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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Part 4 out of 6

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prepared two muskets and my ordinary fowling-piece. The two
muskets I loaded with a brace of slugs each, and four or five
smaller bullets, about the size of pistol bullets; and the fowling-
piece I loaded with near a handful of swan-shot of the largest
size; I also loaded my pistols with about four bullets each; and,
in this posture, well provided with ammunition for a second and
third charge, I prepared myself for my expedition.

After I had thus laid the scheme of my design, and in my
imagination put it in practice, I continually made my tour every
morning to the top of the hill, which was from my castle, as I
called it, about three miles or more, to see if I could observe any
boats upon the sea, coming near the island, or standing over
towards it; but I began to tire of this hard duty, after I had for
two or three months constantly kept my watch, but came always back
without any discovery; there having not, in all that time, been the
least appearance, not only on or near the shore, but on the whole
ocean, so far as my eye or glass could reach every way.

As long as I kept my daily tour to the hill, to look out, so long
also I kept up the vigour of my design, and my spirits seemed to be
all the while in a suitable frame for so outrageous an execution as
the killing twenty or thirty naked savages, for an offence which I
had not at all entered into any discussion of in my thoughts, any
farther than my passions were at first fired by the horror I
conceived at the unnatural custom of the people of that country,
who, it seems, had been suffered by Providence, in His wise
disposition of the world, to have no other guide than that of their
own abominable and vitiated passions; and consequently were left,
and perhaps had been so for some ages, to act such horrid things,
and receive such dreadful customs, as nothing but nature, entirely
abandoned by Heaven, and actuated by some hellish degeneracy, could
have run them into. But now, when, as I have said, I began to be
weary of the fruitless excursion which I had made so long and so
far every morning in vain, so my opinion of the action itself began
to alter; and I began, with cooler and calmer thoughts, to consider
what I was going to engage in; what authority or call I had to
pretend to be judge and executioner upon these men as criminals,
whom Heaven had thought fit for so many ages to suffer unpunished
to go on, and to be as it were the executioners of His judgments
one upon another; how far these people were offenders against me,
and what right I had to engage in the quarrel of that blood which
they shed promiscuously upon one another. I debated this very
often with myself thus: "How do I know what God Himself judges in
this particular case? It is certain these people do not commit
this as a crime; it is not against their own consciences reproving,
or their light reproaching them; they do not know it to be an
offence, and then commit it in defiance of divine justice, as we do
in almost all the sins we commit. They think it no more a crime to
kill a captive taken in war than we do to kill an ox; or to eat
human flesh than we do to eat mutton."

When I considered this a little, it followed necessarily that I was
certainly in the wrong; that these people were not murderers, in
the sense that I had before condemned them in my thoughts, any more
than those Christians were murderers who often put to death the
prisoners taken in battle; or more frequently, upon many occasions,
put whole troops of men to the sword, without giving quarter,
though they threw down their arms and submitted. In the next
place, it occurred to me that although the usage they gave one
another was thus brutish and inhuman, yet it was really nothing to
me: these people had done me no injury: that if they attempted, or
I saw it necessary, for my immediate preservation, to fall upon
them, something might be said for it: but that I was yet out of
their power, and they really had no knowledge of me, and
consequently no design upon me; and therefore it could not be just
for me to fall upon them; that this would justify the conduct of
the Spaniards in all their barbarities practised in America, where
they destroyed millions of these people; who, however they were
idolators and barbarians, and had several bloody and barbarous
rites in their customs, such as sacrificing human bodies to their
idols, were yet, as to the Spaniards, very innocent people; and
that the rooting them out of the country is spoken of with the
utmost abhorrence and detestation by even the Spaniards themselves
at this time, and by all other Christian nations of Europe, as a
mere butchery, a bloody and unnatural piece of cruelty,
unjustifiable either to God or man; and for which the very name of
a Spaniard is reckoned to be frightful and terrible, to all people
of humanity or of Christian compassion; as if the kingdom of Spain
were particularly eminent for the produce of a race of men who were
without principles of tenderness, or the common bowels of pity to
the miserable, which is reckoned to be a mark of generous temper in
the mind.

These considerations really put me to a pause, and to a kind of a
full stop; and I began by little and little to be off my design,
and to conclude I had taken wrong measures in my resolution to
attack the savages; and that it was not my business to meddle with
them, unless they first attacked me; and this it was my business,
if possible, to prevent: but that, if I were discovered and
attacked by them, I knew my duty. On the other hand, I argued with
myself that this really was the way not to deliver myself, but
entirely to ruin and destroy myself; for unless I was sure to kill
every one that not only should be on shore at that time, but that
should ever come on shore afterwards, if but one of them escaped to
tell their country-people what had happened, they would come over
again by thousands to revenge the death of their fellows, and I
should only bring upon myself a certain destruction, which, at
present, I had no manner of occasion for. Upon the whole, I
concluded that I ought, neither in principle nor in policy, one way
or other, to concern myself in this affair: that my business was,
by all possible means to conceal myself from them, and not to leave
the least sign for them to guess by that there were any living
creatures upon the island - I mean of human shape. Religion joined
in with this prudential resolution; and I was convinced now, many
ways, that I was perfectly out of my duty when I was laying all my
bloody schemes for the destruction of innocent creatures - I mean
innocent as to me. As to the crimes they were guilty of towards
one another, I had nothing to do with them; they were national, and
I ought to leave them to the justice of God, who is the Governor of
nations, and knows how, by national punishments, to make a just
retribution for national offences, and to bring public judgments
upon those who offend in a public manner, by such ways as best
please Him. This appeared so clear to me now, that nothing was a
greater satisfaction to me than that I had not been suffered to do
a thing which I now saw so much reason to believe would have been
no less a sin than that of wilful murder if I had committed it; and
I gave most humble thanks on my knees to God, that He had thus
delivered me from blood-guiltiness; beseeching Him to grant me the
protection of His providence, that I might not fall into the hands
of the barbarians, or that I might not lay my hands upon them,
unless I had a more clear call from Heaven to do it, in defence of
my own life.

In this disposition I continued for near a year after this; and so
far was I from desiring an occasion for falling upon these
wretches, that in all that time I never once went up the hill to
see whether there were any of them in sight, or to know whether any
of them had been on shore there or not, that I might not be tempted
to renew any of my contrivances against them, or be provoked by any
advantage that might present itself to fall upon them; only this I
did: I went and removed my boat, which I had on the other side of
the island, and carried it down to the east end of the whole
island, where I ran it into a little cove, which I found under some
high rocks, and where I knew, by reason of the currents, the
savages durst not, at least would not, come with their boats upon
any account whatever. With my boat I carried away everything that
I had left there belonging to her, though not necessary for the
bare going thither - viz. a mast and sail which I had made for her,
and a thing like an anchor, but which, indeed, could not be called
either anchor or grapnel; however, it was the best I could make of
its kind: all these I removed, that there might not be the least
shadow for discovery, or appearance of any boat, or of any human
habitation upon the island. Besides this, I kept myself, as I
said, more retired than ever, and seldom went from my cell except
upon my constant employment, to milk my she-goats, and manage my
little flock in the wood, which, as it was quite on the other part
of the island, was out of danger; for certain, it is that these
savage people, who sometimes haunted this island, never came with
any thoughts of finding anything here, and consequently never
wandered off from the coast, and I doubt not but they might have
been several times on shore after my apprehensions of them had made
me cautious, as well as before. Indeed, I looked back with some
horror upon the thoughts of what my condition would have been if I
had chopped upon them and been discovered before that; when, naked
and unarmed, except with one gun, and that loaded often only with
small shot, I walked everywhere, peeping and peering about the
island, to see what I could get; what a surprise should I have been
in if, when I discovered the print of a man's foot, I had, instead
of that, seen fifteen or twenty savages, and found them pursuing
me, and by the swiftness of their running no possibility of my
escaping them! The thoughts of this sometimes sank my very soul
within me, and distressed my mind so much that I could not soon
recover it, to think what I should have done, and how I should not
only have been unable to resist them, but even should not have had
presence of mind enough to do what I might have done; much less
what now, after so much consideration and preparation, I might be
able to do. Indeed, after serious thinking of these things, I
would be melancholy, and sometimes it would last a great while; but
I resolved it all at last into thankfulness to that Providence
which had delivered me from so many unseen dangers, and had kept me
from those mischiefs which I could have no way been the agent in
delivering myself from, because I had not the least notion of any
such thing depending, or the least supposition of its being
possible. This renewed a contemplation which often had come into
my thoughts in former times, when first I began to see the merciful
dispositions of Heaven, in the dangers we run through in this life;
how wonderfully we are delivered when we know nothing of it; how,
when we are in a quandary as we call it, a doubt or hesitation
whether to go this way or that way, a secret hint shall direct us
this way, when we intended to go that way: nay, when sense, our own
inclination, and perhaps business has called us to go the other
way, yet a strange impression upon the mind, from we know not what
springs, and by we know not what power, shall overrule us to go
this way; and it shall afterwards appear that had we gone that way,
which we should have gone, and even to our imagination ought to
have gone, we should have been ruined and lost. Upon these and
many like reflections I afterwards made it a certain rule with me,
that whenever I found those secret hints or pressings of mind to
doing or not doing anything that presented, or going this way or
that way, I never failed to obey the secret dictate; though I knew
no other reason for it than such a pressure or such a hint hung
upon my mind. I could give many examples of the success of this
conduct in the course of my life, but more especially in the latter
part of my inhabiting this unhappy island; besides many occasions
which it is very likely I might have taken notice of, if I had seen
with the same eyes then that I see with now. But it is never too
late to be wise; and I cannot but advise all considering men, whose
lives are attended with such extraordinary incidents as mine, or
even though not so extraordinary, not to slight such secret
intimations of Providence, let them come from what invisible
intelligence they will. That I shall not discuss, and perhaps
cannot account for; but certainly they are a proof of the converse
of spirits, and a secret communication between those embodied and
those unembodied, and such a proof as can never be withstood; of
which I shall have occasion to give some remarkable instances in
the remainder of my solitary residence in this dismal place.

I believe the reader of this will not think it strange if I confess
that these anxieties, these constant dangers I lived in, and the
concern that was now upon me, put an end to all invention, and to
all the contrivances that I had laid for my future accommodations
and conveniences. I had the care of my safety more now upon my
hands than that of my food. I cared not to drive a nail, or chop a
stick of wood now, for fear the noise I might make should be heard:
much less would I fire a gun for the same reason: and above all I
was intolerably uneasy at making any fire, lest the smoke, which is
visible at a great distance in the day, should betray me. For this
reason, I removed that part of my business which required fire,
such as burning of pots and pipes, &c., into my new apartment in
the woods; where, after I had been some time, I found, to my
unspeakable consolation, a mere natural cave in the earth, which
went in a vast way, and where, I daresay, no savage, had he been at
the mouth of it, would be so hardy as to venture in; nor, indeed,
would any man else, but one who, like me, wanted nothing so much as
a safe retreat.

