not to tell thee, that thy fair face might not be marred by weeping. Do not fear, the goddess Athene will take care of him."
Thus she comforted her mistress, and although she lay long awake that night, Penelope fell asleep at last. In her dreams Athene came to her and told her that Telemachus would come safely home, and so Penelope's sad heart was cheered.
While she slept the wooers sailed away in a swift, black ship, with spears in their hands and murder in their hearts. On a little rocky isle they landed until the ship of Telemachus should pass, and there they waited, that they might slay him when he came.
HOW ODYSSEUS CAME HOME
While yet Telemachus sought news of his father, Odysseus was well-nigh home. On that misty morning when he found himself in Ithaca, and did not know it, because the gray fog made everything seem strange and unfriendly, Odysseus was very sad as he sat beside the moaning sea.
Then came Athene, and drove the mist before her, and Odysseus saw again the land that he loved, and knew that his wanderings were past. She told him the tale of the wooers, and of the unhappiness of Penelope and Telemachus, and the heart of Odysseus grew hot within him.
"Stand by me!" he said to the goddess. "If thou of thy grace wilt help me, I myself will fight three hundred men."
"Truly I will stand by thee," said Athene, "and many of the greedy wooers shall stain the earth with their blood."
She then told Odysseus how the wooers were to be destroyed, and Odysseus gladly agreed to her plans. First she made him hide far in the darkness of the cave, under the olive-tree, all the gold and bronze ornaments and beautiful clothes that had been given to him in the land of Nausicaa.
Then she touched him with her golden wand. In a moment his yellow hair fell off his head; his bright eyes were dim; his skin was withered and wrinkled, and he had a stooping back and tottering legs like a feeble old man. His clothes of purple and silver she changed into torn and filthy old rags, and over his shoulders she threw the old skin of a stag with the hair worn off.
"Go now," said Athene, "to where thy faithful swineherd sits on the hill, watching his swine as they grub among the acorns and drink of the clear spring. He has always been true to thee and to thy wife and son. Stay with him and hear all that he has to tell, and I will go and fetch home Telemachus."
"When thou didst know all, why didst thou not tell Telemachus?" asked Odysseus. "Is he, too, to go wandering over stormy seas, far from his own land?"
"Telemachus will be a braver man for what he has gone through," said Athene. "No harm shall come to him, although the wooers in their black ship wait to slay him."
Then Athene flew across the sea, and Odysseus climbed up a rough track through the woods to where the swineherd had built himself a hut. The hut was made of stones and thorn-branches, and beside it were sties for the swine made in the same way. The wooers had eaten many swine at their daily feasts, but thousands remained. These the swineherd tended, with three men and four fierce dogs to help him.
At an open space on the hill, from whence he could look down at the woods and the sea, Odysseus found the swineherd sitting at the door of his hut making himself a pair of sandals out of brown ox-hide.
When the swineherd's dogs saw a dirty, bent old man toiling up the hill, they rushed at him, barking furiously. Up they leapt on him and would have torn him to pieces if their master had not cast away his ox-hide, dashed after them, scolded them and beaten them, and then driven them off with showers of stones.
"If my dogs had killed thee I should have been for ever ashamed," he said to Odysseus, "and without that I have enough sorrow. For while my noble master may be wandering in a strange land and lacking food, I have to feed his fat swine for others to eat."
So speaking, he led Odysseus to his hut. He laid some brushwood on the floor, spread over it the soft, shaggy skin of a wild goat, and bade Odysseus be seated. Then he went out to the sties, killed two sucking pigs, and roasted them daintily. When they were ready he cut off the choicest bits and gave them to Odysseus, with a bowl of honey-sweet wine.
While Odysseus ate and drank, the swineherd talked to him of the greed and wastefulness of the wooers, and in silence Odysseus listened, planning in his heart how he might punish them.
"Tell me thy master's name," he said at length. "I have traveled in many lands. Perchance I may have seen him, and may give thee news of him."
But the swineherd answered:
"Each vagrant who comes straying to the land of Ithaca goes to my mistress with lying tales of how he has seen or heard of my master. She receives them all kindly, and asks many questions, while tears run down her cheeks. You, too, old man, would quickly make up a story if any one would give thee some new clothes. My master is surely dead, and wherever I may go I shall never again find a lord so gentle."
Then said Odysseus:
"My friend, I swear to thee that Odysseus shall return. In this year, as the old moon wanes and the new is born, he shall return to his home."
When the other herds returned that evening they found Odysseus and their master still deep in talk. At night the swineherd made a feast of the best that he had, and still they talked, almost until dawn. The night was black and stormy, and a drenching rain blotted out the moon, but the swineherd, leaving Odysseus lying in the bed he had made for him, with his own thick mantle spread over him, went outside and lay under a rock that sheltered him from the storm, keeping guard on the white-tusked boars that slept around him. And Odysseus knew that he had still at least one servant who was faithful and true.
While Odysseus dwelt with the swineherd, Athene sought Telemachus and bade him hasten home. Speedily Telemachus went back to his ship and his men. The hawsers were loosed, the white sail hauled up, and Athene sent a fresh breeze that made the ship cut through the water like a white-winged bird. It was night when they passed the island where the wooers awaited their coming, and in the darkness none saw them go by.
By daybreak they reached Ithaca, and Telemachus, as Athene had bidden him, sent on the men to the harbor with the ship, but made them put him ashore on the woody coast near the swineherd's dwelling.
With his bronze-shod spear in his hand, Telemachus strode up the rocky path. Odysseus and the swineherd had kindled a fire, and were preparing the morning meal, when Odysseus heard the noise of footsteps. He looked out and saw a tall lad with yellow hair and bright eyes, and a fearless, noble face. "Surely here is a friend," he said to the swineherd. "Thy dogs are not barking, but jump up and fawn on him."
The swineherd looked, and when he saw his young master he wept for joy.
"I thought I should never see thee more, sweet light of my eyes," he said. "Come into my hut, that I may gladden my heart with the sight of thee."
He then spread before him the best he had, and the three men ate together. Although Odysseus seemed only a poor, ragged, old beggar, Telemachus treated him with such gentleness and such courtesy that Odysseus was proud and glad of his noble son. Soon Telemachus sent the swineherd to tell Penelope of his safe return, and while he was gone Athene entered the hut. She made herself invisible to Telemachus, but beckoned to Odysseus to go outside.
"The time is come for thee to tell thy son who thou art," she said, and touched him with her golden wand.
At once Odysseus was again a strong man, dressed in fine robes, and radiant and beautiful as the sun.
When he went back into the hut Telemachus thought he was a god.
"No god am I," said Odysseus; "I am thy father, Telemachus."
And Odysseus took his son in his arms and kissed him, and the tears that he had kept back until now ran down his cheeks. Telemachus flung his arms round his father's neck, and he, too, wept like a little child, so glad was he that Odysseus had come home.
All day they spoke of the wooers and plotted how to slay them.
When the swineherd returned, and Athene had once more changed Odysseus into an old beggar-man, he told Telemachus that the wooers had returned, and were so furious with Telemachus for escaping from them, that they were going to kill him next day.
At this Telemachus smiled to his father, but neither said a word.
Next morning Telemachus took his spear and said to the swineherd:
"I go to the palace to see my mother. As for this old beggar-man, lead him to the city, that he may beg there."
And Odysseus, still pretending to be a beggar, said:
"It is better to beg in the town than in the fields. My garments are very poor and thin, and this frosty air chills me; but as soon as I am warmed at the fire and the sun grows hot, I will gladly set out."
Down the hill to the city strode Telemachus. When he came to the palace, his old nurse, whom he found busy in the hall, wept for joy. And when Penelope heard his voice, she came from her room and cast her arms round him and kissed his face and his eyes, and said, while tears ran down her cheeks:
"Thou art come, sweet light of my eyes. I thought I should never see thee more."
Then Telemachus, looking like a young god, with his spear in his hand and his two hounds following at his heels, went to the hall where the wooers sat. To his friend Mentor he told his adventures, but he looked on the wooers with silence and scorn.
Soon Odysseus and the swineherd followed him to the city. A beggar's bag, all tattered, was slung round the shoulders of Odysseus. In his hand he carried a staff. Men who saw him, tattered and feeble, mocked at him and his guide. But Odysseus kept down the anger in his heart, and they went on to the palace. Near the doorway, lying in the dirt, thin and old and rough of coat, lay Argos, the dog that long ago had been the best and fleetest that had hunted the hares and deer with Odysseus.
When he heard his master's voice he wagged his tail and tried to crawl near him. But he was too feeble to move. He could only look up with loving, wistful eyes that were almost blind, and thump his tail gladly. So glad was he that his faithful heart broke for joy, and before Odysseus could pat his head or speak a kind word to him, old Argos rolled over dead.
There were tears in the eyes of Odysseus as he walked past the body of his friend. He sat down on the threshold leaning on his staff, and when Telemachus sent him bread and meat from his table he ate hungrily. When the meal was over he went round the hall begging from the wooers. Some gave him scraps of broken meats, others called him hard names and bade him begone, and one of them seized a footstool and struck him with it.
But Odysseus still kept down the anger in his heart, and went back to his seat on the threshold with his beggar's bag full of the scraps that had been given to him.
As he sat there, a common beggar, well known for his greed and impudence, came to the palace.
"Get thee hence, old man," said he to Odysseus, "else I shall knock all thy teeth from thy head."
More, too, he said, rudely and roughly, and at last he struck Odysseus.
