The parents of Robinson Crusoe did not want their son to go to sea. His father refused to give his blessing to the venture. He did not want to be responsible for the misfortunes that would overtake him.
Though his father reasoned with him and his mother scolded him, he did not obey his parents. Without their knowledge, he left his home in the city of York, made his way to Hull on the Humber, and boarded a ship sailing to London. The year was 1651. He was nineteen years old at the time.
His troubles started immediately. A storm arose, and he became seasick. He wished that he had listened to his father. He prayed to God and promised Him that if he did not perish in the storm, he would never go to sea again.
The storm subsided, and Robinson recovered from his seasickness. The calm sea seemed to smile at him. A sailor (the son of the master of the ship) called the storm a mere squall. He encouraged Robinson to forget it by drinking from a bowl of punch. As Robinson became inebriated, he forgot not only the storm, but also the fine resolutions that he had made. In five or six days, he won a complete victory over his conscience.
Then a worse storm arose. This time even the sailors were scared. The ship was obviously going to founder. The master fired guns signaling that they needed help. A light ship sent out a boat to rescue them. The boat took Robinson and others to the nearby shore. They then made their way on foot to Yarmouth, where the people gave them lodging and enough money either to go on to London or to return to Hull.
Robinson admitted that he should have returned home. Even the master of the ship advised him not to sail any more. The master himself was going to continue sailing because that was his calling in life. However, since Robinson had encountered disaster on his trial voyage, it obviously was not God’s will that Robinson become a sailor.
The master became even more emphatic when he learned that Robinson had gone on the sea voyage against the will of his parents. He said: “What have I done that such an unhappy wretch should come into my ship? I would not set my foot in the same ship with thee again for a thousand pounds.” He warned Robinson that if he did not go back home, he would meet nothing but disasters and disappointments.
In spite of the warning, Robinson went to London. He became friends with a captain and embarked with him on a voyage to Guinea. He got sick, but suffered no major calamities. He even made a tidy profit by engaging in trade.
Because of his success, he decided to sail to Guinea once more. His friend the captain had died shortly after the ship returned to England. Before leaving on a second voyage to Guinea, he entrusted two thirds of his money to the care of the captain’s widow.
This time his ship was captured by sea rovers from Sallee in Morocco. Robinson was taken to Morocco, where he became a slave of the captain of the pirate ship.
After two years, Robinson’s master spent more time at fishing than piracy. Since Robinson was a good fisherman, he always went along with his master.
On one fishing expedition, their boat was pulled far out to sea and they had trouble rowing back. Robinson’s master decided to make improvements in the boat and stock it with provisions, so that they would be well supplied in case another such emergency occurred.
Because of this, Robinson looked out for an opportunity to escape. He finally had an opportunity when he went fishing with only a Moor and a boy named Xury. Robinson saw to it that the boat had everything that he needed for an extended voyage. Then, when the boat was sufficiently far from land, he pushed the Moor overboard.
The Moor was a good swimmer, so he could have overtaken the boat and boarded it. However, Robinson pointed a musket at him and persuaded the Moor to swim to shore. Xury swore that he would be faithful to Robinson, so Robinson spared his life.
The wind was blowing from the north, so Robinson decided to sail southward. However, while the Moor was in sight, he sailed northward against the wind. He did this to mislead anyone who attempted to pursue him. As soon as the Moor was out of sight, he turned southward and sailed many leagues without stopping.
Finally, he anchored in the mouth of a little river. They did not go ashore till daybreak because of the wild animals that infested the area. Then they found fresh water, and Xury shot a small animal that resembled a hare.
This was the first of several stops that they made in order to get water. On one occasion, they killed a lion and removed its hide. It was comfortable to lie on.
Robinson continued to sail southward. He hoped to encounter one of the European trading vessels that were accustomed to come to the region around Cape Verde.
Later, some friendly Negroes gave them food and water. A pair of leopards rushed into the water. One of them came too near the boat, so Robinson shot it. The Negroes ate the leopard and gave Robinson the skin.
Finally, they saw a Portuguese ship sailing in the distance. Robinson tried to approach it and fired a shot as a distress signal.
The Portuguese vessel was sailing to Brazil. When the captain heard Robinson’s story, he refused to accept any reward and offered to take him to Brazil free of charge. The captain bought the boat in which Robinson was sailing. When they reached Brazil, the captain offered to buy Xury. After discussing it with the boy, Robinson let the captain have him.
Robinson obtained a plantation in Brazil. By planting tobacco, he soon began to accumulate wealth. However, after a few years, some of the other plantation owners decided to fit out a ship and send it to Guinea to obtain some slaves for their plantation. They asked Robinson to make the voyage and buy the slaves for them. Robinson agreed, provided that the other planters take care of his plantation while he was gone. (Here Defoe is guilty of an inconsistency. Toward the end of the novel, Defoe writes that Robinson had a partner who got rich on his half of the profits. Obviously, the other planters would not have had to care for Robinson’s plantation if Robinson had a partner.)
Evidently Robinson did not have any qualms about engaging in slave trade. However, he did recognize that by going to sea once more, he was not showing proper respect to his father, who had warned him against sea travel and commanded him not to make sea voyages.
