Part 4 - The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe Audiobook by Daniel Defoe (Chs 13-16)

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I was now in the twenty-third year of my residence in this island, and was so
naturalised to the place and the manner of living, that, could I but have enjoyed the
certainty that no savages would come to the
place to disturb me, I could have been content to have capitulated for spending
the rest of my time there, even to the last moment, till I had laid me down and died,
like the old goat in the cave.
I had also arrived to some little diversions and amusements, which made the
time pass a great deal more pleasantly with me than it did before-first, I had taught
my Poll, as I noted before, to speak; and
he did it so familiarly, and talked so articulately and plain, that it was very
pleasant to me; and he lived with me no less than six-and-twenty years.
How long he might have lived afterwards I know not, though I know they have a notion
in the Brazils that they live a hundred years.
My dog was a pleasant and loving companion to me for no less than sixteen years of my
time, and then died of mere old age.
As for my cats, they multiplied, as I have observed, to that degree that I was obliged
to shoot several of them at first, to keep them from devouring me and all I had; but
at length, when the two old ones I brought
with me were gone, and after some time continually driving them from me, and
letting them have no provision with me, they all ran wild into the woods, except
two or three favourites, which I kept tame,
and whose young, when they had any, I always drowned; and these were part of my
Besides these I always kept two or three household kids about me, whom I taught to
feed out of my hand; and I had two more parrots, which talked pretty well, and
would all call "Robin Crusoe," but none
like my first; nor, indeed, did I take the pains with any of them that I had done with
I had also several tame sea-fowls, whose name I knew not, that I caught upon the
shore, and cut their wings; and the little stakes which I had planted before my
castle-wall being now grown up to a good
thick grove, these fowls all lived among these low trees, and bred there, which was
very agreeable to me; so that, as I said above, I began to be very well contented
with the life I led, if I could have been secured from the dread of the savages.
But it was otherwise directed; and it may not be amiss for all people who shall meet
with my story to make this just observation from it: How frequently, in the course of
our lives, the evil which in itself we seek
most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into, is the most dreadful to us, is
oftentimes the very means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be
raised again from the affliction we are fallen into.
I could give many examples of this in the course of my unaccountable life; but in
nothing was it more particularly remarkable than in the circumstances of my last years
of solitary residence in this island.
It was now the month of December, as I said above, in my twenty-third year; and this,
being the southern solstice (for winter I cannot call it), was the particular time of
my harvest, and required me to be pretty
much abroad in the fields, when, going out early in the morning, even before it was
thorough daylight, I was surprised with seeing a light of some fire upon the shore,
at a distance from me of about two miles,
toward that part of the island where I had observed some savages had been, as before,
and not on the other side; but, to my great affliction, it was on my side of the
I was indeed terribly surprised at the sight, and stopped short within my grove,
not daring to go out, lest I might be surprised; and yet I had no more peace
within, from the apprehensions I had that
if these savages, in rambling over the island, should find my corn standing or
cut, or any of my works or improvements, they would immediately conclude that there
were people in the place, and would then never rest till they had found me out.
In this extremity I went back directly to my castle, pulled up the ladder after me,
and made all things without look as wild and natural as I could.
Then I prepared myself within, putting myself in a posture of defence.
I loaded all my cannon, as I called them- that is to say, my muskets, which were
mounted upon my new fortification-and all my pistols, and resolved to defend myself
to the last gasp-not forgetting seriously
to commend myself to the Divine protection, and earnestly to pray to God to deliver me
out of the hands of the barbarians.
I continued in this posture about two hours, and began to be impatient for
intelligence abroad, for I had no spies to send out.
After sitting a while longer, and musing what I should do in this case, I was not
able to bear sitting in ignorance longer; so setting up my ladder to the side of the
hill, where there was a flat place, as I
observed before, and then pulling the ladder after me, I set it up again and
mounted the top of the hill, and pulling out my perspective glass, which I had taken
on purpose, I laid me down flat on my belly
on the ground, and began to look for the place.
I presently found there were no less than nine naked savages sitting round a small
fire they had made, not to warm them, for they had no need of that, the weather being
extremely hot, but, as I supposed, to dress
some of their barbarous diet of human flesh which they had brought with them, whether
alive or dead I could not tell.
They had two canoes with them, which they had hauled up upon the shore; and as it was
then ebb of tide, they seemed to me to wait for the return of the flood to go away
It is not easy to imagine what confusion this sight put me into, especially seeing
them come on my side of the island, and so near to me; but when I considered their
coming must be always with the current of
the ebb, I began afterwards to be more sedate in my mind, being satisfied that I
might go abroad with safety all the time of the flood of tide, if they were not on
shore before; and having made this
observation, I went abroad about my harvest work with the more composure.
As I expected, so it proved; for as soon as the tide made to the westward I saw them
all take boat and row (or paddle as we call it) away.
I should have observed, that for an hour or more before they went off they were
dancing, and I could easily discern their postures and gestures by my glass.
I could not perceive, by my nicest observation, but that they were stark
naked, and had not the least covering upon them; but whether they were men or women I
could not distinguish.
As soon as I saw them shipped and gone, I took two guns upon my shoulders, and two
pistols in my girdle, and my great sword by my side without a scabbard, and with all
the speed I was able to make went away to
the hill where I had discovered the first appearance of all; and as soon as I get
thither, which was not in less than two hours (for I could not go quickly, being so
loaded with arms as I was), I perceived
there had been three canoes more of the savages at that place; and looking out
farther, I saw they were all at sea together, making over for the main.
This was a dreadful sight to me, especially as, going down to the shore, I could see
the marks of horror which the dismal work they had been about had left behind it-viz.
the blood, the bones, and part of the flesh
of human bodies eaten and devoured by those wretches with merriment and sport.
I was so filled with indignation at the sight, that I now began to premeditate the
destruction of the next that I saw there, let them be whom or how many soever.
It seemed evident to me that the visits which they made thus to this island were
not very frequent, for it was above fifteen months before any more of them came on
shore there again-that is to say, I neither
saw them nor any footsteps or signals of them in all that time; for as to the rainy
seasons, then they are sure not to come abroad, at least not so far.
Yet all this while I lived uncomfortably, by reason of the constant apprehensions of
their coming upon me by surprise: from whence I observe, that the expectation of
evil is more bitter than the suffering,
especially if there is no room to shake off that expectation or those apprehensions.
During all this time I was in a murdering humour, and spent most of my hours, which
should have been better employed, in contriving how to circumvent and fall upon
them the very next time I should see them-
especially if they should be divided, as they were the last time, into two parties;
nor did I consider at all that if I killed one party-suppose ten or a dozen-I was
still the next day, or week, or month, to
kill another, and so another, even ad infinitum, till I should be, at length, no
less a murderer than they were in being man-eaters-and perhaps much more so.
I spent my days now in great perplexity and anxiety of mind, expecting that I should
one day or other fall, into the hands of these merciless creatures; and if I did at
any time venture abroad, it was not without
looking around me with the greatest care and caution imaginable.
And now I found, to my great comfort, how happy it was that I had provided a tame
flock or herd of goats, for I durst not upon any account fire my gun, especially
near that side of the island where they
usually came, lest I should alarm the savages; and if they had fled from me now,
I was sure to have them come again with perhaps two or three hundred canoes with
them in a few days, and then I knew what to expect.
However, I wore out a year and three months more before I ever saw any more of the
savages, and then I found them again, as I shall soon observe.
It is true they might have been there once or twice; but either they made no stay, or
at least I did not see them; but in the month of May, as near as I could calculate,
and in my four-and-twentieth year, I had a
very strange encounter with them; of which in its place.
The perturbation of my mind during this fifteen or sixteen months' interval was
very great; I slept unquietly, dreamed always frightful dreams, and often started
out of my sleep in the night.
In the day great troubles overwhelmed my mind; and in the night I dreamed often of
killing the savages and of the reasons why I might justify doing it.
But to waive all this for a while.
It was in the middle of May, on the sixteenth day, I think, as well as my poor
wooden calendar would reckon, for I marked all upon the post still; I say, it was on
the sixteenth of May that it blew a very
great storm of wind all day, with a great deal of lightning and thunder, and; a very
foul night it was after it.
I knew not what was the particular occasion of it, but as I was reading in the Bible,
and taken up with very serious thoughts about my present condition, I was surprised
with the noise of a gun, as I thought, fired at sea.
This was, to be sure, a surprise quite of a different nature from any I had met with
before; for the notions this put into my thoughts were quite of another kind.
I started up in the greatest haste imaginable; and, in a trice, clapped my
ladder to the middle place of the rock, and pulled it after me; and mounting it the
second time, got to the top of the hill the
very moment that a flash of fire bid me listen for a second gun, which,
accordingly, in about half a minute I heard; and by the sound, knew that it was
from that part of the sea where I was driven down the current in my boat.
I immediately considered that this must be some ship in distress, and that they had
some comrade, or some other ship in company, and fired these for signals of
distress, and to obtain help.
I had the presence of mind at that minute to think, that though I could not help
them, it might be that they might help me; so I brought together all the dry wood I
could get at hand, and making a good
handsome pile, I set it on fire upon the hill.
The wood was dry, and blazed freely; and, though the wind blew very hard, yet it
burned fairly out; so that I was certain, if there was any such thing as a ship, they
must needs see it.
And no doubt they did; for as soon as ever my fire blazed up, I heard another gun, and
after that several others, all from the same quarter.
I plied my fire all night long, till daybreak: and when it was broad day, and
the air cleared up, I saw something at a great distance at sea, full east of the
island, whether a sail or a hull I could
not distinguish-no, not with my glass: the distance was so great, and the weather
still something hazy also; at least, it was so out at sea.
I looked frequently at it all that day, and soon perceived that it did not move; so I
presently concluded that it was a ship at anchor; and being eager, you may be sure,
to be satisfied, I took my gun in my hand,
and ran towards the south side of the island to the rocks where I had formerly
been carried away by the current; and getting up there, the weather by this time
being perfectly clear, I could plainly see,
to my great sorrow, the wreck of a ship, cast away in the night upon those concealed
rocks which I found when I was out in my boat; and which rocks, as they checked the
violence of the stream, and made a kind of
counter-stream, or eddy, were the occasion of my recovering from the most desperate,
hopeless condition that ever I had been in in all my life.
Thus, what is one man's safety is another man's destruction; for it seems these men,
whoever they were, being out of their knowledge, and the rocks being wholly under
water, had been driven upon them in the night, the wind blowing hard at ENE.
Had they seen the island, as I must necessarily suppose they did not, they
must, as I thought, have endeavoured to have saved themselves on shore by the help
of their boat; but their firing off guns
for help, especially when they saw, as I imagined, my fire, filled me with many
First, I imagined that upon seeing my light they might have put themselves into their
boat, and endeavoured to make the shore: but that the sea running very high, they
might have been cast away.
Other times I imagined that they might have lost their boat before, as might be the
case many ways; particularly by the breaking of the sea upon their ship, which
many times obliged men to stave, or take in
pieces, their boat, and sometimes to throw it overboard with their own hands.
Other times I imagined they had some other ship or ships in company, who, upon the
signals of distress they made, had taken them up, and carried them off.
Other times I fancied they were all gone off to sea in their boat, and being hurried
away by the current that I had been formerly in, were carried out into the
great ocean, where there was nothing but
misery and perishing: and that, perhaps, they might by this time think of starving,
and of being in a condition to eat one another.
As all these were but conjectures at best, so, in the condition I was in, I could do
no more than look on upon the misery of the poor men, and pity them; which had still
this good effect upon my side, that it gave
me more and more cause to give thanks to God, who had so happily and comfortably
provided for me in my desolate condition; and that of two ships' companies, who were
now cast away upon this part of the world, not one life should be spared but mine.
I learned here again to observe, that it is very rare that the providence of God casts
us into any condition so low, or any misery so great, but we may see something or other
to be thankful for, and may see others in worse circumstances than our own.
Such certainly was the case of these men, of whom I could not so much as see room to
suppose any were saved; nothing could make it rational so much as to wish or expect
that they did not all perish there, except
the possibility only of their being taken up by another ship in company; and this was
but mere possibility indeed, for I saw not the least sign or appearance of any such
I cannot explain, by any possible energy of words, what a strange longing I felt in my
soul upon this sight, breaking out sometimes thus: "Oh that there had been but
one or two, nay, or but one soul saved out
of this ship, to have escaped to me, that I might but have had one companion, one
fellow-creature, to have spoken to me and to have conversed with!" In all the time
of my solitary life I never felt so
earnest, so strong a desire after the society of my fellow-creatures, or so deep
a regret at the want of it.
There are some secret springs in the affections which, when they are set a-going
by some object in view, or, though not in view, yet rendered present to the mind by
the power of imagination, that motion
carries out the soul, by its impetuosity, to such violent, eager embracings of the
object, that the absence of it is insupportable.