Then Odysseus could bear no more, and smote him such a blow on his neck that the bones were broken, and he fell on the ground with blood gushing from his mouth. Odysseus dragged him outside by the heels, and propped him, with his staff in his hands, against the courtyard wall.
"Sit there," he said, "and scare off dogs and swine."
The wooers laughed and enjoyed the sport, and gave gifts of food to the sturdy old beggar, as they took Odysseus to be. All evening they feasted and drank, but when night fell they went to their own homes.
When they were gone Odysseus and Telemachus carried all the helmets and swords and sharp-pointed spears that stood in the hall, away to the armory and hid them there.
Then Telemachus went to his room to rest, but Odysseus sat in the hall where the servants were clearing away the remains of the feast. While he sat there, Penelope came with her maids and rested on a chair In front of the glowing wood fire on which the servants had piled fresh logs.
She talked kindly and gently to the old beggar-man, and bade the old nurse bring water to wash his weary feet.
Now, once long ago, a wild boar that he hunted had torn the leg of Odysseus with his tusk, and as the old nurse washed his feet she saw the scar. In a moment she knew her master, and cried out. The brazen bath fell with a clang on the floor, and the water was spilt.
"Thou art Odysseus," she said; "I did not know thee, my dear child, until I found the scar."
Penelope must have heard her glad cry, had not Athene at that moment made her deep in thoughts of other things. Quickly Odysseus bade the old nurse be silent, and the old woman obeyed him.
Before Penelope went to rest she said sadly to Odysseus: "I feel that the end is drawing near. Soon I shall be parted from the house of Odysseus. My husband, who was always the best and bravest, used to set up the twelve axes ye see standing here, and between each axe he shot an arrow. I have told the wooers that I shall marry whichever one of them can do the like. Then I shall leave this house, which must be for ever most dear to me."
Then answered the old beggar-man: "Odysseus will be here when they shoot. It will be Odysseus who shoots between the axes."
Penelope, longing for his words to be true, went up to her room and lay crying on her bed until her pillows were wet. Then Athene sent sleep upon her eyelids and made her forget all her sorrows.
Odysseus, too, would have tossed all night wide awake, with a heart full of anger and revenge, had not Athene gently laid her hands on his eyes and made him fall asleep.
Next day the wooers came to the palace, and with rough jest and rude word they greeted Odysseus.
"Who harms this man must fight with me," said Telemachus, and at that the wooers shouted with laughter.
But a stranger who sat among them cried out in a voice of fear:
"I see your hands and knees shrouded in blackness! I see your cheeks wet with tears! The walls and the pillars drip blood; the porch is full of shadows, and pale ghosts are hastening out of the gray mist that fills the palace."
At this the wooers laughed the more, for they thought the man was mad. But, as in a dream, he had seen truly what was to come to pass.
Weeping, Penelope then brought forth from the armory the great bow with which Odysseus had shot in years that were past. Her heart was full of love for Odysseus, and she could not bear to wed another.
Telemachus then threw aside his red cloak and ranged out the bronze axes.
One by one the wooers tried to move the great bow and make it drive a swift arrow before it. One by one they failed.
And when it seemed as if no man there was strong enough to move it, Odysseus took it in his hands, and between each axe he shot an arrow. When the last arrow was shot he tore off his rags, and in a voice that rang through the palace he cried to Telemachus: "Now is it time to prepare supper for the wooers! Now, at last, is this terrible trial ended. I go to shoot at another mark!"
With that he shot an arrow at the wooer who had ever been the most insolent and the most cruel. It smote him in the throat, his blood dripped red on the ground, and he fell dead.
The others gave a great cry of rage, but Odysseus looked at them with burning eyes, and with a voice that made them tremble he cried:
"Ye dogs! ye said I should never return, and, like the traitors ye are, ye have wasted my goods and insulted my queen. But now death has come for you, and none shall escape."
In vain did the cowards, their faces pale with fear, beg for mercy. Mercy there was none that day. It was useless for those who drew their swords and rushed on Odysseus to try to slay him, for ere their swords could touch him, his bow had driven sharp arrows into their hearts.
One of the servants of the palace treacherously climbed into the armory and brought spears and shields and helmets for the wooers. But even that did not daunt Odysseus and his son. Telemachus, with his spear, slew man after man. When his arrows were done Odysseus also snatched a spear, and they fought side by side. Beside them fought the swineherd and one other man, and they all fought the more fearlessly because, all the time, Athene put fresh courage in their hearts.
There were four men to very many others when that fight began. When it was ended the floor ran with blood, and Odysseus, like a lion at bay, stood with the dead bodies of the wooers piled in heaps around him and his face and hands stained with blood.
When all lay dead, the old nurse gave a great cry of joy.
"Rejoice in thy heart, old nurse," said Odysseus. "It is an unholy thing to rejoice openly over slain men."
The nurse hastened to Penelope's room.
"Penelope, dear child!" she cried, "Odysseus is come home, and all the wooers lie dead."
At first Penelope would not believe her. Too good did it seem to be true. Even when she came down and saw Odysseus leaning against a tall pillar in the light of the fire, she would not believe what her own eyes saw.
"Surely, mother, thy heart is as hard as stone," said Telemachus. "Dost thou not know my father?"
But Penelope saw only a ragged beggar-man, soiled with the blood of the men he had slain, old and ugly and poor.
Then Athene shed her grace upon Odysseus, and once more he was tall and strong and gallant to look upon, with golden hair curling like hyacinth flowers around his head. And Penelope ran to him and threw out her arms, and they held each other close and wept together like those who have suffered shipwreck, and have been tossed for long by angry seas, and yet have won safely home at last.
And when the sun went down that night on the little rocky island of Ithaca in the far seas, the heart of Odysseus was glad, for he knew that his wanderings were ended.
By DANIEL DEFOE
ADAPTED BY JOHN LANG
HOW ROBINSON FIRST WENT TO SEA; AND HOW HE WAS SHIPWRECKED
Long, long ago, before even your grandfather's father was born, there lived in the town of York a boy whose name was Robinson Crusoe. Though he never even saw the sea till he was quite a big boy, he had always wanted to be a sailor, and to go away in a ship to visit strange, foreign, far-off lands; and he thought that if he could only do that, he would be quite happy.
But his father wanted him to be a lawyer, and he often talked to Robinson, and told him of the terrible things that might happen to him if he went away, and how people who stopped at home were always the happiest. He told him, too, how Robinson's brother had gone away, and had been killed in the wars.
So Robinson promised at last that he would give up wanting to be a sailor. But in a few days the longing came back as bad as ever, and he asked his mother to try to coax his father to let him go just one voyage. But his mother was very angry, and his father said, "If he goes abroad he will be the most miserable wretch that ever was born. I can give no consent to it."
Robinson stopped at home for another year, till he was nineteen years old, all the time thinking and thinking of the sea. But one day when he had gone on a visit to Hull, a big town by the sea, to say good-by to one of his friends who was going to London, he could not resist the chance. Without even sending a message to his father and mother, he went on board his friend's ship, and sailed away.
But as soon as the wind began to blow and the waves to rise, poor Robinson was very frightened and seasick, and he said to himself that if ever he got on shore he would go straight home and never again leave it.
He was very solemn till the wind stopped blowing. His friend and the sailors laughed at him, and called him a fool, and he very soon forgot, when the weather was fine and the sun shining, all he had thought about going back to his father and mother.
But in a few days, when the ship had sailed as far as Yarmouth Roads on her way to London, they had to anchor, and wait for a fair wind. In those days there were no steamers, and vessels had only their sails to help them along; so if it was calm, or the wind blew the wrong way, they had just to wait where they were till a fair wind blew.
While they lay at Yarmouth the weather became very bad, and there was a great storm. The sea was so heavy and Robinson's ship was in such danger, that at last they had to cut away the masts in order to ease her and to stop her from rolling so terribly. The Captain fired guns to show that his ship wanted help. So a boat from another ship was lowered, and came with much difficulty and took off Robinson and all the crew, just before their vessel sank; and they got ashore at last, very wet and miserable, having lost all their clothes except what they had on.
But Robinson had some money in his pocket, and he went on to London by land, thinking that if he returned home now, people would laugh at him.
In London he made friends with a ship's captain, who had not long before come home from a voyage to the Guinea Coast, as that part of Africa was then called; and the Captain was so pleased with the money he had made there, that he easily persuaded Robinson to go with him on his next voyage.
So Robinson took with him toys, and beads, and other things, to sell to the natives in Africa, and he got there, in exchange for these things, so much gold-dust that he thought he was soon going in that way to make his fortune.
And therefore he went on a second voyage.
But this time he was not so lucky, for before they reached the African coast, one morning, very early, they sighted another ship, which they were sure was a pirate. So fast did this other vessel sail, that before night she had come up to Robinson's ship, which did not carry nearly so many men nor so many guns as the pirate, and which therefore did not want to fight; and the pirates soon took prisoner Robinson and all the crew of his ship who were not killed, and made slaves of them.
The pirate captain took Robinson as his own slave, and made him dig in his garden and work in his house. Sometimes, too, he made him look after his ship when she was in port, but he never took him away on a voyage.
For two years Robinson lived like this, very unhappy, and always thinking how he might escape.
At last, when the Captain happened one time to be at home longer than usual, he began to go out fishing in a boat two or three times a week, taking Robinson, who was a very good fisher, and a black boy named Xury, with him.
One day he gave Robinson orders to put food and water, and some guns, and powder and shot, on a big boat that the pirates had taken out of an English ship, and to be ready to go with him and some of his friends on a fishing trip.
