Daniel Defoe.

Robinson Crusoe





ROBINSON CRUSOE

Have you ever been alone for a long time? Could you live alone on an island for many years? Could you build yourself a house, learn to grow corn and make bread, learn to make your own clothes from animal skins?

Robinson Crusoe is bored with his quiet life at home in England. He decides to be a sailor, and to travel the seas of the world. He has many exciting adventures, and in 1659 he is in a ship sailing from Brazil to Africa. One day there is a terrible storm. The ship begins to break up, and soon Crusoe and his friends are fighting for their lives in an angry sea. All his friends die, but Crusoe lives and reaches land. He finds himself in a strange, wild country alive, but alone on a small island, with no food, no boat, no way of escape.

He will be there for the next twenty-seven years

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ISBN 978 0 19 479070 3
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Maps by: Anthony Williams
Word count (main text): 6,830 words
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1
My first sea journey

Before I begin my story, I would like to tell you a little about myself.

I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York in the north of England. My father was German, but he came to live and work in England. Soon after that, he married my mother, who was English. Her family name was Robinson, so, when I was born, they called me Robinson, after her.

My father did well in his business and I went to a good school. He wanted me to get a good job and live a quiet, comfortable life. But I didnt want that. I wanted adventure and an exciting life.



I want to be a sailor and go to sea, I told my mother and father. They were very unhappy about this.

Please dont go, my father said. You wont be happy, you know. Sailors have a difficult and dangerous life. And because I loved him, and he was unhappy, I tried to forget about the sea.

But I couldnt forget, and about a year later, I saw a friend in town. His father had a ship, and my friend said to me, Were sailing to London tomorrow. Why dont you come with us?

And so, on September 1st, 1651, I went to Hull, and the next day we sailed for London.

But, a few days later, there was a strong wind. The sea was rough and dangerous, and the ship went up and down, up and down. I was very ill, and very afraid.



Oh, I dont want to die! I cried. I want to live! If I live, Ill go home and never go to sea again!

The next day the wind dropped, and the sea was quiet and beautiful again.

Well, Bob, my friend laughed. How do you feel now? The wind wasnt too bad.

What! I cried. It was a terrible storm.

Oh, that wasnt a storm, my friend answered. Just a little wind. Forget it. Come and have a drink.

After a few drinks with my friend, I felt better. I forgot about the danger and decided not to go home. I didnt want my friends and family to laugh at me!

I stayed in London for some time, but I still wanted to go to sea. So, when the captain of a ship asked me to go with him to Guinea in Africa, I agreed. And so I went to sea for the second time.

It was a good ship and everything went well at first, but I was very ill again. Then, when we were near the Canary Islands, a Turkish pirate ship came after us. They were famous thieves of the sea at that time. There was a long, hard fight, but when it finished, we and the ship were prisoners.

The Turkish captain and his men took us to Sallee in Morocco. They wanted to sell us as slaves in the markets there. But in the end the Turkish captain decided to keep me for himself, and took me home with him. This was a sudden and terrible change in my life. I was now a slave and this Turkish captain was my master.


2
Down the coast of Africa

For two long years I lived the life of a slave. I worked in the house and the garden, and every day I planned to escape, but it was never possible. I thought about it day and night. My master liked to go fishing in a little boat, and he always took me with him. A man called Moely, and a young boy also went with us.

One day my master said to us, Some of my friends want to go fishing tomorrow. Get the boat ready.

So we put a lot of food and drink on the boat, and the next morning, we waited for my master and his friends. But when my master arrived, he was alone.

My friends dont want to go fishing today, he said to me. But you go with Moely and the boy, and catch some fish for our supper tonight.

Yes, master, I answered quietly, but inside I was excited. Perhaps now I can escape, I said to myself.

My master went back to his friends and we took the boat out to sea. For a time we fished quietly, and then I moved carefully behind Moely and knocked him into the water. Swim! I cried. Swim to the shore!

My master liked to shoot seabirds and so there were guns on the boat. Quickly, I took one of these guns. Moely was swimming after the boat and I shouted to him:

Go back to the shore! You can swim there its not too far. I wont hurt you, but if you come near the boat, Ill shoot you through the head! So Moely turned, and swam back to the shore as quickly as he could.



Then I said to the boy, Xury, if you help me, Ill be a good friend to you. If you dont help me, Ill push you into the sea too.

But Xury was happy to help me. Ill go all over the world with you, he cried.

I wanted to sail to the Canary Islands, but I was afraid to go too far from the shore. It was only a small boat. And so we sailed on south for some days. We had very little water, and it was dangerous country here, with many wild animals. We were afraid, but we often had to go on shore to get more water. Once I used a gun to shoot a wild animal. I dont know what animal it was, but it made a good meal.

For about ten or twelve days we sailed on south, down the coast of Africa. Then one day we saw some people on the shore strange, wild people, who did not look friendly. By now we had very little food, and we really needed help. We were afraid, but we had to go on shore.

