Chapter Two: Stranded on the Island
I looked up and thanked God for saving my life. A short time before there had seemed to be no hope. It is impossible to describe the joy of someone who has just escaped death. I alone had survived; all my companions were dead. When I saw how far away the ship was, I was amazed that I had been able to get to shore.
I then began to look around me, to see what kind of a place I was in. My joy left me. I was wet, I had no other clothes, and I had nothing to eat or drink. Surely I would die of starvation or be eaten by wild animals. I had no gun with which to hunt for food or defend myself. For a while I ran around, trembling and crying. Night came. I walked around, looking for fresh water. When I found some, I drank, then I climbed up a tree to sleep. When I awoke the sun was shining. The waves had moved the ship closer to the shore during the night. I realised that if we had stayed on board we would all have survived the storm. This thought made the tears run down my face.
I took off my clothes and swam to the ship. I climbed aboard and looked around. The ship's store of food was not wet. I needed a boat or raft to carry the goods back to the shore. There were several large pieces of wood on the ship. I threw them into the sea then jumped in myself and tied them all together with rope. In this way, after a lot of time and effort, I made a raft. I then loaded the raft with food, clothes, tools, guns, and bullets, all packed in wooden boxes. I got onto the raft and returned to the shore. A short distance from where I had landed the night before, I saw a river. I landed the raft a little way up the river and got all my goods on shore.
I did not yet know whether I was on the mainland or on an island. I took a gun and climbed a hill. From the top of the hill I saw that I was on an island. I saw many birds, but no animals or people. On my way back down the hill, I shot a bird. I believe it was the first gun fired That evening I set wooden boards and boxes around me to protect me as I slept. The next day I returned to the ship. This time I got a hammock, blankets, hatchets, a perspective glass and sails.
Back on shore, I made a tent out of one of the sails. I brought everything into the tent that could be ruined by rain or sun. Then l made a bed and slept in it quietly all night, for I was very tired from the work of the day. I had the largest store, I believe, that was ever laid up for one man. However, I was not satisfied. The ship had not yet broken to pieces, and I thought I should get everything I could out of her. Every day I went to the ship and brought back more goods. I brought bread, rum, sugar, and many other things back to my tent.
Finally there was nothing more to take out of the ship. I then began to take pieces of the ship itself. Iron, nails, rope - I carried away everything I could. I had now been on the island for thirteen days and had been eleven times on board the ship. I think that if the weather had remained calm I would have brought the whole ship away piece by piece.
The last time I went to the ship I found money. I smiled and said, 'Oh,drug! What are you good for? One knife is worth more to me than all this money. I will leave you here! You are a creature whose life is not worth saving!' However, on second thoughts, I took it away.
Then clouds covered the sky and the wind began to blow. I went home to my tent, where I lay with all my wealth around me, very secure. There was a bad storm that night. In the morning the ship was gone. I now began to think about protecting myself from savages and wild animals. I wanted to build my house in a place that was near a fresh water supply. It should be sheltered from the sun. It should be safe from attack.
Finally, it should face the sea, so that I could see any ship that came near the island. (I still hoped to be rescued). I found a little flat shelf on the side of a hill. There was a cliff behind it, so that nothing could attack me from behind. In front, the hill descended to the beach. It was on the north side of the hill, so that it was sheltered from the sun all day.
I built my tent against the cliff. Then I built a high, strong, wooden fence in a semicircle around the front of my tent. I made a ladder. When I was inside, I could bring the ladder in after me. In this way neither man nor beast could enter my house. It took a lot of time and effort to carry all my goods inside. Then I began to dig out a cave in the cliff behind my tent, because I needed a place to store my property. After a big storm, I was afraid that lightning might strike my great box of gunpowder. Therefore, I made many small boxes and put the gunpowder in them. These I hid in places secure from lightning. Every day I went out hunting. There were goats on the island. I shot a she-goat that had a little kid by her. This made me very sad. When I carried the dead she-goat to my house, the kid followed me, but it would not eat. I was therefore forced to kill it and eat it. I thought about my situation a lot.
The storm had blown the ship hundreds of miles away from the European trading routes. Therefore, I thought, it was God's will that I should spend the rest of my life on this miserable island. I often asked myself why God chose to ruin his creatures. It seemed hardly rational to be thankful for such a life. Then one day, when I was walking on the beach with my gun, I thought, 'Certainly you are miserable, but what happened to the others? You alone were fortunate enough to survive. Is it better to be on this island or at the bottom of the sea?'