Such were these earnest wishings that but one man had been saved.
I believe I repeated the words, "Oh that it had been but one!" a thousand times; and my
desires were so moved by it, that when I spoke the words my hands would clinch
together, and my fingers would press the
palms of my hands, so that if I had had any soft thing in my hand I should have crushed
it involuntarily; and the teeth in my head would strike together, and set against one
another so strong, that for some time I could not part them again.
Let the naturalists explain these things, and the reason and manner of them.
All I can do is to describe the fact, which was even surprising to me when I found it,
though I knew not from whence it proceeded; it was doubtless the effect of ardent
wishes, and of strong ideas formed in my
mind, realising the comfort which the conversation of one of my fellow-Christians
would have been to me.
But it was not to be; either their fate or mine, or both, forbade it; for, till the
last year of my being on this island, I never knew whether any were saved out of
that ship or no; and had only the
affliction, some days after, to see the corpse of a drowned boy come on shore at
the end of the island which was next the shipwreck.
He had no clothes on but a seaman's waistcoat, a pair of open-kneed linen
drawers, and a blue linen shirt; but nothing to direct me so much as to guess
what nation he was of.
He had nothing in his pockets but two pieces of eight and a tobacco pipe-the last
was to me of ten times more value than the first.
It was now calm, and I had a great mind to venture out in my boat to this wreck, not
doubting but I might find something on board that might be useful to me.
But that did not altogether press me so much as the possibility that there might be
yet some living creature on board, whose life I might not only save, but might, by
saving that life, comfort my own to the
last degree; and this thought clung so to my heart that I could not be quiet night or
day, but I must venture out in my boat on board this wreck; and committing the rest
to God's providence, I thought the
impression was so strong upon my mind that it could not be resisted-that it must come
from some invisible direction, and that I should be wanting to myself if I did not
Under the power of this impression, I hastened back to my castle, prepared
everything for my voyage, took a quantity of bread, a great pot of fresh water, a
compass to steer by, a bottle of rum (for I
had still a great deal of that left), and a basket of raisins; and thus, loading myself
with everything necessary.
I went down to my boat, got the water out of her, got her afloat, loaded all my cargo
in her, and then went home again for more.
My second cargo was a great bag of rice, the umbrella to set up over my head for a
shade, another large pot of water, and about two dozen of small loaves, or barley
cakes, more than before, with a bottle of
goat's milk and a cheese; all which with great labour and sweat I carried to my
boat; and praying to God to direct my voyage, I put out, and rowing or paddling
the canoe along the shore, came at last to
the utmost point of the island on the north-east side.
And now I was to launch out into the ocean, and either to venture or not to venture.
I looked on the rapid currents which ran constantly on both sides of the island at a
distance, and which were very terrible to me from the remembrance of the hazard I had
been in before, and my heart began to fail
me; for I foresaw that if I was driven into either of those currents, I should be
carried a great way out to sea, and perhaps out of my reach or sight of the island
again; and that then, as my boat was but
small, if any little gale of wind should rise, I should be inevitably lost.
These thoughts so oppressed my mind that I began to give over my enterprise; and
having hauled my boat into a little creek on the shore, I stepped out, and sat down
upon a rising bit of ground, very pensive
and anxious, between fear and desire, about my voyage; when, as I was musing, I could
perceive that the tide was turned, and the flood come on; upon which my going was
impracticable for so many hours.
Upon this, presently it occurred to me that I should go up to the highest piece of
ground I could find, and observe, if I could, how the sets of the tide or currents
lay when the flood came in, that I might
judge whether, if I was driven one way out, I might not expect to be driven another way
home, with the same rapidity of the currents.
This thought was no sooner in my head than I cast my eye upon a little hill which
sufficiently overlooked the sea both ways, and from whence I had a clear view of the
currents or sets of the tide, and which way I was to guide myself in my return.
Here I found, that as the current of ebb set out close by the south point of the
island, so the current of the flood set in close by the shore of the north side; and
that I had nothing to do but to keep to the
north side of the island in my return, and I should do well enough.
Encouraged by this observation, I resolved the next morning to set out with the first
of the tide; and reposing myself for the night in my canoe, under the watch-coat I
mentioned, I launched out.
I first made a little out to sea, full north, till I began to feel the benefit of
the current, which set eastward, and which carried me at a great rate; and yet did not
so hurry me as the current on the south
side had done before, so as to take from me all government of the boat; but having a
strong steerage with my paddle, I went at a great rate directly for the wreck, and in
less than two hours I came up to it.
It was a dismal sight to look at; the ship, which by its building was Spanish, stuck
fast, jammed in between two rocks.
All the stern and quarter of her were beaten to pieces by the sea; and as her
forecastle, which stuck in the rocks, had run on with great violence, her mainmast
and foremast were brought by the board-that
is to say, broken short off; but her bowsprit was sound, and the head and bow
appeared firm.
When I came close to her, a dog appeared upon her, who, seeing me coming, yelped and
cried; and as soon as I called him, jumped into the sea to come to me.
I took him into the boat, but found him almost dead with hunger and thirst.
I gave him a cake of my bread, and he devoured it like a ravenous wolf that had
been starving a fortnight in the snow; I then gave the poor creature some fresh
water, with which, if I would have let him, he would have burst himself.
After this I went on board; but the first sight I met with was two men drowned in the
cook-room, or forecastle of the ship, with their arms fast about one another.
I concluded, as is indeed probable, that when the ship struck, it being in a storm,
the sea broke so high and so continually over her, that the men were not able to
bear it, and were strangled with the
constant rushing in of the water, as much as if they had been under water.
Besides the dog, there was nothing left in the ship that had life; nor any goods, that
I could see, but what were spoiled by the water.
There were some casks of liquor, whether wine or brandy I knew not, which lay lower
in the hold, and which, the water being ebbed out, I could see; but they were too
big to meddle with.
I saw several chests, which I believe belonged to some of the seamen; and I got
two of them into the boat, without examining what was in them.
Had the stern of the ship been fixed, and the forepart broken off, I am persuaded I
might have made a good voyage; for by what I found in those two chests I had room to
suppose the ship had a great deal of wealth
on board; and, if I may guess from the course she steered, she must have been
bound from Buenos Ayres, or the Rio de la Plata, in the south part of America, beyond
the Brazils to the Havannah, in the Gulf of Mexico, and so perhaps to Spain.
She had, no doubt, a great treasure in her, but of no use, at that time, to anybody;
and what became of the crew I then knew not.
I found, besides these chests, a little cask full of liquor, of about twenty
gallons, which I got into my boat with much difficulty.
There were several muskets in the cabin, and a great powder-horn, with about four
pounds of powder in it; as for the muskets, I had no occasion for them, so I left them,
but took the powder-horn.
I took a fire-shovel and tongs, which I wanted extremely, as also two little brass
kettles, a copper pot to make chocolate, and a gridiron; and with this cargo, and
the dog, I came away, the tide beginning to
make home again-and the same evening, about an hour within night, I reached the island
again, weary and fatigued to the last degree.
I reposed that night in the boat and in the morning I resolved to harbour what I had
got in my new cave, and not carry it home to my castle.
After refreshing myself, I got all my cargo on shore, and began to examine the
The cask of liquor I found to be a kind of rum, but not such as we had at the Brazils;
and, in a word, not at all good; but when I came to open the chests, I found several
things of great use to me-for example, I
found in one a fine case of bottles, of an extraordinary kind, and filled with cordial
waters, fine and very good; the bottles held about three pints each, and were
tipped with silver.
I found two pots of very good succades, or sweetmeats, so fastened also on the top
that the salt-water had not hurt them; and two more of the same, which the water had
I found some very good shirts, which were very welcome to me; and about a dozen and a
half of white linen handkerchiefs and coloured neckcloths; the former were also
very welcome, being exceedingly refreshing to wipe my face in a hot day.
Besides this, when I came to the till in the chest, I found there three great bags
of pieces of eight, which held about eleven hundred pieces in all; and in one of them,
wrapped up in a paper, six doubloons of
gold, and some small bars or wedges of gold; I suppose they might all weigh near a
In the other chest were some clothes, but of little value; but, by the circumstances,
it must have belonged to the gunner's mate; though there was no powder in it, except
two pounds of fine glazed powder, in three
flasks, kept, I suppose, for charging their fowling-pieces on occasion.
Upon the whole, I got very little by this voyage that was of any use to me; for, as
to the money, I had no manner of occasion for it; it was to me as the dirt under my
feet, and I would have given it all for
three or four pair of English shoes and stockings, which were things I greatly
wanted, but had had none on my feet for many years.
I had, indeed, got two pair of shoes now, which I took off the feet of two drowned
men whom I saw in the wreck, and I found two pair more in one of the chests, which
were very welcome to me; but they were not
like our English shoes, either for ease or service, being rather what we call pumps
than shoes.
I found in this seaman's chest about fifty pieces of eight, in rials, but no gold: I
supposed this belonged to a poorer man than the other, which seemed to belong to some
Well, however, I lugged this money home to my cave, and laid it up, as I had done that
before which I had brought from our own ship; but it was a great pity, as I said,
that the other part of this ship had not
come to my share: for I am satisfied I might have loaded my canoe several times
over with money; and, thought I, if I ever escape to England, it might lie here safe
enough till I come again and fetch it.
Having now brought all my things on shore and secured them, I went back to my boat,
and rowed or paddled her along the shore to her old harbour, where I laid her up, and
made the best of my way to my old
habitation, where I found everything safe and quiet.
I began now to repose myself, live after my old fashion, and take care of my family
affairs; and for a while I lived easy enough, only that I was more vigilant than
I used to be, looked out oftener, and did
not go abroad so much; and if at any time I did stir with any freedom, it was always to
the east part of the island, where I was pretty well satisfied the savages never
came, and where I could go without so many
precautions, and such a load of arms and ammunition as I always carried with me if I
went the other way.
I lived in this condition near two years more; but my unlucky head, that was always
to let me know it was born to make my body miserable, was all these two years filled
with projects and designs how, if it were
possible, I might get away from this island: for sometimes I was for making
another voyage to the wreck, though my reason told me that there was nothing left
there worth the hazard of my voyage;
sometimes for a ramble one way, sometimes another-and I believe verily, if I had had
the boat that I went from Sallee in, I should have ventured to sea, bound
anywhere, I knew not whither.
I have been, in all my circumstances, a memento to those who are touched with the
general plague of mankind, whence, for aught I know, one half of their miseries
flow: I mean that of not being satisfied
with the station wherein God and Nature hath placed them-for, not to look back upon
my primitive condition, and the excellent advice of my father, the opposition to
which was, as I may call it, my original
sin, my subsequent mistakes of the same kind had been the means of my coming into
this miserable condition; for had that Providence which so happily seated me at
the Brazils as a planter blessed me with
confined desires, and I could have been contented to have gone on gradually, I
might have been by this time-I mean in the time of my being in this island-one of the
most considerable planters in the Brazils-
nay, I am persuaded, that by the improvements I had made in that little time
I lived there, and the increase I should probably have made if I had remained, I
might have been worth a hundred thousand
moidores-and what business had I to leave a settled fortune, a well-stocked plantation,
improving and increasing, to turn supercargo to Guinea to fetch negroes, when
patience and time would have so increased
our stock at home, that we could have bought them at our own door from those
whose business it was to fetch them? and though it had cost us something more, yet
the difference of that price was by no means worth saving at so great a hazard.
But as this is usually the fate of young heads, so reflection upon the folly of it
is as commonly the exercise of more years, or of the dear-bought experience of time-so
it was with me now; and yet so deep had the
mistake taken root in my temper, that I could not satisfy myself in my station, but
was continually poring upon the means and possibility of my escape from this place;
and that I may, with greater pleasure to
the reader, bring on the remaining part of my story, it may not be improper to give
some account of my first conceptions on the subject of this foolish scheme for my
escape, and how, and upon what foundation, I acted.
I am now to be supposed retired into my castle, after my late voyage to the wreck,
my frigate laid up and secured under water, as usual, and my condition restored to what
it was before: I had more wealth, indeed,
than I had before, but was not at all the richer; for I had no more use for it than
the Indians of Peru had before the Spaniards came there.
It was one of the nights in the rainy season in March, the four-and-twentieth
year of my first setting foot in this island of solitude, I was lying in my bed
or hammock, awake, very well in health, had
no pain, no distemper, no uneasiness of body, nor any uneasiness of mind more than
ordinary, but could by no means close my eyes, that is, so as to sleep; no, not a
wink all night long, otherwise than as
follows: It is impossible to set down the innumerable crowd of thoughts that whirled
through that great thoroughfare of the brain, the memory, in this night's time.
I ran over the whole history of my life in miniature, or by abridgment, as I may call
it, to my coming to this island, and also of that part of my life since I came to
this island.