The mouth of this hollow was at the bottom of a great rock, where,
by mere accident (I would say, if I did not see abundant reason to
ascribe all such things now to Providence), I was cutting down some
thick branches of trees to make charcoal; and before I go on I must
observe the reason of my making this charcoal, which was this - I
was afraid of making a smoke about my habitation, as I said before;
and yet I could not live there without baking my bread, cooking my
meat, &c.; so I contrived to burn some wood here, as I had seen
done in England, under turf, till it became chark or dry coal: and
then putting the fire out, I preserved the coal to carry home, and
perform the other services for which fire was wanting, without
danger of smoke. But this is by-the-bye. While I was cutting down
some wood here, I perceived that, behind a very thick branch of low
brushwood or underwood, there was a kind of hollow place: I was
curious to look in it; and getting with difficulty into the mouth
of it, I found it was pretty large, that is to say, sufficient for
me to stand upright in it, and perhaps another with me: but I must
confess to you that I made more haste out than I did in, when
looking farther into the place, and which was perfectly dark, I saw
two broad shining eyes of some creature, whether devil or man I
knew not, which twinkled like two stars; the dim light from the
cave's mouth shining directly in, and making the reflection.
However, after some pause I recovered myself, and began to call
myself a thousand fools, and to think that he that was afraid to
see the devil was not fit to live twenty years in an island all
alone; and that I might well think there was nothing in this cave
that was more frightful than myself. Upon this, plucking up my
courage, I took up a firebrand, and in I rushed again, with the
stick flaming in my hand: I had not gone three steps in before I
was almost as frightened as before; for I heard a very loud sigh,
like that of a man in some pain, and it was followed by a broken
noise, as of words half expressed, and then a deep sigh again. I
stepped back, and was indeed struck with such a surprise that it
put me into a cold sweat, and if I had had a hat on my head, I will
not answer for it that my hair might not have lifted it off. But
still plucking up my spirits as well as I could, and encouraging
myself a little with considering that the power and presence of God
was everywhere, and was able to protect me, I stepped forward
again, and by the light of the firebrand, holding it up a little
over my head, I saw lying on the ground a monstrous, frightful old
he-goat, just making his will, as we say, and gasping for life,
and, dying, indeed, of mere old age. I stirred him a little to see
if I could get him out, and he essayed to get up, but was not able
to raise himself; and I thought with myself he might even lie there
- for if he had frightened me, so he would certainly fright any of
the savages, if any of them should be so hardy as to come in there
while he had any life in him.

I was now recovered from my surprise, and began to look round me,
when I found the cave was but very small - that is to say, it might
be about twelve feet over, but in no manner of shape, neither round
nor square, no hands having ever been employed in making it but
those of mere Nature. I observed also that there was a place at
the farther side of it that went in further, but was so low that it
required me to creep upon my hands and knees to go into it, and
whither it went I knew not; so, having no candle, I gave it over
for that time, but resolved to go again the next day provided with
candles and a tinder-box, which I had made of the lock of one of
the muskets, with some wildfire in the pan.

Accordingly, the next day I came provided with six large candles of
my own making (for I made very good candles now of goat's tallow,
but was hard set for candle-wick, using sometimes rags or rope-
yarn, and sometimes the dried rind of a weed like nettles); and
going into this low place I was obliged to creep upon all-fours as
I have said, almost ten yards - which, by the way, I thought was a
venture bold enough, considering that I knew not how far it might
go, nor what was beyond it. When I had got through the strait, I
found the roof rose higher up, I believe near twenty feet; but
never was such a glorious sight seen in the island, I daresay, as
it was to look round the sides and roof of this vault or cave - the
wall reflected a hundred thousand lights to me from my two candles.
What it was in the rock - whether diamonds or any other precious
stones, or gold which I rather supposed it to be - I knew not. The
place I was in was a most delightful cavity, or grotto, though
perfectly dark; the floor was dry and level, and had a sort of a
small loose gravel upon it, so that there was no nauseous or
venomous creature to be seen, neither was there any damp or wet on
the sides or roof. The only difficulty in it was the entrance -
which, however, as it was a place of security, and such a retreat
as I wanted; I thought was a convenience; so that I was really
rejoiced at the discovery, and resolved, without any delay, to
bring some of those things which I was most anxious about to this
place: particularly, I resolved to bring hither my magazine of
powder, and all my spare arms - viz. two fowling-pieces - for I had
three in all - and three muskets - for of them I had eight in all;
so I kept in my castle only five, which stood ready mounted like
pieces of cannon on my outmost fence, and were ready also to take
out upon any expedition. Upon this occasion of removing my
ammunition I happened to open the barrel of powder which I took up
out of the sea, and which had been wet, and I found that the water
had penetrated about three or four inches into the powder on every
side, which caking and growing hard, had preserved the inside like
a kernel in the shell, so that I had near sixty pounds of very good
powder in the centre of the cask. This was a very agreeable
discovery to me at that time; so I carried all away thither, never
keeping above two or three pounds of powder with me in my castle,
for fear of a surprise of any kind; I also carried thither all the
lead I had left for bullets.

I fancied myself now like one of the ancient giants who were said
to live in caves and holes in the rocks, where none could come at
them; for I persuaded myself, while I was here, that if five
hundred savages were to hunt me, they could never find me out - or
if they did, they would not venture to attack me here. The old
goat whom I found expiring died in the mouth of the cave the next
day after I made this discovery; and I found it much easier to dig
a great hole there, and throw him in and cover him with earth, than
to drag him out; so I interred him there, to prevent offence to my


I WAS now in the twenty-third year of my residence in this island,
and was so naturalised to the place and the manner of living, that,
could I but have enjoyed the certainty that no savages would come
to the place to disturb me, I could have been content to have
capitulated for spending the rest of my time there, even to the
last moment, till I had laid me down and died, like the old goat in
the cave. I had also arrived to some little diversions and
amusements, which made the time pass a great deal more pleasantly
with me than it did before - first, I had taught my Poll, as I
noted before, to speak; and he did it so familiarly, and talked so
articulately and plain, that it was very pleasant to me; and he
lived with me no less than six-and-twenty years. How long he might
have lived afterwards I know not, though I know they have a notion
in the Brazils that they live a hundred years. My dog was a
pleasant and loving companion to me for no less than sixteen years
of my time, and then died of mere old age. As for my cats, they
multiplied, as I have observed, to that degree that I was obliged
to shoot several of them at first, to keep them from devouring me
and all I had; but at length, when the two old ones I brought with
me were gone, and after some time continually driving them from me,
and letting them have no provision with me, they all ran wild into
the woods, except two or three favourites, which I kept tame, and
whose young, when they had any, I always drowned; and these were
part of my family. Besides these I always kept two or three
household kids about me, whom I taught to feed out of my hand; and
I had two more parrots, which talked pretty well, and would all
call "Robin Crusoe," but none like my first; nor, indeed, did I
take the pains with any of them that I had done with him. I had
also several tame sea-fowls, whose name I knew not, that I caught
upon the shore, and cut their wings; and the little stakes which I
had planted before my castle-wall being now grown up to a good
thick grove, these fowls all lived among these low trees, and bred
there, which was very agreeable to me; so that, as I said above, I
began to he very well contented with the life I led, if I could
have been secured from the dread of the savages. But it was
otherwise directed; and it may not be amiss for all people who
shall meet with my story to make this just observation from it: How
frequently, in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we
seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into, is the most
dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very means or door of our
deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again from the
affliction we are fallen into. I could give many examples of this
in the course of my unaccountable life; but in nothing was it more
particularly remarkable than in the circumstances of my last years
of solitary residence in this island.

It was now the month of December, as I said above, in my twenty-
third year; and this, being the southern solstice (for winter I
cannot call it), was the particular time of my harvest, and
required me to be pretty much abroad in the fields, when, going out
early in the morning, even before it was thorough daylight, I was
surprised with seeing a light of some fire upon the shore, at a
distance from me of about two miles, toward that part of the island
where I had observed some savages had been, as before, and not on
the other side; but, to my great affliction, it was on my side of
the island.

I was indeed terribly surprised at the sight, and stopped short
within my grove, not daring to go out, lest I might be surprised;
and yet I had no more peace within, from the apprehensions I had
that if these savages, in rambling over the island, should find my
corn standing or cut, or any of my works or improvements, they
would immediately conclude that there were people in the place, and
would then never rest till they had found me out. In this
extremity I went back directly to my castle, pulled up the ladder
after me, and made all things without look as wild and natural as I

Then I prepared myself within, putting myself in a posture of
defence. I loaded all my cannon, as I called them - that is to
say, my muskets, which were mounted upon my new fortification - and
all my pistols, and resolved to defend myself to the last gasp -
not forgetting seriously to commend myself to the Divine
protection, and earnestly to pray to God to deliver me out of the
hands of the barbarians. I continued in this posture about two
hours, and began to be impatient for intelligence abroad, for I had
no spies to send out. After sitting a while longer, and musing
what I should do in this case, I was not able to bear sitting in
ignorance longer; so setting up my ladder to the side of the hill,
where there was a flat place, as I observed before, and then
pulling the ladder after me, I set it up again and mounted the top
of the hill, and pulling out my perspective glass, which I had
taken on purpose, I laid me down flat on my belly on the ground,
and began to look for the place. I presently found there were no
less than nine naked savages sitting round a small fire they had
made, not to warm them, for they had no need of that, the weather
being extremely hot, but, as I supposed, to dress some of their
barbarous diet of human flesh which they had brought with them,
whether alive or dead I could not tell.

They had two canoes with them, which they had hauled up upon the
shore; and as it was then ebb of tide, they seemed to me to wait
for the return of the flood to go away again. It is not easy to
imagine what confusion this sight put me into, especially seeing
them come on my side of the island, and so near to me; but when I
considered their coming must be always with the current of the ebb,
I began afterwards to be more sedate in my mind, being satisfied
that I might go abroad with safety all the time of the flood of
tide, if they were not on shore before; and having made this
observation, I went abroad about my harvest work with the more

As I expected, so it proved; for as soon as the tide made to the
westward I saw them all take boat and row (or paddle as we call it)
away. I should have observed, that for an hour or more before they
went off they were dancing, and I could easily discern their
postures and gestures by my glass. I could not perceive, by my
nicest observation, but that they were stark naked, and had not the
least covering upon them; but whether they were men or women I
could not distinguish.

As soon as I saw them shipped and gone, I took two guns upon my
shoulders, and two pistols in my girdle, and my great sword by my
side without a scabbard, and with all the speed I was able to make
went away to the hill where I had discovered the first appearance
of all; and as soon as I get thither, which was not in less than
two hours (for I could not go quickly, being so loaded with arms as
I was), I perceived there had been three canoes more of the savages
at that place; and looking out farther, I saw they were all at sea
together, making over for the main. This was a dreadful sight to
me, especially as, going down to the shore, I could see the marks
of horror which the dismal work they had been about had left behind
it - viz. the blood, the bones, and part of the flesh of human
bodies eaten and devoured by those wretches with merriment and
sport. I was so filled with indignation at the sight, that I now
began to premeditate the destruction of the next that I saw there,
let them be whom or how many soever. It seemed evident to me that
the visits which they made thus to this island were not very
frequent, for it was above fifteen months before any more of them
came on shore there again - that is to say, I neither saw them nor
any footsteps or signals of them in all that time; for as to the
rainy seasons, then they are sure not to come abroad, at least not
so far. Yet all this while I lived uncomfortably, by reason of the
constant apprehensions of their coming upon me by surprise: from
whence I observe, that the expectation of evil is more bitter than
the suffering, especially if there is no room to shake off that
expectation or those apprehensions.

During all this time I was in a murdering humour, and spent most of
my hours, which should have been better employed, in contriving how
to circumvent and fall upon them the very next time I should see
them - especially if they should be divided, as they were the last
time, into two parties; nor did I consider at all that if I killed
one party - suppose ten or a dozen - I was still the next day, or
week, or month, to kill another, and so another, even AD INFINITUM,
till I should be, at length, no less a murderer than they were in
being man-eaters - and perhaps much more so. I spent my days now
in great perplexity and anxiety of mind, expecting that I should
one day or other fall, into the hands of these merciless creatures;
and if I did at any time venture abroad, it was not without looking
around me with the greatest care and caution imaginable. And now I
found, to my great comfort, how happy it was that I had provided a
tame flock or herd of goats, for I durst not upon any account fire
my gun, especially near that side of the island where they usually
came, lest I should alarm the savages; and if they had fled from me
now, I was sure to have them come again with perhaps two or three
hundred canoes with them in a few days, and then I knew what to
expect. However, I wore out a year and three months more before I
ever saw any more of the savages, and then I found them again, as I
shall soon observe. It is true they might have been there once or
twice; but either they made no stay, or at least I did not see
them; but in the month of May, as near as I could calculate, and in
my four-and-twentieth year, I had a very strange encounter with
them; of which in its place.