But at the last moment the Captain's friends could not come, and so Robinson was told to go out in the boat with one of the Captain's servants who was not a slave, and with Xury, to catch fish for supper.
Then Robinson thought that his chance to escape had come.
He spoke to the servant, who was not very clever, and persuaded him to put more food and water on the boat, for, said Robinson, "we must not take what was meant for our master." And then he got the servant to bring some more powder and shot, because, Robinson said, they might as well kill some birds to eat.
When they had gone out about a mile, they hauled down the sail and began to fish. But Robinson pretended that he could not catch anything there, and he said that they ought to go further out. When they had gone so far that nobody on shore could see what they were doing, Robinson again pretended to fish. But this time he watched his chance, and when the servant was not looking, came behind him and threw him overboard, knowing that the man could swim so well that he could easily reach the land.
Then Robinson sailed away with Xury down the coast to the south. He did not know to what country he was steering, but cared only to get away from the pirates, and to be free once more.
Long days and nights they sailed, sometimes running in close to the land, but they were afraid to go ashore very often, because of the wild beasts and the natives. Many times they saw great lions come roaring down on to the beach, and once Robinson shot one that he saw lying asleep, and took its skin to make a bed for himself on the boat.
At last, after some weeks, when they had got south as far as the great cape that is called Cape Verde, they saw a Portuguese vessel, which took them on board. It was not easy for Robinson to tell who he was, because he could not talk Portuguese, but everybody was very kind to him, and they bought his boat and his guns and everything that he had. They even bought poor Xury, who, of course, was a black slave, and could be sold just like a horse or a dog.
So, when they got to Brazil, where the vessel was bound, Robinson had enough money to buy a plantation; and he grew sugar and tobacco there for four years, and was very happy and contented for a time, and made money.
But he could never be contented for very long. So when some of his neighbors asked him if he would go in a ship to the Guinea Coast to get slaves for them, he went, only making a bargain that he was to be paid for his trouble, and to get some of the slaves to work on his plantation when he came back.
Twelve days after the ship sailed, a terrible storm blew, and they were driven far from where they wanted to go. Great, angry, foaming seas broke over the deck, sweeping everything off that could be moved, and a man and a boy were carried overboard and drowned. No one on the ship expected to be saved.
This storm was followed by another, even worse. The wind howled and roared through the rigging, and the weather was thick with rain and flying spray.
Then early one morning land was dimly seen through the driving rain, but almost at once the vessel struck on a sand-bank. In an instant the sails were blown to bits, and flapped with such uproar that no one could hear the Captain's orders. Waves poured over the decks, and the vessel bumped on the sand so terribly that the masts broke off near the deck, and fell over the side into the sea.
With great difficulty the only boat left on the ship was put in the water, and everybody got into her. They rowed for the shore, hoping to get perhaps into some bay, or to the mouth of a river, where the sea would be quiet.
But before they could reach the land, a huge gray wave, big like the side of a house, came foaming and thundering up behind them, and before any one could even cry out, it upset the boat, and they were all left struggling in the water.
Robinson was a very good swimmer, but no man could swim in such a sea, and it was only good fortune that brought him at last safely to land. Big wave after big wave washed him further and further up the beach, rolling him over and over, once leaving him helpless, and more than half drowned, beside a rock.
But before the next wave could come up, perhaps to drag him back with it into the sea, he was able to jump up and run for his life.
And so he got safely out of the reach of the water, and lay down upon the grass. But of all on board the ship, Robinson was the only one who was not drowned.
ROBINSON WORKS HARD AT MAKING HIMSELF A HOME
When he had rested a little, Robinson got up and began to walk about very sadly, for darkness was coming on; he was wet, and cold, and hungry, and he did not know where to sleep, because he was afraid of wild beasts coming out of the woods and killing him during the night.
But he found that he still had his knife in his pocket, so he cut a big stick to protect himself with. Then he climbed into a tree which had very thick leaves, and there he fixed himself among the branches as well as he could, and fell sound asleep.
In the morning when he awoke, the storm was past, and the sea quieter. To his surprise, he saw that the ship had been carried in the night, by the great seas, much nearer to the shore than she had been when the boat left her, and was now lying not far from the rock where Robinson had first been washed up.
By midday the sea was quite calm, and the tide had gone so far out that he could walk very near to the ship. So he took off his clothes and swam the rest of the way to her. But it was not easy to get on board, because the ship was resting on the sand, and lay so high out of the water that Robinson could not reach anything by which he could pull himself up.
At last, after swimming twice round the vessel, he saw a rope hanging over, near the bow, and by its help he climbed on board.
Everything in the stern of the ship was dry, and in pretty good order, and the water had not hurt the provisions much. So he took some biscuits, and ate them as he looked about, and drank some rum, and then he felt better, and stronger, and more fit to begin work.
First of all, he took a few large spars of wood, and a spare topmast or two, that were on the deck. These he pushed overboard, tying each with a rope to keep it from drifting away. Then he went over the side of the ship, and tied all the spars together so as to make a raft, and on top he put pieces of plank across. But it was long before he could make the raft fit to carry the things he wanted to take on shore.
At last, after much hard work, he got on to it three of the seamen's chests, which he had broken open, and emptied, and he filled these with bread, and rice, and cheese, and whatever he could find to eat, and with all sorts of things that he thought he might need. He found, too, the carpenter's tool-chest, and put it on the raft; and nothing on the whole ship was of more use to him than that.
Then he set about looking for clothes, for while he had been on the ship, the tide had risen and had washed away his coat and waistcoat and shirt, which he had left lying on the sand.
Guns and pistols also, and powder and shot, he took, and two rusty old cutlasses.
Now the trouble was to reach land, for the raft had no mast nor sail nor rudder, and was too heavy and clumsy to be pulled by Robinson with the broken oars that he had found. But the tide was rising, and slowly she drifted nearer and nearer, and at last was carried up the mouth of a little river which Robinson had not seen when he was on shore.
There was a strong tide running up, which once carried the raft against a point of land, where she stuck for a time, and very nearly upset all the things into deep water. But as the tide rose higher, Robinson was able to push her into a little bay where the water was shallow and the ground beneath flat, and when the tide went out there she was left high and dry, and he got everything safely ashore.
The next thing that Robinson did was to climb a hill, that he might see what sort of country he was in, and find out if there were any other people in it. But when he got to the top, he saw to his sorrow that he was on an island, with no other land in sight except some rocks, and two smaller islands far over the sea. There were no signs of any people, and he saw nothing living except great numbers of birds, one of which he shot. But it was not fit to eat, being some kind of hawk.
After this, with the chests and boards that he had brought on shore, he made a kind of hut to sleep in that night, and he lay there on the sand very comfortably.
Day by day now for some time Robinson swam out to the ship, and made fresh rafts, loading them with many stores, powder and shot, and lead for bullets, seven muskets, a great barrel of bread, three casks of rum, a quantity of flour, some grain, a box of sugar, sails and ropes and twine, bags of nails, and many hatchets. With one of the sails he made himself a good tent, in which he put everything that could be spoiled by rain or sun. Around it he piled all the casks and other heavy things, so that no wild beast could very easily get at him.
In about a fortnight the weather changed; it blew very hard one night, and in the morning the ship had broken up, and was no more to be seen. But that did not so much matter, for Robinson had got out of her nearly everything that he could use.
Now Robinson thought it time to find some better place for his tent. The land where it then stood was low and near the sea, and the only water he could get to drink tasted rather salt. Looking about, he found a little plain, about a hundred yards across, on the side of a hill, and at the end of the plain was a great rock partly hollowed out, but not so as quite to make a cave. Here he pitched his tent, close to the hollow place in the rock. Round in front of the tent he drove two rows of strong stakes, about eighteen inches apart, sharpened at top; and he made this fence so strong that when it was finished he was sure that nothing could get at him, for he left no door, but climbed in and out by a ladder, which he always hauled up after him.
Before closing up the end, Robinson hauled inside this fence all his stores, his food and his guns, his powder and shot, and he rigged inside a double tent, so better to keep off the hot sun and the rain.
Then he began to dig into the rock, which was not very hard, and soon behind his tent he had a cave in which he thought it wise to stow his gunpowder, about one hundred and forty pounds in all, packed in small parcels; for, he thought, if a big thunderstorm were to come, a flash of lightning might explode it all, and blow him to bits, if he kept the whole of it in his tent.
Robinson was now very comfortable, and as he had saved from the wreck two cats and a dog, he did not feel quite so lonely. He had got, also, ink and pens and paper, so that he could keep a diary; and he set up a large wooden cross, on which he cut with his knife the date of his landing on the island—September 30, 1659; and every day he cut a notch on the post, with a longer one each Sunday, so that he might always know how the months and years passed.
As for food, he found that there were many goats on the island, and numbers of pigeons, and he had no difficulty in shooting as many as he needed.
But now he saw that his tent and cave were too small for all the things he had stowed in them, so he began to make the cave bigger, bringing out all the rock and soil that he cut down, and making with it a kind of terrace round the inside of his stockade. And as he was sure that there were no wild beasts on the island to harm him, he went on tunneling to the right hand till he broke through the rock outside his fence.
Then he began to hang things up against the side of the cave, and he even made shelves, and a door for the outside entrance. This was a very difficult job, and took him a long time; for, to make a board, he was forced to cut down a whole tree, and chop away with his axe till one side was flat, and then cut at the other side till the board was thin enough, when he smoothed it with his adze. But in this way, out of each tree he would only get one plank. He made for himself also a table and a chair, and finally got his castle, as he called it, in very good order.
