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The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1808) by Daniel Defoe

Part 3 out of 11

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habitation, it became natural to me, and I seemed all the while I was
here to be, as it were, upon a journey, and from home: however, I
travelled along the shore of the sea towards the east, I suppose, about
twelve miles; and then setting up a great pole upon the shore for a
mark, I concluded I would go home again; and the next journey I took
should be on the other side of the island, east from my dwelling, and so
round, till I came to my post again: of which in its place.

I took another way to come back than that I went, thinking I could
easily keep all the island so much in my view, that I could not miss
finding my first dwelling by viewing the country; but I found myself
mistaken; for being come about two or three miles, I found myself
descended into a very large valley; but so surrounded with hills, and
those hills covered with woods, that I could not see which was my way by
any direction but that of the sun; nor even then, unless I knew very
well the position of the sun at that time of the day.

It happened, to my farther misfortune, that the weather proved hazy for
three or four days, while I was in this valley; and not being able to
see the sun, I wandered about very uncomfortably, and at last was
obliged to find out the sea-side, look for my post, and come back the
same way I went; and then by easy journies I turned homeward, the
weather being exceeding hot; and my gun, ammunition, hatchet, and other
things, very heavy.

In this journey my dog surprised a young kid, and seized upon it; and I
running in to take hold of it, caught it, and saved it alive from the
dog. I had a great mind to bring it home, if I could; for I had often
been musing whether it might not be possible to get a kid or two, and so
raise a breed of tame goats, which might supply me when my powder and
shot should be spent.

I made a collar for this little creature, and with a string which I made
of some rope-yarn, which I always carried about me, I led him along,
though with some difficulty, till I came to my bower, and there I
enclosed him, and left him; for I was very impatient to be at home, from
whence I had been absent above a month.

I cannot express what a satisfaction it was to me to come into my old
hutch, and lie down in my hammock-bed: this little wandering journey,
without a settled place of abode, had been so unpleasant to me that my
own house, as I called it to myself, was a perfect settlement to me,
compared to that; and it rendered every thing about me so comfortable,
that I resolved I would never go a great way from it again, while it
should be my lot to stay on the island.

I reposed myself here a week, to rest and regale myself after my long
journey; during which, most of the time was taken up in the weighty
affair of making a cage for my Pol, who began now to be a mere domestic,
and to be mighty well acquainted with me. Then I began to think of the
poor kid, which I had pent in within my little circle, and resolved to
go and fetch it home, and give it some food; accordingly I went, and
found it where I left it; for indeed it could not get out, but was
almost starved for want of food; I went and cut boughs of trees and
branches of such shrubs as I could find, and threw it over, and having
fed it, I tied it as I did before to lead it away; but it was so tame
with being hungry, that I had no need to have tied it; for it followed
me like a dog; and as I continually fed it, the creature became so
loving, so gentle, and so fond, that it became from that time one of my
domestics also, and would never leave me afterwards.

The rainy season of the autumnal equinox was now come, and I kept the
30th of September in the same solemn manner as before, being the
anniversary of my landing on the island, having now been there two
years, and no more prospect of being delivered than the first day I came
there. I spent the whole day in humble and thankful acknowledgments of
the many wonderful mercies which my solitary condition was attended
with, and without which it might have been infinitely more miserable. I
gave humble and hearty thanks, that God had been pleased to discover to
me even that it was possible I might be more happy in this solitary
condition than I should have been in a liberty of society, and in all
the pleasures of the world: that he could fully make up to me the
deficiencies of my solitary state, and the want of human society, by his
presence, and the communication of his grace to my soul, supporting,
comforting, and encouraging me to depend upon his providence here, and
hope for his eternal presence hereafter.

It was now that I began sensibly to feel how much more happy the life I
now led was, with all its miserable circumstances, than the wicked,
cursed, abominable life I led all the past part of my days; and now,
having changed both my sorrows and my joys, my very desires altered, my
affections changed their gust, and my delights were perfectly new from
what they were at first coming, or indeed for the two years past.

Before, as I walked about, either on my hunting, or for viewing the
country, the anguish of my soul at my condition would break out upon me
on a sudden, and my very heart would die within me, to think of the
woods, the mountains, the deserts I was in; and how I was a prisoner,
locked up with the eternal bars and bolts of the ocean, in an
uninhabited wilderness, without redemption. In the midst of the greatest
composures of my mind, this would break out upon me like a storm, and
made me wring my hands, and weep like a child. Sometimes it would take
me in the middle of my work, and I would immediately sit down and sigh,
and look upon the ground for an hour or two together, and this was still
worse to me; for if I could burst out into tears, or vent myself by
words, it would go off; and the grief, having exhausted itself,
would abate.

But now I began to exercise myself with new thoughts; I daily read the
word of God, and applied all the comforts of it to my present state. One
morning being very sad, I opened the Bible upon these words, "I will
never, never leave thee, nor forsake thee!" Immediately it occurred,
that these words were to me, why else should they be directed in such a
manner, just at the moment when I was mourning over my condition, as one
forsaken of God and man? "Well then," said I, "if God does not forsake
me, of what ill consequence can it be, or what matters it, though the
world should all forsake me; seeing, on the other hand, if I had all the
world, and should lose the favour and blessing of God, there would be no
comparison in the loss?"

From this moment I began to conclude in my mind, that it was possible
for me to be more happy in this forsaken, solitary condition, than it
was probable I should have ever been in any other particular state in
the world; and with this thought I was going to give thanks to God for
bringing me to this place.

I know not what it was, but something shocked my mind at that thought,
and I durst not speak the words, "How canst thou be such an hypocrite,"
said I, even audibly, "to pretend to be thankful for a condition, which,
however thou mayst endeavour to be contented with, thou wouldst rather
pray heartily to be delivered from?" So I stopped there; but though I
could not say I thanked God for being there, yet I sincerely gave
thanks to God for opening my eyes, by whatever afflicting providences,
to see the former condition, of my life, and to mourn for my wickedness,
and repent. I never opened the Bible, or shut it, but my very soul
within me blessed God for directing my friend in England, without any
order of mine, to pack it up among my goods; and for assisting me
afterwards to save it out of the wreck of the ship.

Thus, and in this disposition of mind, I began my third year; and though
I have not given the reader the trouble of so particular an account of
my works this year as at the first, yet in general it may be observed,
that I was very seldom idle; having regularly divided my time, according
to the several daily employments that were before me; such as, first, my
duty to God, and reading the Scriptures, which I constantly set apart
some time for, thrice, every day: secondly, the going abroad with my gun
for food, which generally took me up three hours every morning when it
did not rain: thirdly, the ordering, curing, preserving, and cooking
what I had killed or catched for my supply; these took up great part of
the day: also it is to be considered, that in the middle of the day,
when the sun was in the zenith, the violence of the heat was too great
to stir out; so that about four hours in the evening was all the time I
could be supposed to work in; with this exception, that sometimes I
changed my hours of hunting and working, and went to work in the
morning, and abroad with my gun in the afternoon.

To this short time allowed for labour, I desire may be added the
exceeding laboriousness of my work; the many hours, which for want of
tools, want of help, and want of skill, every thing that I did, took up
out of my time: for example, I was full two-and-forty days making me a
board for a long shelf, which I wanted in my cave; whereas two sawyers,
with their tools and saw-pit, would have cut six of them out of the same
tree in half a day.

My case was this: it was to be a large tree which was to be cut down,
because my board was to be a broad one. The tree I was three days a
cutting down, and two more cutting off the boughs, and reducing it to a
log, or piece of timber. With inexpressible hacking and hewing I reduced
both the sides of it into chips, till it began to be light enough to
move; then I turned it, and made one side of it smooth and flat, as a
board, from end to end: then turning that side downward, cut the other
side till I brought the plank to be about three inches thick, and smooth
on both sides. Any one may judge the labour of my hands in such a piece
of work; but labour and patience carried me through that and many other
things; I only observe this in particular, to shew the reason why so
much of my time went away with so little work, viz. that what might be a
little to be done with help and tools, was a vast labour, and required a
prodigious time to do alone, and by hand.

But notwithstanding this, with patience and labour, I went through many
things, and indeed ever thing that my circumstances made necessary for
me to do, as will appear by what follows.

I was now in the months of November and December, expecting my crop of
barley and rice. The ground I had manured or dug up for them was not
great; for, as I observed, my seed of each, was not above the quantity
of half a peck; for I had lost one whole crop by sowing in the dry
season; but now my crop promised very well, when on a sudden I found I
was in danger of losing it all again by enemies of several sorts, which
it was scarce possible to keep from it; as first, the goats, and wild
creatures which I called hares, which, tasting the sweetness of the
blade, lay in it night and day, as soon as it came up, and ate it so
close, that it could get no time to shoot up into stalks.

This I saw no remedy for, but by making an enclosure about it with a
hedge, which I did with a great deal of toil; and the more, because it
required a great deal of speed; the creatures daily spoiling my corn.
However, as my arable land was but small, suited to my crop, I got it
totally well fenced in about three weeks time, and shooting some of the
creatures in the day-time, I set my dog to guard it in the night, tying
him up to a stake at the gate, where he would stand and bark all night
long; so in a little time the enemies forsook the place, and the corn
grew very strong and well, and began to ripen apace.

But as the beasts ruined me before, while my corn was in the blade, so
the birds were as likely to ruin me now, when it was in the ear; for
going along by the place to see how it throve, I saw my little crop
surrounded with fowls of I know not how many sorts, which stood as it
were watching till I should be gone. I immediately let fly among them
(for I always had my gun with me.) I had no sooner shot, but there arose
up a little cloud of fowls, which I had not seen at all, from among the
corn itself.

This touched me sensibly; for I foresaw, that in a few days they would
devour all my hopes; that I should be starved, and never be able to
raise a crop at all; and what to do I could not tell: however, I
resolved not to lose my corn, if possible, though I should watch it
night and day. In the first place, I went among it to see what damage
was already done, and found they had spoiled a good deal of it; but
that, as it was yet too green for them, the loss was not so great, but
the remainder was like to be a good crop, if it could be saved.

I stayed by it to load my gun, and then coming away, I could easily see
the thieves sitting upon all the trees about me, as if they only waited
till I was gone away, and the event proved it to be so; for as I walked
off as if I was gone, I was no sooner out of their sight, but they
dropped down one by one into the corn again. I was so provoked, that I
could not have patience to stay till more came on, knowing that every
grain that they ate now was, as it might be said, a peck loaf to me in
the consequence; but coming up to the hedge, I fired again, and killed
three of them. This was what I wished for; so I took them up, and served
them as we serve notorious thieves in England, viz. hanged them in
chains for a terror to others. It is impossible to imagine almost, that
this should have such an effect as it had; for the fowls would not only
not come at the corn, but in short they forsook all that part of the
island, and I could never see a bird near the place as long as my
scarecrows hung there.

This I was very glad of, you may be sure; and about the latter end of
December, which was our second harvest of the year, I reaped my corn.

I was sadly put to it for a scythe or a sickle to cut it down, and all I
could do was to make one as well as I could out of one of the
broad-swords, or cutlasses, which I saved among the arms out of the
ship. However, as my crop was but small, I had no great difficulty to
cut it down: in short, I reaped it my way, for I cut nothing off but the
ears, and carried it away in a great basket which I had made, and so
rubbed it out with my hands: and at the end of all my harvesting I
found, that out of my half-peck of seed I had near two bushels of rice,
and above two bushels and a half of barley, that is to say, by my guess,
for I had no measure at that time.

However, this was a great encouragement to me; and I foresaw, that in
time it would please God to supply me with bread: and yet here I was
perplexed again; for I neither knew how to grind or make meal of my
corn, or indeed how to clean it and part it; nor, if made into meal, how
to make bread of it; and if how to make it, yet. I knew not how to bake
it. These things being added to my desire of having a good quantity for
store, and to secure a constant supply, I resolved not to taste any of
this crop, but to preserve it all for seed against the next season, and
in the meantime to employ all my study and hours of working to
accomplish this great work of providing myself with corn and bread.