The perturbation of my mind during this fifteen or sixteen months'
interval was very great; I slept unquietly, dreamed always
frightful dreams, and often started out of my sleep in the night.
In the day great troubles overwhelmed my mind; and in the night I
dreamed often of killing the savages and of the reasons why I might
justify doing it.

But to waive all this for a while. It was in the middle of May, on
the sixteenth day, I think, as well as my poor wooden calendar
would reckon, for I marked all upon the post still; I say, it was
on the sixteenth of May that it blew a very great storm of wind all
day, with a great deal of lightning and thunder, and; a very foul
night it was after it. I knew not what was the particular occasion
of it, but as I was reading in the Bible, and taken up with very
serious thoughts about my present condition, I was surprised with
the noise of a gun, as I thought, fired at sea. This was, to be
sure, a surprise quite of a different nature from any I had met
with before; for the notions this put into my thoughts were quite
of another kind. I started up in the greatest haste imaginable;
and, in a trice, clapped my ladder to the middle place of the rock,
and pulled it after me; and mounting it the second time, got to the
top of the hill the very moment that a flash of fire bid me listen
for a second gun, which, accordingly, in about half a minute I
heard; and by the sound, knew that it was from that part of the sea
where I was driven down the current in my boat. I immediately
considered that this must be some ship in distress, and that they
had some comrade, or some other ship in company, and fired these
for signals of distress, and to obtain help. I had the presence of
mind at that minute to think, that though I could not help them, it
might be that they might help me; so I brought together all the dry
wood I could get at hand, and making a good handsome pile, I set it
on fire upon the hill. The wood was dry, and blazed freely; and,
though the wind blew very hard, yet it burned fairly out; so that I
was certain, if there was any such thing as a ship, they must needs
see it. And no doubt they did; for as soon as ever my fire blazed
up, I heard another gun, and after that several others, all from
the same quarter. I plied my fire all night long, till daybreak:
and when it was broad day, and the air cleared up, I saw something
at a great distance at sea, full east of the island, whether a sail
or a hull I could not distinguish - no, not with my glass: the
distance was so great, and the weather still something hazy also;
at least, it was so out at sea.

I looked frequently at it all that day, and soon perceived that it
did not move; so I presently concluded that it was a ship at
anchor; and being eager, you may be sure, to be satisfied, I took
my gun in my hand, and ran towards the south side of the island to
the rocks where I had formerly been carried away by the current;
and getting up there, the weather by this time being perfectly
clear, I could plainly see, to my great sorrow, the wreck of a
ship, cast away in the night upon those concealed rocks which I
found when I was out in my boat; and which rocks, as they checked
the violence of the stream, and made a kind of counter-stream, or
eddy, were the occasion of my recovering from the most desperate,
hopeless condition that ever I had been in in all my life. Thus,
what is one man's safety is another man's destruction; for it seems
these men, whoever they were, being out of their knowledge, and the
rocks being wholly under water, had been driven upon them in the
night, the wind blowing hard at ENE. Had they seen the island, as
I must necessarily suppose they did not, they must, as I thought,
have endeavoured to have saved themselves on shore by the help of
their boat; but their firing off guns for help, especially when
they saw, as I imagined, my fire, filled me with many thoughts.
First, I imagined that upon seeing my light they might have put
themselves into their boat, and endeavoured to make the shore: but
that the sea running very high, they might have been cast away.
Other times I imagined that they might have lost their boat before,
as might be the case many ways; particularly by the breaking of the
sea upon their ship, which many times obliged men to stave, or take
in pieces, their boat, and sometimes to throw it overboard with
their own hands. Other times I imagined they had some other ship
or ships in company, who, upon the signals of distress they made,
had taken them up, and carried them off. Other times I fancied
they were all gone off to sea in their boat, and being hurried away
by the current that I had been formerly in, were carried out into
the great ocean, where there was nothing but misery and perishing:
and that, perhaps, they might by this time think of starving, and
of being in a condition to eat one another.

As all these were but conjectures at best, so, in the condition I
was in, I could do no more than look on upon the misery of the poor
men, and pity them; which had still this good effect upon my side,
that it gave me more and more cause to give thanks to God, who had
so happily and comfortably provided for me in my desolate
condition; and that of two ships' companies, who were now cast away
upon this part of the world, not one life should be spared but
mine. I learned here again to observe, that it is very rare that
the providence of God casts us into any condition so low, or any
misery so great, but we may see something or other to be thankful
for, and may see others in worse circumstances than our own. Such
certainly was the case of these men, of whom I could not so much as
see room to suppose any were saved; nothing could make it rational
so much as to wish or expect that they did not all perish there,
except the possibility only of their being taken up by another ship
in company; and this was but mere possibility indeed, for I saw not
the least sign or appearance of any such thing. I cannot explain,
by any possible energy of words, what a strange longing I felt in
my soul upon this sight, breaking out sometimes thus: "Oh that
there had been but one or two, nay, or but one soul saved out of
this ship, to have escaped to me, that I might but have had one
companion, one fellow-creature, to have spoken to me and to have
conversed with!" In all the time of my solitary life I never felt
so earnest, so strong a desire after the society of my fellow-
creatures, or so deep a regret at the want of it.

There are some secret springs in the affections which, when they
are set a-going by some object in view, or, though not in view, yet
rendered present to the mind by the power of imagination, that
motion carries out the soul, by its impetuosity, to such violent,
eager embracings of the object, that the absence of it is
insupportable. Such were these earnest wishings that but one man
had been saved. I believe I repeated the words, "Oh that it had
been but one!" a thousand times; and my desires were so moved by
it, that when I spoke the words my hands would clinch together, and
my fingers would press the palms of my hands, so that if I had had
any soft thing in my hand I should have crushed it involuntarily;
and the teeth in my head would strike together, and set against one
another so strong, that for some time I could not part them again.
Let the naturalists explain these things, and the reason and manner
of them. All I can do is to describe the fact, which was even
surprising to me when I found it, though I knew not from whence it
proceeded; it was doubtless the effect of ardent wishes, and of
strong ideas formed in my mind, realising the comfort which the
conversation of one of my fellow-Christians would have been to me.
But it was not to be; either their fate or mine, or both, forbade
it; for, till the last year of my being on this island, I never
knew whether any were saved out of that ship or no; and had only
the affliction, some days after, to see the corpse of a drowned boy
come on shore at the end of the island which was next the
shipwreck. He had no clothes on but a seaman's waistcoat, a pair
of open-kneed linen drawers, and a blue linen shirt; but nothing to
direct me so much as to guess what nation he was of. He had
nothing in his pockets but two pieces of eight and a tobacco pipe -
the last was to me of ten times more value than the first.

It was now calm, and I had a great mind to venture out in my boat
to this wreck, not doubting but I might find something on board
that might be useful to me. But that did not altogether press me
so much as the possibility that there might be yet some living
creature on board, whose life I might not only save, but might, by
saving that life, comfort my own to the last degree; and this
thought clung so to my heart that I could not be quiet night or
day, but I must venture out in my boat on board this wreck; and
committing the rest to God's providence, I thought the impression
was so strong upon my mind that it could not be resisted - that it
must come from some invisible direction, and that I should be
wanting to myself if I did not go.

Under the power of this impression, I hastened back to my castle,
prepared everything for my voyage, took a quantity of bread, a
great pot of fresh water, a compass to steer by, a bottle of rum
(for I had still a great deal of that left), and a basket of
raisins; and thus, loading myself with everything necessary. I
went down to my boat, got the water out of her, got her afloat,
loaded all my cargo in her, and then went home again for more. My
second cargo was a great bag of rice, the umbrella to set up over
my head for a shade, another large pot of water, and about two
dozen of small loaves, or barley cakes, more than before, with a
bottle of goat's milk and a cheese; all which with great labour and
sweat I carried to my boat; and praying to God to direct my voyage,
I put out, and rowing or paddling the canoe along the shore, came
at last to the utmost point of the island on the north-east side.
And now I was to launch out into the ocean, and either to venture
or not to venture. I looked on the rapid currents which ran
constantly on both sides of the island at a distance, and which
were very terrible to me from the remembrance of the hazard I had
been in before, and my heart began to fail me; for I foresaw that
if I was driven into either of those currents, I should be carried
a great way out to sea, and perhaps out of my reach or sight of the
island again; and that then, as my boat was but small, if any
little gale of wind should rise, I should be inevitably lost.

These thoughts so oppressed my mind that I began to give over my
enterprise; and having hauled my boat into a little creek on the
shore, I stepped out, and sat down upon a rising bit of ground,
very pensive and anxious, between fear and desire, about my voyage;
when, as I was musing, I could perceive that the tide was turned,
and the flood come on; upon which my going was impracticable for so
many hours. Upon this, presently it occurred to me that I should
go up to the highest piece of ground I could find, and observe, if
I could, how the sets of the tide or currents lay when the flood
came in, that I might judge whether, if I was driven one way out, I
might not expect to be driven another way home, with the same
rapidity of the currents. This thought was no sooner in my head
than I cast my eye upon a little hill which sufficiently overlooked
the sea both ways, and from whence I had a clear view of the
currents or sets of the tide, and which way I was to guide myself
in my return. Here I found, that as the current of ebb set out
close by the south point of the island, so the current of the flood
set in close by the shore of the north side; and that I had nothing
to do but to keep to the north side of the island in my return, and
I should do well enough.

Encouraged by this observation, I resolved the next morning to set
out with the first of the tide; and reposing myself for the night
in my canoe, under the watch-coat I mentioned, I launched out. I
first made a little out to sea, full north, till I began to feel
the benefit of the current, which set eastward, and which carried
me at a great rate; and yet did not so hurry me as the current on
the south side had done before, so as to take from me all
government of the boat; but having a strong steerage with my
paddle, I went at a great rate directly for the wreck, and in less
than two hours I came up to it. It was a dismal sight to look at;
the ship, which by its building was Spanish, stuck fast, jammed in
between two rocks. All the stern and quarter of her were beaten to
pieces by the sea; and as her forecastle, which stuck in the rocks,
had run on with great violence, her mainmast and foremast were
brought by the board - that is to say, broken short off; but her
bowsprit was sound, and the head and bow appeared firm. When I
came close to her, a dog appeared upon her, who, seeing me coming,
yelped and cried; and as soon as I called him, jumped into the sea
to come to me. I took him into the boat, but found him almost dead
with hunger and thirst. I gave him a cake of my bread, and he
devoured it like a ravenous wolf that had been starving a fortnight
in the snow; I then gave the poor creature some fresh water, with
which, if I would have let him, he would have burst himself. After
this I went on board; but the first sight I met with was two men
drowned in the cook-room, or forecastle of the ship, with their
arms fast about one another. I concluded, as is indeed probable,
that when the ship struck, it being in a storm, the sea broke so
high and so continually over her, that the men were not able to
bear it, and were strangled with the constant rushing in of the
water, as much as if they had been under water. Besides the dog,
there was nothing left in the ship that had life; nor any goods,
that I could see, but what were spoiled by the water. There were
some casks of liquor, whether wine or brandy I knew not, which lay
lower in the hold, and which, the water being ebbed out, I could
see; but they were too big to meddle with. I saw several chests,
which I believe belonged to some of the seamen; and I got two of
them into the boat, without examining what was in them. Had the
stern of the ship been fixed, and the forepart broken off, I am
persuaded I might have made a good voyage; for by what I found in
those two chests I had room to suppose the ship had a great deal of
wealth on board; and, if I may guess from the course she steered,
she must have been bound from Buenos Ayres, or the Rio de la Plata,
in the south part of America, beyond the Brazils to the Havannah,
in the Gulf of Mexico, and so perhaps to Spain. She had, no doubt,
a great treasure in her, but of no use, at that time, to anybody;
and what became of the crew I then knew not.