At first, they were afraid of us, too. Perhaps white people never visited this coast. We did not speak their language, of course, so we used our hands and faces to show that we were hungry. They came with food for us, but then they moved away quickly. We carried the food to our boat, and they watched us. I tried to thank them, but I had nothing to give them.

Just then two big wild cats came down to the shore from the mountains. I think they were leopards. The people were afraid of these wild cats, and the women cried out. Quickly, I took a gun, and shot one of the animals. The second wild cat ran back up into the mountains.



Guns were new to these African people, and they were afraid of the loud noise and the smoke. But they were happy about the dead wild cat. I gave them the meat of the dead animal, and they gave us more food and water.

We now had a lot of food and water, and we sailed on. Eleven days later we came near the Cape Verde Islands. We could see them, but we couldnt get near because there was no wind. We waited.

Suddenly Xury called to me, Look, a ship!

He was right! We called and shouted and sailed our little boat as fast as we could. But the ship did not see us.



Then I remembered the guns which made a lot of smoke. A few minutes later the ship saw us and turned.

When we were on the ship, the Portuguese captain listened to my story. He was going to Brazil and agreed to help me, but he wanted nothing for his help. No, he said, when I tried to pay him. Perhaps, one day, someone will help me when I need it.

But he gave me money for my boat, and for Xury, too. At first, I did not want to sell Xury as a slave, after all our dangerous adventures together. But Xury was happy to go to the captain, and the captain was a good man. In ten years time, he said, Xury can go free.

When we arrived in Brazil three weeks later, I said goodbye to the captain and Xury, left the ship, and went to begin a new life.

3
The storm and the shipwreck

I stayed in Brazil and worked hard for some years. By then I was richbut also bored. One day some friends came to me and said, Were going to Africa to do business. Why dont you come with us? Well all be rich after this journey!

How stupid I was! I had an easy, comfortable life in Brazil, but, of course, I agreed. And so, in 1659, I went to sea again.

At first, all went well, but then there was a terrible storm. For twelve days the wind and the rain didnt stop. We lost three men in the sea, and soon the ship had holes in its sides. Were all going to die this time, I said to myself. Then one morning one of the sailors saw land, but the next minute our ship hit some sand just under the sea. The ship could not move and we were really in danger now. The sea was trying to break the ship into pieces, and we had very little time. Quickly, we put a boat into the sea and got off the ship. But the sea was very rough and our little boat could not live for long in that wild water.



Half an hour later the angry sea turned our boat over and we were all in the water. I looked round for my friends, but I could see nobody. I was alone.



That day I was lucky, and the sea carried me to the shore. I could not see the land, only mountains of water all around me. Then, suddenly, I felt the ground under my feet. Another mountain of water came, pushed me up the beach, and I fell on the wet sand.

At first I was very thankful to be alive. Slowly, I got to my feet and went higher up the shore. From there, I looked out to sea. I could see our ship, but it was wrecked and there was nobody near it. There was nobody in the water. All my friends were dead. I was alive, but in a strange wild country, with no food, no water, and no gun.

It was dark now and I was tired. I was afraid to sleep on the shore. Perhaps there were wild animals there. So I went up into a tree and I stayed there all night.

4
A new life on an island

When day came, the sea was quiet again. I looked for our ship and, to my surprise, it was still there and still in one piece. I think I can swim to it, I said to myself. So I walked down to the sea and before long, I was at the ship and was swimming round it. But how could I get on to it? In the end, I got in through a hole in the side, but it wasnt easy.

There was a lot of water in the ship, but the sand under the sea was still holding the ship in one place. The back of the ship was high out of the water, and I was very thankful for this because all the ships food was there. I was very hungry so I began to eat something at once. Then I decided to take some of it back to the shore with me. But how could I get it there?

I looked around the ship, and after a few minutes, I found some long pieces of wood. I tied them together with rope. Then I got the things that I wanted from the ship. There was a big box of food rice, and salted meat, and hard ships bread. I also took many strong knives and other tools, the ships sails and ropes, paper, pens, books, and seven guns. Now I needed a little sail from the ship, and then I was ready. Slowly and carefully, I went back to the shore. It was difficult to stop my things from falling into the sea, but in the end I got everything on to the shore.




Now I needed somewhere to keep my things.

There were some hills around me, so I decided to build myself a little house on one of them. I walked to the top of the highest hill and looked down. I was very unhappy, because I saw then that I was on an island. There were two smaller islands a few miles away, and after that, only the sea. Just the sea, for mile after mile after mile.

After a time, I found a little cave in the side of a hill. In front of it, there was a good place to make a home. So, I used the ships sails, rope, and pieces of wood, and after a lot of hard work I had a very fine tent. The cave at the back of my tent was a good place to keep my food, and so I called it my kitchen. That night, I went to sleep in my new home.

The next day I thought about the possible dangers on the island. Were there wild animals, and perhaps wild people too, on my island? I didnt know, but I was very afraid. So I decided to build a very strong fence. I cut down young trees and put them in the ground, in a half-circle around the front of my tent. I used many of the ships ropes too, and in the end my fence was as strong as a stone wall. Nobody could get over it, through it, or round it.