It might be truly said, that I now worked for my bread. It is a little
wonderful, and what I believe few people have thought much upon; viz.
the strange multitude of little things necessary in the providing,
producing, curing, dressing, making, and finishing this one article
of bread.

I, that was reduced to a mere state of nature, found this to be my daily
discouragement, and was made more and more sensible of it every hour,
even after I got the first handful of seed corn, which, as I have said,
came up unexpectedly, and indeed to a surprise. First, I had no plough
to turn the earth, no spade or shovel to dig it. Well, this I conquered
by making a wooden spade, as I observed before; but this did my work but
in a wooden manner; and though it cost me a great many days to make it,
yet, for want of iron, it not only wore out the sooner, but made my work
the harder, and made it be performed much worse.

However, this I bore with too, and was content to work it out with
patience, and bear with the badness of the performance. When the corn
was sowed, I had no harrow, but was forced to go over it myself, and
drag a great heavy bough of a tree over it, to scratch the earth, as it
may be called, rather than rake or harrow it.

When it was growing or grown, I have observed already how many things I
wanted, to fence it, secure it, mow or reap it, cure or carry it home,
thresh, part it from the chaff, and save it. Then I wanted a mill to
grind it, sieves to dress it, yeast and salt to make it into bread, and
an oven to bake it in; and all these things I did without, as shall be
observed; and yet the corn was an inestimable comfort and advantage to
me too; but all this, as I said, made every thing laborious and tedious
to me, but that there was no help for; neither was my time so much loss
to me, because I had divided it; a certain part of it was every day
appointed to these works; and as I resolved to use none of the corn for
bread till I had a greater quantity by me, I had the next six months to
apply myself wholly by labour and invention, to furnish myself with
utensils proper for the performing all the operations necessary for the
making the corn, when I had it, fit for my use.

But first I was to prepare more land, for I had now seed enough to sow
above an acre of ground. Before I did this, I had a week's work at least
to make me a spade, which, when it was done, was a very sorry one
indeed, and very heavy, and required double labour to work with it;
however, I went through that, and sowed my seeds in two large flat
pieces of ground, as near my house as I could find them to my mind, and
fenced them in with a good hedge, the stakes of which were all cut off
that wood which I had set before, which I knew would grow; so that in
one year's time I knew I should have a quick or living hedge, that would
want but little repair. This work was not so little as to take me up
less than three months; because great part of that time was in the wet
season, when I could not go abroad.

Within-door, that is, when it rained, and I could not go out, I found
employment on the following occasion, always observing, that all the
while I was at work, I diverted myself with talking to my parrot, and
teaching him to speak; and I quickly learnt him to know his own name; at
last, to speak it out pretty loud, Pol; which was the first word I ever
heard spoken in the island by any mouth but my own. This therefore was
not my work, but an assistant to my work; for now, as I said, I had a
great employment upon my hands, as follows: viz. I had long studied, by
some means or other, to make myself some earthen vessels, which indeed I
wanted sorely, but knew not where to come at them: however, considering
the heat of the climate, I did not doubt but, if I could find out any
such clay, I might botch up some such pot as might, being dried by the
sun, be hard enough and strong enough to bear handling, and to hold any
thing that was dry, and required to be kept so; and as this was
necessary in preparing corn, meal, &c. which was the thing I was upon, I
resolved to make some as large as I could, and fit only to stand like
jars to hold what should be put into them.

It would make the reader pity me, or rather laugh at me, to tell how
many awkward ways I look to raise this paste, what odd misshapen ugly
things I made, how many of them fell in, and how many fell out, the clay
not being stiff enough to bear its own weight; how many cracked by the
over-violent heat of the sun, being set out too hastily; and how many
fell to pieces with only removing, as well before as after they were
dried; and, in a word, how, after having laboured hard to find the clay,
to dig it, to temper it, to bring it home, and work it, I could not make
above two large earthen ugly things, I cannot call them jars, in about
two months labour.

However, as the sun baked these two very dry and hard, I lifted them
very gently up and set them down again in two great wicker-baskets,
which I had made on purpose for them that they might not break; and, as
between the pot and the basket there was a little room to spare, I
stuffed it full of the rice and barley-straw; and these two pots being
to stand always dry, I thought would hold my dry corn, and perhaps the
meal when the corn was bruised.

Though I miscarried so much in my design for large pots, yet I made
several smaller things with better success; such as little round pots,
flat dishes, pitchers, and pipkins, and any thing my hand turned to; and
the heat of the sun baked them strangely hard.

But all this would not answer my end, which was to get an earthen pot to
hold what was liquid, and bear the fire, which none of these could do.
It happened after some time, making a pretty large fire for cooking my
meat, when I went to put it out, after I had done with it, I found a
broken piece of one of my earthenware vessels in the fire, burnt as hard
as a stone, and red as a tile. I was agreeably surprised to see it, and
said to myself, that certainly they might be made to burn whole, if they
would burn broken.

This set me to study how to order my fire, so as to make it burn me some
pots. I had no notion of a kiln such as the potters burn in, or of
glazing them with lead, though I had some lead to do it with; but I
placed three large pipkins, and two or three pots, in a pile one upon
another, and placed my fire-wood all round it with a great heap of
embers under them: I piled the fire with fresh fuel round the outside,
and upon the top, till I saw the pots in the inside red-hot quite
through, and observed that they did not crack at all: when I saw them
clear red, I let them stand in that heat about five or six hours, till I
found one of them, though it did not crack, did melt or run; for the
sand which was mixed with the clay melted by the violence of the heat,
and would have run into glass, if I had gone on; so I slacked my fire
gradually, till the pots began to abate of the red colour; and watching
them all night that I might not let the fire abate too fast, in the
morning I had three very good, I will not say handsome pipkins, and two
other earthen pots, as hard burnt as could be desired; and one of them
perfectly glazed with the running of the sand.

After this experiment I need not say that I wanted no sort of
earthenware for my use; but I must needs say, as to the shapes of them,
they were very indifferent, as any one may suppose, when I had no way of
making them, but as the children make dirt-pies, or as a woman would
make pies that never learnt to raise paste.

No joy at a thing of so mean a nature was ever equal to mine, when I
found I had made an earthen pot that would bear the fire; and I had
hardly patience to stay till they were cold, before I set one upon the
fire again with some water in it, to boil me some meat, which I did
admirably well; and with a piece of a kid I made some very good broth,
though I wanted oatmeal, and several other ingredients requisite to
make it so good as I would have had it.

My next concern was to get me a stone mortar to stamp or beat some corn
in; for as to the mill, there was no thought of arriving to that
perfection of art with one pair of hands. To supply this want, I was at
a great loss; for of all trades in the world I was as perfectly
unqualified for a stone-cutter, as for any whatever; neither had I any
tools to go about it with. I spent many a day to find out a great stone
big enough to cut hollow, and make fit for a mortar, and could find none
at all except what was in the solid rock, and which I had no way to dig
or cut out; nor indeed were the rocks in the island of hardness
sufficient, but were all of a sandy crumbling stone, which would neither
bear the weight of an heavy pestle, nor would break the corn without
filling it with sand; so, after a great deal of time lost in searching
for a stone, I gave it over, and resolved to look out a great block of
hard wood, which I found indeed much easier; and getting one as big as I
had strength to stir, I rounded it, and formed it on the outside with my
axe and hatchet; and then with the help of fire and infinite labour,
made an hollow place in it, as the Indians in Brasil make their canoes.
After this, I made a great heavy pestle or beater of the wood called the
iron-wood, and this I prepared and laid by against I had my next crop of
corn, when I proposed to myself to grind, or rather pound, my corn or
meal to make my bread.

My next difficulty was to make a sieve or searce, to dress my meal, and
part it from the bran and the husk, without which I did not see it
possible I could have any bread. This was a most difficult thing, so
much as but to think on; for to be sure I had nothing like the necessary
things to make it with; I mean fine thin canvass, or stuff, to searce
the meal through. And here I was at a full stop for many months; nor did
I really know what to do: linen I had none left but what was mere rags;
I had goat's hair, but neither knew I how to weave or spin it; and had
I known how, here were no tools to work it with. All the remedy that I
found for this, was, that at last I did remember I had among the
seamen's clothes which were saved out of the ship, some neckcloths of
calico or muslin; and with some pieces of these I made three small
sieves, but proper enough for the work; and thus I made shift for some
years; how I did afterwards, I shall shew in its place.

The baking part was the next thing to be considered, and how I should
make bread when I came to have corn; for, first, I had no yeast: as to
that part, there was no supplying the want, so I did not concern myself
much about it. But for an oven, I was indeed in great pain. At length I
found out an experiment for that also, which was this; I made some
earthen vessels very broad, but not deep; that is to say, about two feet
diameter, and not above nine inches deep; these I burnt in the fire, as
I had done the other, and laid them by; and when I wanted to bake, I
made a great fire upon the hearth, which I had paved with some square
tiles of my own making and burning also; but I should not call
them square.

When the fire-wood was burnt pretty much into embers, or live coals, I
drew them forward upon this hearth, so as to cover it all over; and
there I let them lie, till the hearth was very hot; then sweeping away
all the embers, I set down my loaf, or loaves; and whelming down the
earthen pot upon them, drew the embers all round the outside of the pot,
to keep in, and add to the heat; and thus, as well as in the best oven
in the world, I baked my barley-loaves, and became in a little time a
mere pastry-cook into the bargain; for I made myself several cakes of
the rice, and puddings; indeed I made no pies, neither had I any thing
to put into them, supposing I had, except the flesh either of fowls
or goats.

It need not be wondered at, if all these things took me up most part of
the third year of my abode here; for it is to be observed, that in the
intervals of these things I had my new harvest and husbandry to manage:
for I reaped my corn in its season, and carried it home as well as I
could, and laid it up in the ear, in my large baskets, till I had time
to rub it out; for I had no floor to thresh it on, or instrument to
thresh it with.

And now indeed my stock of corn increasing, I really wanted to build my
barns bigger: I wanted a place to lay it up in; for the increase of the
corn now yielded me so much, that I had of the barley about twenty
bushels, and of the rice as much, or more; insomuch that I now resolved
to begin to use it freely, for my bread had been quite gone a great
while; also I resolved to see what quantity would be sufficient for me a
whole year, and to sow but once a year.

Upon the whole, I found that the forty bushels of barley and rice were
much more than I could consume in a year: so I resolved to sow just the
same quantity every year that I sowed the last, in hopes that such a
quantity would fully provide me with bread, &c.

All the while these things were doing, you may be sure my thoughts ran
many times upon the prospect of land which I had seen from the other
side of the island; and I was not without secret wishes, that I was on
shore there, fancying that seeing the main land, and an inhabited
country, I might find some way or other to convey myself farther, and
perhaps at last find some means of escape.

But all this while I made no allowance for the dangers of such a
condition, and how I might fall into the hands of savages, and perhaps
such as I might have reason to think far worse than the lions and tigers
of Africa: that if I once came into their power, I should run an hazard
more than a thousand to one of being killed, and perhaps of being eaten;
for I had heard that the people of the Caribean coasts were cannibals,
or men-eaters; and I knew by the latitude that I could not be far off
from that shore: that, suppose they were not cannibals, yet they might
kill me, as many Europeans who had fallen into their hands had been
served, even when they had been ten or twenty together; much more I that
was but one, and could make little or no defence. All these things, I
say, which I ought to have considered well of, and I did cast up in my
thoughts afterwards, yet took none of my apprehensions at first; and my
head ran mightily upon the thoughts of getting over to that shore.

Now I wished for my boy Xury, and the long-boat, with the shoulder of
mutton sail, with which I sailed above a thousand miles on the coast of
Africa; but this was in vain. Then I thought I would go and look on our
ship's boat, which, as I have said, was blown up upon the shore a great
way in the storm, when we were first cast away. She lay almost where she
did at first, but not quite; and was turned by the force of the waves
and the winds almost bottom upwards, against the high ridge of a beachy
rough sand, but no water about her as before.