I found, besides these chests, a little cask full of liquor, of
about twenty gallons, which I got into my boat with much
difficulty. There were several muskets in the cabin, and a great
powder-horn, with about four pounds of powder in it; as for the
muskets, I had no occasion for them, so I left them, but took the
powder-horn. I took a fire-shovel and tongs, which I wanted
extremely, as also two little brass kettles, a copper pot to make
chocolate, and a gridiron; and with this cargo, and the dog, I came
away, the tide beginning to make home again - and the same evening,
about an hour within night, I reached the island again, weary and
fatigued to the last degree. I reposed that night in the boat and
in the morning I resolved to harbour what I had got in my new cave,
and not carry it home to my castle. After refreshing myself, I got
all my cargo on shore, and began to examine the particulars. The
cask of liquor I found to be a kind of rum, but not such as we had
at the Brazils; and, in a word, not at all good; but when I came to
open the chests, I found several things of great use to me - for
example, I found in one a fine case of bottles, of an extraordinary
kind, and filled with cordial waters, fine and very good; the
bottles held about three pints each, and were tipped with silver.
I found two pots of very good succades, or sweetmeats, so fastened
also on the top that the salt-water had not hurt them; and two more
of the same, which the water had spoiled. I found some very good
shirts, which were very welcome to me; and about a dozen and a half
of white linen handkerchiefs and coloured neckcloths; the former
were also very welcome, being exceedingly refreshing to wipe my
face in a hot day. Besides this, when I came to the till in the
chest, I found there three great bags of pieces of eight, which
held about eleven hundred pieces in all; and in one of them,
wrapped up in a paper, six doubloons of gold, and some small bars
or wedges of gold; I suppose they might all weigh near a pound. In
the other chest were some clothes, but of little value; but, by the
circumstances, it must have belonged to the gunner's mate; though
there was no powder in it, except two pounds of fine glazed powder,
in three flasks, kept, I suppose, for charging their fowling-pieces
on occasion. Upon the whole, I got very little by this voyage that
was of any use to me; for, as to the money, I had no manner of
occasion for it; it was to me as the dirt under my feet, and I
would have given it all for three or four pair of English shoes and
stockings, which were things I greatly wanted, but had had none on
my feet for many years. I had, indeed, got two pair of shoes now,
which I took off the feet of two drowned men whom I saw in the
wreck, and I found two pair more in one of the chests, which were
very welcome to me; but they were not like our English shoes,
either for ease or service, being rather what we call pumps than
shoes. I found in this seaman's chest about fifty pieces of eight,
in rials, but no gold: I supposed this belonged to a poorer man
than the other, which seemed to belong to some officer. Well,
however, I lugged this money home to my cave, and laid it up, as I
had done that before which I had brought from our own ship; but it
was a great pity, as I said, that the other part of this ship had
not come to my share: for I am satisfied I might have loaded my
canoe several times over with money; and, thought I, if I ever
escape to England, it might lie here safe enough till I come again
and fetch it.


HAVING now brought all my things on shore and secured them, I went
back to my boat, and rowed or paddled her along the shore to her
old harbour, where I laid her up, and made the best of my way to my
old habitation, where I found everything safe and quiet. I began
now to repose myself, live after my old fashion, and take care of
my family affairs; and for a while I lived easy enough, only that I
was more vigilant than I used to be, looked out oftener, and did
not go abroad so much; and if at any time I did stir with any
freedom, it was always to the east part of the island, where I was
pretty well satisfied the savages never came, and where I could go
without so many precautions, and such a load of arms and ammunition
as I always carried with me if I went the other way. I lived in
this condition near two years more; but my unlucky head, that was
always to let me know it was born to make my body miserable, was
all these two years filled with projects and designs how, if it
were possible, I might get away from this island: for sometimes I
was for making another voyage to the wreck, though my reason told
me that there was nothing left there worth the hazard of my voyage;
sometimes for a ramble one way, sometimes another - and I believe
verily, if I had had the boat that I went from Sallee in, I should
have ventured to sea, bound anywhere, I knew not whither. I have
been, in all my circumstances, a memento to those who are touched
with the general plague of mankind, whence, for aught I know, one
half of their miseries flow: I mean that of not being satisfied
with the station wherein God and Nature hath placed them - for, not
to look back upon my primitive condition, and the excellent advice
of my father, the opposition to which was, as I may call it, my
ORIGINAL SIN, my subsequent mistakes of the same kind had been the
means of my coming into this miserable condition; for had that
Providence which so happily seated me at the Brazils as a planter
blessed me with confined desires, and I could have been contented
to have gone on gradually, I might have been by this time - I mean
in the time of my being in this island - one of the most
considerable planters in the Brazils - nay, I am persuaded, that by
the improvements I had made in that little time I lived there, and
the increase I should probably have made if I had remained, I might
have been worth a hundred thousand moidores - and what business had
I to leave a settled fortune, a well-stocked plantation, improving
and increasing, to turn supercargo to Guinea to fetch negroes, when
patience and time would have so increased our stock at home, that
we could have bought them at our own door from those whose business
it was to fetch them? and though it had cost us something more, yet
the difference of that price was by no means worth saving at so
great a hazard. But as this is usually the fate of young heads, so
reflection upon the folly of it is as commonly the exercise of more
years, or of the dear-bought experience of time - so it was with me
now; and yet so deep had the mistake taken root in my temper, that
I could not satisfy myself in my station, but was continually
poring upon the means and possibility of my escape from this place;
and that I may, with greater pleasure to the reader, bring on the
remaining part of my story, it may not be improper to give some
account of my first conceptions on the subject of this foolish
scheme for my escape, and how, and upon what foundation, I acted.

I am now to be supposed retired into my castle, after my late
voyage to the wreck, my frigate laid up and secured under water, as
usual, and my condition restored to what it was before: I had more
wealth, indeed, than I had before, but was not at all the richer;
for I had no more use for it than the Indians of Peru had before
the Spaniards came there.

It was one of the nights in the rainy season in March, the four-
and-twentieth year of my first setting foot in this island of
solitude, I was lying in my bed or hammock, awake, very well in
health, had no pain, no distemper, no uneasiness of body, nor any
uneasiness of mind more than ordinary, but could by no means close
my eyes, that is, so as to sleep; no, not a wink all night long,
otherwise than as follows: It is impossible to set down the
innumerable crowd of thoughts that whirled through that great
thoroughfare of the brain, the memory, in this night's time. I ran
over the whole history of my life in miniature, or by abridgment,
as I may call it, to my coming to this island, and also of that
part of my life since I came to this island. In my reflections
upon the state of my case since I came on shore on this island, I
was comparing the happy posture of my affairs in the first years of
my habitation here, with the life of anxiety, fear, and care which
I had lived in ever since I had seen the print of a foot in the
sand. Not that I did not believe the savages had frequented the
island even all the while, and might have been several hundreds of
them at times on shore there; but I had never known it, and was
incapable of any apprehensions about it; my satisfaction was
perfect, though my danger was the same, and I was as happy in not
knowing my danger as if I had never really been exposed to it.
This furnished my thoughts with many very profitable reflections,
and particularly this one: How infinitely good that Providence is,
which has provided, in its government of mankind, such narrow
bounds to his sight and knowledge of things; and though he walks in
the midst of so many thousand dangers, the sight of which, if
discovered to him, would distract his mind and sink his spirits, he
is kept serene and calm, by having the events of things hid from
his eyes, and knowing nothing of the dangers which surround him.

After these thoughts had for some time entertained me, I came to
reflect seriously upon the real danger I had been in for so many
years in this very island, and how I had walked about in the
greatest security, and with all possible tranquillity, even when
perhaps nothing but the brow of a hill, a great tree, or the casual
approach of night, had been between me and the worst kind of
destruction - viz. that of falling into the hands of cannibals and
savages, who would have seized on me with the same view as I would
on a goat or turtle; and have thought it no more crime to kill and
devour me than I did of a pigeon or a curlew. I would unjustly
slander myself if I should say I was not sincerely thankful to my
great Preserver, to whose singular protection I acknowledged, with
great humanity, all these unknown deliverances were due, and
without which I must inevitably have fallen into their merciless

When these thoughts were over, my head was for some time taken up
in considering the nature of these wretched creatures, I mean the
savages, and how it came to pass in the world that the wise
Governor of all things should give up any of His creatures to such
inhumanity - nay, to something so much below even brutality itself
- as to devour its own kind: but as this ended in some (at that
time) fruitless speculations, it occurred to me to inquire what
part of the world these wretches lived in? how far off the coast
was from whence they came? what they ventured over so far from home
for? what kind of boats they had? and why I might not order myself
and my business so that I might be able to go over thither, as they
were to come to me?

I never so much as troubled myself to consider what I should do
with myself when I went thither; what would become of me if I fell
into the hands of these savages; or how I should escape them if
they attacked me; no, nor so much as how it was possible for me to
reach the coast, and not to be attacked by some or other of them,
without any possibility of delivering myself: and if I should not
fall into their hands, what I should do for provision, or whither I
should bend my course: none of these thoughts, I say, so much as
came in my way; but my mind was wholly bent upon the notion of my
passing over in my boat to the mainland. I looked upon my present
condition as the most miserable that could possibly be; that I was
not able to throw myself into anything but death, that could be
called worse; and if I reached the shore of the main I might
perhaps meet with relief, or I might coast along, as I did on the
African shore, till I came to some inhabited country, and where I
might find some relief; and after all, perhaps I might fall in with
some Christian ship that might take me in: and if the worst came to
the worst, I could but die, which would put an end to all these
miseries at once. Pray note, all this was the fruit of a disturbed
mind, an impatient temper, made desperate, as it were, by the long
continuance of my troubles, and the disappointments I had met in
the wreck I had been on board of, and where I had been so near
obtaining what I so earnestly longed for - somebody to speak to,
and to learn some knowledge from them of the place where I was, and
of the probable means of my deliverance. I was agitated wholly by
these thoughts; all my calm of mind, in my resignation to
Providence, and waiting the issue of the dispositions of Heaven,
seemed to be suspended; and I had as it were no power to turn my
thoughts to anything but to the project of a voyage to the main,
which came upon me with such force, and such an impetuosity of
desire, that it was not to be resisted.

When this had agitated my thoughts for two hours or more, with such
violence that it set my very blood into a ferment, and my pulse
beat as if I had been in a fever, merely with the extraordinary
fervour of my mind about it, Nature - as if I had been fatigued and
exhausted with the very thoughts of it - threw me into a sound
sleep. One would have thought I should have dreamed of it, but I
did not, nor of anything relating to it, but I dreamed that as I
was going out in the morning as usual from my castle, I saw upon
the shore two canoes and eleven savages coming to land, and that
they brought with them another savage whom they were going to kill
in order to eat him; when, on a sudden, the savage that they were
going to kill jumped away, and ran for his life; and I thought in
my sleep that he came running into my little thick grove before my
fortification, to hide himself; and that I seeing him alone, and
not perceiving that the others sought him that way, showed myself
to him, and smiling upon him, encouraged him: that he kneeled down
to me, seeming to pray me to assist him; upon which I showed him my
ladder, made him go up, and carried him into my cave, and he became
my servant; and that as soon as I had got this man, I said to
myself, "Now I may certainly venture to the mainland, for this
fellow will serve me as a pilot, and will tell me what to do, and
whither to go for provisions, and whither not to go for fear of
being devoured; what places to venture into, and what to shun." I
waked with this thought; and was under such inexpressible
impressions of joy at the prospect of my escape in my dream, that
the disappointments which I felt upon coming to myself, and finding
that it was no more than a dream, were equally extravagant the
other way, and threw me into a very great dejection of spirits.