With all his care, however, there was one thing that he forgot, and that was, when he had made the cave so much bigger, to prop it, so as to keep the roof from falling in. And so one day he got a terrible fright, and was nearly killed, by a huge bit of the soft rock which fell and buried many of his things. It took weeks of hard work afterwards to clear away the fallen rubbish, and to cut beams strong enough to prop the roof.
Every day, all this time, he used to climb up the hill and look around over the lonely waters, hoping, always hoping, that some morning he might see the sails of a ship that would take him home. But none ever came, and sometimes the tears ran down his cheeks because of the sorrow he felt at being so utterly alone. At times even, he thought in his misery that if he only had any kind of a boat, it would be better to sail away, and chance reaching other land, rather than to stop where he was. By and by, however, he grew less unhappy, for he had plenty of work to do.
THE EARTHQUAKE AND HURRICANE; AND HOW ROBINSON BUILT A BOAT
Now about this time, when Robinson had been some months on the island, heavy and constant rain began to fall, and sometimes weeks would pass without a single dry day. He found that instead of there being spring, summer, autumn, and winter, as in England, the seasons in his island were divided into the wet and the dry. There was no cold weather, no winter. It chanced that just before this first rain began, Robinson had emptied out some refuse from bags which had once held rice, and other grain, and he had forgotten all about having emptied them. So he was very much astonished to find, some time afterwards, both barley and rice growing near his tent, in the shade of the rock. The ears, when ripe, he kept to sow again, and from this very small beginning, in the course of a few seasons, he had a great quantity of grain, both for food and for sowing. But this meant every year much hard work, for he had no plow nor harrow, and all the ground had to be dug with a clumsy spade, made from a very hard, heavy wood that grew on the island.
At first Robinson could not grind the grain that he grew, nor make bread from it. If he could have found a large stone, slightly hollow on top, he might, by pounding the grain on it with another round stone, have made very good meal. But all the stones he could find were too soft, and in the end he had to make a sort of mill of hard wood, in which he burnt a hollow place, and on that he pounded the grain into meal with a heavy stick.
Baking he did by building a big fire, then raking away the ashes, and putting the dough on the hot place, covered with a kind of basin made of clay, over which he heaped the red ashes. In this way very good bread can be made.
Before the rainy season was over, and just after he had finished the fence round his tent, one day when Robinson was at work in the cave, all of a sudden the earth began to fall from the roof, and the strong props he had put in cracked in a way which frightened him terribly. At the same time there was a curious moaning, rumbling noise, that he could not understand. He rushed out, and so afraid was he that the roof was falling in, and that he should be buried, that he got over the fence and began to run.
But he was even more frightened when he found that all the ground was shaking. Then he knew that this was an earthquake.
Three times there came violent shocks; a huge rock about half a mile away fell with a great noise like thunder, and the sea was churned up as if by a whirlwind. Robinson was sick with the movement of the ground, and trembling with the dread of being swallowed by the earth as it cracked and gaped; and after the noise and shaking were over, he was too frightened to go back to his tent, but sat where he was, all the time expecting another shock.
Suddenly a furious wind began to blow, tearing up trees by the roots, and lashing the water till nothing could be seen but foam and flying spray. The air was full of branches and leaves torn off by the hurricane, and birds in hundreds were swept helpless out to sea. In about three hours, as suddenly as it had begun, the wind fell, and there was a dead calm, followed by rain such as Robinson had never before seen, which soaked him to the skin, and forced him to return to the cave, where he sat in great fear.
For long after this he was very uneasy, and made up his mind to shift his quarters as soon as he could find a better place for his tent. But the earthquake had one good result, for what remained of the wreck was again thrown up by the sea, and Robinson got more things out of it which were useful to him, and for days he worked hard at that. One day, too, when he was on his way to the remains of the ship, he came on a large turtle, which he killed, and this gave him plenty of good food, for besides the flesh, there were, inside the animal, many eggs, which she had come to the shore to lay in the sand, as is the habit of turtles, and which Robinson thought were even better than hen's eggs.
Now a few days after he had got so wet in the heavy rain, though the weather was hot, Robinson felt very cold and shivery, and had pains all over his body, and at night he dreamed terrible dreams. The following day, and many days, he lay very ill with fever and ague, and hardly knew what he was doing. So weak was he, that he believed he was dying, and there was no one to give him water to quench his thirst, nor to help him in any way. His only medicine was rum, in which he had soaked tobacco. It was very nasty, and made him sick, but it also made him sleep for more than a whole day and a night, and he woke much better, and able to walk about a little, though for a fortnight he was too weak to work. From this illness he learned not to go out more than he could help during the rainy season.
When he was again quite strong, Robinson started to explore the island better than he had yet done, and he found many things growing, of which he made great use afterwards, tobacco, sugar-cane, and all manner of fruits, among them grapes, which he used to dry to raisins in the sun in great quantities.
Near the spot where the most fruit grew, he built a hut, and round it, for safety, he put a double fence made of stakes cut from some of the trees near at hand. During the next rainy season these stakes took root, and grew so fast that soon nothing of the hut could be seen from outside the hedge, and it made so good a hiding-place, that Robinson cut more stakes of the same kind, and planted them outside the fence around his first dwelling; and in a year or two that also was quite hidden from view. The twigs of this tree, too, were good for making baskets, of which he had been in great need.
When he had finished all this work, he started again to go over the rest of the island, and on his way across, from a hill, the day being very clear, he saw high land a great way off over the water, but whether it was another island, or the coast of America, he could not be sure.
When he reached the other side of his island Robinson found the beach covered with turtles in astonishing numbers, and he thought how much better off he would have been if he had been cast ashore here, for not only would the turtles have supplied him with plenty of food, but there were far more birds than on the part of the island where he had been living, and far more goats.
During the journey back to his castle he caught a young parrot, which, after a long time, he taught to speak and to call him by his name. It was so long since he had heard any voice, that it was a comfort to listen even to a parrot talking.
Now, the sight which Robinson had had of the far distant land raised in him again the great longing to get away from this island where he had been so long alone, and he wished greatly for a boat. He went over to the remains of the boat in which he and the others had tried to come ashore when their ship struck on the sand-bank, and which had been flung far up on the beach by the sea, and he worked for weeks trying to repair her and to get her into the water. But it was all of no use; he could not move her.
Then, he thought, "I'll cut down a tree, and make a new boat." This he fancied would be easy, for he had heard how the Indians make canoes by felling a tree and burning out the inside. "If they can do it, then surely I can do it even better," he thought. So he looked about, and chose a huge tree which stood about a hundred yards from the water, and with great labor in about three weeks he had cut it down.
Four months Robinson worked at this boat, thinking all the time of what he would do when he reached the far distant land, and much pleased with himself for the beautiful boat he was making. Day after day he trimmed and shaped it, and very proud he was when it was finished and lay there on the ground, big enough to carry twenty men.
Then he started to get her into the water. But that was quite another thing. By no means in his power could he move her an inch, try as he might. She was far too big. Then he began to dig a canal from the sea to the boat; but before he had got much of that work done, he saw clearly that there was so much earth to dig away, that, without some one to help him, it must take years and years before he could get the water to the boat. So he gave it up, and left her to lie and rot in the sun and the rain—a great grief to him.
ROBINSON BUILDS A SECOND BOAT, IN WHICH HE IS SWEPT OUT TO SEA
By the time that Robinson had been four years on the island, all his clothes had become very ragged, and he had hardly anything that could be called a hat. Clothes he must have, for he could not go naked without getting his skin blistered by the hot sun, and he was afraid of getting a sunstroke if he went about without a hat.
Now he had kept all the skins of the goats, and other animals, such as hares and foxes, that he had shot; and from these, after many failures, at last he made a hat and coat of goatskin, and a pair of short trousers, all with the hair outside, so as to shoot off the wet when it rained. The hat was very tall, and came to a sharp peak on top, and it had a flap which hung down the back of his neck. Robinson also, with much trouble, made of the skins an umbrella which he could open and shut; and if his clothes and his umbrella, and especially his hat, were not very good to look at, they were useful, and he could now go about in any weather.
During the next five years nothing out of the common happened, and Robinson's time was mostly taken up with the getting of food, the yearly sowing and reaping of his crops, and the curing of his raisins. But towards the end of that time he made another attempt to build a boat, and this time he made one much smaller than the first, and though it took him nearly two years to finish, in the end he got her into the sea. She was not big enough for him to try to sail in to the far-off land that he had seen, and he used her only for cruising about the shores of his own island, and for fishing. In her he fixed a little mast, on which he rigged a small sail, made from a bit of one of the old ship's sails, and, using a paddle to steer with, he found that she sailed very well. Over the stern he fixed his big umbrella, to shade him from the sun, like an awning.
Eager to go all round the island, one day Robinson put a lot of food on board, and, taking his gun, started on a voyage. All went well till he came to the east end of the island, where he found that a ledge of rocks, and beyond that a sand-bank, stretched out to sea for eight or nine miles. Robinson did not like the idea of venturing so far in a boat so small, and he therefore ran the boat ashore, and climbed a hill, to get a good view of the rocks and shoals before going near them. From the hill, he saw that a strong current was sweeping past the sand-bank, which showed just clear of the water, and on which the sea was breaking; but he thought there was an eddy which would swing him safely round the point, without bringing him near the breakers. However, that day and the next, there was a good deal of wind blowing in the direction contrary to the current, which, of course, raised a sea too big for a small boat, so Robinson stopped on shore where he was.