In my reflections upon the state of my case since I came on shore on this island, I was
comparing the happy posture of my affairs in the first years of my habitation here,
with the life of anxiety, fear, and care
which I had lived in ever since I had seen the print of a foot in the sand.
Not that I did not believe the savages had frequented the island even all the while,
and might have been several hundreds of them at times on shore there; but I had
never known it, and was incapable of any
apprehensions about it; my satisfaction was perfect, though my danger was the same, and
I was as happy in not knowing my danger as if I had never really been exposed to it.
This furnished my thoughts with many very profitable reflections, and particularly
this one: How infinitely good that Providence is, which has provided, in its
government of mankind, such narrow bounds
to his sight and knowledge of things; and though he walks in the midst of so many
thousand dangers, the sight of which, if discovered to him, would distract his mind
and sink his spirits, he is kept serene and
calm, by having the events of things hid from his eyes, and knowing nothing of the
dangers which surround him.
After these thoughts had for some time entertained me, I came to reflect seriously
upon the real danger I had been in for so many years in this very island, and how I
had walked about in the greatest security,
and with all possible tranquillity, even when perhaps nothing but the brow of a
hill, a great tree, or the casual approach of night, had been between me and the worst
kind of destruction-viz. that of falling
into the hands of cannibals and savages, who would have seized on me with the same
view as I would on a goat or turtle; and have thought it no more crime to kill and
devour me than I did of a pigeon or a curlew.
I would unjustly slander myself if I should say I was not sincerely thankful to my
great Preserver, to whose singular protection I acknowledged, with great
humanity, all these unknown deliverances
were due, and without which I must inevitably have fallen into their merciless
When these thoughts were over, my head was for some time taken up in considering the
nature of these wretched creatures, I mean the savages, and how it came to pass in the
world that the wise Governor of all things
should give up any of His creatures to such inhumanity-nay, to something so much below
even brutality itself-as to devour its own kind: but as this ended in some (at that
time) fruitless speculations, it occurred
to me to inquire what part of the world these wretches lived in? how far off the
coast was from whence they came? what they ventured over so far from home for? what
kind of boats they had? and why I might not
order myself and my business so that I might be able to go over thither, as they
were to come to me?
I never so much as troubled myself to consider what I should do with myself when
I went thither; what would become of me if I fell into the hands of these savages; or
how I should escape them if they attacked
me; no, nor so much as how it was possible for me to reach the coast, and not to be
attacked by some or other of them, without any possibility of delivering myself: and
if I should not fall into their hands, what
I should do for provision, or whither I should bend my course: none of these
thoughts, I say, so much as came in my way; but my mind was wholly bent upon the notion
of my passing over in my boat to the mainland.
I looked upon my present condition as the most miserable that could possibly be; that
I was not able to throw myself into anything but death, that could be called
worse; and if I reached the shore of the
main I might perhaps meet with relief, or I might coast along, as I did on the African
shore, till I came to some inhabited country, and where I might find some
relief; and after all, perhaps I might fall
in with some Christian ship that might take me in: and if the worst came to the worst,
I could but die, which would put an end to all these miseries at once.
Pray note, all this was the fruit of a disturbed mind, an impatient temper, made
desperate, as it were, by the long continuance of my troubles, and the
disappointments I had met in the wreck I
had been on board of, and where I had been so near obtaining what I so earnestly
longed for-somebody to speak to, and to learn some knowledge from them of the place
where I was, and of the probable means of my deliverance.
I was agitated wholly by these thoughts; all my calm of mind, in my resignation to
Providence, and waiting the issue of the dispositions of Heaven, seemed to be
suspended; and I had as it were no power to
turn my thoughts to anything but to the project of a voyage to the main, which came
upon me with such force, and such an impetuosity of desire, that it was not to
be resisted.
When this had agitated my thoughts for two hours or more, with such violence that it
set my very blood into a ferment, and my pulse beat as if I had been in a fever,
merely with the extraordinary fervour of my
mind about it, Nature-as if I had been fatigued and exhausted with the very
thoughts of it-threw me into a sound sleep.
One would have thought I should have dreamed of it, but I did not, nor of
anything relating to it, but I dreamed that as I was going out in the morning as usual
from my castle, I saw upon the shore two
canoes and eleven savages coming to land, and that they brought with them another
savage whom they were going to kill in order to eat him; when, on a sudden, the
savage that they were going to kill jumped
away, and ran for his life; and I thought in my sleep that he came running into my
little thick grove before my fortification, to hide himself; and that I seeing him
alone, and not perceiving that the others
sought him that way, showed myself to him, and smiling upon him, encouraged him: that
he kneeled down to me, seeming to pray me to assist him; upon which I showed him my
ladder, made him go up, and carried him
into my cave, and he became my servant; and that as soon as I had got this man, I said
to myself, "Now I may certainly venture to the mainland, for this fellow will serve me
as a pilot, and will tell me what to do,
and whither to go for provisions, and whither not to go for fear of being
devoured; what places to venture into, and what to shun." I waked with this thought;
and was under such inexpressible
impressions of joy at the prospect of my escape in my dream, that the
disappointments which I felt upon coming to myself, and finding that it was no more
than a dream, were equally extravagant the
other way, and threw me into a very great dejection of spirits.
Upon this, however, I made this conclusion: that my only way to go about to attempt an
escape was, to endeavour to get a savage into my possession: and, if possible, it
should be one of their prisoners, whom they
had condemned to be eaten, and should bring hither to kill.
But these thoughts still were attended with this difficulty: that it was impossible to
effect this without attacking a whole caravan of them, and killing them all; and
this was not only a very desperate attempt,
and might miscarry, but, on the other hand, I had greatly scrupled the lawfulness of it
to myself; and my heart trembled at the thoughts of shedding so much blood, though
it was for my deliverance.
I need not repeat the arguments which occurred to me against this, they being the
same mentioned before; but though I had other reasons to offer now-viz. that those
men were enemies to my life, and would
devour me if they could; that it was self- preservation, in the highest degree, to
deliver myself from this death of a life, and was acting in my own defence as much as
if they were actually assaulting me, and
the like; I say though these things argued for it, yet the thoughts of shedding human
blood for my deliverance were very terrible to me, and such as I could by no means
reconcile myself to for a great while.
However, at last, after many secret disputes with myself, and after great
perplexities about it (for all these arguments, one way and another, struggled
in my head a long time), the eager
prevailing desire of deliverance at length mastered all the rest; and I resolved, if
possible, to get one of these savages into my hands, cost what it would.
My next thing was to contrive how to do it, and this, indeed, was very difficult to
resolve on; but as I could pitch upon no probable means for it, so I resolved to put
myself upon the watch, to see them when
they came on shore, and leave the rest to the event; taking such measures as the
opportunity should present, let what would be.
With these resolutions in my thoughts, I set myself upon the scout as often as
possible, and indeed so often that I was heartily tired of it; for it was above a
year and a half that I waited; and for
great part of that time went out to the west end, and to the south-west corner of
the island almost every day, to look for canoes, but none appeared.
This was very discouraging, and began to trouble me much, though I cannot say that
it did in this case (as it had done some time before) wear off the edge of my desire
to the thing; but the longer it seemed to
be delayed, the more eager I was for it: in a word, I was not at first so careful to
shun the sight of these savages, and avoid being seen by them, as I was now eager to
be upon them.
Besides, I fancied myself able to manage one, nay, two or three savages, if I had
them, so as to make them entirely slaves to me, to do whatever I should direct them,
and to prevent their being able at any time to do me any hurt.
It was a great while that I pleased myself with this affair; but nothing still
presented itself; all my fancies and schemes came to nothing, for no savages
came near me for a great while.
About a year and a half after I entertained these notions (and by long musing had, as
it were, resolved them all into nothing, for want of an occasion to put them into
execution), I was surprised one morning by
seeing no less than five canoes all on shore together on my side the island, and
the people who belonged to them all landed and out of my sight.
The number of them broke all my measures; for seeing so many, and knowing that they
always came four or six, or sometimes more in a boat, I could not tell what to think
of it, or how to take my measures to attack
twenty or thirty men single-handed; so lay still in my castle, perplexed and
However, I put myself into the same position for an attack that I had formerly
provided, and was just ready for action, if anything had presented.
Having waited a good while, listening to hear if they made any noise, at length,
being very impatient, I set my guns at the foot of my ladder, and clambered up to the
top of the hill, by my two stages, as
usual; standing so, however, that my head did not appear above the hill, so that they
could not perceive me by any means.
Here I observed, by the help of my perspective glass, that they were no less
than thirty in number; that they had a fire kindled, and that they had meat dressed.
How they had cooked it I knew not, or what it was; but they were all dancing, in I
know not how many barbarous gestures and figures, their own way, round the fire.
While I was thus looking on them, I perceived, by my perspective, two miserable
wretches dragged from the boats, where, it seems, they were laid by, and were now
brought out for the slaughter.
I perceived one of them immediately fall; being knocked down, I suppose, with a club
or wooden sword, for that was their way; and two or three others were at work
immediately, cutting him open for their
cookery, while the other victim was left standing by himself, till they should be
ready for him.
In that very moment this poor wretch, seeing himself a little at liberty and
unbound, Nature inspired him with hopes of life, and he started away from them, and
ran with incredible swiftness along the
sands, directly towards me; I mean towards that part of the coast where my habitation
I was dreadfully frightened, I must acknowledge, when I perceived him run my
way; and especially when, as I thought, I saw him pursued by the whole body: and now
I expected that part of my dream was coming
to pass, and that he would certainly take shelter in my grove; but I could not
depend, by any means, upon my dream, that the other savages would not pursue him
thither and find him there.
However, I kept my station, and my spirits began to recover when I found that there
was not above three men that followed him; and still more was I encouraged, when I
found that he outstripped them exceedingly
in running, and gained ground on them; so that, if he could but hold out for half-an-
hour, I saw easily he would fairly get away from them all.
There was between them and my castle the creek, which I mentioned often in the first
part of my story, where I landed my cargoes out of the ship; and this I saw plainly he
must necessarily swim over, or the poor
wretch would be taken there; but when the savage escaping came thither, he made
nothing of it, though the tide was then up; but plunging in, swam through in about
thirty strokes, or thereabouts, landed, and ran with exceeding strength and swiftness.
When the three persons came to the creek, I found that two of them could swim, but the
third could not, and that, standing on the other side, he looked at the others, but
went no farther, and soon after went softly
back again; which, as it happened, was very well for him in the end.
I observed that the two who swam were yet more than twice as strong swimming over the
creek as the fellow was that fled from them.
It came very warmly upon my thoughts, and indeed irresistibly, that now was the time
to get me a servant, and, perhaps, a companion or assistant; and that I was
plainly called by Providence to save this poor creature's life.
I immediately ran down the ladders with all possible expedition, fetched my two guns,
for they were both at the foot of the ladders, as I observed before, and getting
up again with the same haste to the top of
the hill, I crossed towards the sea; and having a very short cut, and all down hill,
placed myself in the way between the pursuers and the pursued, hallowing aloud
to him that fled, who, looking back, was at
first perhaps as much frightened at me as at them; but I beckoned with my hand to him
to come back; and, in the meantime, I slowly advanced towards the two that
followed; then rushing at once upon the
foremost, I knocked him down with the stock of my piece.
I was loath to fire, because I would not have the rest hear; though, at that
distance, it would not have been easily heard, and being out of sight of the smoke,
too, they would not have known what to make of it.
Having knocked this fellow down, the other who pursued him stopped, as if he had been
frightened, and I advanced towards him: but as I came nearer, I perceived presently he
had a bow and arrow, and was fitting it to
shoot at me: so I was then obliged to shoot at him first, which I did, and killed him
at the first shot.
The poor savage who fled, but had stopped, though he saw both his enemies fallen and
killed, as he thought, yet was so frightened with the fire and noise of my
piece that he stood stock still, and
neither came forward nor went backward, though he seemed rather inclined still to
fly than to come on.
I hallooed again to him, and made signs to come forward, which he easily understood,
and came a little way; then stopped again, and then a little farther, and stopped
again; and I could then perceive that he
stood trembling, as if he had been taken prisoner, and had just been to be killed,
as his two enemies were.
I beckoned to him again to come to me, and gave him all the signs of encouragement
that I could think of; and he came nearer and nearer, kneeling down every ten or
twelve steps, in token of acknowledgment for saving his life.
I smiled at him, and looked pleasantly, and beckoned to him to come still nearer; at
length he came close to me; and then he kneeled down again, kissed the ground, and
laid his head upon the ground, and taking
me by the foot, set my foot upon his head; this, it seems, was in token of swearing to
be my slave for ever. I took him up and made much of him, and
encouraged him all I could.
But there was more work to do yet; for I perceived the savage whom I had knocked
down was not killed, but stunned with the blow, and began to come to himself: so I
pointed to him, and showed him the savage,
that he was not dead; upon this he spoke some words to me, and though I could not
understand them, yet I thought they were pleasant to hear; for they were the first
sound of a man's voice that I had heard, my own excepted, for above twenty-five years.