Upon this, however, I made this conclusion: that my only way to go
about to attempt an escape was, to endeavour to get a savage into
my possession: and, if possible, it should be one of their
prisoners, whom they had condemned to be eaten, and should bring
hither to kill. But these thoughts still were attended with this
difficulty: that it was impossible to effect this without attacking
a whole caravan of them, and killing them all; and this was not
only a very desperate attempt, and might miscarry, but, on the
other hand, I had greatly scrupled the lawfulness of it to myself;
and my heart trembled at the thoughts of shedding so much blood,
though it was for my deliverance. I need not repeat the arguments
which occurred to me against this, they being the same mentioned
before; but though I had other reasons to offer now - viz. that
those men were enemies to my life, and would devour me if they
could; that it was self-preservation, in the highest degree, to
deliver myself from this death of a life, and was acting in my own
defence as much as if they were actually assaulting me, and the
like; I say though these things argued for it, yet the thoughts of
shedding human blood for my deliverance were very terrible to me,
and such as I could by no means reconcile myself to for a great
while. However, at last, after many secret disputes with myself,
and after great perplexities about it (for all these arguments, one
way and another, struggled in my head a long time), the eager
prevailing desire of deliverance at length mastered all the rest;
and I resolved, if possible, to get one of these savages into my
hands, cost what it would. My next thing was to contrive how to do
it, and this, indeed, was very difficult to resolve on; but as I
could pitch upon no probable means for it, so I resolved to put
myself upon the watch, to see them when they came on shore, and
leave the rest to the event; taking such measures as the
opportunity should present, let what would be.

With these resolutions in my thoughts, I set myself upon the scout
as often as possible, and indeed so often that I was heartily tired
of it; for it was above a year and a half that I waited; and for
great part of that time went out to the west end, and to the south-
west corner of the island almost every day, to look for canoes, but
none appeared. This was very discouraging, and began to trouble me
much, though I cannot say that it did in this case (as it had done
some time before) wear off the edge of my desire to the thing; but
the longer it seemed to be delayed, the more eager I was for it: in
a word, I was not at first so careful to shun the sight of these
savages, and avoid being seen by them, as I was now eager to be
upon them. Besides, I fancied myself able to manage one, nay, two
or three savages, if I had them, so as to make them entirely slaves
to me, to do whatever I should direct them, and to prevent their
being able at any time to do me any hurt. It was a great while
that I pleased myself with this affair; but nothing still presented
itself; all my fancies and schemes came to nothing, for no savages
came near me for a great while.

About a year and a half after I entertained these notions (and by
long musing had, as it were, resolved them all into nothing, for
want of an occasion to put them into execution), I was surprised
one morning by seeing no less than five canoes all on shore
together on my side the island, and the people who belonged to them
all landed and out of my sight. The number of them broke all my
measures; for seeing so many, and knowing that they always came
four or six, or sometimes more in a boat, I could not tell what to
think of it, or how to take my measures to attack twenty or thirty
men single-handed; so lay still in my castle, perplexed and
discomforted. However, I put myself into the same position for an
attack that I had formerly provided, and was just ready for action,
if anything had presented. Having waited a good while, listening
to hear if they made any noise, at length, being very impatient, I
set my guns at the foot of my ladder, and .clambered up to the top
of the hill, by my two stages, as usual; standing so, however, that
my head did not appear above the hill, so that they could not
perceive me by any means. Here I observed, by the help of my
perspective glass, that they were no less than thirty in number;
that they had a fire kindled, and that they had meat dressed. How
they had cooked it I knew not, or what it was; but they were all
dancing, in I know not how many barbarous gestures and figures,
their own way, round the fire.

While I was thus looking on them, I perceived, by my perspective,
two miserable wretches dragged from the boats, where, it seems,
they were laid by, and were now brought out for the slaughter. I
perceived one of them immediately fall; being knocked down, I
suppose, with a club or wooden sword, for that was their way; and
two or three others were at work immediately, cutting him open for
their cookery, while the other victim was left standing by himself,
till they should be ready for him. In that very moment this poor
wretch, seeing himself a little at liberty and unbound, Nature
inspired him with hopes of life, and he started away from them, and
ran with incredible swiftness along the sands, directly towards me;
I mean towards that part of the coast where my habitation was. I
was dreadfully frightened, I must acknowledge, when I perceived him
run my way; and especially when, as I thought, I saw him pursued by
the whole body: and now I expected that part of my dream was coming
to pass, and that he would certainly take shelter in my grove; but
I could not depend, by any means, upon my dream, that the other
savages would not pursue him thither and find him there. However,
I kept my station, and my spirits began to recover when I found
that there was not above three men that followed him; and still
more was I encouraged, when I found that he outstripped them
exceedingly in running, and gained ground on them; so that, if he
could but hold out for half-an-hour, I saw easily he would fairly
get away from them all.

There was between them and my castle the creek, which I mentioned
often in the first part of my story, where I landed my cargoes out
of the ship; and this I saw plainly he must necessarily swim over,
or the poor wretch would be taken there; but when the savage
escaping came thither, he made nothing of it, though the tide was
then up; but plunging in, swam through in about thirty strokes, or
thereabouts, landed, and ran with exceeding strength and swiftness.
When the three persons came to the creek, I found that two of them
could swim, but the third could not, and that, standing on the
other side, he looked at the others, but went no farther, and soon
after went softly back again; which, as it happened, was very well
for him in the end. I observed that the two who swam were yet more
than twice as strong swimming over the creek as the fellow was that
fled from them. It came very warmly upon my thoughts, and indeed
irresistibly, that now was the time to get me a servant, and,
perhaps, a companion or assistant; and that I was plainly called by
Providence to save this poor creature's life. I immediately ran
down the ladders with all possible expedition, fetched my two guns,
for they were both at the foot of the ladders, as I observed
before, and getting up again with the same haste to the top of the
hill, I crossed towards the sea; and having a very short cut, and
all down hill, placed myself in the way between the pursuers and
the pursued, hallowing aloud to him that fled, who, looking back,
was at first perhaps as much frightened at me as at them; but I
beckoned with my hand to him to come back; and, in the meantime, I
slowly advanced towards the two that followed; then rushing at once
upon the foremost, I knocked him down with the stock of my piece.
I was loath to fire, because I would not have the rest hear;
though, at that distance, it would not have been easily heard, and
being out of sight of the smoke, too, they would not have known
what to make of it. Having knocked this fellow down, the other who
pursued him stopped, as if he had been frightened, and I advanced
towards him: but as I came nearer, I perceived presently he had a
bow and arrow, and was fitting it to shoot at me: so I was then
obliged to shoot at him first, which I did, and killed him at the
first shot. The poor savage who fled, but had stopped, though he
saw both his enemies fallen and killed, as he thought, yet was so
frightened with the fire and noise of my piece that he stood stock
still, and neither came forward nor went backward, though he seemed
rather inclined still to fly than to come on. I hallooed again to
him, and made signs to come forward, which he easily understood,
and came a little way; then stopped again, and then a little
farther, and stopped again; and I could then perceive that he stood
trembling, as if he had been taken prisoner, and had just been to
be killed, as his two enemies were. I beckoned to him again to
come to me, and gave him all the signs of encouragement that I
could think of; and he came nearer and nearer, kneeling down every
ten or twelve steps, in token of acknowledgment for saving his
life. I smiled at him, and looked pleasantly, and beckoned to him
to come still nearer; at length he came close to me; and then he
kneeled down again, kissed the ground, and laid his head upon the
ground, and taking me by the foot, set my foot upon his head; this,
it seems, was in token of swearing to be my slave for ever. I took
him up and made much of him, and encouraged him all I could. But
there was more work to do yet; for I perceived the savage whom I
had knocked down was not killed, but stunned with the blow, and
began to come to himself: so I pointed to him, and showed him the
savage, that he was not dead; upon this he spoke some words to me,
and though I could not understand them, yet I thought they were
pleasant to hear; for they were the first sound of a man's voice
that I had heard, my own excepted, for above twenty-five years.
But there was no time for such reflections now; the savage who was
knocked down recovered himself so far as to sit up upon the ground,
and I perceived that my savage began to be afraid; but when I saw
that, I presented my other piece at the man, as if I would shoot
him: upon this my savage, for so I call him now, made a motion to
me to lend him my sword, which hung naked in a belt by my side,
which I did. He no sooner had it, but he runs to his enemy, and at
one blow cut off his head so cleverly, no executioner in Germany
could have done it sooner or better; which I thought very strange
for one who, I had reason to believe, never saw a sword in his life
before, except their own wooden swords: however, it seems, as I
learned afterwards, they make their wooden swords so sharp, so
heavy, and the wood is so hard, that they will even cut off heads
with them, ay, and arms, and that at one blow, too. When he had
done this, he comes laughing to me in sign of triumph, and brought
me the sword again, and with abundance of gestures which I did not
understand, laid it down, with the head of the savage that he had
killed, just before me. But that which astonished him most was to
know how I killed the other Indian so far off; so, pointing to him,
he made signs to me to let him go to him; and I bade him go, as
well as I could. When he came to him, he stood like one amazed,
looking at him, turning him first on one side, then on the other;
looked at the wound the bullet had made, which it seems was just in
his breast, where it had made a hole, and no great quantity of
blood had followed; but he had bled inwardly, for he was quite
dead. He took up his bow and arrows, and came back; so I turned to
go away, and beckoned him to follow me, making signs to him that
more might come after them. Upon this he made signs to me that he
should bury them with sand, that they might not be seen by the
rest, if they followed; and so I made signs to him again to do so.
He fell to work; and in an instant he had scraped a hole in the
sand with his hands big enough to bury the first in, and then
dragged him into it, and covered him; and did so by the other also;
I believe he had him buried them both in a quarter of an hour.
Then, calling away, I carried him, not to my castle, but quite away
to my cave, on the farther part of the island: so I did not let my
dream come to pass in that part, that he came into my grove for
shelter. Here I gave him bread and a bunch of raisins to eat, and
a draught of water, which I found he was indeed in great distress
for, from his running: and having refreshed him, I made signs for
him to go and lie down to sleep, showing him a place where I had
laid some rice-straw, and a blanket upon it, which I used to sleep
upon myself sometimes; so the poor creature lay down, and went to

He was a comely, handsome fellow, perfectly well made, with
straight, strong limbs, not too large; tall, and well-shaped; and,
as I reckon, about twenty-six years of age. He had a very good
countenance, not a fierce and surly aspect, but seemed to have
something very manly in his face; and yet he had all the sweetness
and softness of a European in his countenance, too, especially when
he smiled. His hair was long and black, not curled like wool; his
forehead very high and large; and a great vivacity and sparkling
sharpness in his eyes. The colour of his skin was not quite black,
but very tawny; and yet not an ugly, yellow, nauseous tawny, as the
Brazilians and Virginians, and other natives of America are, but of
a bright kind of a dun olive-colour, that had in it something very
agreeable, though not very easy to describe. His face was round
and plump; his nose small, not flat, like the negroes; a very good
mouth, thin lips, and his fine teeth well set, and as white as

After he had slumbered, rather than slept, about half-an-hour, he
awoke again, and came out of the cave to me: for I had been milking
my goats which I had in the enclosure just by: when he espied me he
came running to me, laying himself down again upon the ground, with
all the possible signs of an humble, thankful disposition, making a
great many antic gestures to show it. At last he lays his head
flat upon the ground, close to my foot, and sets my other foot upon
his head, as he had done before; and after this made all the signs
to me of subjection, servitude, and submission imaginable, to let
me know how he would serve me so long as he lived. I understood
him in many things, and let him know I was very well pleased with
him. In a little time I began to speak to him; and teach him to
speak to me: and first, I let him know his name should be Friday,
which was the day I saved his life: I called him so for the memory
of the time. I likewise taught him to say Master; and then let him
know that was to be my name: I likewise taught him to say Yes and
No and to know the meaning of them. I gave him some milk in an
earthen pot, and let him see me drink it before him, and sop my
bread in it; and gave him a cake of bread to do the like, which he
quickly complied with, and made signs that it was very good for
him. I kept there with him all that night; but as soon as it was
day I beckoned to him to come with me, and let him know I would
give him some clothes; at which he seemed very glad, for he was
stark naked. As we went by the place where he had buried the two
men, he pointed exactly to the place, and showed me the marks that
he had made to find them again, making signs to me that we should
dig them up again and eat them. At this I appeared very angry,
expressed my abhorrence of it, made as if I would vomit at the
thoughts of it, and beckoned with my hand to him to come away,
which he did immediately, with great submission. I then led him up
to the top of the hill, to see if his enemies were gone; and
pulling out my glass I looked, and saw plainly the place where they
had been, but no appearance of them or their canoes; so that it was
plain they were gone, and had left their two comrades behind them,
without any search after them.