On the third day it was calm, and he set off. But no sooner had he come abreast of the sand-bank than he found himself in very deep water, with a current running like a mill-race, which carried the boat further and further away from the land, in spite of all that he could do with his paddle. There was no wind, and the sail was useless.
Now he gave himself up for lost, for the harder he worked, only the further away seemed the boat to be swept. The island was soon so far off that Robinson could hardly see it, and he was quite exhausted with the hard struggle to paddle the boat against the current. He was in despair, and giving up paddling, left the boat to drift where she would. Just then a faint puff of wind touched his cheek, and Robinson hurriedly hoisted his sail. Soon a good breeze blew, which carried him past a dangerous reef of rocks. Here the current seemed to divide, the part in which he now was began to swing round towards the island, and he plucked up heart again, and with his paddle did all he could to help the sail. Robinson felt like a man who is set free after he has been told that he must die; he could almost have wept for joy. Miles and miles he sailed, steadily getting nearer to the land, and late in the evening at last he got ashore, but on the other side of the point that he had tried to round in the morning. He drew up his boat on the shore of a little cove that he found, and when he had made her fast, so that the tide could not carry her away, there among the trees he lay down, and slept sound, quite worn out.
In the morning he again got on board, and coasted along close inshore, till he came to a bay with a little river running into it, which made a very good harbor for the boat. Here he left her, and went on foot.
Soon he found that he was not far from a spot that he had once before visited, and by afternoon he arrived at the hut which he called his country-house. Robinson got over the fence by the ladder, as usual, pulling it up after him, and then he lay down to rest in the shade, for he was still very weary from the hard work of the day before. Soon he fell asleep. But what was his surprise in a little time to be awakened by a voice calling, "Robin! Robin Crusoe! where are you?"
At first he thought he was dreaming. But still the voice went on calling:
"Where are you, Robin?"
Up he jumped, trembling with fright and wonder, for it was so long since he had heard any voice but his own that he fancied it must be something more than human that he now listened to. But no sooner had he risen than he saw, sitting on the tree near to him, his parrot, which must have flown all the way from Robinson's other house, where it had been left. It was talking away at a great rate, very excited at again seeing its master, and Robinson hardly knew whether to be more relieved or disappointed that it was only the bird that had called him.
For about a year after this Robinson kept to his own side of the island, and employed his time chiefly in working on his land, and in making dishes and pots of clay. These he had now learned to burn properly. Pipes, too, he made, and they were a great comfort to him, for he managed to cure very good tobacco from the wild plants that grew around. And as he feared lest his powder might begin to run short, he thought much over ways whereby he could trap goats for food, instead of shooting them. After many trials, the best plan, he decided, was to dig holes, which he covered with thin branches and leaves, on which he sprinkled earth, so that when anything heavy passed over, it must fall into the pit. By this means he caught many, and the kids he kept and tamed, so that in no great time he had quite a large herd of goats. These he kept in various small fields, round which from time to time he had put fences.
ROBINSON SEES A FOOTPRINT ON THE SAND, FINDS A CAVE, AND RESCUES FRIDAY
All this time Robinson had never gone near his canoe, but now the longing came on him to go over to where he had left her, though he felt that he should be afraid again to put to sea in her. This time, however, when he got to the hill from which he had watched the set of the current the day that he had been carried out to sea, he noticed that there was no current to be seen, from which he concluded that it must depend on the ebb and flow of the tide. Still, he was afraid to venture far in the canoe, though he stopped some time at his country-house, and went out sailing very often.
One day when Robinson was walking along the sand towards his boat, suddenly, close to the water, he stopped as if he had been shot, and, with thumping heart, stood staring in wonder and fear at something that he saw. The mark of a naked foot on the sand! It could not be his own, he knew, for the shape was quite different. Whose could it be?
He listened, he looked about, but nothing could he hear or see. To the top of a rising ground he ran, and looked all around. There was nothing to be seen. And though he searched everywhere on the beach for more footmarks, he found none.
Whose footprint could it be? That of some man, perhaps, he thought, who might come stealing on him out from the trees, or murder him while he slept.
Back to his house he hurried, all the way in a state of terror, starting every now and again and facing round, thinking he was being followed, and fancying often that a stump or a bush was a man, waiting to spring on him. That night he slept not at all, and so shaken was his nerve that every cry of a night-bird, even every sound made by an insect or a frog, caused him to start with fear, so that the perspiration ran down his brow.
As day followed day, however, and nothing happened, Robinson began to be less uneasy in his mind, and went about his usual work again. But he strengthened the fence round his castle, and cut in it seven small loopholes, in which, fixed on frames, he placed loaded muskets, all ready to fire if he should be attacked. And some distance from the outside of the fence he planted a thick belt of small stakes, so that in a few years' time a perfect thicket of trees and bushes hid all trace of his dwelling.
Years passed quietly, and nothing further happened to disturb Robinson, or to make him think more of the footprint that had frightened him so much. But he kept more than formerly to the interior of the island, and lost no chance of looking for good places to hide in, if he should ever need them. And he always carried a cutlass now, as well as his gun and a couple of pistols.
One day it chanced, however, that he had gone further to the west of the island than he had ever done before, and, looking over the sea, he fancied that he saw, at a great distance, something like a boat or a long canoe, but it was so far off that he he could not be sure what it was. This made him determine that always in future he would bring with him to his lookout-place the telescope which he had saved from the wreck.
The sight of this supposed boat brought back his uneasiness to some extent, but he went on down to the beach, and there he saw a sight which filled him with horror. All about the shore were scattered men's skulls and bones, and bits of burnt flesh, and in one place were the remains of a big fire. Robinson stood aghast, feeling deadly sick. It was easy for him to know the meaning of the terrible sight. It meant that cannibals had been there, killing and eating their prisoners; for when the natives of some parts of the world go to war, and catch any of their enemies, it is their habit to build a fire, then to kill the prisoners and feast on their roasted bodies, eating till they can eat no more. Sometimes, if the man they are going to eat is too thin, they keep him, and feed him up, till they think he is fat enough.
Now Robinson knew all this, though he had never yet met any cannibals. And when he looked around he saw many bones lying about. They were so old that it seemed certain to him that all those years he had been living on an island which was a regular place for the natives to come to for such feasts. Then he saw what a mercy it was that he had been wrecked on the other side of the island, to which, he supposed, the cannibals never came, because the beach was not so good for them to land on.
Full of horror, Robinson hurried back to his house, and for almost two years he never again came near that part of the island where the bones lay, nor ever visited his boat. But all the time he kept thinking how he might some day kill those cannibals while they were at their feast, and perhaps save some of the poor men whom they had not yet killed.
Now one day when Robinson was down in the bottom of the valley, cutting thick branches to burn for charcoal, he cleared away some undergrowth at the foot of a great rock, in which, near the ground, there was a sort of hole, or opening. Into this hole Robinson squeezed, not very easily, and found himself in a cave of good size, high enough, at least, to stand up in. It was quite dark, of course, to him coming in from the sunlight, and he turned his back to the entrance to feel his way further in, when suddenly, from the back of the cave he saw two great fiery eyes glaring at him. His very hair bristled with fright, for he could only think that it must be the Devil at least that he saw; and through the mouth of the cave he fled with a yell.
But when he got into the bright sunshine he began to feel ashamed of his panic, and to reason with himself that what he had seen must be only his own fancy. So, taking up a big burning branch from his fire, in he went again.
Before Robinson had taken three steps he stopped, in almost as great a fright as at first. Close to him he heard a great sigh, as if of some one in pain, then a sound like a muttering, as of words that he could not understand; again another deep sigh. Cold sweat broke out all over him, and he stepped back trembling, yet determined this time not to run away.
Holding his torch well over his head, he looked around, and there on the floor of the cave lay a huge old he goat, gasping for breath, dying, seemingly of mere old age.
He stirred him with his toe to see if he could get him out of the cave, but the poor beast could not rise, and Robinson left him to die where he was.
Now that he had got over his fright, Robinson looked carefully about him. The cave was small, not more than twelve feet across at its widest, but he noticed at the far end another opening. This was so low down, however, that he had to creep on his hands and knees to get in, and without a better light than the burning torch, he could not see how far it went. So he made up his mind to come again.
Robinson had long before this made a good supply of very fair candles from the tallow of the goats he had killed, and next day he returned to the cave with six of these, and his tinder-box to light them with. In those days there were no matches, and men used to strike a light with a flint and steel, and tinder, which was a stuff that caught fire very easily from a spark.
Entering the cave, Robinson found, on lighting a candle, that the goat was now dead. Moving it aside, to be buried later, he went down on his hands and knees, and crawled about ten yards through the small passage, till at last he found himself in a great chamber, the roof of which was quite twenty feet high. On every side the walls reflected the light of his candle, and glittered like gold, or almost like diamonds, he thought. The floor was perfectly dry and level, even on the walls there was no damp, and Robinson was delighted with his discovery. Its only drawback was the low entrance; but, as he decided to use the cave chiefly as a place to retreat to if he should ever be attacked, that was in reality an advantage, because one man, if he had firearms could easily defend it against hundreds.