But there was no time for such reflections now; the savage who was knocked down
recovered himself so far as to sit up upon the ground, and I perceived that my savage
began to be afraid; but when I saw that, I
presented my other piece at the man, as if I would shoot him: upon this my savage, for
so I call him now, made a motion to me to lend him my sword, which hung naked in a
belt by my side, which I did.
He no sooner had it, but he runs to his enemy, and at one blow cut off his head so
cleverly, no executioner in Germany could have done it sooner or better; which I
thought very strange for one who, I had
reason to believe, never saw a sword in his life before, except their own wooden
swords: however, it seems, as I learned afterwards, they make their wooden swords
so sharp, so heavy, and the wood is so
hard, that they will even cut off heads with them, ay, and arms, and that at one
blow, too.
When he had done this, he comes laughing to me in sign of triumph, and brought me the
sword again, and with abundance of gestures which I did not understand, laid it down,
with the head of the savage that he had killed, just before me.
But that which astonished him most was to know how I killed the other Indian so far
off; so, pointing to him, he made signs to me to let him go to him; and I bade him go,
as well as I could.
When he came to him, he stood like one amazed, looking at him, turning him first
on one side, then on the other; looked at the wound the bullet had made, which it
seems was just in his breast, where it had
made a hole, and no great quantity of blood had followed; but he had bled inwardly, for
he was quite dead.
He took up his bow and arrows, and came back; so I turned to go away, and beckoned
him to follow me, making signs to him that more might come after them.
Upon this he made signs to me that he should bury them with sand, that they might
not be seen by the rest, if they followed; and so I made signs to him again to do so.
He fell to work; and in an instant he had scraped a hole in the sand with his hands
big enough to bury the first in, and then dragged him into it, and covered him; and
did so by the other also; I believe he had
him buried them both in a quarter of an hour.
Then, calling away, I carried him, not to my castle, but quite away to my cave, on
the farther part of the island: so I did not let my dream come to pass in that part,
that he came into my grove for shelter.
Here I gave him bread and a bunch of raisins to eat, and a draught of water,
which I found he was indeed in great distress for, from his running: and having
refreshed him, I made signs for him to go
and lie down to sleep, showing him a place where I had laid some rice-straw, and a
blanket upon it, which I used to sleep upon myself sometimes; so the poor creature lay
down, and went to sleep.
He was a comely, handsome fellow, perfectly well made, with straight, strong limbs, not
too large; tall, and well-shaped; and, as I reckon, about twenty-six years of age.
He had a very good countenance, not a fierce and surly aspect, but seemed to have
something very manly in his face; and yet he had all the sweetness and softness of a
European in his countenance, too, especially when he smiled.
His hair was long and black, not curled like wool; his forehead very high and
large; and a great vivacity and sparkling sharpness in his eyes.
The colour of his skin was not quite black, but very tawny; and yet not an ugly,
yellow, nauseous tawny, as the Brazilians and Virginians, and other natives of
America are, but of a bright kind of a dun
olive-colour, that had in it something very agreeable, though not very easy to
His face was round and plump; his nose small, not flat, like the negroes; a very
good mouth, thin lips, and his fine teeth well set, and as white as ivory.
After he had slumbered, rather than slept, about half-an-hour, he awoke again, and
came out of the cave to me: for I had been milking my goats which I had in the
enclosure just by: when he espied me he
came running to me, laying himself down again upon the ground, with all the
possible signs of an humble, thankful disposition, making a great many antic
gestures to show it.
At last he lays his head flat upon the ground, close to my foot, and sets my other
foot upon his head, as he had done before; and after this made all the signs to me of
subjection, servitude, and submission
imaginable, to let me know how he would serve me so long as he lived.
I understood him in many things, and let him know I was very well pleased with him.
In a little time I began to speak to him; and teach him to speak to me: and first, I
let him know his name should be Friday, which was the day I saved his life: I
called him so for the memory of the time.
I likewise taught him to say Master; and then let him know that was to be my name: I
likewise taught him to say Yes and No and to know the meaning of them.
I gave him some milk in an earthen pot, and let him see me drink it before him, and sop
my bread in it; and gave him a cake of bread to do the like, which he quickly
complied with, and made signs that it was very good for him.
I kept there with him all that night; but as soon as it was day I beckoned to him to
come with me, and let him know I would give him some clothes; at which he seemed very
glad, for he was stark naked.
As we went by the place where he had buried the two men, he pointed exactly to the
place, and showed me the marks that he had made to find them again, making signs to me
that we should dig them up again and eat them.
At this I appeared very angry, expressed my abhorrence of it, made as if I would vomit
at the thoughts of it, and beckoned with my hand to him to come away, which he did
immediately, with great submission.
I then led him up to the top of the hill, to see if his enemies were gone; and
pulling out my glass I looked, and saw plainly the place where they had been, but
no appearance of them or their canoes; so
that it was plain they were gone, and had left their two comrades behind them,
without any search after them.
But I was not content with this discovery; but having now more courage, and
consequently more curiosity, I took my man Friday with me, giving him the sword in his
hand, with the bow and arrows at his back,
which I found he could use very dexterously, making him carry one gun for
me, and I two for myself; and away we marched to the place where these creatures
had been; for I had a mind now to get some further intelligence of them.
When I came to the place my very blood ran chill in my veins, and my heart sunk within
me, at the horror of the spectacle; indeed, it was a dreadful sight, at least it was so
to me, though Friday made nothing of it.
The place was covered with human bones, the ground dyed with their blood, and great
pieces of flesh left here and there, half- eaten, mangled, and scorched; and, in
short, all the tokens of the triumphant
feast they had been making there, after a victory over their enemies.
I saw three skulls, five hands, and the bones of three or four legs and feet, and
abundance of other parts of the bodies; and Friday, by his signs, made me understand
that they brought over four prisoners to
feast upon; that three of them were eaten up, and that he, pointing to himself, was
the fourth; that there had been a great battle between them and their next king, of
whose subjects, it seems, he had been one,
and that they had taken a great number of prisoners; all which were carried to
several places by those who had taken them in the fight, in order to feast upon them,
as was done here by these wretches upon those they brought hither.
I caused Friday to gather all the skulls, bones, flesh, and whatever remained, and
lay them together in a heap, and make a great fire upon it, and burn them all to
I found Friday had still a hankering stomach after some of the flesh, and was
still a cannibal in his nature; but I showed so much abhorrence at the very
thoughts of it, and at the least appearance
of it, that he durst not discover it: for I had, by some means, let him know that I
would kill him if he offered it.
When he had done this, we came back to our castle; and there I fell to work for my man
Friday; and first of all, I gave him a pair of linen drawers, which I had out of the
poor gunner's chest I mentioned, which I
found in the wreck, and which, with a little alteration, fitted him very well;
and then I made him a jerkin of goat's skin, as well as my skill would allow (for
I was now grown a tolerably good tailor);
and I gave him a cap which I made of hare's skin, very convenient, and fashionable
enough; and thus he was clothed, for the present, tolerably well, and was mighty
well pleased to see himself almost as well clothed as his master.
It is true he went awkwardly in these clothes at first: wearing the drawers was
very awkward to him, and the sleeves of the waistcoat galled his shoulders and the
inside of his arms; but a little easing
them where he complained they hurt him, and using himself to them, he took to them at
length very well.
The next day, after I came home to my hutch with him, I began to consider where I
should lodge him: and that I might do well for him and yet be perfectly easy myself, I
made a little tent for him in the vacant
place between my two fortifications, in the inside of the last, and in the outside of
the first.
As there was a door or entrance there into my cave, I made a formal framed door-case,
and a door to it, of boards, and set it up in the passage, a little within the
entrance; and, causing the door to open in
the inside, I barred it up in the night, taking in my ladders, too; so that Friday
could no way come at me in the inside of my innermost wall, without making so much
noise in getting over that it must needs
awaken me; for my first wall had now a complete roof over it of long poles,
covering all my tent, and leaning up to the side of the hill; which was again laid
across with smaller sticks, instead of
laths, and then thatched over a great thickness with the rice-straw, which was
strong, like reeds; and at the hole or place which was left to go in or out by the
ladder I had placed a kind of trap-door,
which, if it had been attempted on the outside, would not have opened at all, but
would have fallen down and made a great noise-as to weapons, I took them all into
my side every night.
But I needed none of all this precaution; for never man had a more faithful, loving,
sincere servant than Friday was to me: without passions, sullenness, or designs,
perfectly obliged and engaged; his very
affections were tied to me, like those of a child to a father; and I daresay he would
have sacrificed his life to save mine upon any occasion whatsoever-the many
testimonies he gave me of this put it out
of doubt, and soon convinced me that I needed to use no precautions for my safety
on his account.
This frequently gave me occasion to observe, and that with wonder, that however
it had pleased God in His providence, and in the government of the works of His
hands, to take from so great a part of the
world of His creatures the best uses to which their faculties and the powers of
their souls are adapted, yet that He has bestowed upon them the same powers, the
same reason, the same affections, the same
sentiments of kindness and obligation, the same passions and resentments of wrongs,
the same sense of gratitude, sincerity, fidelity, and all the capacities of doing
good and receiving good that He has given
to us; and that when He pleases to offer them occasions of exerting these, they are
as ready, nay, more ready, to apply them to the right uses for which they were bestowed
than we are.
This made me very melancholy sometimes, in reflecting, as the several occasions
presented, how mean a use we make of all these, even though we have these powers
enlightened by the great lamp of
instruction, the Spirit of God, and by the knowledge of His word added to our
understanding; and why it has pleased God to hide the like saving knowledge from so
many millions of souls, who, if I might
judge by this poor savage, would make a much better use of it than we did.
From hence I sometimes was led too far, to invade the sovereignty of Providence, and,
as it were, arraign the justice of so arbitrary a disposition of things, that
should hide that sight from some, and
reveal it to others, and yet expect a like duty from both; but I shut it up, and
checked my thoughts with this conclusion: first, that we did not know by what light
and law these should be condemned; but that
as God was necessarily, and by the nature of His being, infinitely holy and just, so
it could not be, but if these creatures were all sentenced to absence from Himself,
it was on account of sinning against that
light which, as the Scripture says, was a law to themselves, and by such rules as
their consciences would acknowledge to be just, though the foundation was not
discovered to us; and secondly, that still
as we all are the clay in the hand of the potter, no vessel could say to him, "Why
hast thou formed me thus?" But to return to my new companion.
I was greatly delighted with him, and made it my business to teach him everything that
was proper to make him useful, handy, and helpful; but especially to make him speak,
and understand me when I spoke; and he was
the aptest scholar that ever was; and particularly was so merry, so constantly
diligent, and so pleased when he could but understand me, or make me understand him,
that it was very pleasant for me to talk to him.
Now my life began to be so easy that I began to say to myself that could I but
have been safe from more savages, I cared not if I was never to remove from the place
where I lived.
After I had been two or three days returned to my castle, I thought that, in order to
bring Friday off from his horrid way of feeding, and from the relish of a
cannibal's stomach, I ought to let him
taste other flesh; so I took him out with me one morning to the woods.
I went, indeed, intending to kill a kid out of my own flock; and bring it home and
dress it; but as I was going I saw a she- goat lying down in the shade, and two young
kids sitting by her.
I catched hold of Friday. "Hold," said I, "stand still;" and made
signs to him not to stir: immediately I presented my piece, shot, and killed one of
the kids.
The poor creature, who had at a distance, indeed, seen me kill the savage, his enemy,
but did not know, nor could imagine how it was done, was sensibly surprised, trembled,
and shook, and looked so amazed that I thought he would have sunk down.
He did not see the kid I shot at, or perceive I had killed it, but ripped up his
waistcoat to feel whether he was not wounded; and, as I found presently, thought
I was resolved to kill him: for he came and
kneeled down to me, and embracing my knees, said a great many things I did not
understand; but I could easily see the meaning was to pray me not to kill him.
I soon found a way to convince him that I would do him no harm; and taking him up by
the hand, laughed at him, and pointing to the kid which I had killed, beckoned to him
to run and fetch it, which he did: and
while he was wondering, and looking to see how the creature was killed, I loaded my
gun again.
By-and-by I saw a great fowl, like a hawk, sitting upon a tree within shot; so, to let
Friday understand a little what I would do, I called him to me again, pointed at the
fowl, which was indeed a parrot, though I
thought it had been a hawk; I say, pointing to the parrot, and to my gun, and to the
ground under the parrot, to let him see I would make it fall, I made him understand
that I would shoot and kill that bird;
accordingly, I fired, and bade him look, and immediately he saw the parrot fall.