But I was not content with this discovery; but having now more
courage, and consequently more curiosity, I took my man Friday with
me, giving him the sword in his hand, with the bow and arrows at
his back, which I found he could use very dexterously, making him
carry one gun for me, and I two for myself; and away we marched to
the place where these creatures had been; for I had a mind now to
get some further intelligence of them. When I came to the place my
very blood ran chill in my veins, and my heart sunk within me, at
the horror of the spectacle; indeed, it was a dreadful sight, at
least it was so to me, though Friday made nothing of it. The place
was covered with human bones, the ground dyed with their blood, and
great pieces of flesh left here and there, half-eaten, mangled, and
scorched; and, in short, all the tokens of the triumphant feast
they had been making there, after a victory over their enemies. I
saw three skulls, five hands, and the bones of three or four legs
and feet, and abundance of other parts of the bodies; and Friday,
by his signs, made me understand that they brought over four
prisoners to feast upon; that three of them were eaten up, and that
he, pointing to himself, was the fourth; that there had been a
great battle between them and their next king, of whose subjects,
it seems, he had been one, and that they had taken a great number
of prisoners; all which were carried to several places by those who
had taken them in the fight, in order to feast upon them, as was
done here by these wretches upon those they brought hither.

I caused Friday to gather all the skulls, bones, flesh, and
whatever remained, and lay them together in a heap, and make a
great fire upon it, and burn them all to ashes. I found Friday had
still a hankering stomach after some of the flesh, and was still a
cannibal in his nature; but I showed so much abhorrence at the very
thoughts of it, and at the least appearance of it, that he durst
not discover it: for I had, by some means, let him know that I
would kill him if he offered it.

When he had done this, we came back to our castle; and there I fell
to work for my man Friday; and first of all, I gave him a pair of
linen drawers, which I had out of the poor gunner's chest I
mentioned, which I found in the wreck, and which, with a little
alteration, fitted him very well; and then I made him a jerkin of
goat's skin, as well as my skill would allow (for I was now grown a
tolerably good tailor); and I gave him a cap which I made of hare's
skin, very convenient, and fashionable enough; and thus he was
clothed, for the present, tolerably well, and was mighty well
pleased to see himself almost as well clothed as his master. It is
true he went awkwardly in these clothes at first: wearing the
drawers was very awkward to him, and the sleeves of the waistcoat
galled his shoulders and the inside of his arms; but a little
easing them where he complained they hurt him, and using himself to
them, he took to them at length very well.

The next day, after I came home to my hutch with him, I began to
consider where I should lodge him: and that I might do well for him
and yet be perfectly easy myself, I made a little tent for him in
the vacant place between my two fortifications, in the inside of
the last, and in the outside of the first. As there was a door or
entrance there into my cave, I made a formal framed door-case, and
a door to it, of boards, and set it up in the passage, a little
within the entrance; and, causing the door to open in the inside, I
barred it up in the night, taking in my ladders, too; so that
Friday could no way come at me in the inside of my innermost wall,
without making so much noise in getting over that it must needs
awaken me; for my first wall had now a complete roof over it of
long poles, covering all my tent, and leaning up to the side of the
hill; which was again laid across with smaller sticks, instead of
laths, and then thatched over a great thickness with the rice-
straw, which was strong, like reeds; and at the hole or place which
was left to go in or out by the ladder I had placed a kind of trap-
door, which, if it had been attempted on the outside, would not
have opened at all, but would have fallen down and made a great
noise - as to weapons, I took them all into my side every night.
But I needed none of all this precaution; for never man had a more
faithful, loving, sincere servant than Friday was to me: without
passions, sullenness, or designs, perfectly obliged and engaged;
his very affections were tied to me, like those of a child to a
father; and I daresay he would have sacrificed his life to save
mine upon any occasion whatsoever - the many testimonies he gave me
of this put it out of doubt, and soon convinced me that I needed to
use no precautions for my safety on his account.

This frequently gave me occasion to observe, and that with wonder,
that however it had pleased God in His providence, and in the
government of the works of His hands, to take from so great a part
of the world of His creatures the best uses to which their
faculties and the powers of their souls are adapted, yet that He
has bestowed upon them the same powers, the same reason, the same
affections, the same sentiments of kindness and obligation, the
same passions and resentments of wrongs, the same sense of
gratitude, sincerity, fidelity, and all the capacities of doing
good and receiving good that He has given to us; and that when He
pleases to offer them occasions of exerting these, they are as
ready, nay, more ready, to apply them to the right uses for which
they were bestowed than we are. This made me very melancholy
sometimes, in reflecting, as the several occasions presented, how
mean a use we make of all these, even though we have these powers
enlightened by the great lamp of instruction, the Spirit of God,
and by the knowledge of His word added to our understanding; and
why it has pleased God to hide the like saving knowledge from so
many millions of souls, who, if I might judge by this poor savage,
would make a much better use of it than we did. From hence I
sometimes was led too far, to invade the sovereignty of Providence,
and, as it were, arraign the justice of so arbitrary a disposition
of things, that should hide that sight from some, and reveal it -
to others, and yet expect a like duty from both; but I shut it up,
and checked my thoughts with this conclusion: first, that we did
not know by what light and law these should be condemned; but that
as God was necessarily, and by the nature of His being, infinitely
holy and just, so it could not be, but if these creatures were all
sentenced to absence from Himself, it was on account of sinning
against that light which, as the Scripture says, was a law to
themselves, and by such rules as their consciences would
acknowledge to be just, though the foundation was not discovered to
us; and secondly, that still as we all are the clay in the hand of
the potter, no vessel could say to him, "Why hast thou formed me

But to return to my new companion. I was greatly delighted with
him, and made it my business to teach him everything that was
proper to make him useful, handy, and helpful; but especially to
make him speak, and understand me when I spoke; and he was the
aptest scholar that ever was; and particularly was so merry, so
constantly diligent, and so pleased when he could but understand
me, or make me understand him, that it was very pleasant for me to
talk to him. Now my life began to be so easy that I began to say
to myself that could I but have been safe from more savages, I
cared not if I was never to remove from the place where I lived.


AFTER I had been two or three days returned to my castle, I thought
that, in order to bring Friday off from his horrid way of feeding,
and from the relish of a cannibal's stomach, I ought to let him
taste other flesh; so I took him out with me one morning to the
woods. I went, indeed, intending to kill a kid out of my own
flock; and bring it home and dress it; but as I was going I saw a
she-goat lying down in the shade, and two young kids sitting by
her. I catched hold of Friday. "Hold," said I, "stand still;" and
made signs to him not to stir: immediately I presented my piece,
shot, and killed one of the kids. The poor creature, who had at a
distance, indeed, seen me kill the savage, his enemy, but did not
know, nor could imagine how it was done, was sensibly surprised,
trembled, and shook, and looked so amazed that I thought he would
have sunk down. He did not see the kid I shot at, or perceive I
had killed it, but ripped up his waistcoat to feel whether he was
not wounded; and, as I found presently, thought I was resolved to
kill him: for he came and kneeled down to me, and embracing my
knees, said a great many things I did not understand; but I could
easily see the meaning was to pray me not to kill him.

I soon found a way to convince him that I would do him no harm; and
taking him up by the hand, laughed at him, and pointing to the kid
which I had killed, beckoned to him to run and fetch it, which he
did: and while he was wondering, and looking to see how the
creature was killed, I loaded my gun again. By-and-by I saw a
great fowl, like a hawk, sitting upon a tree within shot; so, to
let Friday understand a little what I would do, I called him to me
again, pointed at the fowl, which was indeed a parrot, though I
thought it had been a hawk; I say, pointing to the parrot, and to
my gun, and to the ground under the parrot, to let him see I would
make it fall, I made him understand that I would shoot and kill
that bird; accordingly, I fired, and bade him look, and immediately
he saw the parrot fall. He stood like one frightened again,
notwithstanding all I had said to him; and I found he was the more
amazed, because he did not see me put anything into the gun, but
thought that there must be some wonderful fund of death and
destruction in that thing, able to kill man, beast, bird, or
anything near or far off; and the astonishment this created in him
was such as could not wear off for a long time; and I believe, if I
would have let him, he would have worshipped me and my gun. As for
the gun itself, he would not so much as touch it for several days
after; but he would speak to it and talk to it, as if it had
answered him, when he was by himself; which, as I afterwards
learned of him, was to desire it not to kill him. Well, after his
astonishment was a little over at this, I pointed to him to run and
fetch the bird I had shot, which he did, but stayed some time; for
the parrot, not being quite dead, had fluttered away a good
distance from the place where she fell: however, he found her, took
her up, and brought her to me; and as I had perceived his ignorance
about the gun before, I took this advantage to charge the gun
again, and not to let him see me do it, that I might be ready for
any other mark that might present; but nothing more offered at that
time: so I brought home the kid, and the same evening I took the
skin off, and cut it out as well as I could; and having a pot fit
for that purpose, I boiled or stewed some of the flesh, and made
some very good broth. After I had begun to eat some I gave some to
my man, who seemed very glad of it, and liked it very well; but
that which was strangest to him was to see me eat salt with it. He
made a sign to me that the salt was not good to eat; and putting a
little into his own mouth, he seemed to nauseate it, and would spit
and sputter at it, washing his mouth with fresh water after it: on
the other hand, I took some meat into my mouth without salt, and I
pretended to spit and sputter for want of salt, as much as he had
done at the salt; but it would not do; he would never care for salt
with meat or in his broth; at least, not for a great while, and
then but a very little.

Having thus fed him with boiled meat and broth, I was resolved to
feast him the next day by roasting a piece of the kid: this I did
by hanging it before the fire on a string, as I had seen many
people do in England, setting two poles up, one on each side of the
fire, and one across the top, and tying the string to the cross
stick, letting the meat turn continually. This Friday admired very
much; but when he came to taste the flesh, he took so many ways to
tell me how well he liked it, that I could not but understand him:
and at last he told me, as well as he could, he would never eat
man's flesh any more, which I was very glad to hear.

The next day I set him to work beating some corn out, and sifting
it in the manner I used to do, as I observed before; and he soon
understood how to do it as well as I, especially after he had seen
what the meaning of it was, and that it was to make bread of; for
after that I let him see me make my bread, and bake it too; and in
a little time Friday was able to do all the work for me as well as
I could do it myself.

I began now to consider, that having two mouths to feed instead of
one, I must provide more ground for my harvest, and plant a larger
quantity of corn than I used to do; so I marked out a larger piece
of land, and began the fence in the same manner as before, in which
Friday worked not only very willingly and very hard, but did it
very cheerfully: and I told him what it was for; that it was for
corn to make more bread, because he was now with me, and that I
might have enough for him and myself too. He appeared very
sensible of that part, and let me know that he thought I had much
more labour upon me on his account than I had for myself; and that
he would work the harder for me if I would tell him what to do.