At once Robinson set about storing in it all his powder, except three or four pounds, all his lead for making bullets, and his spare guns and muskets. When moving the powder, he thought he might as well open a barrel which had drifted ashore out of the wreck 'after the earthquake, and though water had got into it, there was not a great deal of damage done, for the powder had crusted on the outside only, and in the inside there was about sixty pounds weight, quite dry and good. This, with what remained of the first lot, gave him a very large supply, enough to last all his life.
For more than two-and-twenty years Robinson had now been in the island, and he had grown quite used to it, and to his manner of living. If he could only have been sure that no savages would come near him, he felt almost that he would be content to spend all the rest of his days there, to die at last, as the goat he found in the cave had died, of old age.
At times, when his spirits were more than usually low, when the burden of the lonely years pressed most heavily upon him, Robinson used to think that surely if the savages could come to his land, he could go to theirs. How far did they come? Where was their country? What kind of boats had they? And so eager to go was he sometimes, that he forgot to think of what he would do when he got there, or what would become of him if he fell into the hands of the savages. His mind was utterly taken up with the one thought of getting to the mainland, and even his dreams were of little else.
One night, when he had put himself almost into a fever with the trouble of his mind, he had lain long awake, tossing and moaning, but at last he had fallen asleep. And he dreamed, not as he had usually done of late, that he was sailing to the mainland, but that as he was leaving his castle in the morning he saw on the shore two canoes and eleven savages landing, and that they had with them another man, whom they were just about to kill and eat, when suddenly the prisoner jumped up and ran for his life. And in his dream Robinson fancied that the man came running to hide in the thicket round the castle, and that thereupon he went out to help him. Then in the dream, the savage kneeled down, as if begging for mercy, and Robinson took him over the ladder into the castle, saying to himself, "Now that I've got this fellow, I can certainly go to the mainland, for he will show me what course to steer, and where to go when we land." And he woke, with the joyful feeling that now at last all was well. But when he was wide awake, and knew that it was only a dream after all, poor Robinson was more cast down than ever, and more unhappy than he had been during all the years he had lived on the island.
The dream had, however, this result; that he saw his only plan to get away was, if possible, to rescue some day one of the prisoners whom the cannibals were about to kill, and in time get the man to help him to navigate his canoe across the sea.
With this idea, he set himself to watch, more closely than ever he had done before, for the savages to land, and during more than a year and a half he went nearly every day to his lookout-place, and swept the sea with his telescope, in the hope of seeing canoes coming. But none came, and Robinson was getting terribly tired of the constant watch. Still he did not give up, for he knew that sooner or later the savages would land again.
Yet many months passed, and still they did not come, till one morning, very early, almost to his surprise, he saw no fewer than five canoes hauled up on the shore on his own side of the island. The savages who had come in them were nowhere to be seen. Now, he knew that always from four to six men came in each canoe, which meant that at least twenty, and perhaps as many as thirty men had landed.
This was a greater number than he cared to face, so he kept inside his castle, in great doubt what to do, but ready to fight, in case they should attack him.
When he had waited a long time and still could hear nothing of the savages, he climbed up his ladder and got to the top of the rock, taking great care not to show himself against the skyline. Looking through his glass, he saw that there were at least thirty savages, dancing wildly round a fire.
As he looked, some of the men left the others, and going over to the canoes dragged from' them two prisoners. One of these almost at once fell forward on his face, knocked down from behind, as it seemed to Robinson, with a wooden club, and two or three of the cannibals at once cut him open to be ready for cooking, while for a moment or two they left the other prisoner standing by himself.
Seeing a chance of escape, the man made a dash for his life, running with tremendous speed along the sands straight for that part of the beach near Robinson's castle.
Now this alarmed Robinson very much, for it seemed to him that the whole of the savages started after the prisoner. He could not help thinking it likely that, as in his dream, this man would take shelter in the thicket round the castle, in which case Robinson was likely soon to have more fighting than he would relish, for the whole body of the cannibals would be on him at once.
As he watched the poor man racing for life, however, he was relieved to see that he ran much faster than his pursuers, of whom only three continued to run after him. If he could hold out for another mile or two there was little doubt that he would escape. Between the castle and the runners was the creek up which Robinson used to run his rafts from the wreck, and when the escaped prisoner came to that, he plunged in, and though the tide was full, with less than thirty powerful strokes he reached the other side, and with long easy strides continued his run. Of the men in pursuit, two also plunged in and swam through, but less quickly than the man escaping, being more blown with running, because of what they had eaten before starting. The third man stopped altogether, and went back the way he came.
Seeing the turn things were taking, it seemed to Robinson that now had come his chance to get a servant, and he resolved to try to save the life of the man who was fleeing from the cannibals. At once he hurried down the ladder, snatched up his two guns, and running as fast as he could, got between the man and his pursuers, calling out to him at the same time to stop. The man looked back, and the sight of Robinson seemed to frighten him at first as much as did the men who were trying to catch him. But Robinson again spoke, and signed to him with his hand to come back, and in the meantime went slowly towards the other men, who were now coming near. Then, rushing at the foremost, he knocked him senseless with the butt of his gun, for it seemed to him safer not to fire, lest the noise should bring the other cannibals around.
The second man, seeing his comrade fall, hesitated, and stopped, but Robinson saw when nearer to him that the savage had in his hands a bow and arrow with which he was just about to shoot. There was then no choice but to fire first, which Robinson did, killing the man on the spot.
Thereupon the man who had been chased by the others was so terrified by the flash and noise of the gun, and at seeing his enemy fall dead, that he stood stock still, trembling, and it was with great difficulty that Robinson coaxed him to come near. This at last he did, stopping every few paces and kneeling down. At length, coming close to Robinson, he again knelt, kissed the ground, and taking hold of Robinson's foot, set it on his head as it rested on the sand.
While this was going on, Robinson noticed that the savage whom he had knocked down had begun to move, and to come to his senses. To this he drew the attention of the man whom he had rescued, who said some words that Robinson could not understand, but which sounded pleasant to an ear that had heard no voice but his own for more than twenty-five years. Next he made a motion with his hand, as if asking for the cutlass that hung at Robinson's belt, and when the weapon was given to him he ran at his enemy, and with one clean blow cut off his head. Then, laughing, he brought the head, and laid it with the cutlass at Robinson's feet.
But what caused most wonder to the man was how the savage whom Robinson shot had been killed at so great a distance, and he went to look as the body, turning it over and over, and looking long at the wound in the breast that the bullet had made, evidently much puzzled.
Robinson then turned to go away, beckoning to the savage to follow, but the man made signs that he would bury the two bodies in the sand, so that the others might not find them if they followed. With his hands he soon scraped holes deep enough to cover the bodies, and in less than a quarter of an hour there was hardly a trace left of what had happened.
Calling him away, Robinson now took him, not to his castle, but to the cave, where he gave him food and water; and then he made signs for him to lie down and rest, pointing to a bundle of rice straw.
Soon the man was sound asleep. He was, Robinson thought, a handsome and well-made man; the muscles of his arms and back and legs showed great strength, and all his limbs were beautifully formed. As near as Robinson could guess, he was about twenty-six years of age, with a good and manly face, and long black hair. His nose and lips were like those of a European, and his teeth were white and even. In color he was not black, but of a sort of rich chocolate brown, the skin shining with health, and pleasant to look upon.
ROBINSON TRAINS FRIDAY, AND THEY BUILD A LARGE BOAT; THEY RESCUE TWO PRISONERS FROM THE CANNIBALS
In a little while Robinson began to speak to him, and to try to teach him things. First he made him understand that his name was to be "Friday" (that being the day of the week when Robinson had saved him from a horrible death). Then he taught him the meaning of "Yes," and "No," and to call Robinson "Master."
Friday showed great quickness in learning. He seemed to be happy and contented, and free from trouble, except that the clothes which Robinson made him wear gave him at first great discomfort, for in those warm parts of the world the natives are not used to clothes, but always go about naked.
The day following that on which Robinson had saved Friday, they went out together to see if there were any signs of the cannibals still being on the island, but it was evident that they had gone away without troubling about the two men whom Robinson had killed.
For some time Robinson did not trust Friday, and did not allow him to sleep in the same part of his castle with himself, but kept him at night in a little tent outside the fence.
Friday was quite faithful, never sulky nor lazy, but always merry, and ready to do anything that Robinson told him.
At first when they went out in the woods together, Friday was terrified each time that Robinson's gun was fired. He had never seen anything like it, and it was more than he could understand how things could be killed merely by the noise and the flash of fire.
Friday told Robinson much about his country, and about his people, who he said were Caribs. And a great way "beyond the moon," by which he meant to the west, he said that white men lived who had beards such as Robinson wore. These white men, he said, had killed very many natives, from which Robinson fancied that they must be Spaniards, who about that time were very cruel to the people whose countries they had taken.
Robinson asked if Friday could tell him how he might get over to where the white men lived, and Friday said it would be very easy, if they had a big canoe, and again Robinson began to make plans and to hope to escape from the island.
Some time after this Robinson and Friday chanced to be on the high hill at the east end of the island. The day was very clear. Friday gazed long over the sea, and then began to jump and dance, pointing to the dim blue coast. "There my country! See! There my people live!" he said, his eyes sparkling with joy, and an eager light on his face.
After this, for a time Robinson was not easy in his mind about Friday. He had little doubt that if he could get back to his tribe, he would soon forget all he had been taught, might even return with a hundred or two of his friends, and kill and eat his master. But in this Robinson was very unjust to Friday, who had no such thoughts in his mind as those of which he was suspected. And this Robinson soon found out. One day he asked Friday if he would not be glad to be once more in his own land.
"Yes" said Friday; "very glad."