He stood like one frightened again, notwithstanding all I had said to him; and
I found he was the more amazed, because he did not see me put anything into the gun,
but thought that there must be some
wonderful fund of death and destruction in that thing, able to kill man, beast, bird,
or anything near or far off; and the astonishment this created in him was such
as could not wear off for a long time; and
I believe, if I would have let him, he would have worshipped me and my gun.
As for the gun itself, he would not so much as touch it for several days after; but he
would speak to it and talk to it, as if it had answered him, when he was by himself;
which, as I afterwards learned of him, was to desire it not to kill him.
Well, after his astonishment was a little over at this, I pointed to him to run and
fetch the bird I had shot, which he did, but stayed some time; for the parrot, not
being quite dead, had fluttered away a good
distance from the place where she fell: however, he found her, took her up, and
brought her to me; and as I had perceived his ignorance about the gun before, I took
this advantage to charge the gun again, and
not to let him see me do it, that I might be ready for any other mark that might
present; but nothing more offered at that time: so I brought home the kid, and the
same evening I took the skin off, and cut
it out as well as I could; and having a pot fit for that purpose, I boiled or stewed
some of the flesh, and made some very good broth.
After I had begun to eat some I gave some to my man, who seemed very glad of it, and
liked it very well; but that which was strangest to him was to see me eat salt
with it.
He made a sign to me that the salt was not good to eat; and putting a little into his
own mouth, he seemed to nauseate it, and would spit and sputter at it, washing his
mouth with fresh water after it: on the
other hand, I took some meat into my mouth without salt, and I pretended to spit and
sputter for want of salt, as much as he had done at the salt; but it would not do; he
would never care for salt with meat or in
his broth; at least, not for a great while, and then but a very little.
Having thus fed him with boiled meat and broth, I was resolved to feast him the next
day by roasting a piece of the kid: this I did by hanging it before the fire on a
string, as I had seen many people do in
England, setting two poles up, one on each side of the fire, and one across the top,
and tying the string to the cross stick, letting the meat turn continually.
This Friday admired very much; but when he came to taste the flesh, he took so many
ways to tell me how well he liked it, that I could not but understand him: and at last
he told me, as well as he could, he would
never eat man's flesh any more, which I was very glad to hear.
The next day I set him to work beating some corn out, and sifting it in the manner I
used to do, as I observed before; and he soon understood how to do it as well as I,
especially after he had seen what the
meaning of it was, and that it was to make bread of; for after that I let him see me
make my bread, and bake it too; and in a little time Friday was able to do all the
work for me as well as I could do it myself.
I began now to consider, that having two mouths to feed instead of one, I must
provide more ground for my harvest, and plant a larger quantity of corn than I used
to do; so I marked out a larger piece of
land, and began the fence in the same manner as before, in which Friday worked
not only very willingly and very hard, but did it very cheerfully: and I told him what
it was for; that it was for corn to make
more bread, because he was now with me, and that I might have enough for him and myself
He appeared very sensible of that part, and let me know that he thought I had much more
labour upon me on his account than I had for myself; and that he would work the
harder for me if I would tell him what to do.
This was the pleasantest year of all the life I led in this place.
Friday began to talk pretty well, and understand the names of almost everything I
had occasion to call for, and of every place I had to send him to, and talked a
great deal to me; so that, in short, I
began now to have some use for my tongue again, which, indeed, I had very little
occasion for before.
Besides the pleasure of talking to him, I had a singular satisfaction in the fellow
himself: his simple, unfeigned honesty appeared to me more and more every day, and
I began really to love the creature; and on
his side I believe he loved me more than it was possible for him ever to love anything
I had a mind once to try if he had any inclination for his own country again; and
having taught him English so well that he could answer me almost any question, I
asked him whether the nation that he belonged to never conquered in battle?
At which he smiled, and said-"Yes, yes, we always fight the better;" that is, he meant
always get the better in fight; and so we began the following discourse:-
Master.-You always fight the better; how came you to be taken prisoner, then,
Friday? Friday.-My nation beat much for all that.
Master.-How beat?
If your nation beat them, how came you to be taken?
Friday.-They more many than my nation, in the place where me was; they take one, two,
three, and me: my nation over-beat them in the yonder place, where me no was; there my
nation take one, two, great thousand.
Master.-But why did not your side recover you from the hands of your enemies, then?
Friday.-They run, one, two, three, and me, and make go in the canoe; my nation have no
canoe that time.
Master.-Well, Friday, and what does your nation do with the men they take?
Do they carry them away and eat them, as these did?
Friday.-Yes, my nation eat mans too; eat all up.
Master.-Where do they carry them? Friday.-Go to other place, where they
Master.-Do they come hither? Friday.-Yes, yes, they come hither; come
other else place. Master.-Have you been here with them?
Friday.-Yes, I have been here (points to the NW. side of the island, which, it
seems, was their side).
By this I understood that my man Friday had formerly been among the savages who used to
come on shore on the farther part of the island, on the same man-eating occasions he
was now brought for; and some time after,
when I took the courage to carry him to that side, being the same I formerly
mentioned, he presently knew the place, and told me he was there once, when they ate up
twenty men, two women, and one child; he
could not tell twenty in English, but he numbered them by laying so many stones in a
row, and pointing to me to tell them over.
I have told this passage, because it introduces what follows: that after this
discourse I had with him, I asked him how far it was from our island to the shore,
and whether the canoes were not often lost.
He told me there was no danger, no canoes ever lost: but that after a little way out
to sea, there was a current and wind, always one way in the morning, the other in
the afternoon.
This I understood to be no more than the sets of the tide, as going out or coming
in; but I afterwards understood it was occasioned by the great draft and reflux of
the mighty river Orinoco, in the mouth or
gulf of which river, as I found afterwards, our island lay; and that this land, which I
perceived to be W. and NW., was the great island Trinidad, on the north point of the
mouth of the river.
I asked Friday a thousand questions about the country, the inhabitants, the sea, the
coast, and what nations were near; he told me all he knew with the greatest openness
I asked him the names of the several nations of his sort of people, but could
get no other name than Caribs; from whence I easily understood that these were the
Caribbees, which our maps place on the part
of America which reaches from the mouth of the river Orinoco to Guiana, and onwards to
St. Martha.
He told me that up a great way beyond the moon, that was beyond the setting of the
moon, which must be west from their country, there dwelt white bearded men,
like me, and pointed to my great whiskers,
which I mentioned before; and that they had killed much mans, that was his word: by all
which I understood he meant the Spaniards, whose cruelties in America had been spread
over the whole country, and were remembered by all the nations from father to son.
I inquired if he could tell me how I might go from this island, and get among those
white men.
He told me, "Yes, yes, you may go in two canoe." I could not understand what he
meant, or make him describe to me what he meant by two canoe, till at last, with
great difficulty, I found he meant it must be in a large boat, as big as two canoes.
This part of Friday's discourse I began to relish very well; and from this time I
entertained some hopes that, one time or other, I might find an opportunity to make
my escape from this place, and that this poor savage might be a means to help me.
During the long time that Friday had now been with me, and that he began to speak to
me, and understand me, I was not wanting to lay a foundation of religious knowledge in
his mind; particularly I asked him one time, who made him.
The creature did not understand me at all, but thought I had asked who was his father-
but I took it up by another handle, and asked him who made the sea, the ground we
walked on, and the hills and woods.
He told me, "It was one Benamuckee, that lived beyond all;" he could describe
nothing of this great person, but that he was very old, "much older," he said, "than
the sea or land, than the moon or the
stars." I asked him then, if this old person had made all things, why did not all
things worship him?
He looked very grave, and, with a perfect look of innocence, said, "All things say O
to him." I asked him if the people who die in his country went away anywhere?
He said, "Yes; they all went to Benamuckee." Then I asked him whether
those they eat up went thither too. He said, "Yes."
From these things, I began to instruct him in the knowledge of the true God; I told
him that the great Maker of all things lived up there, pointing up towards heaven;
that He governed the world by the same
power and providence by which He made it; that He was omnipotent, and could do
everything for us, give everything to us, take everything from us; and thus, by
degrees, I opened his eyes.
He listened with great attention, and received with pleasure the notion of Jesus
Christ being sent to redeem us; and of the manner of making our prayers to God, and
His being able to hear us, even in heaven.
He told me one day, that if our God could hear us, up beyond the sun, he must needs
be a greater God than their Benamuckee, who lived but a little way off, and yet could
not hear till they went up to the great mountains where he dwelt to speak to them.
I asked him if ever he went thither to speak to him.
He said, "No; they never went that were young men; none went thither but the old
men," whom he called their Oowokakee; that is, as I made him explain to me, their
religious, or clergy; and that they went to
say O (so he called saying prayers), and then came back and told them what
Benamuckee said.
By this I observed, that there is priestcraft even among the most blinded,
ignorant pagans in the world; and the policy of making a secret of religion, in
order to preserve the veneration of the
people to the clergy, not only to be found in the Roman, but, perhaps, among all
religions in the world, even among the most brutish and barbarous savages.
I endeavoured to clear up this fraud to my man Friday; and told him that the pretence
of their old men going up to the mountains to say O to their god Benamuckee was a
cheat; and their bringing word from thence
what he said was much more so; that if they met with any answer, or spake with any one
there, it must be with an evil spirit; and then I entered into a long discourse with
him about the devil, the origin of him, his
rebellion against God, his enmity to man, the reason of it, his setting himself up in
the dark parts of the world to be worshipped instead of God, and as God, and
the many stratagems he made use of to
delude mankind to their ruin; how he had a secret access to our passions and to our
affections, and to adapt his snares to our inclinations, so as to cause us even to be
our own tempters, and run upon our destruction by our own choice.
I found it was not so easy to imprint right notions in his mind about the devil as it
was about the being of a God.
Nature assisted all my arguments to evidence to him even the necessity of a
great First Cause, an overruling, governing Power, a secret directing Providence, and
of the equity and justice of paying homage
to Him that made us, and the like; but there appeared nothing of this kind in the
notion of an evil spirit, of his origin, his being, his nature, and above all, of
his inclination to do evil, and to draw us
in to do so too; and the poor creature puzzled me once in such a manner, by a
question merely natural and innocent, that I scarce knew what to say to him.
I had been talking a great deal to him of the power of God, His omnipotence, His
aversion to sin, His being a consuming fire to the workers of iniquity; how, as He had
made us all, He could destroy us and all
the world in a moment; and he listened with great seriousness to me all the while.
After this I had been telling him how the devil was God's enemy in the hearts of men,
and used all his malice and skill to defeat the good designs of Providence, and to ruin
the kingdom of Christ in the world, and the like.
"Well," says Friday, "but you say God is so strong, so great; is He not much strong,
much might as the devil?" "Yes, yes," says I, "Friday; God is stronger than the devil-
God is above the devil, and therefore we
pray to God to tread him down under our feet, and enable us to resist his
temptations and quench his fiery darts." "But," says he again, "if God much
stronger, much might as the wicked devil,
why God no kill the devil, so make him no more do wicked?" I was strangely surprised
at this question; and, after all, though I was now an old man, yet I was but a young
doctor, and ill qualified for a casuist or
a solver of difficulties; and at first I could not tell what to say; so I pretended
not to hear him, and asked him what he said; but he was too earnest for an answer
to forget his question, so that he repeated it in the very same broken words as above.
By this time I had recovered myself a little, and I said, "God will at last
punish him severely; he is reserved for the judgment, and is to be cast into the
bottomless pit, to dwell with everlasting
fire." This did not satisfy Friday; but he returns upon me, repeating my words,
"'Reserve at last!' me no understand-but why not kill the devil now; not kill great
ago?" "You may as well ask me," said I,
"why God does not kill you or me, when we do wicked things here that offend Him-we
are preserved to repent and be pardoned." He mused some time on this.
"Well, well," says he, mighty affectionately, "that well-so you, I,
devil, all wicked, all preserve, repent, God pardon all." Here I was run down again
by him to the last degree; and it was a
testimony to me, how the mere notions of nature, though they will guide reasonable
creatures to the knowledge of a God, and of a worship or homage due to the supreme
being of God, as the consequence of our
nature, yet nothing but divine revelation can form the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and
of redemption purchased for us; of a Mediator of the new covenant, and of an
Intercessor at the footstool of God's
throne; I say, nothing but a revelation from Heaven can form these in the soul; and
that, therefore, the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I mean the Word of
God, and the Spirit of God, promised for
the guide and sanctifier of His people, are the absolutely necessary instructors of the
souls of men in the saving knowledge of God and the means of salvation.
I therefore diverted the present discourse between me and my man, rising up hastily,
as upon some sudden occasion of going out; then sending him for something a good way
off, I seriously prayed to God that He
would enable me to instruct savingly this poor savage; assisting, by His Spirit, the
heart of the poor ignorant creature to receive the light of the knowledge of God
in Christ, reconciling him to Himself, and
would guide me so to speak to him from the Word of God that his conscience might be
convinced, his eyes opened, and his soul saved.