This was the pleasantest year of all the life I led in this place.
Friday began to talk pretty well, and understand the names of
almost everything I had occasion to call for, and of every place I
had to send him to, and talked a great deal to me; so that, in
short, I began now to have some use for my tongue again, which,
indeed, I had very little occasion for before. Besides the
pleasure of talking to him, I had a singular satisfaction in the
fellow himself: his simple, unfeigned honesty appeared to me more
and more every day, and I began really to love the creature; and on
his side I believe he loved me more than it was possible for him
ever to love anything before.

I had a mind once to try if he had any inclination for his own
country again; and having taught him English so well that he could
answer me almost any question, I asked him whether the nation that
he belonged to never conquered in battle? At which he smiled, and
said - "Yes, yes, we always fight the better;" that is, he meant
always get the better in fight; and so we began the following

MASTER. - You always fight the better; how came you to be taken
prisoner, then, Friday?

FRIDAY. - My nation beat much for all that.

MASTER. - How beat? If your nation beat them, how came you to be

FRIDAY. - They more many than my nation, in the place where me was;
they take one, two, three, and me: my nation over-beat them in the
yonder place, where me no was; there my nation take one, two, great

MASTER. - But why did not your side recover you from the hands of
your enemies, then?

FRIDAY. - They run, one, two, three, and me, and make go in the
canoe; my nation have no canoe that time.

MASTER. - Well, Friday, and what does your nation do with the men
they take? Do they carry them away and eat them, as these did?

FRIDAY. - Yes, my nation eat mans too; eat all up.

MASTER. - Where do they carry them?

FRIDAY. - Go to other place, where they think.

MASTER. - Do they come hither?

FRIDAY. - Yes, yes, they come hither; come other else place.

MASTER. - Have you been here with them?

FRIDAY. - Yes, I have been here (points to the NW. side of the
island, which, it seems, was their side).

By this I understood that my man Friday had formerly been among the
savages who used to come on shore on the farther part of the
island, on the same man-eating occasions he was now brought for;
and some time after, when I took the courage to carry him to that
side, being the same I formerly mentioned, he presently knew the
place, and told me he was there once, when they ate up twenty men,
two women, and one child; he could not tell twenty in English, but
he numbered them by laying so many stones in a row, and pointing to
me to tell them over.

I have told this passage, because it introduces what follows: that
after this discourse I had with him, I asked him how far it was
from our island to the shore, and whether the canoes were not often
lost. He told me there was no danger, no canoes ever lost: but
that after a little way out to sea, there was a current and wind,
always one way in the morning, the other in the afternoon. This I
understood to be no more than the sets of the tide, as going out or
coming in; but I afterwards understood it was occasioned by the
great draft and reflux of the mighty river Orinoco, in the mouth or
gulf of which river, as I found afterwards, our island lay; and
that this land, which I perceived to be W. and NW., was the great
island Trinidad, on the north point of the mouth of the river. I
asked Friday a thousand questions about the country, the
inhabitants, the sea, the coast, and what nations were near; he
told me all he knew with the greatest openness imaginable. I asked
him the names of the several nations of his sort of people, but
could get no other name than Caribs; from whence I easily
understood that these were the Caribbees, which our maps place on
the part of America which reaches from the mouth of the river
Orinoco to Guiana, and onwards to St. Martha. He told me that up a
great way beyond the moon, that was beyond the setting of the moon,
which must be west from their country, there dwelt white bearded
men, like me, and pointed to my great whiskers, which I mentioned
before; and that they had killed much mans, that was his word: by
all which I understood he meant the Spaniards, whose cruelties in
America had been spread over the whole country, and were remembered
by all the nations from father to son.

I inquired if he could tell me how I might go from this island, and
get among those white men. He told me, "Yes, yes, you may go in
two canoe." I could not understand what he meant, or make him
describe to me what he meant by two canoe, till at last, with great
difficulty, I found he meant it must be in a large boat, as big as
two canoes. This part of Friday's discourse I began to relish very
well; and from this time I entertained some hopes that, one time or
other, I might find an opportunity to make my escape from this
place, and that this poor savage might be a means to help me.

During the long time that Friday had now been with me, and that he
began to speak to me, and understand me, I was not wanting to lay a
foundation of religious knowledge in his mind; particularly I asked
him one time, who made him. The creature did not understand me at
all, but thought I had asked who was his father - but I took it up
by another handle, and asked him who made the sea, the ground we
walked on, and the hills and woods. He told me, "It was one
Benamuckee, that lived beyond all;" he could describe nothing of
this great person, but that he was very old, "much older," he said,
"than the sea or land, than the moon or the stars." I asked him
then, if this old person had made all things, why did not all
things worship him? He looked very grave, and, with a perfect look
of innocence, said, "All things say O to him." I asked him if the
people who die in his country went away anywhere? He said, "Yes;
they all went to Benamuckee." Then I asked him whether those they
eat up went thither too. He said, "Yes."

From these things, I began to instruct him in the knowledge of the
true God; I told him that the great Maker of all things lived up
there, pointing up towards heaven; that He governed the world by
the same power and providence by which He made it; that He was
omnipotent, and could do everything for us, give everything to us,
take everything from us; and thus, by degrees, I opened his eyes.
He listened with great attention, and received with pleasure the
notion of Jesus Christ being sent to redeem us; and of the manner
of making our prayers to God, and His being able to hear us, even
in heaven. He told me one day, that if our God could hear us, up
beyond the sun, he must needs be a greater God than their
Benamuckee, who lived but a little way off, and yet could not hear
till they went up to the great mountains where he dwelt to speak to
them. I asked him if ever he went thither to speak to him. He
said, "No; they never went that were young men; none went thither
but the old men," whom he called their Oowokakee; that is, as I
made him explain to me, their religious, or clergy; and that they
went to say O (so he called saying prayers), and then came back and
told them what Benamuckee said. By this I observed, that there is
priestcraft even among the most blinded, ignorant pagans in the
world; and the policy of making a secret of religion, in order to
preserve the veneration of the people to the clergy, not only to be
found in the Roman, but, perhaps, among all religions in the world,
even among the most brutish and barbarous savages.

I endeavoured to clear up this fraud to my man Friday; and told him
that the pretence of their old men going up to the mountains to say
O to their god Benamuckee was a cheat; and their bringing word from
thence what he said was much more so; that if they met with any
answer, or spake with any one there, it must be with an evil
spirit; and then I entered into a long discourse with him about the
devil, the origin of him, his rebellion against God, his enmity to
man, the reason of it, his setting himself up in the dark parts of
the world to be worshipped instead of God, and as God, and the many
stratagems he made use of to delude mankind to their ruin; how he
had a secret access to our passions and to our affections, and to
adapt his snares to our inclinations, so as to cause us even to be
our own tempters, and run upon our destruction by our own choice.

I found it was not so easy to imprint right notions in his mind
about the devil as it was about the being of a God. Nature
assisted all my arguments to evidence to him even the necessity of
a great First Cause, an overruling, governing Power, a secret
directing Providence, and of the equity and justice of paying
homage to Him that made us, and the like; but there appeared
nothing of this kind in the notion of an evil spirit, of his
origin, his being, his nature, and above all, of his inclination to
do evil, and to draw us in to do so too; and the poor creature
puzzled me once in such a manner, by a question merely natural and
innocent, that I scarce knew what to say to him. I had been
talking a great deal to him of the power of God, His omnipotence,
His aversion to sin, His being a consuming fire to the workers of
iniquity; how, as He had made us all, He could destroy us and all
the world in a moment; and he listened with great seriousness to me
all the while. After this I had been telling him how the devil was
God's enemy in the hearts of men, and used all his malice and skill
to defeat the good designs of Providence, and to ruin the kingdom
of Christ in the world, and the like. "Well," says Friday, "but
you say God is so strong, so great; is He not much strong, much
might as the devil?" "Yes, yes," says I, "Friday; God is stronger
than the devil - God is above the devil, and therefore we pray to
God to tread him down under our feet, and enable us to resist his
temptations and quench his fiery darts." "But," says he again, "if
God much stronger, much might as the wicked devil, why God no kill
the devil, so make him no more do wicked?" I was strangely
surprised at this question; and, after all, though I was now an old
man, yet I was but a young doctor, and ill qualified for a casuist
or a solver of difficulties; and at first I could not tell what to
say; so I pretended not to hear him, and asked him what he said;
but he was too earnest for an answer to forget his question, so
that he repeated it in the very same broken words as above. By
this time I had recovered myself a little, and I said, "God will at
last punish him severely; he is reserved for the judgment, and is
to be cast into the bottomless pit, to dwell with everlasting
fire." This did not satisfy Friday; but he returns upon me,
repeating my words, "'RESERVE AT LAST!' me no understand - but why
not kill the devil now; not kill great ago?" "You may as well ask
me," said I, "why God does not kill you or me, when we do wicked
things here that offend Him - we are preserved to repent and be
pardoned." He mused some time on this. "Well, well," says he,
mighty affectionately, "that well - so you, I, devil, all wicked,
all preserve, repent, God pardon all." Here I was run down again
by him to the last degree; and it was a testimony to me, how the
mere notions of nature, though they will guide reasonable creatures
to the knowledge of a God, and of a worship or homage due to the
supreme being of God, as the consequence of our nature, yet nothing
but divine revelation can form the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and
of redemption purchased for us; of a Mediator of the new covenant,
and of an Intercessor at the footstool of God's throne; I say,
nothing but a revelation from Heaven can form these in the soul;
and that, therefore, the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, I mean the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, promised for
the guide and sanctifier of His people, are the absolutely
necessary instructors of the souls of men in the saving knowledge
of God and the means of salvation.

I therefore diverted the present discourse between me and my man,
rising up hastily, as upon some sudden occasion of going out; then
sending him for something a good way off, I seriously prayed to God
that He would enable me to instruct savingly this poor savage;
assisting, by His Spirit, the heart of the poor ignorant creature
to receive the light of the knowledge of God in Christ, reconciling
him to Himself, and would guide me so to speak to him from the Word
of God that his conscience might be convinced, his eyes opened, and
his soul saved. When he came again to me, I entered into a long
discourse with him upon the subject of the redemption of man by the
Saviour of the world, and of the doctrine of the gospel preached
from Heaven, viz. of repentance towards God, and faith in our
blessed Lord Jesus. I then explained to him as well as I could why
our blessed Redeemer took not on Him the nature of angels but the
seed of Abraham; and how, for that reason, the fallen angels had no
share in the redemption; that He came only to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel, and the like.

I had, God knows, more sincerity than knowledge in all the methods
I took for this poor creature's instruction, and must acknowledge,
what I believe all that act upon the same principle will find, that
in laying things open to him, I really informed and instructed
myself in many things that either I did not know or had not fully
considered before, but which occurred naturally to my mind upon
searching into them, for the information of this poor savage; and I
had more affection in my inquiry after things upon this occasion
than ever I felt before: so that, whether this poor wild wretch was
better for me or no, I had great reason to be thankful that ever he
came to me; my grief sat lighter, upon me; my habitation grew
comfortable to me beyond measure: and when I reflected that in this
solitary life which I have been confined to, I had not only been
moved to look up to heaven myself, and to seek the Hand that had
brought me here, but was now to be made an instrument, under
Providence, to save the life, and, for aught I knew, the soul of a
poor savage, and bring him to the true knowledge of religion and of
the Christian doctrine, that he might know Christ Jesus, in whom is
life eternal; I say, when I reflected upon all these things, a
secret joy ran through every part of My soul, and I frequently
rejoiced that ever I was brought to this place, which I had so
often thought the most dreadful of all afflictions that could
possibly have befallen me.