If I had had hands to have refitted her, and have launched her into the
water, the boat would have done well enough, and I might have gone back
into the Brasils with her easy enough; but I might have easily foreseen,
that I could no more turn her, and set her upright upon her bottom, than
I could remove the island. However, I went to the wood, and cut levers
and rollers, and brought them to the boat, resolving to try what I could
do; suggesting to myself, that if I could but turn her down, I might
easily repair the damage she had received, and she would be a very good
boat, and I might go to sea in her very easily.

I spared no pains indeed in this piece of fruitless toil, and spent, I
think, three or four weeks about it; at last finding it impossible to
heave it up with my little strength, I fell to digging away the sand to
undermine it; and so to make it fall down, setting pieces of wood to
thrust and guide it right in the fall.

But when I had done this, I was unable to stir it up again, or to get
under it, much less to move it forwards towards the water; so I was
forced to give it over: and yet, though I gave over the hopes of the
boat, my desire to venture over for the main increased, rather than
decreased, as the means for it seemed impossible.

This at length set me upon thinking whether it was not possible to make
myself a canoe or periagua, such as the natives of those climates make,
even without tools, or, as I might say, without hands, viz. of the trunk
of a great tree. This I not only thought possible, but easy: and pleased
myself extremely with my thoughts of making it, and with my having much
more convenience for it than any of the Negroes or Indians; but not at
all considering the particular inconveniences which I lay under more
than the Indians did, viz. want of hands to move it into the water, when
it was made; a difficulty much harder for me to surmount than all the
consequences of want of tools could be to them: for what was it to me,
that when I had chosen a vast tree in the woods, I might with great
trouble cut it down, if after I might be able with my tools to hew and
dub the outside into a proper shape of a boat, and burn or cut out the
inside to make it hollow, so to make a boat of it, if, after all this, I
must leave it just there where I found it, and was not able to launch it
into the water?

One would have thought I could not have had the least reflection upon my
mind of this circumstance, while I was making this boat, but I should
have immediately thought how I should get it into the sea; but my
thoughts were so intent upon my voyage over the sea in it, that I never
once considered how I should get it off the land; and it was really in
its own nature more easy for me to guide it over forty-five miles of
sea, than about forty-five fathoms of land, where it lay, to set it
afloat in the water.

I went to work upon this boat the most like a fool that ever man did,
who had any of his senses awake. I pleased myself with the design,
without determining whether I was ever able to undertake it; not but
that the difficulty of launching my boat came often into my head; but I
put a stop to my own inquiries into it by this foolish answer, which I
gave myself; Let me first make it, I'll warrant I'll find some way or
other to get it along, when it is done.

This was a most preposterous method; but the eagerness of my fancy
prevailed, and to work I went, and felled a cedar-tree: I question much
whether Solomon ever had such an one for the building the temple at
Jerusalem; it was five feet ten inches diameter at the lower part next
the stump, and four feet eleven inches diameter at the end of twenty-two
feet, after which it lessened for a while, and then parted into
branches. It was not without infinite labour that I felled this tree: I
was twenty days hacking and hewing at it at the bottom; I was fourteen
more getting the branches and limbs, and the vast spreading head of it,
cut off, which I hacked and hewed through with my axe and hatchet, with
inexpressible labour: after this it cost me a month to shape it, and dub
it to a proportion, and to something like the bottom of a boat, that it
might swim upright as it ought to do. It cost me near three months more
to clear the inside, and work it out so as to make an exact boat of it:
this I did indeed without fire, by mere mallet and chissel, and by the
dint of hard labour; till I had brought it to be a very handsome
periagua, and big enough to have carried six-and-twenty men, and
consequently big enough to have carried me and all my cargo.

When I had gone through this work, I was extremely delighted with it:
the boat was really much bigger than I ever saw a canoe or periagua,
that was made of one tree, in my life; many a weary stroke it had cost,
you may be sure, for there remained nothing but to get it into the
water; and had I gotten it into the water, I make no question but I
should have begun the maddest voyage, and the most unlikely to be
performed, that ever was undertaken.

But all my devices to get it into the water failed me, though they cost
infinite labour too; it lay about one hundred yards from the water, and
not more; but the first inconvenience was, it was up hill towards the
creek. Well, to take away this discouragement, I resolved to dig into
the surface of the earth, and so make a declivity; this I began, and it
cost me a prodigious deal of pains: but who grudge pains, that have
their deliverance in view? but when this was worked through, and this
difficulty managed, it was still much at one; for I could no more stir
the canoe, than I could the other boat.

Then I measured the distance of ground, and resolved to cut a dock, or
canal, to bring the water up to the canoe, seeing I could not bring the
canoe down to the water: well, I began this work, and when I began to
enter into it, and calculated how deep it was to be dug, how broad, how
the stuff to be thrown out, I found, that by the number of hands I had,
being none but my own, it must have been ten or twelve years before I
should have gone through with it; for the shore lay high, so that at the
upper end it must have been at least twenty feet deep: so at length,
though with great reluctancy, I gave this attempt over also.

This grieved me heartily; and now I saw, though too late, the folly of
beginning a work before we count the cost, and before we judge lightly
of our own strength to go through with it.

In the middle of this work I finished my fourth year in this place, and
kept my anniversary with the same devotion, and with as much comfort, as
ever before; for by a constant study, and serious application of the
word of God, and by the assistance of his grace, I gained a different
knowledge from what I had before; I entertained different notions of
things; I looked now upon the world as a thing remote; which I had
nothing to do with, no expectation from, and indeed no desires about: in
a word, I had nothing indeed to do with it, nor was ever like to have;
so I thought it looked as we may perhaps look upon it hereafter; viz. as
a place I had lived in, but was come out of it; and well I might say,
as father Abraham to Dives, "Between me and thee there is a great
gulf fixed."

In the first place, I was removed from all the wickedness of the world
here: I had neither the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the
pride of life: I had nothing to covet, for I had all I was now capable
of enjoying; I was lord of the whole manor, or, if I pleased, I might
call myself king or emperor over the whole country which I had
possession of: there were no rivals: I had no competitor, none to
dispute sovereignty or command with me; I might have raised
ship-loadings of corn, but I had no use for it; so I let as little grow
as I thought enough for my occasion: I had tortoises or turtles enough;
but now and then one was as much as I could put to any use: I had timber
enough to have built a fleet of ships; I had grapes enough to have made
wine, or to have cured into raisins, to have loaded that fleet when they
had been built.

But all I could make use of, was all that was valuable: I had enough to
eat, and to supply my wants, and what was all the rest to me? If I
killed more flesh than I could eat, the dog must eat it, or the vermin;
if I sowed more corn than I could eat, it must be spoiled. The trees
that I cut down were lying to rot on the ground, I could make no more
use of them, than for fuel; and that I had no occasion for, but to
dress my food.

In a word, the nature and experience of things dictated to me upon just
reflection, that all the good things of this world are no farther good
to us, than as they are for our use: and that whatever we may heap up
indeed to give to others, we enjoy as much as we can use, and no more.
The most covetous griping miser in the world would have been cured of
the vice of covetousness, if he had been in my case; for I possessed
infinitely more than I knew what to do with. I had no room for desire,
except it was of things which I had not, and they were but trifles,
though indeed of great use to me. I had, as I hinted before, a parcel
of money, as well gold as silver, about thirty-six pounds sterling;
alas! there the nasty, sorry, useless stuff lay; I had no manner of
business for it; and I often thought with myself, that I would have
given an handful of it for a gross of tobacco-pipes, or for an hand-mill
to grind my corn; nay, I would have given it all for six-penny-worth of
turnip and carrot seed out of England, or for an handful of peas and
beans, and a bottle of ink: as it was, I had not the least advantage by
it, or benefit from it; but there it lay in a drawer, and grew mouldy
with the damp of the cave, in the wet season; and if I had had the
drawer full of diamonds, it had been the same case; and they had been of
no manner of value to me, because of no use.

I had now brought my state of life to be much easier in itself than it
was at first, and much easier to my mind, as well as to my body. I
frequently sat down to my meat with thankfulness, and admired the hand
of God's providence, which had thus spread my table in the wilderness: I
learnt to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon
the dark side; and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I
wanted; and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot
express them; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented
people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God hath given
them, because they see and covet something that he has not given them:
all our discontents about what we want, appeared to me to spring from
the want of thankfulness for what we have.

Another reflection was of great use to me, and doubtless would be so to
any one that should fall into such distress as mine was; and this was,
to compare my present condition with what I at first expected it should
be; nay, with what it would certainly have been, if the good providence
of God had not wonderfully ordered the ship to be cast up near to the
shore, where I not only could come at her, but could bring what I got
out of her to the shore for my relief and comfort; without which I had
wanted tools to work, weapons for defence, or gunpowder and shot for
getting my food.

I spent whole hours, I may say whole days, in representing to myself in
the most lively colours, how I must have acted, if I had got nothing out
of the ship; how I could not have so much as got any food, except fish
and turtles; and that, as it was long before I found any of them, I must
have perished first: that I should have lived, if I had not perished,
like a mere savage: that if I had killed a goat or a fowl by any
contrivance, I had no way to flay or open them, or part the flesh from
the skin and the bowels, or to cut it up; but must gnaw it with my
teeth, and pull it with my claws, like a beast.

These reflections made me very sensible of the goodness of Providence to
me, and very thankful for my present condition, with all its hardships
and misfortunes: and this part also I cannot but recommend to the
reflection of those who are apt in their misery to say, Is any
affliction like mine? Let them consider, how much worse the cases of
some people are, and what their case might have been, if Providence had
thought fit.

I had another reflection which assisted me also to comfort my mind with
hopes; and this was, comparing my present condition with what I had
deserved, and had therefore reason to expect from the hand of
Providence. I had lived a dreadful life, perfectly destitute of the
knowledge and fear of God: I had been well instructed by father and
mother; neither had they been wanting to me in their early endeavours to
infuse a religious awe of God into my mind, a sense of my duty, and of
what the nature and end of my being required of me. But, alas! falling
early into the seafaring life, which of all the lives is the most
destitute of the fear of God, though his terrors are always before them;
I say, falling early into the seafaring life, and into seafaring
company, all that little sense of religion which I had entertained, was
laughed out of me by my messmates; by an hardened despising of dangers,
and the views of death, which grew habitual to me; by my long absence
from all manner of opportunities to converse with any thing but what was
like myself, or to hear any thing of what was good, or tended
towards it.

So void was I of every thing that was good, or of the least sense of
what I was, or was to be, that in the greatest deliverance I enjoyed,
such as my escape from Sallee, my being taken up by the Portuguese
master of the ship, my being planted so well in Brasil, my receiving the
cargo from England, and the like, I never once had the words, Thank God,
so much as on my mind, or in my mouth; nor in the greatest distress had
I so much thought as to pray to him; nor so much as to say, Lord, have
mercy upon me! no, not to mention the name of God, unless it was to
swear by, and blaspheme it.

I had terrible reflections upon my mind for many months, as I have
already observed, on the account of my wicked and hardened life past;
and when I looked about me, and considered what particular providences
had attended me, since my coming into this place, and how God had dealt
bountifully with me; had not only punished me less than my iniquity
deserved, but had so plentifully provided for me; this gave me great
hopes that my repentance was accepted, and that God had yet mercies in
store for me.

With these reflections I worked my mind up, not only to resignation to
the will of God in the present disposition of my circumstances, but even
to a sincere thankfulness of my condition; and that I, who was yet a
living man, ought not to complain, seeing I had not the due punishment
of my sins; that I enjoyed so many mercies, which I had no reason to
have expected in that place, that I ought never more to repine at my
condition, but to rejoice, and to give daily thanks, for that daily
bread, which nothing but a cloud of wonders could have brought: that I
ought to consider I had been fed even by a miracle, even as great as
that of feeding Elijah by ravens; nay, by a long series of miracles; and
that I could hardly have named a place in the uninhabited part of the
world, where I could have been cast more to my advantage: a place, where
as I had no society, which was my affliction on one hand, so I found no
ravenous beasts, no furious wolves or tigers, to threaten my life; no
venomous creatures, or poisonous, which I might have fed on to my hurt;
no savages to murder and devour me.