When he came again to me, I entered into a long discourse with him upon the subject of
the redemption of man by the Saviour of the world, and of the doctrine of the gospel
preached from Heaven, viz. of repentance
towards God, and faith in our blessed Lord Jesus.
I then explained to him as well as I could why our blessed Redeemer took not on Him
the nature of angels but the seed of Abraham; and how, for that reason, the
fallen angels had no share in the
redemption; that He came only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and the like.
I had, God knows, more sincerity than knowledge in all the methods I took for
this poor creature's instruction, and must acknowledge, what I believe all that act
upon the same principle will find, that in
laying things open to him, I really informed and instructed myself in many
things that either I did not know or had not fully considered before, but which
occurred naturally to my mind upon
searching into them, for the information of this poor savage; and I had more affection
in my inquiry after things upon this occasion than ever I felt before: so that,
whether this poor wild wretch was better
for me or no, I had great reason to be thankful that ever he came to me; my grief
sat lighter, upon me; my habitation grew comfortable to me beyond measure: and when
I reflected that in this solitary life
which I have been confined to, I had not only been moved to look up to heaven
myself, and to seek the Hand that had brought me here, but was now to be made an
instrument, under Providence, to save the
life, and, for aught I knew, the soul of a poor savage, and bring him to the true
knowledge of religion and of the Christian doctrine, that he might know Christ Jesus,
in whom is life eternal; I say, when I
reflected upon all these things, a secret joy ran through every part of My soul, and
I frequently rejoiced that ever I was brought to this place, which I had so often
thought the most dreadful of all
afflictions that could possibly have befallen me.
I continued in this thankful frame all the remainder of my time; and the conversation
which employed the hours between Friday and me was such as made the three years which
we lived there together perfectly and
completely happy, if any such thing as complete happiness can be formed in a
sublunary state.
This savage was now a good Christian, a much better than I; though I have reason to
hope, and bless God for it, that we were equally penitent, and comforted, restored
We had here the Word of God to read, and no farther off from His Spirit to instruct
than if we had been in England.
I always applied myself, in reading the Scripture, to let him know, as well as I
could, the meaning of what I read; and he again, by his serious inquiries and
questionings, made me, as I said before, a
much better scholar in the Scripture knowledge than I should ever have been by
my own mere private reading.
Another thing I cannot refrain from observing here also, from experience in
this retired part of my life, viz. how infinite and inexpressible a blessing it is
that the knowledge of God, and of the
doctrine of salvation by Christ Jesus, is so plainly laid down in the Word of God, so
easy to be received and understood, that, as the bare reading the Scripture made me
capable of understanding enough of my duty
to carry me directly on to the great work of sincere repentance for my sins, and
laying hold of a Saviour for life and salvation, to a stated reformation in
practice, and obedience to all God's
commands, and this without any teacher or instructor, I mean human; so the same plain
instruction sufficiently served to the enlightening this savage creature, and
bringing him to be such a Christian as I have known few equal to him in my life.
As to all the disputes, wrangling, strife, and contention which have happened in the
world about religion, whether niceties in doctrines or schemes of church government,
they were all perfectly useless to us, and,
for aught I can yet see, they have been so to the rest of the world.
We had the sure guide to heaven, viz. the Word of God; and we had, blessed be God,
comfortable views of the Spirit of God teaching and instructing by His word,
leading us into all truth, and making us
both willing and obedient to the instruction of His word.
And I cannot see the least use that the greatest knowledge of the disputed points
of religion, which have made such confusion in the world, would have been to us, if we
could have obtained it.
But I must go on with the historical part of things, and take every part in its
After Friday and I became more intimately acquainted, and that he could understand
almost all I said to him, and speak pretty fluently, though in broken English, to me,
I acquainted him with my own history, or at
least so much of it as related to my coming to this place: how I had lived there, and
how long; I let him into the mystery, for such it was to him, of gunpowder and
bullet, and taught him how to shoot.
I gave him a knife, which he was wonderfully delighted with; and I made him
a belt, with a frog hanging to it, such as in England we wear hangers in; and in the
frog, instead of a hanger, I gave him a
hatchet, which was not only as good a weapon in some cases, but much more useful
upon other occasions.
I described to him the country of Europe, particularly England, which I came from;
how we lived, how we worshipped God, how we behaved to one another, and how we traded
in ships to all parts of the world.
I gave him an account of the wreck which I had been on board of, and showed him, as
near as I could, the place where she lay; but she was all beaten in pieces before,
and gone.
I showed him the ruins of our boat, which we lost when we escaped, and which I could
not stir with my whole strength then; but was now fallen almost all to pieces.
Upon seeing this boat, Friday stood, musing a great while, and said nothing.
I asked him what it was he studied upon.
At last says he, "Me see such boat like come to place at my nation." I did not
understand him a good while; but at last, when I had examined further into it, I
understood by him that a boat, such as that
had been, came on shore upon the country where he lived: that is, as he explained
it, was driven thither by stress of weather.
I presently imagined that some European ship must have been cast away upon their
coast, and the boat might get loose and drive ashore; but was so dull that I never
once thought of men making their escape
from a wreck thither, much less whence they might come: so I only inquired after a
description of the boat.
Friday described the boat to me well enough; but brought me better to understand
him when he added with some warmth, "We save the white mans from drown." Then I
presently asked if there were any white mans, as he called them, in the boat.
"Yes," he said; "the boat full of white mans." I asked him how many.
He told upon his fingers seventeen.
I asked him then what became of them. He told me, "They live, they dwell at my
This put new thoughts into my head; for I presently imagined that these might be the
men belonging to the ship that was cast away in the sight of my island, as I now
called it; and who, after the ship was
struck on the rock, and they saw her inevitably lost, had saved themselves in
their boat, and were landed upon that wild shore among the savages.
Upon this I inquired of him more critically what was become of them.
He assured me they lived still there; that they had been there about four years; that
the savages left them alone, and gave them victuals to live on.
I asked him how it came to pass they did not kill them and eat them.
He said, "No, they make brother with them;" that is, as I understood him, a truce; and
then he added, "They no eat mans but when make the war fight;" that is to say, they
never eat any men but such as come to fight with them and are taken in battle.
It was after this some considerable time, that being upon the top of the hill at the
east side of the island, from whence, as I have said, I had, in a clear day,
discovered the main or continent of
America, Friday, the weather being very serene, looks very earnestly towards the
mainland, and, in a kind of surprise, falls a jumping and dancing, and calls out to me,
for I was at some distance from him.
I asked him what was the matter.
"Oh, joy!" says he; "Oh, glad! there see my country, there my nation!" I observed an
extraordinary sense of pleasure appeared in his face, and his eyes sparkled, and his
countenance discovered a strange eagerness,
as if he had a mind to be in his own country again.
This observation of mine put a great many thoughts into me, which made me at first
not so easy about my new man Friday as I was before; and I made no doubt but that,
if Friday could get back to his own nation
again, he would not only forget all his religion but all his obligation to me, and
would be forward enough to give his countrymen an account of me, and come back,
perhaps with a hundred or two of them, and
make a feast upon me, at which he might be as merry as he used to be with those of his
enemies when they were taken in war.
But I wronged the poor honest creature very much, for which I was very sorry
However, as my jealousy increased, and held some weeks, I was a little more
circumspect, and not so familiar and kind to him as before: in which I was certainly
wrong too; the honest, grateful creature
having no thought about it but what consisted with the best principles, both as
a religious Christian and as a grateful friend, as appeared afterwards to my full
While my jealousy of him lasted, you may be sure I was every day pumping him to see if
he would discover any of the new thoughts which I suspected were in him; but I found
everything he said was so honest and so
innocent, that I could find nothing to nourish my suspicion; and in spite of all
my uneasiness, he made me at last entirely his own again; nor did he in the least
perceive that I was uneasy, and therefore I could not suspect him of deceit.
One day, walking up the same hill, but the weather being hazy at sea, so that we could
not see the continent, I called to him, and said, "Friday, do not you wish yourself in
your own country, your own nation?" "Yes,"
he said, "I be much O glad to be at my own nation." "What would you do there?" said
"Would you turn wild again, eat men's flesh again, and be a savage as you were before?"
He looked full of concern, and shaking his head, said, "No, no, Friday tell them to
live good; tell them to pray God; tell them
to eat corn-bread, cattle flesh, milk; no eat man again." "Why, then," said I to him,
"they will kill you." He looked grave at that, and then said, "No, no, they no kill
me, they willing love learn." He meant by this, they would be willing to learn.
He added, they learned much of the bearded mans that came in the boat.
Then I asked him if he would go back to them.
He smiled at that, and told me that he could not swim so far.
I told him I would make a canoe for him.
He told me he would go if I would go with him.
"I go!" says I; "why, they will eat me if I come there." "No, no," says he, "me make
they no eat you; me make they much love you." He meant, he would tell them how I
had killed his enemies, and saved his life, and so he would make them love me.
Then he told me, as well as he could, how kind they were to seventeen white men, or
bearded men, as he called them who came on shore there in distress.
From this time, I confess, I had a mind to venture over, and see if I could possibly
join with those bearded men, who I made no doubt were Spaniards and Portuguese; not
doubting but, if I could, we might find
some method to escape from thence, being upon the continent, and a good company
together, better than I could from an island forty miles off the shore, alone and
without help.
So, after some days, I took Friday to work again by way of discourse, and told him I
would give him a boat to go back to his own nation; and, accordingly, I carried him to
my frigate, which lay on the other side of
the island, and having cleared it of water (for I always kept it sunk in water), I
brought it out, showed it him, and we both went into it.
I found he was a most dexterous fellow at managing it, and would make it go almost as
swift again as I could.
So when he was in, I said to him, "Well, now, Friday, shall we go to your nation?"
He looked very dull at my saying so; which it seems was because he thought the boat
was too small to go so far.
I then told him I had a bigger; so the next day I went to the place where the first
boat lay which I had made, but which I could not get into the water.
He said that was big enough; but then, as I had taken no care of it, and it had lain
two or three and twenty years there, the sun had so split and dried it, that it was
Friday told me such a boat would do very well, and would carry "much enough vittle,
drink, bread;" this was his way of talking.
Upon the whole, I was by this time so fixed upon my design of going over with him to
the continent that I told him we would go and make one as big as that, and he should
go home in it.
He answered not one word, but looked very grave and sad.
I asked him what was the matter with him.
He asked me again, "Why you angry mad with Friday?-what me done?" I asked him what he
meant. I told him I was not angry with him at all.
"No angry!" says he, repeating the words several times; "why send Friday home away
to my nation?" "Why," says I, "Friday, did not you say you wished you were there?"
"Yes, yes," says he, "wish we both there;
no wish Friday there, no master there." In a word, he would not think of going there
without me.
"I go there, Friday?" says I; "what shall I do there?" He turned very quick upon me at
"You do great deal much good," says he; "you teach wild mans be good, sober, tame
mans; you tell them know God, pray God, and live new life." "Alas, Friday!" says I,
"thou knowest not what thou sayest; I am
but an ignorant man myself." "Yes, yes," says he, "you teachee me good, you teachee
them good." "No, no, Friday," says I, "you shall go without me; leave me here to live
by myself, as I did before." He looked
confused again at that word; and running to one of the hatchets which he used to wear,
he takes it up hastily, and gives it to me. "What must I do with this?" says I to him.
"You take kill Friday," says he.
"What must kill you for?" said I again. He returns very quick-"What you send Friday
away for?
Take kill Friday, no send Friday away." This he spoke so earnestly that I saw tears
stand in his eyes.
In a word, I so plainly discovered the utmost affection in him to me, and a firm
resolution in him, that I told him then and often after, that I would never send him
away from me if he was willing to stay with me.
Upon the whole, as I found by all his discourse a settled affection to me, and
that nothing could part him from me, so I found all the foundation of his desire to
go to his own country was laid in his
ardent affection to the people, and his hopes of my doing them good; a thing which,
as I had no notion of myself, so I had not the least thought or intention, or desire
of undertaking it.
But still I found a strong inclination to attempting my escape, founded on the
supposition gathered from the discourse, that there were seventeen bearded men
there; and therefore, without any more
delay, I went to work with Friday to find out a great tree proper to fell, and make a
large periagua, or canoe, to undertake the voyage.
There were trees enough in the island to have built a little fleet, not of periaguas
or canoes, but even of good, large vessels; but the main thing I looked at was, to get
one so near the water that we might launch
it when it was made, to avoid the mistake I committed at first.
At last Friday pitched upon a tree; for I found he knew much better than I what kind
of wood was fittest for it; nor can I tell to this day what wood to call the tree we
cut down, except that it was very like the
tree we call fustic, or between that and the Nicaragua wood, for it was much of the
same colour and smell.
Friday wished to burn the hollow or cavity of this tree out, to make it for a boat,
but I showed him how to cut it with tools; which, after I had showed him how to use,
he did very handily; and in about a month's
hard labour we finished it and made it very handsome; especially when, with our axes,
which I showed him how to handle, we cut and hewed the outside into the true shape
of a boat.