Making tents and building fences is hard work. I needed many tools to help me. So I decided to go back to the ship again, and get some more things.

I went back twelve times, but soon after my twelfth visit there was another terrible storm. The next morning, when I looked out to sea, there was no ship.



When I saw that, I was very unhappy. Why am I alive, and why are all my friends dead? I asked myself. What will happen to me now, alone on this island without friends? How can I ever escape from it?

Then I told myself that I was lucky lucky to be alive, lucky to have food and tools, lucky to be young and strong. But I knew that my island was somewhere off the coast of South America. Ships did not often come down this coast, and I said to myself, Im going to be on this island for a long time. So, on a long piece of wood, I cut these words:

I CAME HERE ON 30TH SEPTEMBER 1659

After that, I decided to make a cut for each day.

5
Learning to live alone

I still needed a lot of things. Well, I said, Im going to have to make them. So, every day, I worked.

First of all, I wanted to make my cave bigger. I carried out stone from the cave, and after many days hard work I had a large cave in the side of the hill. Then I needed a table and a chair, and that was my next job. I had to work on them for a long time. I also wanted to make places to put all my food, and all my tools and guns. But every time I wanted a piece of wood, I had to cut down a tree. It was long, slow, difficult work, and during the next months I learnt to be very clever with my tools. There was no hurry. I had all the time in the world.

I also went out every day, and I always had my gun with me. Sometimes I killed a wild animal, and then I had meat to eat.

But when it got dark, I had to go to bed because I had no light. I couldnt read or write because I couldnt see. For a long time, I didnt know what to do. But in the end, I learnt how to use the fat of dead animals to make a light.

The weather on my island was usually very hot, and there were often storms and heavy rain. The next June, it rained all the time, and I couldnt go out very often. I was also ill for some weeks, but slowly, I got better. When I was stronger, I began to go out again. The first time I killed a wild animal, and the second time I caught a big turtle.



I was on the island for ten months before I visited other parts of it. During those months I worked hard on my cave and my house and my fence. Now I was ready to find out more about the rest of the island.

First, I walked along the side of a little river. There, I found open ground without trees. Later, I came to more trees with many different fruits. I decided to take a lot of the fruit, and to put it to dry in the sun for a time. Then I could keep it for many months.

That night I went to sleep in a tree for the second time, and the next day I went on with my journey. Soon I came to an opening in the hills. In front of me, everything was green, and there were flowers everywhere. There were also a lot of different birds and animals. I saw that my house was on the worst side of the island. But I didnt want to move from there. It was my home now. I stayed away for three days, and then I came home. But I often went back to the other, greener side of the island.

And so my life went on. Every month I learnt to do or to make something new. But I had troubles and accidents too. Once there was a terrible storm with very heavy rain. The roof of my cave fell in, and nearly killed me! I had to build it up again with many pieces of wood.

I had a lot of food now. I cooked it over a fire or dried it in the sun. So I always had meat during the rainy months when I could not go out with a gun. I learnt to make pots to keep my food in. But I wanted very much to make a harder, stronger pot a pot that would not break in a fire. I tried many times, but I could not do it. Then one day I was lucky. I made some new pots and put them in a very hot fire. They changed colour, but did not break. I left them there for many hours, and when they were cold again, I found that they were hard and strong. That night I was very happy. I had hot water for the first time on the island.



By then, I also had my own bread. That was luck, too. One day I found a little bag. We used it on the ship, to keep the chickens food in. There was still some of the food in the bag, and I dropped some of it onto the ground. A month later I saw something bright green there, and after six months I had a very small field of corn. I was very excited. Perhaps now I could make my own bread! It was easy to say, but not so easy to do. It is a lot of work to make bread from corn. Many people eat bread, but how many people can take corn from a field and make bread out of it without help? I had to learn and to make many new things, and it was a year before I cooked and ate my first bread.



During all this time I never stopped thinking about escape. When I travelled across to the other side of the island, I could see the other islands, and I said to myself, Perhaps I can get there with a boat. Perhaps I can get back to England one day.

So I decided to make myself a boat. I cut down a big tree, and then began to make a long hole in it. It was hard work, but about six months later, I had a very fine canoe.



Next, I had to get it down to the sea. How stupid I was! Why didnt I think before I began work? Of course, the canoe was too heavy. I couldnt move it! I pulled and pushed and tried everything, but it didnt move. I was very unhappy for a long time after that.

That happened in my fourth year on the island. In my sixth year I did make myself a smaller canoe, but I did not try to escape in it. The boat was too small for a long journey, and I did not want to die at sea. The island was my home now, not my prison, and I was just happy to be alive. A year or two later, I made myself a second canoe on the other side of the island. I also built myself a second house there, and so I had two homes.

My life was still busy from morning to night. There were always things to do or to make. I learnt to make new clothes for myself from the skins of dead animals. They looked very strange, it is true, but they kept me dry in the rain.

I kept food and tools at both my houses, and also wild goats. There were many goats on the island, and I made fields with high fences to keep them in. They learnt to take food from me, and soon I had goats milk to drink every day. I also worked hard in my cornfields. And so many years went by.






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