In a word, as my life was a life of sorrow one way, so it was a life of
mercy another; and I wanted nothing to make it a life of comfort, but to
be able to make my sense of God's goodness to me, and care over me in
this condition, be my daily consolation; and after I made a just
improvement of these things, I went away, and was no more sad.

I had now been here so long, that many things which I brought on shore
for my help, were either quite gone, or very much wasted, and
near spent.

My ink, as I observed, had been gone for some time, all but a very
little, which I eked out with water a little and a little, till it was
so pale it scarce left any appearance of black upon the paper: as long
as it lasted, I made use of it to minute down the days of the month on
which any remarkable thing happened to me; and first, by casting up
times past, I remember that there was a strange concurrence of days, in
the various providences which befel me, and which, if I had been
superstitiously inclined to observe days as fatal or fortunate, I might
have had reason to have looked upon with a great deal of curiosity.

First, I had observed, that the same day that I broke away from my
father and my friends, and ran away to Hull in order to go to sea, the
same day afterwards I was taken by the Sallee man of war, and made
a slave.

The same day of the year that I escaped out of the wreck of the ship in
Yarmouth Roads, that same day of the year afterwards I made my escape
from Sallee in the boat.

The same day of the year I was born on, viz. the 20th of September, the
same day I had my life so miraculously saved twenty-six years after,
when I was cast on shore in this island; so that my wicked life, and
solitary life, both began on a day.

The next thing to my ink's being wasted, was that of my bread, I mean
the biscuit which I brought out of the ship. This I had husbanded to the
last degree, allowing myself but one cake of bread a day, for above a
year: and yet I was quite without bread for a year before I got any corn
of my own: and great reason I had to be thankful that I had any at all,
the getting it being, as has been already observed, next to miraculous.

My clothes too began to decay mightily: as to linen, I had none a good
while, except some chequered shirts which I found in the chests of the
other seamen, and which I carefully preserved, because many times I
could bear no other clothes on but a shirt; and it was a very great help
to me, that I had among all the men's clothes of the ship almost three
dozen of shirts. There were also several thick watch-coats of the
seamen, which were left behind, but they were too hot to wear; and
though it is true, that the weather was so violent hot, that there was
no need of clothes, yet I could not go quite naked; no, though I had
been inclined to it, which I was not; nor could I abide the thought of
it, though I was all alone.

One reason why I could not go quite naked, was, I could not bear the
heat of the sun so well when quite naked as with some clothes on; nay,
the very heat frequently blistered my skin; whereas, with a shirt on,
the air itself made some motion, and whistling under the shirt, was
twofold cooler than without it: no more could I ever bring myself to go
out in the heat of the sun without a cap or a hat; the heat of the sun
beating with such violence as it does in that place, would give me the
headach presently, by darting so directly on my head, without a cap or
hat on, so that I could not bear it; whereas, if I put on my hat, it
would presently go away.

Upon these views I began to consider about putting the few rags I had,
which I called clothes, into some order; I had worn out all the
waistcoats I had, and my business was now to try if I could not make
jackets out of the great watch-coats which I had by me, and with such
other materials as I had; so I set to work a-tailoring, or rather indeed
a-botching; for I made most piteous work of it. However, I made shift to
make two or three waistcoats, which I hoped would serve me a great
while; as for breeches or drawers, I made but very sorry shift indeed,
till afterwards.

I have mentioned that I saved the skins of all the creatures that I
killed, I mean four-footed ones; and I had hung them up stretched out
with sticks in the sun; by which means some of them were so dry and
hard, that they were fit for little; but others, it seems, were very
useful. The first thing I made of these was a great cap for my head,
with the hair on the outside to shoot off the rain; and this I performed
so well, that after this I made a suit of clothes wholly of those skins;
that is to say, a waistcoat and breeches open at the knees, and both
loose; for they were rather wanted to keep me cool, than to keep me
warm. I must not omit to acknowledge, that they were wretchedly made;
for if I was a bad carpenter, I was a worse tailor; however, they were
such as I made a very good shift with; and when I was abroad, if it
happened to rain, the hair of the waistcoat and cap being outmost, I was
kept very dry.

After this I spent a deal of time and pains to make me an umbrella: I
was indeed in great want of one, and had a great mind to make one: I had
seen them made in the Brasils, where they are very useful in the great
heats which are there; and I felt the heats every jot as great here, and
greater too, being nearer the equinox; besides, as I was obliged to be
much abroad, it was a most useful thing to me, as well for the rains as
the heats. I took a world of pains at it, and was a great while before I
could make any thing likely to hold; nay, after I thought I had hit the
way, I spoiled two or three before I made one to my mind; but at last I
made one that answered indifferently well. The main difficulty I found
was to make it to let down: I could make it to spread; but if it did not
let down too, and draw in, it would not be portable for me any way, but
just over my head, which would not do. However, at last, as I said, I
made one to answer; I covered it with skins, the hair upwards, so that
it cast off the rain like a penthouse, and kept off the sun so
effectually, that I could walk out in the hottest of the weather, with
greater advantage than I could before in the coolest; and when I had no
need of it, I could close it, and carry it under my arm.

Thus I lived mighty comfortably, my mind being entirely composed by
resigning to the will of God, and throwing myself wholly upon the
disposal of his providence: this made my life better than sociable; for
when I began to regret the want of conversation, I would ask myself,
whether thus conversing mutually with my own thoughts, and, as I hope I
may say, with even my Maker, by ejaculations and petitions, was not
better than the utmost enjoyment of human society in the world?

I cannot say, that after this, for five years, any extraordinary thing
happened to me; but I lived on in the same course, in the same posture
and place, just as before. The chief thing I was employed in, besides my
yearly labour of planting my barley and rice, and curing my raisins, of
both which I always kept up just enough to have sufficient stock of the
year's provisions beforehand; I say, besides this yearly labour, and my
daily labour of going out with my gun, I had one labour to make me a
canoe, which at last I finished: so that by digging a canal to it, six
feet wide, and four feet deep, I brought it into the creek, almost half
a mile. As for the first, that was so vastly big, as I made it without
considering beforehand, as I ought to do, how I should be able to launch
it; so never being able to bring it to the water, or bring the water to
it, I was obliged to let it lie where it was, as a memorandum to teach
me to be wiser next time. Indeed the next time, though I could not get a
tree proper for it, and was in a place where I could not get the water
to it, at any less distance than, as I have said, of near half a mile;
yet as I saw it was practicable at last, I never gave it over; and
though I was near two years about it, yet I never grudged my labour, in
hopes of having a boat to go off to sea at last.

However, though my little periagua was finished, yet the size of it was
not at all answerable to the design which I had in view, when I made the
first; I mean of venturing over to the Terra Firma, where it was above
forty miles broad; accordingly, the smallness of my boat assisted to put
an end to that design, and now I thought no more of it. But as I had a
boat, my next design was to make a tour round the island: for as I had
been on the other side, in one place, crossing, as I have already
described it, over the land, so the discoveries I made in that journey
made me very eager to see the other parts of the coast; and now I had a
boat, I thought of nothing but sailing round the island.

For this purpose, and that I might do every thing with discretion and
consideration, I fitted up a little mast to my boat, and made a sail to
it out of some of the pieces of the ship's sails, which lay in store,
and of which I had a great store by me.

Having fitted my mast and sail, and tried the boat, I found she would
sail very well. Then I made little lockers and boxes at each end of my
boat, to put provisions, necessaries, and ammunition, &c. into, to be
kept dry, either from rain, or the spray of the sea; and a little long
hollow place I cut in the inside of the boat, where I could lay my gun,
making a flap to hang down over it to keep it dry.

I fixed my umbrella also in a step at the stern, like a mast, to stand
over my head, and keep the heat of the sun off me, like an awning; and
thus I every now and then took a little voyage upon the sea, but never
went far out, nor far from the little creek; but at last, being eager to
view the circumference of my little kingdom, I resolved upon my tour,
and accordingly I victualled my ship for the voyage; putting in two
dozen of my loaves (cakes I should rather call them) of barley-bread; an
earthen pot full of parched rice, a food I ate a great deal of, a little
bottle of rum, half a goat, and powder with shot for killing more, and
two large watch-coats, of those which, as I mentioned before, I had
saved out of the seamen's chests; these I took, one to lie upon, and the
other to cover me in the night.

It was the 6th of November, in the sixth year of my reign, or my
captivity, which you please, that I set out on this voyage, and I found
it much longer than I expected; for though the island itself was not
very large, yet when I came to the east side of it, I found a great
ledge of rocks lie out about two leagues into the sea, some above water,
some under it; and beyond this a shoal of sand, lying dry half a league
more; so that I was obliged to go a great way out to sea to double
that point.

When I first discovered them, I was going to give over my enterprise,
and come back again, not knowing how far it might oblige me to go out to
sea, and above all, doubting how I should get back again; so I came to
an anchor, for I had made me a kind of an anchor with a piece of broken
grappling which I got out of the ship.

Having secured my boat, I took my gun, and went on shore, climbing up an
hill, which seemed to over-look that point, where I saw the full extent
of it, and resolved to venture.

In my viewing the sea from that hill where I stood, I perceived a
strong, and indeed a most furious current, which ran to the east, even
came close to the point; and I took the more notice of it, because I
saw there might be some danger, that when I came into it, I might be
carried out to sea by the strength of it, and not be able to make the
island again. And indeed, had I not gotten first upon this hill, I
believe it would have been so; for there was the same current on the
other side of the island, only that it set off at a farther distance;
and I saw there was a strong eddy under the shore; so I had nothing to
do but to get out of the first current, and I should presently be in
an eddy.

I lay here, however, two days; because the wind blowing pretty fresh (at
E.S.E. and that being just contrary to the said current) made a great
breach of the sea upon the point; so that it was not safe for me to keep
too close to the shore for the breach, nor to go too far off because of
the stream.

The third day in the morning, the wind having abated over-night, the sea
was calm, and I ventured; but I am a warning-piece again to all rash and
ignorant pilots; for no sooner was I come to the point, when I was not
my boat's length from the shore, but I found myself in a great depth of
water, and a current like a sluice of a mill. It carried my boat along
with it with such violence, that all I could do could not keep her so
much as on the edge of it: but I found it hurried me farther and farther
out from the eddy, which was on the left hand. There was no wind
stirring to help me, and all that I could do with my paddles signified
nothing; and now I began to give myself over for lost; for, as the
current was on both sides the island, I knew in a few leagues distance
they must join again, and then I was irrecoverably gone; nor did I see
any possibility of avoiding it; so that I had no prospect before me but
of perishing; not by the sea, for that was calm enough, but of starving
for hunger. I had indeed found a tortoise on the shore, as big almost as
I could lift, and had tossed it into the boat; and I had a great jar of
fresh water, that is to say, one of my earthen pots; but what was all
this to being driven into the vast ocean, where, to be sure, there was
no shore, no main land or island, for a thousand leagues at least?