After this, however, it cost us near a fortnight's time to get her along, as it
were inch by inch, upon great rollers into the water; but when she was in, she would
have carried twenty men with great ease.
When she was in the water, though she was so big, it amazed me to see with what
dexterity and how swift my man Friday could manage her, turn her, and paddle her along.
So I asked him if he would, and if we might venture over in her.
"Yes," he said, "we venture over in her very well, though great blow wind."
However I had a further design that he knew nothing of, and that was, to make a mast
and a sail, and to fit her with an anchor and cable.
As to a mast, that was easy enough to get; so I pitched upon a straight young cedar-
tree, which I found near the place, and which there were great plenty of in the
island, and I set Friday to work to cut it
down, and gave him directions how to shape and order it.
But as to the sail, that was my particular care.
I knew I had old sails, or rather pieces of old sails, enough; but as I had had them
now six-and-twenty years by me, and had not been very careful to preserve them, not
imagining that I should ever have this kind
of use for them, I did not doubt but they were all rotten; and, indeed, most of them
were so.
However, I found two pieces which appeared pretty good, and with these I went to work;
and with a great deal of pains, and awkward stitching, you may be sure, for want of
needles, I at length made a three-cornered
ugly thing, like what we call in England a shoulder-of-mutton sail, to go with a boom
at bottom, and a little short sprit at the top, such as usually our ships' long-boats
sail with, and such as I best knew how to
manage, as it was such a one as I had to the boat in which I made my escape from
Barbary, as related in the first part of my story.
I was near two months performing this last work, viz. rigging and fitting my masts and
sails; for I finished them very complete, making a small stay, and a sail, or
foresail, to it, to assist if we should
turn to windward; and, what was more than all, I fixed a rudder to the stern of her
to steer with.
I was but a bungling shipwright, yet as I knew the usefulness and even necessity of
such a thing, I applied myself with so much pains to do it, that at last I brought it
to pass; though, considering the many dull
contrivances I had for it that failed, I think it cost me almost as much labour as
making the boat.
After all this was done, I had my man Friday to teach as to what belonged to the
navigation of my boat; though he knew very well how to paddle a canoe, he knew nothing
of what belonged to a sail and a rudder;
and was the most amazed when he saw me work the boat to and again in the sea by the
rudder, and how the sail jibed, and filled this way or that way as the course we
sailed changed; I say when he saw this he stood like one astonished and amazed.
However, with a little use, I made all these things familiar to him, and he became
an expert sailor, except that of the compass I could make him understand very
On the other hand, as there was very little cloudy weather, and seldom or never any
fogs in those parts, there was the less occasion for a compass, seeing the stars
were always to be seen by night, and the
shore by day, except in the rainy seasons, and then nobody cared to stir abroad either
by land or sea.
I was now entered on the seven-and- twentieth year of my captivity in this
place; though the three last years that I had this creature with me ought rather to
be left out of the account, my habitation
being quite of another kind than in all the rest of the time.
I kept the anniversary of my landing here with the same thankfulness to God for His
mercies as at first: and if I had such cause of acknowledgment at first, I had
much more so now, having such additional
testimonies of the care of Providence over me, and the great hopes I had of being
effectually and speedily delivered; for I had an invincible impression upon my
thoughts that my deliverance was at hand,
and that I should not be another year in this place.
I went on, however, with my husbandry; digging, planting, and fencing as usual.
I gathered and cured my grapes, and did every necessary thing as before.
The rainy season was in the meantime upon me, when I kept more within doors than at
other times.
We had stowed our new vessel as secure as we could, bringing her up into the creek,
where, as I said in the beginning, I landed my rafts from the ship; and hauling her up
to the shore at high-water mark, I made my
man Friday dig a little dock, just big enough to hold her, and just deep enough to
give her water enough to float in; and then, when the tide was out, we made a
strong dam across the end of it, to keep
the water out; and so she lay, dry as to the tide from the sea: and to keep the rain
off we laid a great many boughs of trees, so thick that she was as well thatched as a
house; and thus we waited for the months of
November and December, in which I designed to make my adventure.
When the settled season began to come in, as the thought of my design returned with
the fair weather, I was preparing daily for the voyage.
And the first thing I did was to lay by a certain quantity of provisions, being the
stores for our voyage; and intended in a week or a fortnight's time to open the
dock, and launch out our boat.
I was busy one morning upon something of this kind, when I called to Friday, and bid
him to go to the sea-shore and see if he could find a turtle or a tortoise, a thing
which we generally got once a week, for the sake of the eggs as well as the flesh.
Friday had not been long gone when he came running back, and flew over my outer wall
or fence, like one that felt not the ground or the steps he set his foot on; and before
I had time to speak to him he cries out to me, "O master!
O master! O sorrow!
O bad!"-"What's the matter, Friday?" says I.
"O yonder there," says he, "one, two, three canoes; one, two, three!" By this way of
speaking I concluded there were six; but on inquiry I found there were but three.
"Well, Friday," says I, "do not be frightened." So I heartened him up as well
as I could.
However, I saw the poor fellow was most terribly scared, for nothing ran in his
head but that they were come to look for him, and would cut him in pieces and eat
him; and the poor fellow trembled so that I scarcely knew what to do with him.
I comforted him as well as I could, and told him I was in as much danger as he, and
that they would eat me as well as him.
"But," says I, "Friday, we must resolve to fight them.
Can you fight, Friday?" "Me shoot," says he, "but there come many great number."
"No matter for that," said I again; "our guns will fright them that we do not kill."
So I asked him whether, if I resolved to
defend him, he would defend me, and stand by me, and do just as I bid him.
He said, "Me die when you bid die, master." So I went and fetched a good dram of rum
and gave him; for I had been so good a husband of my rum that I had a great deal
When we had drunk it, I made him take the two fowling-pieces, which we always
carried, and loaded them with large swan- shot, as big as small pistol-bullets.
Then I took four muskets, and loaded them with two slugs and five small bullets each;
and my two pistols I loaded with a brace of bullets each.
I hung my great sword, as usual, naked by my side, and gave Friday his hatchet.
When I had thus prepared myself, I took my perspective glass, and went up to the side
of the hill, to see what I could discover; and I found quickly by my glass that there
were one-and-twenty savages, three
prisoners, and three canoes; and that their whole business seemed to be the triumphant
banquet upon these three human bodies: a barbarous feast, indeed! but nothing more
than, as I had observed, was usual with them.
I observed also that they had landed, not where they had done when Friday made his
escape, but nearer to my creek, where the shore was low, and where a thick wood came
almost close down to the sea.
This, with the abhorrence of the inhuman errand these wretches came about, filled me
with such indignation that I came down again to Friday, and told him I was
resolved to go down to them and kill them all; and asked him if he would stand by me.
He had now got over his fright, and his spirits being a little raised with the dram
I had given him, he was very cheerful, and told me, as before, he would die when I bid
In this fit of fury I divided the arms which I had charged, as before, between us;
I gave Friday one pistol to stick in his girdle, and three guns upon his shoulder,
and I took one pistol and the other three
guns myself; and in this posture we marched out.
I took a small bottle of rum in my pocket, and gave Friday a large bag with more
powder and bullets; and as to orders, I charged him to keep close behind me, and
not to stir, or shoot, or do anything till
I bid him, and in the meantime not to speak a word.
In this posture I fetched a compass to my right hand of near a mile, as well to get
over the creek as to get into the wood, so that I could come within shot of them
before I should be discovered, which I had seen by my glass it was easy to do.
While I was making this march, my former thoughts returning, I began to abate my
resolution: I do not mean that I entertained any fear of their number, for
as they were naked, unarmed wretches, it is
certain I was superior to them-nay, though I had been alone.
But it occurred to my thoughts, what call, what occasion, much less what necessity I
was in to go and dip my hands in blood, to attack people who had neither done or
intended me any wrong? who, as to me, were
innocent, and whose barbarous customs were their own disaster, being in them a token,
indeed, of God's having left them, with the other nations of that part of the world, to
such stupidity, and to such inhuman
courses, but did not call me to take upon me to be a judge of their actions, much
less an executioner of His justice-that whenever He thought fit He would take the
cause into His own hands, and by national
vengeance punish them as a people for national crimes, but that, in the meantime,
it was none of my business-that it was true Friday might justify it, because he was a
declared enemy and in a state of war with
those very particular people, and it was lawful for him to attack them-but I could
not say the same with regard to myself.
These things were so warmly pressed upon my thoughts all the way as I went, that I
resolved I would only go and place myself near them that I might observe their
barbarous feast, and that I would act then
as God should direct; but that unless something offered that was more a call to
me than yet I knew of, I would not meddle with them.
With this resolution I entered the wood, and, with all possible wariness and
silence, Friday following close at my heels, I marched till I came to the skirts
of the wood on the side which was next to
them, only that one corner of the wood lay between me and them.
Here I called softly to Friday, and showing him a great tree which was just at the
corner of the wood, I bade him go to the tree, and bring me word if he could see
there plainly what they were doing.
He did so, and came immediately back to me, and told me they might be plainly viewed
there-that they were all about their fire, eating the flesh of one of their prisoners,
and that another lay bound upon the sand a
little from them, whom he said they would kill next; and this fired the very soul
within me.
He told me it was not one of their nation, but one of the bearded men he had told me
of, that came to their country in the boat.
I was filled with horror at the very naming of the white bearded man; and going to the
tree, I saw plainly by my glass a white man, who lay upon the beach of the sea with
his hands and his feet tied with flags, or
things like rushes, and that he was an European, and had clothes on.
There was another tree and a little thicket beyond it, about fifty yards nearer to them
than the place where I was, which, by going a little way about, I saw I might come at
undiscovered, and that then I should be
within half a shot of them; so I withheld my passion, though I was indeed enraged to
the highest degree; and going back about twenty paces, I got behind some bushes,
which held all the way till I came to the
other tree, and then came to a little rising ground, which gave me a full view of
them at the distance of about eighty yards.
I had now not a moment to lose, for nineteen of the dreadful wretches sat upon
the ground, all close huddled together, and had just sent the other two to butcher the
poor Christian, and bring him perhaps limb
by limb to their fire, and they were stooping down to untie the bands at his
feet. I turned to Friday.
"Now, Friday," said I, "do as I bid thee." Friday said he would.
"Then, Friday," says I, "do exactly as you see me do; fail in nothing." So I set down
one of the muskets and the fowling-piece upon the ground, and Friday did the like by
his, and with the other musket I took my
aim at the savages, bidding him to do the like; then asking him if he was ready, he
said, "Yes." "Then fire at them," said I; and at the same moment I fired also.
Friday took his aim so much better than I, that on the side that he shot he killed two
of them, and wounded three more; and on my side I killed one, and wounded two.
They were, you may be sure, in a dreadful consternation: and all of them that were
not hurt jumped upon their feet, but did not immediately know which way to run, or
which way to look, for they knew not from whence their destruction came.
Friday kept his eyes close upon me, that, as I had bid him, he might observe what I
did; so, as soon as the first shot was made, I threw down the piece, and took up
the fowling-piece, and Friday did the like;
he saw me cock and present; he did the same again.
"Are you ready, Friday?" said I. "Yes," says he.
"Let fly, then," says I, "in the name of God!" and with that I fired again among the
amazed wretches, and so did Friday; and as our pieces were now loaded with what I call
swan-shot, or small pistol-bullets, we
found only two drop; but so many were wounded that they ran about yelling and
screaming like mad creatures, all bloody, and most of them miserably wounded; whereof
three more fell quickly after, though not quite dead.
"Now, Friday," says I, laying down the discharged pieces, and taking up the musket
which was yet loaded, "follow me," which he did with a great deal of courage; upon
which I rushed out of the wood and showed myself, and Friday close at my foot.
As soon as I perceived they saw me, I shouted as loud as I could, and bade Friday
do so too, and running as fast as I could, which, by the way, was not very fast, being
loaded with arms as I was, I made directly
towards the poor victim, who was, as I said, lying upon the beach or shore,
between the place where they sat and the sea.
The two butchers who were just going to work with him had left him at the surprise
of our first fire, and fled in a terrible fright to the seaside, and had jumped into
a canoe, and three more of the rest made the same way.
I turned to Friday, and bade him step forwards and fire at them; he understood me
immediately, and running about forty yards, to be nearer them, he shot at them; and I
thought he had killed them all, for I saw
them all fall of a heap into the boat, though I saw two of them up again quickly;
however, he killed two of them, and wounded the third, so that he lay down in the
bottom of the boat as if he had been dead.
While my man Friday fired at them, I pulled out my knife and cut the flags that bound
the poor victim; and loosing his hands and feet, I lifted him up, and asked him in the
Portuguese tongue what he was.