"Would you eat man's flesh again?"
"No, never," said Friday.
Then Robinson asked why he did not go back. Friday said he would go if Robinson came too.
Then Robinson, who thought if he could reach other white men, he would finally reach England, began to build a boat in which to leave the island. Together he and Friday went to work to fell a tree, and Friday soon showed that he knew far better than Robinson the kind of tree best suited for boat-making. Robinson showed him how to use tools, and in a little more than a month the boat was finished. After the boat was put into the water, Robinson was astonished at Friday's skill in paddling so large a canoe.
"Will she do to go over in?" he asked, and Friday, grinning, said, "Yes, even if big wind blow." But Robinson did not mean to depend on paddling, and fitted the boat with a mast, sails and rudder.
Twenty-six years had passed since Robinson came to the island, and he still went on digging and sowing. One morning he sent Friday down to the beach for a turtle. Back he came in a great hurry, crying out, "Master! Master! over yonder, one, two, three canoe." Loading his guns, Robinson gave them to Friday to carry, while he armed himself with muskets, a cutlass, and a hatchet.
When all was ready he went up the hill with his telescope, and saw that there were in all twenty-one savages, with three prisoners, one of whom was a white man.
Robinson knew the savages had landed on the island to kill and eat their prisoners, so he resolved to prevent them if possible. To get at the savages without being seen, they had to go nearly a mile out of their way, and being heavily laden they could not go very fast. Reaching the place, they saw, from behind a clump of bushes, the white man bound hand and foot on the sand. There was no time to lose, and their first shot killed three and wounded five of the savages. Snatching up fresh guns, both fired again, before the savages who were not hurt could get on their feet, for they were so taken by surprise, that the poor wretches hardly knew what was happening. This time only two dropped, but many more were wounded.
While Friday kept on firing, Robinson ran to the white prisoner and cut his bonds. The man said he was a Spaniard and began to thank Robinson for what he had done. Robinson handed him the cutlass and a pistol, telling him, if he had any strength left, to go and do what he could against the savages. As soon as the man got the weapons in his hands, he ran with fury at the cannibals and cut two down, and with equal fury attacked the rest. With the Spaniard to help them, Robinson and Friday were soon able to clear the place of these dreadful cannibals, many of whom jumped into the sea.
Friday advised Robinson to take a canoe and go after them lest they return with hundreds of others to avenge the death of their friends. So the two ran to the beach and began to shove off a canoe. But to their surprise, on the bottom of the canoe lay another prisoner, an old man, tied so hard, neck and heels, that even when his bonds were cut he could not move.
No sooner did Friday look at him and hear him speak, than he began to dance and shout and laugh, and then kneeling down, rubbed noses with the savage (which is what these folks do instead of kissing each other), and he was so excited that for some time he could not explain what was the matter. As soon as he could speak, he told Robinson that the man whom they had found was his father.
Both Friday's father and the Spaniard, who was worn out with fighting, had to be carried up to the castle.
No cannibals were ever again known to visit this island.
ARRIVAL OF AN ENGLISH SHIP; ROBINSON SAILS FOR HOME
Soon after this Robinson had a long talk with the Spaniard, who told him how he and his comrades had been wrecked four years since, on that part of the coast where Friday's tribe lived. He said that they were well treated by the natives, but that they were put to very great straits now for want of clothes, that their powder was finished, and that they had lost all hope of ever getting back to their own country. He himself, he said, had been captured in one of the many small wars that are always taking place among the various tribes.
It struck Robinson that it might be possible for him to get these men over to his island, provided that he could be sure of their good faith, and that when they came, they did not take the island from him by treachery. It was a risk, he thought, but then, if he got so many men, it would not be difficult to build a small ship that could carry them all to England.
So he asked the Spaniard if he would promise, and if he thought he could get his comrades to take an oath that, if Robinson helped them, they would look on him as their captain, and would swear to obey him in all things. The Spaniard readily promised for himself, and said that he was sure his comrades would keep faith.
It was arranged, therefore, that in about six months, when the next harvest was reaped, and there would be plenty of food for so many extra men, the Spaniard and Friday's father should go over to the mainland in one of the canoes which had been taken from the savages.
Meantime, all hands set about the curing of very large quantities of raisins, and much other work was done to be in readiness for the coming of these men.
When the harvest was reaped, Robinson gave the Spaniard and Friday's father each a musket and a supply of powder and bullets, and loaded the canoe with food, enough to last them and the others about a fortnight, and the two men set off for the mainland in fine weather, and with a fair wind.
It was about eight days after this, and when Robinson had begun to look out for their return, that one morning very early, when Robinson was asleep, Friday came running in, shouting, "Master! Master! They come." Up jumped Robinson, and hurrying on his clothes, ran out.
Looking towards the sea, he soon made out a sailing-boat making for the shore, coming from the south end of the island, but still some miles away. This was not the direction from which the Spaniard and his comrades would come, nor were they likely to be in a sailing-boat. So Robinson took his telescope, and went to the top of the hill to see if he could make out who were on board, before they landed.
Hardly had he got on to the hill when he noticed a ship at anchor some distance from the shore. She looked like an English vessel, he thought, and the boat like an English long-boat.
This was a wonderful sight to Robinson, but yet he was not easy in his mind. It was not a part of the world where an English ship was likely to come, because in those days they were nearly all Spanish vessels that traded in these seas, and the English and Spaniards were bitter enemies. What could an English ship be doing here? There had been no storm to drive her out of her course.
Robinson feared that if she was English there must be something wrong about her. Perhaps, he thought, she was a pirate. So he was careful not to show himself or Friday.
Presently, as he watched, he saw the men in the boat run her ashore and draw her up on the beach, about half a mile from his castle. When they had landed, he could easily see through his glass that they were Englishmen.
There were eleven men, but three of them had their hands tied behind their backs, and were evidently prisoners. When the first four or five men had jumped ashore, they brought out these three, all the while ill-treating them, and behaving as if they meant to kill their prisoners. Friday was sure that they meant to eat them.
Soon, without further harming the three men, the others scattered about among the trees near the shore, leaving the three sitting on the ground very sad-looking, but with their hands now untied.
At the time the boat was run aground, it was just high-water, and the two sailors who had been left in charge of her, and who had evidently been drinking too much rum, went to sleep, and never noticed that the tide was going out. When they woke, the boat was high and dry, and with all the strength of the whole crew they could not move her, because the sand at that part of the beach was very soft. This did not seem to trouble any of them very much, for Robinson heard one of the sailors shout, "Let her alone, Jack, can't ye? She'll float next tide."
All forenoon Robinson watched, and when the hottest time of the day had come, he noticed the sailors throw themselves down under the trees, and go to sleep, some distance away from the three prisoners.
Then Robinson and Friday, taking their muskets and pistols, stole down cautiously behind the three men, to try to speak to them without the others knowing.
Robinson had put on his goatskin coat and the great hairy hat that he had made for himself; and with his cutlass and pistols in his belt, and a gun over each shoulder, he looked very fierce.
The men did not see him till he spoke, and they were so startled by his wild look, and by the sight of two men armed to the teeth, that they nearly ran away. But Robinson told them not to be alarmed; he was an Englishman, and a friend, and would help them if they would show him how it could be done.
Then they explained to him what had happened. One of the three was Captain of the ship that lay at anchor off the island. Of the others, one was mate of the ship, and the third man was a passenger. The crew had mutinied, the Captain told Robinson, and had put him and the other two in irons, and the ringleaders in the mutiny had proposed to kill them. Now they meant to leave them on the island to perish.
The Captain was so astonished at finding anybody there who proposed to help him, that he said in his wonder: "Am I talking to a man, or to an angel from heaven?"
"If the Lord had sent an angel, sir," said Robinson, "he would probably have come better clothed."
Then he asked if the boat's crew had any firearms, and was told that they had only two muskets, one of which was left in the boat. "The rest should be easy, then," Robinson said; "we can either kill them all, or take them prisoners, as we please."
The Captain was unwilling to see the men killed, for he said if two of the worst of them were got rid of, he believed the rest would return to their duty.
Robinson made a bargain that if he saved the Captain from the mutineers, and recovered the ship, he and Friday were to be taken home to England in her, free of cost; and to this the Captain and the others agreed.
Then Robinson gave each of them a musket, with powder and ball, after which the Captain and the mate and the passenger marched towards the spot where the mutinous sailors lay asleep. One of the men heard them advance, and turning round, saw them, and cried out to his companions. But it was too late, the mate and the passenger fired, and one of the ringleaders fell dead. A second man also fell, but jumped up immediately and called to the others to help him. But the Captain knocked him down with the butt of his musket, and the rest of the men, seeing Robinson and Friday coming, and knowing they had no chance against five armed men, begged for mercy. Three others who had been straying about among the trees came back on hearing the shots, and were also taken, and thus the whole crew of the boat was captured.
The Captain and Robinson now began to think how they might recover the ship. There were on board, the Captain said, several men on whom he thought he could depend, and who had been forced by the others into the mutiny against their wills. But it would be no easy thing to retake the ship, for there were still twenty-six men on board, and as they were guilty of mutiny, all of them, if taken back to England, would most likely be hanged. Thus they were certain to make a fight for it.
The first thing that Robinson and the others now did was to take everything out of the boat—oars, and mast, and sail, and rudder; then they knocked a hole in her bottom, so that she could not float. While they were doing this, and drawing her still further up on the beach, they heard first one gun and then another fired by the ship as signals to the boat to return.