And now I saw how easy it was for the providence of God to make the most
miserable condition that mankind could be in, worse. Now I looked back
upon my desolate solitary island, as the most pleasant place in the
world, and all the happiness my heart could wish for, was to be there
again: I stretched out my hands to it with eager wishes; "O happy
desert!" said I, "I shall never see thee more! O miserable creature!"
said I, "whither am I going!" Then I reproached myself with my
unthankful temper, and how I had repined at my solitary condition; and
now what would I give to be on shore there again? Thus we never see the
true state of our condition, till it is illustrated to us by its
contraries; nor know how to value what we enjoy, but by the want of it.
It is scarce possible to imagine the consternation I was now in, being
driven from my beloved island (for so it appeared to me now to be) into
the wide ocean, almost two leagues, and in the utmost despair of ever
recovering it again: however, I worked hard, till indeed my strength was
almost exhausted; and kept my boat as much to the northward, that is,
towards the side of the current which the eddy lay on, as possibly I
could; when about noon, as the sun passed the meridian, I thought I felt
a little breeze of wind in my face, springing up from the S.S.E. This
cheered my heart a little, and especially when in about half an hour
more it blew a pretty small gentle gale. By this time I was gotten at a
frightful distance from the island; and, had the least cloud or hazy
weather intervened, I had been undone another way too; for I had no
compass on board, and should never have known how to have steered
towards the island, if I had but once lost sight of it; but the weather
continuing clear, I applied myself to get up my mast again, and spread
my sail, standing away to the north as much as possible, to get out of
the current.

Just as I had set my mast and sail, and the boat began to stretch away,
I saw even by the clearness of the water, some alteration of the current
was near; where the current was so strong, the water was foul; but
perceiving the water clear, I found the current abate, and presently I
found to the east, at about half a mile, a breach of the sea upon some
rocks: these rocks I found caused the current to part again; and as the
main stress of it ran away more southerly, leaving the rocks to the
north-east, so the other returned by the repulse of the rock, and made a
strong eddy, which ran back again to the north-west with a very
sharp stream.

They who know what it is to have a reprieve brought to them upon the
ladder, or to be rescued from thieves just going to murder them, or who
have been in such like extremities, may guess what my present surprise
of joy was, and how gladly I put my boat into the stream of this eddy;
and the wind also freshening, how gladly I spread my sail to it, running
cheerfully before the wind, and with a strong tide or eddy under foot.

This eddy carried me about a league in my way back again directly
towards the island, but about two leagues more towards the northward
than the current lay, which carried me away at first; so that when I
came near the island, I found myself open to the northern shore of it,
that is to say, the other end of the island, opposite to that which I
went out from.

When I had made something more than a league of way by the help of this
current or eddy, I found it was spent, and served me no farther. However
I found, that being between the two great currents, viz. that on the
south side which had hurried me away, and that on the north which lay
about two leagues on the other side; I say, between these two, in the
west of the island, I found the water at least still, and running no
way; and having still a breeze of wind fair for me, I kept on steering
directly for the island, though not making such fresh way as I
did before.

About four o'clock in the evening, being then within about a league of
the island, I found the point of the rocks which occasioned this
distance stretching out as is described before, to the southward, and
casting off the current more southwardly, had of course made another
eddy to the north; and this I found very strong, but directly setting
the way my course lay, which was due west, but almost full north.
However, having a fresh gale, I stretched across this eddy slanting
north-west, and in about an hour came within about a mile of the shore,
where, it being smooth water, I soon got to land.

When I was on shore, I fell on my knees, and gave God thanks for my
deliverance, resolving to lay aside all thoughts of my deliverance by my
boat; and refreshing myself with such things as I had, I brought my boat
close to the shore, in a little cove that I had espied under some trees,
and laid me down to sleep, being quite spent with the labour and fatigue
of the voyage.

I was now at a great loss which way to get home with my boat; I had run
so much hazard, and knew too much the case to think of attempting it by
the way I went out; and what might be at the other side (I mean the west
side) I knew not, nor had I any mind to run any more ventures; so I only
resolved in the morning to make my way westward along the shore, and to
see if there was no creek where I might lay up my frigate in safety, so
as to have her again if I wanted her. In about three miles, or
thereabouts, coasting the shore, I came to a very good inlet, or bay,
about a mile over, which narrowed till it came to a very little rivulet,
or brook, where I found a convenient harbour for my boat, and where she
lay as if she had been in a little dock made on purpose for her: here I
put in, and having stowed my boat very safe, I went on shore to look
about me, and see where I was.

I soon found I had but a little passed by the place where I had been
before when I travelled on foot to that shore; so taking nothing out of
my boat but my gun and my umbrella, for it was exceeding hot, I began my
march: the way was comfortable enough after such a voyage as I had been
upon, and I reached my old bower in the evening, where I found every
thing standing as I left it; for I always kept it in good order, being,
as I said before, my country-house.

I got over the fence, and laid me down in the shade to rest my limbs,
for I was very weary, and fell asleep: but judge you if you can, that
read my story, what a surprise I must be in when I was awaked out of my
sleep by a voice calling me by my name several times, "Robin, Robin,
Robin Crusoe, poor Robin Crusoe! Where are you, Robin Crusoe? Where are
you? Where have you been?"

I was so dead asleep at first, being fatigued with rowing, or paddling,
as it is called, the first part of the day, and walking the latter part,
that I did not awake thoroughly; and dozing between sleeping and waking,
thought I dreamed that somebody spoke to me: but as the voice continued
to repeat Robin Crusoe, Robin Crusoe; at last I began to awake more
perfectly, and was at first dreadfully frighted, and started up in the
utmost consternation: but no sooner were my eyes open, but I saw my Pol
sitting on the top of the hedge, and immediately knew that this was he
that spoke to me; for just in such bemoaning language I had used to talk
to him, and teach him; and he had learnt it so perfectly, that he would
sit upon my finger, and lay his bill close to my face, and cry, "Poor
Robin Crusoe, where are you? Where have you been? How came you here?"
and such things as I had taught him.

However, even though I knew it was the parrot, and that indeed it could
be nobody else, it was a good while before I could compose myself.
First, I was amazed how the creature got thither, and then how he should
just keep about the place, and no where else: but as I was well
satisfied it could be nobody but honest Poll, I got it over; and
holding out my Hand, and calling him by his Name Poll, the sociable
Creature came to me, and sat upon my Thumb, as he used to do, and
continued talking to me, Poor Robin Crusoe, and how did I come here? and
where had I been? just as if he had been overjoyed to see me again; and
so I carried him Home along with me.

I had now had enough of rambling to sea for some time, and had enough to
do for many days to sit still, and reflect upon the danger I had been
in: I would have been very glad to have had my boat again on my side of
the island; but I knew not how it was practicable to get it about as to
the east side of the island, which I had gone round; I knew well enough
there was no venturing that way; my very heart would shrink, and my very
blood run chill but to think of it: and as to the other side of the
island, I did not know how it might be there; but supposing the current
ran with the same force against the shore at the east as it passed by it
on the other, I might run the same risk of being driven down the stream,
and carried by the island, as I had been before, of being carried away
from it; so with these thoughts I contented my self to be without any
boat, though it had been the product of so many months labour to make
it, and of so many more to get it unto the sea.

In this government of my temper, I remained near a year, lived a very
sedate retired life, as you may well suppose; and my thoughts being very
much composed as to my condition, and fully comforted in resigning my
self to the dispositions of Providence, I thought I lived really very
happily in all things, except that of society.

I improved my self in this time in all the mechanic exercises which my
necessities put me upon applying my self to, and I believe could, upon
occasion, make a very good carpenter, especially considering how few
tools I had.

Besides this, I arrived at an unexpected perfection in my earthen ware,
and contrived well enough to make them with a wheel, which I found
infinitely easier and better; because I made things round and shapeable,
which before were filthy things indeed to look on. But I think I was
never more vain of my own performance, or more joyful for any thing I
found out, than for my being able to make a tobacco-pipe. And tho it was
a very ugly clumsy thing, when it was done, and only burnt red like
other earthen ware, yet as it was hard and firm, and would draw the
smoke, I was exceedingly comforted with it, for I had been always used
to smoke, and there were pipes in the ship, but I forgot them at first,
not knowing that there was tobacco in the island; and afterwards, when I
searched the ship again, I could not come at any pipes at all.

In my wicker ware also I improved much, and made abundance of necessary
baskets, as well as my invention shewed me, tho not very handsome, yet
they were such as were very handy and convenient for my laying things up
in, or fetching things home in. For example, if I killed a goat abroad,
I could hang it up in a tree, flea it, and dress it, and cut it in
pieces, and bring it home in a basket, and the like by a turtle, I could
cut it up, take out the eggs, and a piece or two of the flesh, which was
enough for me, and bring them home in a basket, and leave the rest
behind me. Also large deep baskets were my receivers for my corn, which
I always rubbed out as soon as it was dry, and cured, and kept it in
great baskets.

I began now to perceive my powder abated considerably, and this was a
want which it was impossible for me to supply, and I began seriously to
consider what I must do when I should have no more powder; that is to
say, how I should do to kill any goat. I had, as is observed in the
third year of my being here, kept a young kid, and bred her up tame, and
I was in hope of getting a he-goat, but I could not by any means bring
it to pass, 'till my kid grew an old goat; and I could never find in my
heart to kill her, till she dyed at last of mere age.

But being now in the eleventh year of my residence, and, as I have
said, my ammunition growing low, I set myself to study some art to trap
and snare the goats, to see whether I could not catch some of them
alive; and particularly I wanted a she-goat great with young.

To this purpose I made snares to hamper them; and believe they were more
than once taken in them; but my tackle was not good, for I had no wire,
and always found them broken, and my bait devoured.

At length I resolved to try a pitfall; so I dug several large pits in
the earth, in places where I had observed the goats used to feed, and
over these pits I placed hurdles of my own making too, with a great
weight upon them; and several times I put ears of barley, and dry rice,
without setting the trap; and I could easily perceive, that the goats
had gone in, and eaten up the corn, that I could see the mark of their
feet: at length, I set three traps in one night, and going the next
morning, I found them all standing, and yet the bait eaten and gone.
This was very discouraging; however, I altered my trap; and, not to
trouble you with particulars, going one morning to see my traps, I found
in one of them a large old he-goat; and, in one of the other, three
kids, a male and two females.

As to the old one, I knew not what to do with him; he was so fierce I
durst not go into the pit to him; that is to say, to go about to bring
him away alive, which was what I wanted; I could have killed him, but
that was not my business, nor would it answer my end; so I e'en let him
out, and he ran away as if he had been frightened out of his wits; but I
did not then know what I afterwards learnt, that hunger would tame a
lion: if I had let him stay there three or four days without food, and
then have carried him some water to drink, and then a little corn, he
would have been as tame as one of the kids; for they are mighty
sagacious tractable creatures, where they are well used.

However, for the present I let him go, knowing no better at that time;
then I went to the three kids; and, taking them one by one, I tied them
with strings together; and with some difficulty brought them all home.

It was a good while before they would feed; but throwing them some sweet
corn, it tempted them, and they began to be tame: and now I found, that
if I expected to supply myself with goat's flesh, when I had no powder
or shot left, breeding some up tame was my only way, when perhaps I
might have them about my house like a flock of sheep.

But then it presently occurred to me, that I must keep the tame from the
wild, or else they would always run wild when they grew up; and the only
way for this was to have some enclosed piece of ground, well fenced
either with hedge or pale, to keep them up so effectually, that those
within might not break out, or those without break in.

This was a great undertaking for one pair of hands; yet as I saw there
was an absolute necessity of doing it, my first piece of work was to
find out a proper piece of ground; viz. where there was likely to be
herbage for them to eat, water for them to drink, and cover to keep them
from the sun.

Those who understand such enclosures, will think I had very little
contrivance, when I pitched upon a place very proper for all these,
being a plain open piece of meadow-land or savanna (as our people call
it in the western colonies) which had two or three little drills of
fresh water in it, and at one end was very woody; I say they will smile
at my forecast, when I shall tell them I began my enclosing of this
piece of ground in such a manner, that my hedge or pale must have been
at least two miles about; nor was the madness of it so great as to the
compass; for if it was ten miles about, I was like to have time enough
to do it in; but I did not consider; that my goats would be as wild in
so much compass, as if they had had the whole island; and I should have
so much room to chase them in, that I should never catch them.

My hedge was begun and carried on, I believe, about fifty yards, when
this thought occurred to me; so I presently stopped short, and for the
first beginning I resolved to enclose a piece of about one hundred and
fifty yards in length, and one hundred yards in breadth, which as it
would maintain as many as I should have in any reasonable time, so, as
my flock increased, I could add more ground to my enclosure.