He answered in Latin, Christianus; but was so weak and faint that he could scarce
stand or speak.
I took my bottle out of my pocket and gave it him, making signs that he should drink,
which he did; and I gave him a piece of bread, which he ate.
Then I asked him what countryman he was: and he said, Espagniole; and being a little
recovered, let me know, by all the signs he could possibly make, how much he was in my
debt for his deliverance.
"Seignior," said I, with as much Spanish as I could make up, "we will talk afterwards,
but we must fight now: if you have any strength left, take this pistol and sword,
and lay about you." He took them very
thankfully; and no sooner had he the arms in his hands, but, as if they had put new
vigour into him, he flew upon his murderers like a fury, and had cut two of them in
pieces in an instant; for the truth is, as
the whole was a surprise to them, so the poor creatures were so much frightened with
the noise of our pieces that they fell down for mere amazement and fear, and had no
more power to attempt their own escape than
their flesh had to resist our shot; and that was the case of those five that Friday
shot at in the boat; for as three of them fell with the hurt they received, so the
other two fell with the fright.
I kept my piece in my hand still without firing, being willing to keep my charge
ready, because I had given the Spaniard my pistol and sword: so I called to Friday,
and bade him run up to the tree from whence
we first fired, and fetch the arms which lay there that had been discharged, which
he did with great swiftness; and then giving him my musket, I sat down myself to
load all the rest again, and bade them come to me when they wanted.
While I was loading these pieces, there happened a fierce engagement between the
Spaniard and one of the savages, who made at him with one of their great wooden
swords, the weapon that was to have killed him before, if I had not prevented it.
The Spaniard, who was as bold and brave as could be imagined, though weak, had fought
the Indian a good while, and had cut two great wounds on his head; but the savage
being a stout, lusty fellow, closing in
with him, had thrown him down, being faint, and was wringing my sword out of his hand;
when the Spaniard, though undermost, wisely quitting the sword, drew the pistol from
his girdle, shot the savage through the
body, and killed him upon the spot, before I, who was running to help him, could come
near him.
Friday, being now left to his liberty, pursued the flying wretches, with no weapon
in his hand but his hatchet: and with that he despatched those three who as I said
before, were wounded at first, and fallen,
and all the rest he could come up with: and the Spaniard coming to me for a gun, I gave
him one of the fowling-pieces, with which he pursued two of the savages, and wounded
them both; but as he was not able to run,
they both got from him into the wood, where Friday pursued them, and killed one of
them, but the other was too nimble for him; and though he was wounded, yet had plunged
himself into the sea, and swam with all his
might off to those two who were left in the canoe; which three in the canoe, with one
wounded, that we knew not whether he died or no, were all that escaped our hands of
The account of the whole is as follows: Three killed at our first shot from the
tree; two killed at the next shot; two killed by Friday in the boat; two killed by
Friday of those at first wounded; one
killed by Friday in the wood; three killed by the Spaniard; four killed, being found
dropped here and there, of the wounds, or killed by Friday in his chase of them; four
escaped in the boat, whereof one wounded, if not dead-twenty-one in all.
Those that were in the canoe worked hard to get out of gun-shot, and though Friday made
two or three shots at them, I did not find that he hit any of them.
Friday would fain have had me take one of their canoes, and pursue them; and indeed I
was very anxious about their escape, lest, carrying the news home to their people,
they should come back perhaps with two or
three hundred of the canoes and devour us by mere multitude; so I consented to pursue
them by sea, and running to one of their canoes, I jumped in and bade Friday follow
me: but when I was in the canoe I was
surprised to find another poor creature lie there, bound hand and foot, as the Spaniard
was, for the slaughter, and almost dead with fear, not knowing what was the matter;
for he had not been able to look up over
the side of the boat, he was tied so hard neck and heels, and had been tied so long
that he had really but little life in him.
I immediately cut the twisted flags or rushes which they had bound him with, and
would have helped him up; but he could not stand or speak, but groaned most piteously,
believing, it seems, still, that he was only unbound in order to be killed.
When Friday came to him I bade him speak to him, and tell him of his deliverance; and
pulling out my bottle, made him give the poor wretch a dram, which, with the news of
his being delivered, revived him, and he sat up in the boat.
But when Friday came to hear him speak, and look in his face, it would have moved any
one to tears to have seen how Friday kissed him, embraced him, hugged him, cried,
laughed, hallooed, jumped about, danced,
sang; then cried again, wrung his hands, beat his own face and head; and then sang
and jumped about again like a distracted creature.
It was a good while before I could make him speak to me or tell me what was the matter;
but when he came a little to himself he told me that it was his father.
It is not easy for me to express how it moved me to see what ecstasy and filial
affection had worked in this poor savage at the sight of his father, and of his being
delivered from death; nor indeed can I
describe half the extravagances of his affection after this: for he went into the
boat and out of the boat a great many times: when he went in to him he would sit
down by him, open his breast, and hold his
father's head close to his bosom for many minutes together, to nourish it; then he
took his arms and ankles, which were numbed and stiff with the binding, and chafed and
rubbed them with his hands; and I,
perceiving what the case was, gave him some rum out of my bottle to rub them with,
which did them a great deal of good.
This affair put an end to our pursuit of the canoe with the other savages, who were
now almost out of sight; and it was happy for us that we did not, for it blew so hard
within two hours after, and before they
could be got a quarter of their way, and continued blowing so hard all night, and
that from the north-west, which was against them, that I could not suppose their boat
could live, or that they ever reached their own coast.
But to return to Friday; he was so busy about his father that I could not find in
my heart to take him off for some time; but after I thought he could leave him a
little, I called him to me, and he came
jumping and laughing, and pleased to the highest extreme: then I asked him if he had
given his father any bread.
He shook his head, and said, "None; ugly dog eat all up self." I then gave him a
cake of bread out of a little pouch I carried on purpose; I also gave him a dram
for himself; but he would not taste it, but carried it to his father.
I had in my pocket two or three bunches of raisins, so I gave him a handful of them
for his father.
He had no sooner given his father these raisins but I saw him come out of the boat,
and run away as if he had been bewitched, for he was the swiftest fellow on his feet
that ever I saw: I say, he ran at such a
rate that he was out of sight, as it were, in an instant; and though I called, and
hallooed out too after him, it was all one- away he went; and in a quarter of an hour I
saw him come back again, though not so fast
as he went; and as he came nearer I found his pace slacker, because he had something
in his hand.
When he came up to me I found he had been quite home for an earthen jug or pot, to
bring his father some fresh water, and that he had got two more cakes or loaves of
bread: the bread he gave me, but the water
he carried to his father; however, as I was very thirsty too, I took a little of it.
The water revived his father more than all the rum or spirits I had given him, for he
was fainting with thirst.
When his father had drunk, I called to him to know if there was any water left.
He said, "Yes"; and I bade him give it to the poor Spaniard, who was in as much want
of it as his father; and I sent one of the cakes that Friday brought to the Spaniard
too, who was indeed very weak, and was
reposing himself upon a green place under the shade of a tree; and whose limbs were
also very stiff, and very much swelled with the rude bandage he had been tied with.
When I saw that upon Friday's coming to him with the water he sat up and drank, and
took the bread and began to eat, I went to him and gave him a handful of raisins.
He looked up in my face with all the tokens of gratitude and thankfulness that could
appear in any countenance; but was so weak, notwithstanding he had so exerted himself
in the fight, that he could not stand up
upon his feet-he tried to do it two or three times, but was really not able, his
ankles were so swelled and so painful to him; so I bade him sit still, and caused
Friday to rub his ankles, and bathe them with rum, as he had done his father's.
I observed the poor affectionate creature, every two minutes, or perhaps less, all the
while he was here, turn his head about to see if his father was in the same place and
posture as he left him sitting; and at last
he found he was not to be seen; at which he started up, and, without speaking a word,
flew with that swiftness to him that one could scarce perceive his feet to touch the
ground as he went; but when he came, he
only found he had laid himself down to ease his limbs, so Friday came back to me
presently; and then I spoke to the Spaniard to let Friday help him up if he could, and
lead him to the boat, and then he should
carry him to our dwelling, where I would take care of him.
But Friday, a lusty, strong fellow, took the Spaniard upon his back, and carried him
away to the boat, and set him down softly upon the side or gunnel of the canoe, with
his feet in the inside of it; and then
lifting him quite in, he set him close to his father; and presently stepping out
again, launched the boat off, and paddled it along the shore faster than I could
walk, though the wind blew pretty hard too;
so he brought them both safe into our creek, and leaving them in the boat, ran
away to fetch the other canoe. As he passed me I spoke to him, and asked
him whither he went.
He told me, "Go fetch more boat;" so away he went like the wind, for sure never man
or horse ran like him; and he had the other canoe in the creek almost as soon as I got
to it by land; so he wafted me over, and
then went to help our new guests out of the boat, which he did; but they were neither
of them able to walk; so that poor Friday knew not what to do.
To remedy this, I went to work in my thought, and calling to Friday to bid them
sit down on the bank while he came to me, I soon made a kind of hand-barrow to lay them
on, and Friday and I carried them both up together upon it between us.
But when we got them to the outside of our wall, or fortification, we were at a worse
loss than before, for it was impossible to get them over, and I was resolved not to
break it down; so I set to work again, and
Friday and I, in about two hours' time, made a very handsome tent, covered with old
sails, and above that with boughs of trees, being in the space without our outward
fence and between that and the grove of
young wood which I had planted; and here we made them two beds of such things as I had-
viz. of good rice-straw, with blankets laid upon it to lie on, and another to cover
them, on each bed.
My island was now peopled, and I thought myself very rich in subjects; and it was a
merry reflection, which I frequently made, how like a king I looked.
First of all, the whole country was my own property, so that I had an undoubted right
of dominion.
Secondly, my people were perfectly subjected-I was absolutely lord and
lawgiver-they all owed their lives to me, and were ready to lay down their lives, if
there had been occasion for it, for me.
It was remarkable, too, I had but three subjects, and they were of three different
religions-my man Friday was a Protestant, his father was a Pagan and a cannibal, and
the Spaniard was a Papist.
However, I allowed liberty of conscience throughout my dominions.
But this is by the way.
As soon as I had secured my two weak, rescued prisoners, and given them shelter,
and a place to rest them upon, I began to think of making some provision for them;
and the first thing I did, I ordered Friday
to take a yearling goat, betwixt a kid and a goat, out of my particular flock, to be
killed; when I cut off the hinder-quarter, and chopping it into small pieces, I set
Friday to work to boiling and stewing, and
made them a very good dish, I assure you, of flesh and broth; and as I cooked it
without doors, for I made no fire within my inner wall, so I carried it all into the
new tent, and having set a table there for
them, I sat down, and ate my own dinner also with them, and, as well as I could,
cheered them and encouraged them.
Friday was my interpreter, especially to his father, and, indeed, to the Spaniard
too; for the Spaniard spoke the language of the savages pretty well.
After we had dined, or rather supped, I ordered Friday to take one of the canoes,
and go and fetch our muskets and other firearms, which, for want of time, we had
left upon the place of battle; and the next
day I ordered him to go and bury the dead bodies of the savages, which lay open to
the sun, and would presently be offensive.
I also ordered him to bury the horrid remains of their barbarous feast, which I
could not think of doing myself; nay, I could not bear to see them if I went that
way; all which he punctually performed, and
effaced the very appearance of the savages being there; so that when I went again, I
could scarce know where it was, otherwise than by the corner of the wood pointing to
the place.
I then began to enter into a little conversation with my two new subjects; and,
first, I set Friday to inquire of his father what he thought of the escape of the
savages in that canoe, and whether we might
expect a return of them, with a power too great for us to resist.
His first opinion was, that the savages in the boat never could live out the storm
which blew that night they went off, but must of necessity be drowned, or driven
south to those other shores, where they
were as sure to be devoured as they were to be drowned if they were cast away; but, as
to what they would do if they came safe on shore, he said he knew not; but it was his
opinion that they were so dreadfully
frightened with the manner of their being attacked, the noise, and the fire, that he
believed they would tell the people they were all killed by thunder and lightning,
not by the hand of man; and that the two which appeared-viz.
Friday and I-were two heavenly spirits, or furies, come down to destroy them, and not
men with weapons.
This, he said, he knew; because he heard them all cry out so, in their language, one
to another; for it was impossible for them to conceive that a man could dart fire, and
speak thunder, and kill at a distance,
without lifting up the hand, as was done now: and this old savage was in the right;
for, as I understood since, by other hands, the savages never attempted to go over to
the island afterwards, they were so
terrified with the accounts given by those four men (for it seems they did escape the
sea), that they believed whoever went to that enchanted island would be destroyed
with fire from the gods.
This, however, I knew not; and therefore was under continual apprehensions for a
good while, and kept always upon my guard, with all my army: for, as there were now
four of us, I would have ventured upon a
hundred of them, fairly in the open field, at any time.