Then I thought how well-equipped I was to survive on the island. What would have happened to me if the ship had not been blown closer to shore? That happy chance allowed me to take all these things from the ship. How would I have lived without guns and bullets, tools, and clothes? I was afraid that I would forget what day it was. I might even forget the Sabbath. Therefore, I planted a great wooden cross on the beach, and on it I carved these words with my knife: 'I came on shore here on the 30 ofSeptember 1659'. Upon the sides of the post I made a small cut with my knife every day, a longer cut every Sunday, and an even longer cut for the first day of every month.
I forgot to say before that among the things I took from the ship were some Catholic prayer books and three Bibles. There were also two cats and a dog on board the ship. I carried the cats back with me to the island. The dog jumped into the sea and swam after me. I tried to comfort myself by listing the comforts I enjoyed beside the miseries I suffered like this:
I am stranded on an island, with no hope of being saved.
I have been singled out. I alone am chosen to lead this miserable life.
I am separated from mankind, without human society.
I have not clothes to cover me.
I have no means of defending myself against attack by man or beast.
I have no soul to speak to.
But I am alive, not drowned as were the other men on the ship.
But I have also been singled out to survive, and He who saved me can deliver me from this condition.
But I am not starving. There is food on the island.
But the weather is hot, and I do not need clothes.
But I see no wild beasts on this island. What if I had been shipwrecked on the coast of Africa, where I saw the lion and the leopard?
But God sent the ship near enough to the shore that I have been able to supply myself with many things.
This showed me clearly that even in the most miserable conditions there are things for which to be thankful.
Robinson Crusoe's Journal
September 30, 1659. I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, was shipwrecked near the shore of this unfortunate island, which I call the Island of Despair.
October 1 to October 24. I spent my time getting all I could out of the ship. It often rained during these days, this being the rainy season.
October 25. It rained all day and night. The bad weather broke the ship into pieces. I spent this day hiding my goods from the rain.
October 26 to October 30. I found a place in which to build my house and worked very hard carrying all my property to this place.
October 31. I went out with my gun to find food. I shot a she-goat.
November 1. I set up my tent and my hammock.
November 2. I set wooden boxes and boards to form a fence around my tent.
November 3. I went out with my gun and killed two birds, which were very good food. In the afternoon I began to make myself a table.
November 4. This morning I began to plan my time. Every morning after this I walked out with my gun for two or three hours if it did not rain. I worked until about eleven o'clock, then I ate. From twelve to two, when it was very hot, I slept. In the evening I worked again.
November 5. This day I went out with my gun and my dog. I killed a wild cat. Her skin was soft, but I could not eat the meat. I skinned every creature that I killed and kept the skin.
November 6. I finished my table but was not satisfied with it.
November 7. Now the weather began to be pleasant. From the seventh to the twelfth I worked at making myself a chair (except for the eleventh, which was a Sunday). I was not satisfied with the chair.
Note: I soon forgot which days were Sundays, having forgotten to make the longer cut on the post.
November 13. This day it rained, which cooled the earth and refreshed me. There was terrible thunder and lightning. I decided to separate my powder into many small boxes and to store them far from each other.
November 14, 15, and 16. I spent these three days making little boxes for my powder. On one of these days I killed a large bird that was good to eat, but I do not know its name.
November 17. This day I began to dig in the rock behind my tent to make a cave in which to store my goods. Note: I needed two things for this work a pick-axe and a shovel. I stopped my work to make these tools. I made a pick-axe out of the pieces of iron I had taken from the ship, but I had no idea how to make a shovel.
November 18. In the woods I found an iron tree, so called because its wood is very hard. With great difficulty, I cut a piece of this wood, carried it home, and carved it into the form of a shovel. The making of these tools took me four days.
November 23. I began work on the cave again a d worked for eighteen days. At the end of that time, the cave was large enough to hold all my goods.
December 10. Just when I had finished my cave, the roof fell in. This frightened me. If I had been inside at the time I would have been killed. I carried out all the fallen earth and built props to hold up the roof so that it would not fall down again.
December 17. From this day to the twenty-seventh, I built shelves. December 20. I carried all my property into the cave and put everything in order.
December 24. It rained all day and night, so that I could not go out.
December 25. Rain all day.
December 26. No rain. The earth was much cooler than before.
December 27. I killed a young goat and shot another in the leg. I led the wounded goat home and took care of it. It lived and grew tame. It ate the grass around my house and would not go away. This gave me the idea of breeding the goats so that they would grow up tame and provide me with food when my gunpowder was finished.
January 3 to April 14. I built a fence around my house. I cut branches from trees and planted them deep in the ground. After a while, they began to grow, so that my fence looked like a natural thing.