This was acting with some prudence, and I went to work with courage. I
was about three months hedging in the first piece; and, till I had done
it, I tethered the three kids in the best part of it, and used them to
feed as near me as possible, to make them familiar; and very often I
would go and carry them some ears of barley, or a handful of rice, and
feed them out of my hand; so that after my enclosure was finished, and I
let them loose, they would follow me up and down, bleating after me for
a handful of corn.

This answered my end, and in about a year and a half I had a flock of
about twelve goats, kids and all; and in two years more I had
three-and-forty, besides several that I took and killed for my food; and
after that I enclosed five several pieces of ground to feed them in,
with little pens to drive them into, to take them as I wanted them; and
gates out of one piece of ground into another.

But this was not all; for now I not only had goat's flesh to feed on
when I pleased, but milk too, a thing which indeed in my beginning I did
not so much as think of, and which, when it came into my thoughts, was
really an agreeable surprise; for now I set up my dairy, and had
sometimes a gallon or two of milk in a day. And as nature, who gives
supplies of food to every creature, dictates even naturally how to make
use of it; so I, that never milked a cow, much less a goat, or saw
butter or cheese made, very readily and handily, though after a great
many essays and miscarriages, made me both butter and cheese at last,
and never wanted it afterwards.

How mercifully can our great Creator treat his creatures, even in those
conditions in which they seemed to be overwhelmed in destruction! How
can he sweeten the bitterest providences, and give us cause to praise
him for dungeons and prisons! What a table was here spread for me in a
wilderness, where I saw nothing at first but to perish for hunger!

It would have made a stoic smile, to have seen me and my little family
sit down to dinner: there was my majesty, the prince and lord of the
whole island; I had the lives of all my subjects at absolute command; I
could hang, draw, give life and liberty, and take it away, and no rebels
among all my subjects.

Then to see how like a king I dined too, all alone, attended by my
servants! Pol, as if he had been my favourite, as the only person
permitted to talk to me; my dog, which was now grown very old and crazy,
and found no species to multiply his kind upon, sat always at my right
hand; and two cats, one on one side the table, and one on the other,
expecting now and then a bit from my hand, as a mark of special favour.

But these were not the two cats which I brought on shore at first; for
they were both of them dead, and had been interred near my habitation by
my own hands; but one of them having multiplied by I know not what kind
of creature, these were two which I preserved tame, whereas the rest ran
wild into the woods, and became indeed troublesome to me at last; for
they would often come into my house, and plunder me too, till at last I
was obliged to shoot them, and did kill a great many: at length they
left me. With this attendance, and in this plentiful manner, I lived;
neither could I be said to want any thing but society, and of that, in
some time after this, I was like to have too much.

I was something impatient, as I had observed, to have the use of my
boat, though very loath to run any more hazard; and therefore sometimes
I sat contriving ways to get her about the island, and at other times I
sat myself down contented enough without her. But I had a strange
uneasiness in my mind to go down to the point of the island, where, as I
have said in my last ramble, I went up the hill to see how the shore
lay, and how the current set, that I might see what I had to do. This
inclination increased upon me every day, and at length I resolved to
travel thither by land, and following the edge of the shore, I did so;
but had any one in England been to meet such a man as I was, it must
either have frighted them, or raised a great deal of laughter; and as I
frequently stood still to look at myself, I could not but smile at the
notion of my travelling through Yorkshire with such an equipage, and in
such a dress. Be pleased to take a sketch of my figure as follows:

I had a great high shapeless cap, made of goat's skin, with a flap
hanging down behind, as well to keep the sun from me, as to shoot the
rain off from running into my neck; nothing being so hurtful in these
climates, as the rain upon the flesh under the clothes.

I had a short jacket of goat's skin, the skirts coming down to about the
middle of my thighs; and a pair of open-kneed breeches of the same; the
breeches were made of a skin of an old he-goat, whose hair hung down
such a length on either side, that, like pantaloons, it reached to the
middle of my legs. Stockings and shoes I had none; but I had made me a
pair of something, I scarce knew what to call them, like buskins, to
flap over my legs, and lace on either side like spatterdashes; but of a
most barbarous shape, as indeed were all the rest of my clothes.

I had on a broad belt of goat's skin dried, which I drew together with
two thongs of the same, instead of buckles; and in a kind of a frog on
either side of this, instead of a sword and dagger, hung a little saw
and a hatchet; one on one side, one on the other: I had another belt not
so broad, and fastened in the same manner, which hung over my shoulder;
and at the end of it, under my left arm, hung two pouches, both made of
goat's skin too; in one of which hung my powder, in the other my shot:
at my back I carried my basket, on my shoulder my gun, and over my head
a great clumsy ugly goat's skin umbrella; but which, after all, was the
most necessary thing I had about me, next to my gun. As for my face, the
colour of it was really not so Mulatto-like as one might expect from a
man not at all careful of it, and living within nine or ten degrees of
the equinox. My beard I had once suffered to grow till it was about a
quarter of a yard long; but as I had both scissars and razors
sufficient, I had cut it pretty short, except what grew on my upper lip,
which I had trimmed into a large pair of Mahometan whiskers, such as I
had seen worn by some Turks whom I saw at Sallee; for the Moors did not
wear such, though the Turks did: of these mustachios, or whiskers, I
will not say they were long enough to hang my hat upon them; but they
were of length and shape monstrous enough, and such as in England would
have passed for frightful.

But all this is by the by; for as to my figure, I had so few to observe
me, that it was of no manner of consequence; so I say no more to that
part. In this kind of figure I went my new journey, and was out five or
six days. I travelled first along the sea shore, directly to the place
where I first brought my boat to an anchor, to get up upon the rocks;
and, having no boat now to take care of, I went over the land a nearer
way, to the same height that I was upon before; when looking forward to
the point of the rock which lay out, and which I was to double with my
boat, as I said above, I was surprised to see the sea all smooth and
quiet; no rippling, no motion, no current, any more there than in
other places.

I was at a strange loss to understand this, and resolved to spend some
time in the observing of it, to see if nothing from the sets of the tide
had occasioned it: but I was presently convinced how it was; viz. that
the tide of ebb setting from the west, and joining with the current of
waters from some great river on the shore, must be the occasion of this
current, and that according as the wind blew more forcible from the
west, or from the north, this current came near, or went farther from
the shore; for, waiting thereabouts till evening, I went up to the rock
again, and then the tide of the ebb being made, I plainly saw the
current again as before, only that it ran farther off, being near half a
league from the shore; whereas, in my case, it set close upon the shore,
and hurried me in my canoe along with it, which at another time it would
not have done.

This observation convinced me, that I had nothing to do but to observe
the ebbing and the flowing of the tide, and I might very easily bring my
boat about the island again: but when I began to think of putting it in
practice, I had such a terror upon my spirits at the remembrance of the
danger I had been in, that I could not think of it again with any
patience; but on the contrary, I took up another resolution, which was
more safe, though more laborious; and this was, that I would build, or
rather make me another periagua, or canoe; and so have one for one side
of the island, and one for the other.

You are to understand, that now I had, as I may call it, two plantations
in the island; one my little fortification or tent, with the wall about
it under the rock, with the cave behind me, which by this time I had
enlarged into several apartments or caves, one within another. One of
these, which was the driest and largest, and had a door out beyond my
wall or fortification, that is to say, beyond where my wall joined to
the rock, was all filled up with large earthen pots, of which I have
given an account, and with fourteen or fifteen great baskets, which
would hold five or six bushels each, where I laid up my stores of
provision, especially my corn, some in the ear cut off short from the
straw, and the other rubbed out with my hands.

As for my wall, made as before, with long stakes or piles, those piles
grew all like trees, and were by this time grown so big, and spread so
very much, that there was not the least appearance, to any one's view,
of any habitation behind them.

Near this dwelling of mine, but a little farther within the land, and
upon lower ground, lay my two pieces of corn-ground; which I kept duly
cultivated and sowed, and which duly yielded me their harvest in its
season: and whenever I had occasion for more corn, I had more land
adjoining as fit as that.

Besides this I had my country-seat, and I had now a tolerable plantation
there also; for first, I had my little bower, as I called it, which I
kept in repair; that is to say, I kept the hedge which circled it in
constantly fitted up to its usual height, the ladder standing always in
the inside; I kept the trees, which at first were no more than my
stakes, but were now grown very firm and tall; I kept them always so
cut, that they might spread and grow thick and wild, and make the more
agreeable shade, which they did effectually to my mind. In the middle of
this I had my tent always standing, being a piece of a sail spread over
poles set up for that purpose, and which never wanted any repair or
renewing; and under this I had made me a squab or couch, with the skins
of the creatures I had killed, and with other soft things, and a blanket
laid on them, such as belonged to our sea-bedding, which I had saved,
and a great watch-coat to cover me; and here, whenever I had occasion to
be absent from my chief seat, I took up my country habitation.

Adjoining to this I had my enclosures for my cattle, that is to say, my
goats: and as I had taken an inconceivable deal of pains to fence and
enclose this ground, I was so uneasy to see it kept entire, lest the
goats should break through, that I never left off, till with infinite
labour I had stuck the outside of the hedge so full of small stakes, and
so near to one another, that it was rather a pale than a hedge, and
there was scarce room to put a hand through between them, which
afterwards, when those stakes grew, as they all did in the next rainy
season, made the enclosure strong, like a wall, indeed stronger than
any wall.

This will testify for me that I was not idle, and that I spared no pains
to bring to pass whatever appeared necessary for my comfortable support;
for I considered the keeping up a breed of tame creatures thus at my
hand, would be a living magazine of flesh, milk, butter, and cheese, for
me as long as I lived in the place, if it were to be forty years; and
that keeping them in my reach, depended entirely upon my perfecting my
enclosures to such a degree, that I might be sure of keeping them
together; which by this method indeed I so effectually secured, that
when these little stakes began to grow, I had planted them so very
thick, I was forced to pull some of them up again.

In this place also I had my grapes growing, which I principally depended
on for my winter store of raisins, and which I never failed to preserve
very carefully, as the best and most agreeable dainty of my whole diet;
and indeed they were not agreeable only, but physical, wholesome,
nourishing, and refreshing to the last degree.

As this was also about half way between my other habitation and the
place where I had laid up my boat, I generally staid and lay here in my
way thither; for I used frequently to visit my boat, and I kept all
things about or belonging to her in very good order: sometimes I went
out in her to divert myself, but no more hazardous voyages would I go,
nor scarce ever above a stone's cast or two from the shore, I was so
apprehensive of being hurried out of my knowledge again by the currents,
or winds, or any other accident. But now I come to a new scene of
my life.

It happened one day about noon, going towards my boat, I was exceedingly
surprised with the print of a man's naked foot on the shore, which was
very plain to be seen in the sand: I stood like one thunder-struck, or
as if I had seen an apparition; I listened, I looked round me, I could
hear nothing, nor see any thing; I went up to a rising ground to look
farther: I went up the shore, and down the shore, but it was all one, I
could see no other impression but that one; I went to it again to see if
there were any more, and to observe if it might not be my fancy; but
there was no room for that, for there was exactly the very print of a
foot, toes, heel, and every part of a foot; how it came thither I knew
not, nor could in the least imagine. But after innumerable fluttering
thoughts, like a man perfectly confused, and out of myself, I came home
to my mortification, not feeling, as we say, the ground I went on, but
terrified to the last degree, looking behind me at every two or three
steps, mistaking every bush and tree, and fancying every stump at a
distance to be a man; nor is it possible to describe how many various
shapes an affrighted imagination represented things to me in; how many
wild ideas were formed every moment in my fancy, and what strange
unaccountable whimsies came into my thoughts by the way.

When I came to my castle, for so I think I called it ever after this, I
fled into it like one pursued; whether I went over by the ladder, as
first contrived, or went in at the hole in the rock, which I called a
door, I cannot remember; for never frighted hare fled to cover, or fox
to earth, with more terror of mind than I to this retreat.