As she of course did not move, Robinson saw through his glass another boat with ten men on board, armed with muskets, leave the ship, coming to bring the others back.
This was serious enough, for now Robinson and his party had to make plans whereby they might capture also this fresh boat's crew. Accordingly, they tied the hands of all the men they had first taken, and sent the worst of them to the cave under the charge of Friday and of one of the men that the Captain said was to be trusted, with orders to shoot any who tried to give an alarm or to escape. Then Robinson took his party and the rest of the prisoners into the castle, where, from the rock, they watched for the landing of the second boat.
The Captain and mate were very nervous, and despaired of taking this fresh body of men, but Robinson was quite confident of success, and put heart into them by his cheerfulness.
Of the prisoners in his castle, there were two whom the Captain believed to be honest men, and on their promising solemnly to keep faith, and to fight for him, Robinson released them.
The crew of the second boat, when they landed, were terribly surprised to find the first boat empty and stove in, and they were seen anxiously consulting what to do. Then they hallooed and fired volleys. Getting no reply, they were evidently alarmed, for they all jumped into their boat and began to pull off to the ship. In a few minutes, however, they seemed to change their minds, for again they landed, this time leaving three men in charge of the boat, and keeping her in the water. The other seven came ashore, and started in a body across the island to look for their lost comrades. But they did not care to go far, and soon stopped, again firing volleys and hallooing. Getting again no reply, they began to march back to the sea. Whereupon Robinson ordered Friday and the mate to go over the creek to the west and halloo loudly, and wait till the sailors answered. Then Friday and the mate were to go further away and again halloo, thus gradually getting the men to follow them away from shore.
This plan succeeded very well, for when the sailors, thinking they heard their missing friends hail, ran to find them, their way was stopped by the creek, over which they had to get the boat to carry them. They took with them, then, one of the three men whom they had left in the boat, and ordered the others to moor the boat to a tree, and remain there.
This was just what Robinson wanted. And, moreover, one of the men played still further into his hands, for he left the boat and lay down under a tree to sleep. On him the Captain rushed, and knocked him down as he tried to rise to his feet, whereupon the sailor left in the boat yielded, and more readily that he had joined the mutineers very unwillingly, and was now glad of the chance to rejoin his Captain.
Meantime Friday and the mate, by hallooing and answering, drew the rest of the boat's crew from hill to hill through the woods, till at last they had got them so far astray that it was not possible for them to find their way back before dark. When they did get back to where the boat had been left, and found the men whom they had left in her gone, they were in a terrible fright.
It was not difficult for Robinson and his men to surround them, and it chanced that the boatswain of the ship, who was the greatest villain of the lot, and the chief cause of all the trouble, walked in the darkness close to the Captain, who jumped up and shot him dead. The others then surrendered, believing what they were told, that they were surrounded by fifty armed men. All begged hard for their lives, and a few whom the Captain said he could trust were set at liberty on promising to help retake the ship. The others were bound and put in the cave.
Robinson and Friday remained on shore to look after the prisoners, while the Captain and the mate and the passenger, with those of the crew who were trustworthy, having patched up the damaged boat, pulled off in her and in the other to the ship, which they reached about midnight. When they were a short distance off, the Captain made one of the crew hail the ship and say that they had brought off the boat and the men they had gone in search of. Then both boats ran alongside at once, one on each side of the vessel, and before the mutineers knew what was happening they were overpowered, one or two of them being killed. Only one of the Captain's party was hurt, the mate, whose arm was broken by a musket-ball.
As soon as the ship was secured, the Captain ordered seven guns to be fired, that being the signal he had agreed to make to let Robinson know if he succeeded in taking the ship.
Robinson's stay in the island had now come to an end, after more than twenty-eight years, for in a few days he and Friday sailed for England in the ship. Some of the mutineers were left on the island, and were afterwards joined by the Spaniard and his comrades, for whom Robinson left a letter.
Robinson did not forget, when he left, to take with him the money and gold bars he had got from the wreck of the Spanish ship, and he took also, as a memento, the goatskin coat and the great hairy hat. But the Captain was able before the ship sailed to give him proper clothing, the wearing of which at first put him to dreadful discomfort.
The voyage was a long one, but they sighted the English coast at last.
It was thirty-five years since Robinson had set foot in England. And that morning, when at last, after the weary years of exile, he again saw his native land, he laid his head down on his arms and cried like a child.
And, may be, you too some day may know the joy of coming home, out of the land of bondage.
By GEOFFREY CHAUCER
ADAPTED BY JANET HARVEY KELMAN
Once upon a time a young knight, whose name was Arviragus, dwelt in Brittany. In the same country lived a beautiful lady called Dorigen. And the knight loved the lady.
For years Arviragus did not know whether she loved him or not. She was a great lady and very fair, and he was afraid to ask her. But she knew that he loved her, for when he rode past her window on his way to the wars, she could see her colors streaming from his helmet. At first she did not think much of this, for many knights fought for love of her; but as she heard of new and greater deeds that this noble knight did year by year, she began to care for him a great deal. When she thought of his goodness and of the honor in which he held her, she knew that there was no one else that she could love as she loved Arviragus. And when Arviragus knew that she loved him and was willing to be his wife, his heart was full of joy. So greatly did he wish to make Dorigen happy with him, that he said to her that he would obey her and do what she wished as gladly all his life as he had done while he was trying to win her love. To this she replied:
"Sir, since in thy great gentleness thou givest me so high a place, I pray to God that there may never be strife between us two by any fault of mine. Sir, I will be thy true and humble wife until I die!"
Then Arviragus took his bride home with him to his castle by the sea. He honored Dorigen as much as he had done before his marriage, and tried to fulfil her wishes in everything. Dorigen was just as eager to please Arviragus as he was to please her, and they were happy together in all their work and play.
Arviragus stayed quietly at home for a year, but after that he grew restless. He felt that no true knight had a right to live on quietly at home, with nothing to do except to order his castle and to hunt. So he sailed away to England that he might win honor and renown in the wars there.
Dorigen stood by the castle and watched his sails disappear in the north. Poor Dorigen! her husband was gone, and she did not know if he would ever come back to her. For weeks she wept and mourned. At night she could not rest, and by day she would not eat. All the things that she had cared most to do were now dull and worthless to her because Arviragus was away.
Her friends saw her sorrow, and tried to comfort her in every way they could. When they found she would not be comforted, they spoke harshly to her, and told her that it was very wrong of her to kill herself with sorrow, when Arviragus hoped to come home again strong and famous. Then they began to comfort her again, and to try to make her forget her sadness.
After a long time Dorigen's sorrow began to grow quieter. She could not have lived if she had always felt her grief as deeply as she did at first. Indeed, as it was, this sorrow would have broken her heart, if letters had not come from Arviragus. They brought her tidings of his doings, and of the glory he had won. But what comforted her most was that they told her that he would soon return.
When Dorigen's friends saw that she was less hopeless, they begged her to come and roam with them to drive away the last of her dark fears. This she did. Often she walked with them by the edge of the cliffs on which her castle stood. But there she saw the white ships and the brown barges sailing, one north, another south, to the havens for which they were bound. Then she would turn away from her friends and say to herself:
"Alas! of all the ships I see, is there never one that will bring my lord home? Then should I need no comfort. My heart would be cured of this bitter smart."
At times as she sat and thought, she leaned down and looked over the brink of the cliffs. But, when she saw the grisly, black rocks, her very heart trembled within her. Then she would sink down on the grass and wail:
"O God, men say Thou hast made nothing in vain, but, Lord, why hast Thou made these black, grisly rocks? No man nor beast is helped by them in all the world. Rocks have destroyed a hundred thousand men, and which of all Thy works is so fair as man? No doubt wise men will say, 'All is for the best.' But, oh Thou God, who makest the winds to blow, keep Thou my lord! And—would to God that these black rocks were sunk in the deep for his sake! They slay my heart with fear."
Dorigen's friends saw that the sea brought back her sorrow. They led her then by rivers and springs, and took her to every lovely place they knew, from which there was no glimpse of the sea.
In the valley, to landward of the castle, lay many beautiful gardens. One day in May, when the soft showers of spring had painted in brightest colors the leaves and flowers, they spent the whole day in the fairest of these gardens. They had games there, and they dined under a spreading tree. The breath of the fresh green leaves and the sweet scent of the flowers blew round them.
After dinner they began to dance and sing—every one except Dorigen. She had no heart to sing, and she would not dance because, of all who joined in the dance, not one was Arviragus. But, though she would not dance, she watched her friends and sometimes forgot her sorrow for a little.
Among the dancers there was a young squire named Aurelius. He was much beloved because he was young, and strong, and handsome. Men thought him wise and good, but he was not always wise and good.
When the dancing was over, Aurelius came up to Dorigen and asked her to give him a beautiful jewel that she wore on her breast. He said to her, "Madam, of what use is thy jewel to thee when thou wearest it on thy bosom? Give it to me, and I will share with thee the price of it."
Dorigen turned and gazed at him.
"Is this what thou dost wish? I knew not what thou didst mean when thou didst look at me, but now I know. Listen, this is all I have to say to thee. I shall never part with my jewel, not though I were in rags and without food."
Then she remembered how Arviragus had loved to see her wear her jewel, as she always did, on a chain of gold that he had given to her on her wedding day. She thought of the sea that separated him from her, and of the cruel black rocks, and said in play:
"Aurelius, I will freely give thee my jewel when thou dost remove every rock on the shore from end to end of Brittany."