I continued in this thankful frame all the remainder of my time;
and the conversation which employed the hours between Friday and me
was such as made the three years which we lived there together
perfectly and completely happy, if any such thing as complete
happiness can be formed in a sublunary state. This savage was now
a good Christian, a much better than I; though I have reason to
hope, and bless God for it, that we were equally penitent, and
comforted, restored penitents. We had here the Word of God to
read, and no farther off from His Spirit to instruct than if we had
been in England. I always applied myself, in reading the
Scripture, to let him know, as well as I could, the meaning of what
I read; and he again, by his serious inquiries and questionings,
made me, as I said before, a much better scholar in the Scripture
knowledge than I should ever have been by my own mere private
reading. Another thing I cannot refrain from observing here also,
from experience in this retired part of my life, viz. how infinite
and inexpressible a blessing it is that the knowledge of God, and
of the doctrine of salvation by Christ Jesus, is so plainly laid
down in the Word of God, so easy to be received and understood,
that, as the bare reading the Scripture made me capable of
understanding enough of my duty to carry me directly on to the
great work of sincere repentance for my sins, and laying hold of a
Saviour for life and salvation, to a stated reformation in
practice, and obedience to all God's commands, and this without any
teacher or instructor, I mean human; so the same plain instruction
sufficiently served to the enlightening this savage creature, and
bringing him to be such a Christian as I have known few equal to
him in my life.

As to all the disputes, wrangling, strife, and contention which
have happened in the world about religion, whether niceties in
doctrines or schemes of church government, they were all perfectly
useless to us, and, for aught I can yet see, they have been so to
the rest of the world. We had the sure guide to heaven, viz. the
Word of God; and we had, blessed be God, comfortable views of the
Spirit of God teaching and instructing by His word, leading us into
all truth, and making us both willing and obedient to the
instruction of His word. And I cannot see the least use that the
greatest knowledge of the disputed points of religion, which have
made such confusion in the world, would have been to us, if we
could have obtained it. But I must go on with the historical part
of things, and take every part in its order.

After Friday and I became more intimately acquainted, and that he
could understand almost all I said to him, and speak pretty
fluently, though in broken English, to me, I acquainted him with my
own history, or at least so much of it as related to my coming to
this place: how I had lived there, and how long; I let him into the
mystery, for such it was to him, of gunpowder and bullet, and
taught him how to shoot. I gave him a knife, which he was
wonderfully delighted with; and I made him a belt, with a frog
hanging to it, such as in England we wear hangers in; and in the
frog, instead of a hanger, I gave him a hatchet, which was not only
as good a weapon in some cases, but much more useful upon other

I described to him the country of Europe, particularly England,
which I came from; how we lived, how we worshipped God, how we
behaved to one another, and how we traded in ships to all parts of
the world. I gave him an account of the wreck which I had been on
board of, and showed him, as near as I could, the place where she
lay; but she was all beaten in pieces before, and gone. I showed
him the ruins of our boat, which we lost when we escaped, and which
I could not stir with my whole strength then; but was now fallen
almost all to pieces. Upon seeing this boat, Friday stood, musing
a great while, and said nothing. I asked him what it was he
studied upon. At last says he, "Me see such boat like come to
place at my nation." I did not understand him a good while; but at
last, when I had examined further into it, I understood by him that
a boat, such as that had been, came on shore upon the country where
he lived: that is, as he explained it, was driven thither by stress
of weather. I presently imagined that some European ship must have
been cast away upon their coast, and the boat might get loose and
drive ashore; but was so dull that I never once thought of men
making their escape from a wreck thither, much less whence they
might come: so I only inquired after a description of the boat.

Friday described the boat to me well enough; but brought me better
to understand him when he added with some warmth, "We save the
white mans from drown." Then I presently asked if there were any
white mans, as he called them, in the boat. "Yes," he said; "the
boat full of white mans." I asked him how many. He told upon his
fingers seventeen. I asked him then what became of them. He told
me, "They live, they dwell at my nation."

This put new thoughts into my head; for I presently imagined that
these might be the men belonging to the ship that was cast away in
the sight of my island, as I now called it; and who, after the ship
was struck on the rock, and they saw her inevitably lost, had saved
themselves in their boat, and were landed upon that wild shore
among the savages. Upon this I inquired of him more critically
what was become of them. He assured me they lived still there;
that they had been there about four years; that the savages left
them alone, and gave them victuals to live on. I asked him how it
came to pass they did not kill them and eat them. He said, "No,
they make brother with them;" that is, as I understood him, a
truce; and then he added, "They no eat mans but when make the war
fight;" that is to say, they never eat any men but such as come to
fight with them and are taken in battle.

It was after this some considerable time, that being upon the top
of the hill at the east side of the island, from whence, as I have
said, I had, in a clear day, discovered the main or continent of
America, Friday, the weather being very serene, looks very
earnestly towards the mainland, and, in a kind of surprise, falls a
jumping and dancing, and calls out to me, for I was at some
distance from him. I asked him what was the matter. "Oh, joy!"
says he; "Oh, glad! there see my country, there my nation!" I
observed an extraordinary sense of pleasure appeared in his face,
and his eyes sparkled, and his countenance discovered a strange
eagerness, as if he had a mind to be in his own country again.
This observation of mine put a great many thoughts into me, which
made me at first not so easy about my new man Friday as I was
before; and I made no doubt but that, if Friday could get back to
his own nation again, he would not only forget all his religion but
all his obligation to me, and would be forward enough to give his
countrymen an account of me, and come back, perhaps with a hundred
or two of them, and make a feast upon me, at which he might be as
merry as he used to be with those of his enemies when they were
taken in war. But I wronged the poor honest creature very much,
for which I was very sorry afterwards. However, as my jealousy
increased, and held some weeks, I was a little more circumspect,
and not so familiar and kind to him as before: in which I was
certainly wrong too; the honest, grateful creature having no
thought about it but what consisted with the best principles, both
as a religious Christian and as a grateful friend, as appeared
afterwards to my full satisfaction.

While my jealousy of him lasted, you may be sure I was every day
pumping him to see if he would discover any of the new thoughts
which I suspected were in him; but I found everything he said was
so honest and so innocent, that I could find nothing to nourish my
suspicion; and in spite of all my uneasiness, he made me at last
entirely his own again; nor did he in the least perceive that I was
uneasy, and therefore I could not suspect him of deceit.

One day, walking up the same hill, but the weather being hazy at
sea, so that we could not see the continent, I called to him, and
said, "Friday, do not you wish yourself in your own country, your
own nation?" "Yes," he said, "I be much O glad to be at my own
nation." "What would you do there?" said I. "Would you turn wild
again, eat men's flesh again, and be a savage as you were before?"
He looked full of concern, and shaking his head, said, "No, no,
Friday tell them to live good; tell them to pray God; tell them to
eat corn-bread, cattle flesh, milk; no eat man again." "Why,
then," said I to him, "they will kill you." He looked grave at
that, and then said, "No, no, they no kill me, they willing love
learn." He meant by this, they would be willing to learn. He
added, they learned much of the bearded mans that came in the boat.
Then I asked him if he would go back to them. He smiled at that,
and told me that he could not swim so far. I told him I would make
a canoe for him. He told me he would go if I would go with him.
"I go!" says I; "why, they will eat me if I come there." "No, no,"
says he, "me make they no eat you; me make they much love you." He
meant, he would tell them how I had killed his enemies, and saved
his life, and so he would make them love me. Then he told me, as
well as he could, how kind they were to seventeen white men, or
bearded men, as he called them who came on shore there in distress.

From this time, I confess, I had a mind to venture over, and see if
I could possibly join with those bearded men, who I made no doubt
were Spaniards and Portuguese; not doubting but, if I could, we
might find some method to escape from thence, being upon the
continent, and a good company together, better than I could from an
island forty miles off the shore, alone and without help. So,
after some days, I took Friday to work again by way of discourse,
and told him I would give him a boat to go back to his own nation;
and, accordingly, I carried him to my frigate, which lay on the
other side of the island, and having cleared it of water (for I
always kept it sunk in water), I brought it out, showed it him, and
we both went into it. I found he was a most dexterous fellow at
managing it, and would make it go almost as swift again as I could.
So when he was in, I said to him, "Well, now, Friday, shall we go
to your nation?" He looked very dull at my saying so; which it
seems was because he thought the boat was too small to go so far.
I then told him I had a bigger; so the next day I went to the place
where the first boat lay which I had made, but which I could not
get into the water. He said that was big enough; but then, as I
had taken no care of it, and it had lain two or three and twenty
years there, the sun had so split and dried it, that it was rotten.
Friday told me such a boat would do very well, and would carry
"much enough vittle, drink, bread;" this was his way of talking.


UPON the whole, I was by this time so fixed upon my design of going
over with him to the continent that I told him we would go and make
one as big as that, and he should go home in it. He answered not
one word, but looked very grave and sad. I asked him what was the
matter with him. He asked me again, "Why you angry mad with
Friday? - what me done?" I asked him what he meant. I told him I
was not angry with him at all. "No angry!" says he, repeating the
words several times; "why send Friday home away to my nation?"
"Why," says I, "Friday, did not you say you wished you were there?"
"Yes, yes," says he, "wish we both there; no wish Friday there, no
master there." In a word, he would not think of going there
without me. "I go there, Friday?" says I; "what shall I do there?"
He turned very quick upon me at this. "You do great deal much
good," says he; "you teach wild mans be good, sober, tame mans; you
tell them know God, pray God, and live new life." "Alas, Friday!"
says I, "thou knowest not what thou sayest; I am but an ignorant
man myself." "Yes, yes," says he, "you teachee me good, you
teachee them good." "No, no, Friday," says I, "you shall go
without me; leave me here to live by myself, as I did before." He
looked confused again at that word; and running to one of the
hatchets which he used to wear, he takes it up hastily, and gives
it to me. "What must I do with this?" says I to him. "You take
kill Friday," says he. "What must kill you for?" said I again. He
returns very quick - "What you send Friday away for? Take kill
Friday, no send Friday away." This he spoke so earnestly that I
saw tears stand in his eyes. In a word, I so plainly discovered
the utmost affection in him to me, and a firm resolution in him,
that I told him then and often after, that I would never send him
away from me if he was willing to stay with me.

Upon the whole, as I found by all his discourse a settled affection
to me, and that nothing could part him from me, so I found all the
foundation of his desire to go to his own country was laid in his
ardent affection to the people, and his hopes of my doing them
good; a thing which, as I had no notion of myself, so I had not the
least thought or intention, or desire of undertaking it. But still
I found a strong inclination to attempting my escape, founded on
the supposition gathered from the discourse, that there were
seventeen bearded men there; and therefore, without any more delay,
I went to work with Friday to find out a great tree proper to fell,
and make a large periagua, or canoe, to undertake the voyage.
There were trees enough in the island to have built a little fleet,
not of periaguas or canoes, but even of good, large vessels; but
the main thing I looked at was, to get one so near the water that
we might launch it when it was made, to avoid the mistake I
committed at first. At last Friday pitched upon a tree; for I
found he knew much better than I what kind of wood was fittest for
it; nor can I tell to this day what wood to call the tree we cut
down, except that it was very like the tree we call fustic, or
between that and the Nicaragua wood, for it was much of the same
colour and smell. Friday wished to burn the hollow or cavity of
this tree out, to make it for a boat, but I showed him how to cut
it with tools; which, after I had showed him how to use, he did
very handily; and in about a month's hard labour we finished it and
made it very handsome; especially when, with our axes, which I
showed him how to handle, we cut and hewed the outside into the
true shape of a boat. After this, however, it cost us near a
fortnight's time to get her along, as it were inch by inch, upon
great rollers into the water; but when she was in, she would have
carried twenty men with great ease.

When she was in the water, though she was so big, it amazed me to
see with what dexterity and how swift my man Friday could manage
her, turn her, and paddle her along. So I asked him if he would,
and if we might venture over in her. "Yes," he said, "we venture
over in her very well, though great blow wind." However I had a
further design that he knew nothing of, and that was, to make a
mast and a sail, and to fit her with an anchor and cable. As to a
mast, that was easy enough to get; so I pitched upon a straight

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