I had no sleep that night: the farther I was from the occasion of my
fright, the greater my apprehensions were; which is something contrary
to the nature of such things, and especially to the usual practice of
all creatures in fear. But I was so embarrassed with my own frightful
ideas of the thing, that I formed nothing but dismal imaginations to
myself, even though I was now a great way off it. Sometimes I fancied it
must be the devil; and reason joined in with me upon this supposition.
For how should any other thing in human shape come into the place? Where
was the vessel that brought them? What marks were there of any other
footsteps? And how was it possible a man should come there? But then to
think that Satan should take human shape upon him in such a place where
there could be no manner of occasion for it, but to leave the print of
his foot behind him, and that even for no purpose too (for he could not
be sure I should see it:) this was an amazement the other way: I
considered that the devil might have found out abundance of other ways
to have terrified me, than this of the single print of a foot; that as I
lived quite on the other side of the island, he would never have been so
simple to leave a mark in a place where it was ten thousand to one
whether I should ever see it or not, and in the sand too, which the
first surge of the sea upon an high wind would have defaced entirely.
All this seemed inconsistent with the thing itself, and with all notions
we usually entertain of the subtlety of the devil.

Abundance of such things as these assisted to argue me out of all
apprehensions of its being the devil. And I presently concluded that it
must be some more dangerous creature; viz. that it must be some of the
savages of the main land over-against me, who had wandered out to sea in
their canoes, and, either driven by the currents, or by contrary winds,
had made the island, and had been on shore, but were gone away again to
sea, being as loath, perhaps, to have staid in this desolate island, as
I would have been to have had them.

While these reflections were rolling upon my mind, I was very thankful
in my thought, that I was so happy as not to be thereabouts at that
time, or that they did not see my boat, by which they would have
concluded, that some inhabitants had been in the place, and perhaps have
searched farther for me. Then terrible thoughts racked my imaginations
about their having found my boat, and that there were people here; and
that if so, I should certainly have them come again in greater numbers,
and devour me; that if it should happen so that they should not find me,
yet they would find my enclosure, destroy all my corn, carry away all
my flock of tame goats, and I should perish at last for mere want.

Thus my fear banished all my religious hope; all that former confidence
in God, which was founded upon such wonderful experience as I had had of
his goodness, now vanished; as if he that had fed me by miracle
hitherto, could not preserve by his power the provision which he had
made for me by his goodness. I reproached myself with my uneasiness,
that I would not sow any more corn one year, than would just serve me
till the next season, as if no accident could intervene, to prevent my
enjoying the crop that was upon the ground. And this I thought so just a
reproof, that I resolved for the future to have two or three years corn
beforehand, so that, whatever might come, I might not perish for want
of bread.

How strange a chequer-work of Providence is the life of man! And by what
secret differing springs are the affections hurried about, as differing
circumstances present! To-day we love what to-morrow we hate; to-day we
seek what to-morrow we shun; to-day we desire what to-morrow we fear;
nay, even tremble at the apprehensions of. This was exemplified in me at
this time in the most lively manner imaginable; for I, whose only
affliction was, that I seemed banished from human society, that I was
alone, circumscribed by the boundless ocean, cut off from mankind, and
condemned to what I call a silent life; that I was as one whom Heaven
thought not worthy to be numbered among the living, or to appear among
the rest of his creatures; that to have seen one of my own species,
would have seemed to me a raising me from death to life, and the
greatest blessing that Heaven itself, next to the supreme blessing of
salvation, could bestow; I say, that I should now tremble at the very
apprehensions of seeing a man, and was ready to sink into the ground, at
but the shadow, or silent appearance of a man's having set his foot on
the island.

Such is the uneven state of human life; and it afforded me a great many
curious speculations afterwards, when I had a little recovered my first
surprise: I considered that this was the station of life the infinitely
wise and good providence of God had determined for me; that as I could
not foresee what the ends of divine wisdom might be in all this, so I
was not to dispute his sovereignty, who, as I was his creature, had an
undoubted right by creation to govern and dispose of me absolutely as he
thought fit; and who, as I was a creature who had offended him, had
likewise a judicial right to condemn me to what punishment he thought
fit; and that it was my part to submit to bear his indignation, because
I had sinned against him.

I then reflected, that God, who was not only righteous, but omnipotent,
as he had thought fit thus to punish and afflict me, so he was able to
deliver me; that if he did not think fit to do it, it was my
unquestioned duty to resign myself absolutely and entirely to his will;
and, on the other hand, it was my duty also to hope in him, pray to him,
and quietly to attend the dictates and directions of his daily

These thoughts took me up many hours, days, nay, I may say, weeks and
months; and one particular effect of my cogitations on this occasion I
cannot omit; viz. one morning early, lying in my bed, and filled with
thoughts about my danger from the appearance of savages, I found it
discomposed me very much; upon which those words of the Scripture came
into my thoughts, "Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will
deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me."

Upon this, rising cheerfully out of my bed, my heart was not only
comforted, but I was guided and encouraged to pray earnestly to God for
deliverance. When I had done praying, I took up my Bible, and opening it
to read, the first words that presented to me were, "Wait on the Lord,
and be of good cheer, and he shall strengthen thy heart: Wait, I say, on
the Lord." It is impossible to express the comfort this gave me; and in
return, I thankfully laid down the book, and was no more sad, at least,
not on that occasion.

In the middle of these cogitations, apprehensions, and reflections, it
came into my thoughts one day, that all this might be a mere chimera of
my own, and that this foot might be the print of my own foot, when I
came on shore from my boat. This cheered me up a little too, and I began
to persuade myself it was all a delusion; that it was nothing else but
my own foot; and why might not I come that way from the boat, as well as
I was going that way to the boat? Again, I considered also, that I could
by no means tell for certain where I had trod, and where I had not; and
that if at last this was only the print of my own foot, I had played the
part of those fools, who strive to make stories of spectres and
apparitions, and then are themselves frighted at them more than any
body else.

Now I began to take courage, and to peep abroad again; for I had not
stirred out of my castle for three days and nights, so that I began to
starve for provision; for I had little or nothing within doors, but some
barley-cakes and water. Then I knew that my goats wanted to be milked
too, which usually was my evening diversion; and the poor creatures were
in great pain and inconvenience for want of it; and indeed it almost
spoiled some of them, and almost dried up their milk.

Heartening myself therefore with the belief, that this was nothing but
the print of one of my own feet (and so I might be truly said to start
at my own shadow), I began to go abroad again, and went to my
country-house to milk my flock: but to see with what fear I went
forward, how often I looked behind me, how I was ready, every now and
then, to lay down my basket, and run for my life; it would have made any
one have thought I was haunted with an evil conscience, or that I had
been lately most terribly frighted; and so indeed I had.

However, as I went down thus two or three days, and having seen nothing,
I began to be a little bolder, and to think there was really nothing in
it but my own imagination; but I could not persuade myself fully of
this, till I should go down to the shore again, and see this print of a
foot, and measure it by my own, and see if there was any similitude or
fitness, that I might be assured it was my own foot. But when I came to
the place first, it appeared evidently to me, that when I laid up my
boat, I could not possibly be on shore any where thereabouts. Secondly,
when I came to measure the mark with my own foot, I found my foot not so
large by a great deal. Both these things filled my head with new
imaginations, and gave me the vapours again to the highest degree; so
that I shook with cold, like one in an ague, and I went home again,
filled with the belief, that some man or men had been on shore there;
or, in short, that the island was inhabited, and I might be surprised
before I was aware; and what course to take for my security, I knew not.

O what ridiculous resolutions men take, when possessed with fear! It
deprives them of the use of those means which reason offers for their
relief. The first thing I proposed to myself was, to throw down my
enclosures, and turn all my tame cattle wild into the woods, that the
enemy might not find them, and then frequent the island in prospect of
the same, or the like booty; then to the simple thing of digging up my
two corn fields, that they might not find such a grain there, and still
to be prompted to frequent the island; then to demolish my bower and
tent, that they might not see any vestiges of my habitation, and be
prompted to look farther, in order to find out the persons inhabiting.

These were the subjects of the first night's cogitation, after I was
come home again, while the apprehensions which had so over-run my mind
were fresh upon me, and my head was full of vapours, as above. Thus fear
of danger is ten thousand times more terrifying than danger itself, when
apparent to the eyes; and, we find the burden of anxiety greater by
much than the evil which we are anxious about; but, which was worse than
all this, I had not that relief in this trouble from the resignation I
used to practise, that I hoped to have. I looked, I thought, like Saul,
who complained not only that the Philistines were upon him, but that God
had forsaken him; for I did not now take due ways to compose my mind, by
crying to God in my distress, and resting upon his providence, as I had
done before, for my defence and deliverance; which if I had done, I had,
at least, been more cheerfully supported under this new surprise, and
perhaps carried through it with more resolution.

This confusion of my thoughts kept me waking all night; but in the
morning I fell asleep, and having by the amusement of my mind been, as
it were, tired, and my spirits exhausted, I slept very soundly, and I
awaked much better composed than I had ever been before. And now I began
to think sedately; and, upon the utmost debate with myself, I concluded,
that this island, which was so exceeding pleasant, fruitful, and no
farther from the main land than as I had seen, was not so entirely
abandoned as I might imagine: that although there were no stated
inhabitants who lived on the spot; yet that there might sometimes come
boats off from the shore, who either with design, or perhaps never but
when they were driven by cross winds, might come to this place.

That I had lived here fifteen years now, and had not met with the
least-shadow or figure of any people before; and that if at any time
they should be driven here, it was probable they went away again as soon
as ever they could, seeing they had never thought fit to fix there upon
any occasion, to this time.

That the most I could suggest any danger from, was, from any such casual
accidental landing of straggling people from the main, who, as it was
likely, if they were driven hither, were here against their wills; so
they made no stay here, but went off again with all possible speed,
seldom staying one night on shore, lest they should not have the help of
the tides and daylight back again; and that therefore I had nothing to
do but to consider of some safe retreat, in case I should see any
savages land upon the spot.

Now I began sorely to repent that I had dug my cave so large, as to
bring a door through again, which door, as I said, came out beyond where
my fortification joined to the rock. Upon maturely considering this,
therefore, I resolved to draw me a second fortification, in the manner
of a semicircle, at a distance from my wall, just where I had planted a
double row of trees about twelve years before, of which I made mention:
these trees having been planted so thick before, there wanted but a few
piles to be driven between them, that they should be thicker and
stronger, and my wall would be soon finished.

So that I had now a double wall, and my outer wall was thickened with
pieces of timber, old cables, and every thing I could think of to make
it strong; having in it seven little holes, about as big as I might put
my arm out at. In the inside of this I thickened my wall to about ten
feet thick, continually bringing earth out of my cave, and laying it at
the foot of the wall, and walking upon it; and through the seven holes I
contrived to plant the muskets, of which I took notice that I got seven
on shore out of the ship; these, I say, I planted like my cannon, and
fitted them into frames that held them like a carriage, that so I could
fire all the seven guns in two minutes time. This wall I was many a
weary month in finishing, and yet never thought myself safe till it
was done.

When this was done, I stuck all the ground without my wall, for a great
way every way, as full with stakes or sticks of the osier-like wood,
which I found so apt to grow, as they could well stand; insomuch that I
believe I might set in near twenty thousand of them, leaving a pretty
large space between them and my wall, that I might have room to see an
enemy, and they might have no shelter from the young trees, if they
attempted to approach my outer wall.

Thus in two years time I had a thick grove; and in five or six years
time I had a wood before my dwelling, grown so monstrous thick and
strong, that it was indeed perfectly impassable; and no man of what kind
soever would ever imagine that there was any thing beyond it, much less
an habitation: as for the way I proposed myself to go in and out (for I
left no avenue), it was by setting two ladders; one to a part of the
rock which was low, and then broke in, and left room to place another
ladder upon that; so when the two ladders were taken down, no man living
could come down to me without mischiefing himself; and if they had come
down, they were still on the outside of my outer wall.

Thus I took all the measures human prudence could suggest for my own
preservation; and it will be seen at length, that they were not
altogether without just reason; though I foresaw nothing at that time
more than my mere fear suggested.

While this was doing, I was not altogether careless of my other affairs;
for I had a great concern upon me for my little herd of goats; they were
not only a present supply to me upon every occasion, and began to be
sufficient for me, without the expense of powder and shot, but also
abated the fatigue of my hunting after the wild ones; and I was loath to
lose the advantage of them, and to have them all to nurse up over again.

To this purpose, after long consideration, I could think but of two ways
to preserve them: one was to find another convenient place to dig a cave
under ground, and to drive them into it every night; and the other was
to enclose two or three little bits of land, remote from one another,
and as much concealed as I could, where I might keep about half a dozen
young goats in each place; so that if any disaster happened to the flock
in general, I might be able to raise them again with little trouble and
time: and this, though it would require a great deal of time and labour,
I thought was the most rational design.

Accordingly I spent some time, to find out the most retired parts of the
island; and I pitched upon one, which was as private indeed as my heart
could wish; for it was a little damp piece of ground in the middle of
the hollow and thick woods, where, as is observed, I almost lost myself
once before, endeavouring to come back that way from the eastern part of
the island: here I found a clear piece of land near three acres, so
surrounded with woods, that it was almost an enclosure by nature; at
least it did not want near so much labour to make it so, as the other
pieces of ground I had worked so hard at.

I immediately went to work with this piece of ground, and in less than a
month's time I had so fenced it round, that my flock or herd, call it
which you please, which were not so wild now as at first they might be
supposed to be, were well enough secured in it. So without any farther
delay, I removed ten she-goats and two he-goats to this piece; and when
there, I continued to perfect the fence, till I had made it as secure as
the other, which, however, I did at more leisure, and it took me up more
time by a great deal.

All this labour I was at the expense of, purely from my apprehensions on
the account of the print of a man's foot which I had seen; for as yet, I
never saw any human creature come near the island, and I had now lived
two years under these uneasinesses, which indeed made my life much less
comfortable than it was before; as may well be imagined, by any who know
what it is to live in the constant snare of the fear of man; and this I
must observe with grief too, that the discomposure of my mind had too
great impressions also upon the religious part of my thoughts; for the
dread and terror of falling into the hands of savages and cannibals lay
so upon my spirits, that I seldom found myself in a due temper for
application to my Maker; at least, not with the sedate calmness and
resignation of soul which I was wont to do. I rather prayed to God as
under great affliction and pressure of mind, surrounded with danger, and
in expectation every night of being murdered and devoured before the
morning; and I must testify from my experience, that a temper of peace,
thankfulness, love, and affection, is much more the proper frame for
prayer than that of terror and discomposure; and that under the dread of
mischief impending, a man is no more fit for a comforting performance of
the duty of praying to God, than he is for repentance on a sick bed; for
these discomposures affect the mind as the others do the body; and the
discomposure of the mind must necessarily be as great a disability as
that of the body, and much greater; praying to God being properly an act
of the mind, not of the body.

But to go on: after I had thus secured one part of my little living
stock, I went about the whole island, searching for another private
place, to make such another deposit; when wandering more to the west
point of the island than I had ever done yet, and looking out to sea, I
thought I saw a boat upon the sea at a great distance; I had found a
perspective glass or two in one of the seamen's chests, which I saved
out of our ship; but I had it not about me, and this was so remote, that
I could not tell what to make of it, though I looked at it till my eyes
were not able to look any longer: whether it was a boat, or not, I do
not know; but as I descended from the hill, I could see no more of it,
so I gave it over; only I resolved to go no more without a perspective
glass in my pocket.

When I was come down the hill, to the end of the island, where indeed I
had never been before, I was presently convinced, that the seeing the
print of a man's foot, was not such a strange thing in the island as I
imagined; and, but that it was a special providence that I was cast upon
the side of the island where the savages never came, I should easily
have known, that nothing was more frequent than for the canoes from the
main, when, they happened to be a little too far out at sea, to shoot
over to that side of the island for harbour; likewise, as they often
met, and fought in their canoes, the victors, having taken any
prisoners, would bring them over to this shore, where, according to
their dreadful customs, being all cannibals, they would kill and eat
them: of which hereafter.

When I was come down the hill to the shore, as I said above, being the
S.W. point of the island, I was perfectly confounded and amazed; nor is
it possible for me to express the horror of my mind, at seeing the shore
spread with skulls, hands, feet, and other bones of human bodies; and
particularly I observed a place where there had been a fire made, and a
circle dug in the earth, like a cock-pit, where it is supposed the
savage wretches had sat down to their inhuman feastings upon the bodies
of their fellow-creatures.

I was so astonished with the sight of these things, that I entertained
no notions of any danger to myself from it, for a long while; all my
apprehensions were buried in the thoughts of such a pitch of inhuman,
hellish brutality, and the horror of the degeneracy of human nature;
which, though I had heard of often, yet I never had so near a view of
before: in short, I turned away my face from the horrid spectacle; my
stomach grew sick, and I was just at the point of fainting, when nature
discharged the disorder from my stomach, and, having vomited with an
uncommon violence, I was a little relieved, but could not bear to stay
in the place a moment; so I got me up the hill again with all the speed
I could, and walked on towards my own habitation.

When I came a little out of that part of the island, I stood still a
while as amazed; and then recovering myself, I looked up with the utmost
affection of my soul, and, with a flood of tears in my eyes, gave God
thanks, that had cast my first lot in a part of the world where I was
distinguished from such dreadful creatures as these; and that though I
had esteemed my present condition very miserable, had yet given me so
many comforts in it, that I had still more to give thanks for than to
complain of; and this above all, that I had, even in this miserable
condition, been comforted with the knowledge of himself, and the hope of
his blessing, which was a felicity more than sufficiently equivalent to
all the misery which I had suffered, or could suffer.

In this frame of thankfulness I went home to my castle, and began to be
much easier now, as to the safety of my circumstances, than ever I was
before; for I observed, that these wretches never came to this island in
search of what they could get; perhaps not seeking, not wanting, or not
expecting, any thing here, and having often, no doubt, been up in the
covered woody part of it, without finding any thing to their purpose. I
knew I had been here now almost eighteen years, and never saw the least
footsteps of a human creature there before; and might be here eighteen
more as entirely concealed as I was now, if I did not discover myself to
them, which I had no manner of occasion to do, it being my only business
to keep myself entirely concealed where I was, unless I found a better
sort of creatures than cannibals to make myself known to.

Yet I entertained such an abhorrence of the savage wretches that I have
been speaking of, and of the wretched inhuman custom of their devouring
and eating one another up, that I continued pensive and sad, and kept
close within my own circle for almost two years after this: when I say
my own circle, I mean by it my three plantations, viz. my castle, my
country-seat, which I called my bower, and my enclosure in the woods;
nor did I look after this for any other use than as an enclosure for my
goats; for the aversion which nature gave me to these hellish wretches
was such, that I was as fearful of seeing them as of seeing, the devil
himself; nor did I so much as go to look after my boat in all this time,
but began rather to think of making me another; for I could not think
of ever making any more attempts to bring the other boat round the
island to me, lest I should meet with some of those creatures at sea, in
which, if I had happened to have fallen into their hands, I knew what
would have been my lot.

Time, however, and the satisfaction I had, that I was in no danger of
being discovered by these people, began to wear off my uneasiness about
them; and I began to live just in the same composed manner as before;
only with this difference, that I used more caution, and kept my eyes
more about me than I did before, lest I should happen to be seen by any
of them; and particularly, I was more cautious of firing my gun, lest
any of them on the island should happen to hear it; and it was therefore
a very good providence to me, that I had furnished myself with a tame
breed of goats, that I had no need to hunt any more about the woods, or
shoot at them; and if I did catch any more of them after this, it was by
traps and snares, as I had done before; so that for two years after
this, I believe I never fired my gun once off, though I never went out
without it; and, which was more, as I had saved three pistols out of the
ship, I always carried them out with me, or at least two of them,
sticking them in my goat-skin belt: I likewise furbished up one of the
great cutlasses that I had out of the ship, and made me a belt to put it
in also; so that I was now a most formidable fellow to look at when I
went abroad, if you add to the former description of myself, the
particular of two pistols, and a great broad-sword, hanging at my side
in a belt, but without a scabbard.

Things going on thus, as I have said, for some time, I seemed, excepting
these cautions, to be reduced to my former calm sedate way of living.
All these things tended to shew me more and more how far my condition
was from being miserable, compared to some others; nay, to many other
particulars of life, which it might have pleased God to have made my
lot. It put me upon reflecting, how little repining there would be
among mankind, at any condition of life, if people would rather compare
their condition with those that are worse, in order to be thankful, than
be always comparing them with those which are better, to assist their
murmurings and complainings.

As in my present condition there were not really many things which I
wanted, so indeed I thought that the frights I had been in about these
savage wretches, and the concern I had been in for my own preservation,
had taken off the edge of my invention for my own conveniences, and I
had dropped a good design, which I had once bent my thoughts upon; and
that was, to try if I could not make some of my barley into malt, and
then try to brew myself some beer: this was really a whimsical thought,
and I reproved myself often for the simplicity of it; for I presently
saw there would be the want of several things necessary to the making my
beer, that it would be impossible for me to supply; as, first, casks to
preserve it in, which was a thing that, as I have observed already, I
could never compass; no, though I spent not many days, but weeks, nay
months, in attempting it, but to no purpose. In the next place, I had no
hops to make it keep, no yeast to make it work, no copper or kettle to
make it boil; and yet, had not all these things intervened, I mean the
frights and terrors I was in about the savages, I had undertaken it, and
perhaps brought it to pass too; for I seldom gave any thing over without
accomplishing it, when I once had it in my head enough to begin it.

But my invention now ran quite another way; for night and day I could
think of nothing, but how I might destroy some of these monsters in
their cruel bloody entertainment, and, if possible, save the victim they
should bring hither to destroy. It would take up a larger volume than
this whole work is intended to be, to set down all the contrivances I
hatched, or rather brooded upon in my thoughts, for the destroying these
creatures, or at least frightening them, so as to prevent their coming
hither any more; but all was abortive; nothing could be possible to take
effect, unless I was to be there to do it myself; and what could one man
do among them, when perhaps there might be twenty or thirty of them
together, with their darts, or their bows and arrows, with which they
could shoot as true to a mark as I could with my gun?

Sometimes I contrived to dig a hole under the place where they made
their fire, and put in five or six pounds of gunpowder, which, when they
kindled their fire, would consequently take fire, and blow up all that
was near it; but, as in the first place I should be very loath to waste
so much powder upon them, my store being now within the quantity of a
barrel, so neither could I be sure of its going off at any certain time,
when it might surprise them; and, at best, that it would do little more
than just blow the fire about their ears, and fright them, but not
sufficient to make them forsake the place; so I laid it aside, and then
proposed, that I would place myself in ambush in some convenient place,
with my three guns all double-loaded, and in the middle of their bloody
ceremony let fly at them, when I should be sure to kill or wound perhaps
two or three at every shoot; and then falling in upon them with my three
pistols, and my sword, I made no doubt but that, if there were twenty, I
should kill them all: this fancy pleased my thoughts for some weeks, and
I was so full of it that I often dreamed of it; and sometimes, that I
was just going to let fly at them in my sleep.

I went so far with it in my indignation, that I employed myself several
days to find out proper places to put myself in ambuscade, as I said, to
watch for them; and I went frequently to the place itself, which was now
grown more familiar to me; and especially while my mind was thus filled
with thoughts of revenge, and of a bloody putting twenty or thirty of
them to the sword, as I may call it; but the horror I had at the place,
and at the signals of the barbarous wretches devouring one another,
abated my malice.

Well, at length I found a place in the side of the hill, where I was
satisfied I might securely wait till I saw any of the boats coming, and

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