On the voyage, the ship was buffeted by a storm and driven off course. When the storm abated, they found that they had been blown westward. Since the ship was no longer seaworthy, they decided to sail to Barbados, which they could reach in about fifteen days.
Then a second storm arose. It again carried them westward. As the ship was being driven to some unknown land, it struck sand and could no longer move. Since the violence of the storm was tearing the ship apart, they lowered a boat and tried to ride out the storm. However, a huge wave overturned the boat.
Robinson started swimming. Then a huge wave carried him toward the shore. When it abated, he was able to run toward shore, until the next wave came.
Eventually Robinson made it to shore, partly carried by successive waves and partly by running. To his relief, he found some fresh water. He spent the night sleeping in a bushy tree.
The next day, Robinson noticed that the ship had survived the storm. It saddened him to think that his companions would not have lost their lives if they had stayed on the ship. Besides Robinson, the only other survivors were a dog and two cats, which became his pets.
During high tide, the ship had drifted closer to shore. Now at low tide, only a quarter mile of water separated Robinson from the ship. He swam the distance and found that the provisions had remained dry, though some food had been spoiled by rats. He used the wood of the ship to build a makeshift raft. He loaded the raft with food, rum, tools, and firearms. Then, using broken oars, he returned to shore. The incoming tide carried him up a small creek, and eventually he found a suitable place to lodge the raft.
Robinson wanted to know where he was, so he climbed a high hill. He learned that he was on an island. In the sea, he could see some distant rocks and two other small islands nearby. Otherwise, he saw nothing but water in every direction. He later called his island “the Island of Despair.”
He swam to the ship again, made another raft, and brought back other useful items. This time his cargo included a sail. Using the sail and a few poles, he made a tent for himself.
In the course of time, Robinson made a total of twelve trips to the ship. He removed practically everything that he could use. He even found some money on the ship. He did not think that he would have any use for it, but he decided to take it anyway.
Robinson did not like the place where he had pitched his tent.. He had not encountered savages or ferocious beasts on the island, but he wanted a home that offered protection from hostile creatures. He looked for a spot close to a supply of fresh water. He also wished to live where he could observe the sea, so that he could see the approach of any ship that might return him to civilization.
He found a little plain in front of a hollow on the side of a hill. Above the plain, the hill was so steep that it could not be approached from above. Robinson figured that this was an ideal place to build a fortress.
He pitched his tent in such a way that it was partly sheltered by the hollow. With considerable effort, he brought everything that he had salvaged to his new habitation.
With strong stakes and cables taken from the ship, he built a semicircular barricade in such a way that his new home was completely enclosed by the barricade and the steep slope of the hill. He eventually improved this fortification by adding earth, so that it became a pretty good wall. Several months elapsed before this construction was completed.
He did not make any door in his barricade. Instead, he climbed in and out by a ladder which he could withdraw when he was inside.
The hollow in the side of the hill looked like the entrance to a cave. However, it did not lead to any cave. So Robinson decided to excavate. He had found a hatchet on the ship, but no shovel, so he made a shovel from the durable wood of a tree that grew on the island. He also made a sort of hod to carry away the dirt.
After considerable labor and after a setback occasioned by a cave-in, he managed to construct a respectable cave. He still lodged in his tent, but used the cave as a warehouse, kitchen, dining room, and cellar.
He used the earth removed from the cave to make a terrace inside his barricade. After he was finished, the ground was a foot and a half higher than it was before.
Robinson did not want to lose track of time. He figured that he had arrived at the island on September 30, 1659. He counted the days by cutting notches on a post.
Robinson had salvaged some pens, ink, and paper from the ship. He built a table and chair, which enabled him to write properly. Then he kept a journal. However, eventually he ran out of ink, so his journal came to an end.
He regularly went out with his gun. He did not encounter any savage beasts, but he did find some goats and edible fowl. By hunting them, he added to his food supply. He also ate young pigeons when he happened to find their nests. He also went fishing and later found turtles and turtle eggs that were good to eat.
He accidentally stumbled upon another source of food. He wanted to make use of a sack containing grain that the rats had spoiled, so he threw out the husks and dust that the sack contained. There happened to be a little unspoiled barley and rice in the sack, so it germinated and grew. He harvested enough seed so that he could plant crops later on.
After Robinson had completed the excavation of his cave and had put the finishing touches on his wall, he had a terrifying experience. While he was just inside the cave, earth started falling down from the roof. At the same time, debris started sliding down the hill. He quickly climbed over his wall to safety. An earthquake had rocked his island.
Immediately thereafter, a hurricane struck the island. Robinson climbed back into his fortification and took refuge in the cave. Since water began to accumulate inside his fortification, he had to cut a hole in the wall so that the water could escape.
When the hurricane was over, Robinson wanted to change his residence. He was afraid that another earthquake might bury him alive. However, he decided to stay where he was until he could erect a circular fortification out in an open area.
He was distracted from this project by the condition of the ship that had brought him to the island. Because of the earthquake and the hurricane, it had moved considerably closer to the island and was falling apart. Robinson salvaged its timbers and other materials.
Robinson then became seriously sick. He became very weak and was often afflicted with the ague. After several days in which his health fluctuated, he had a frightening dream. A man descended from a black cloud in a flame of fire. He walked toward Robinson with a spear in his hand and told him that he would die since he had not repented in spite of all the things that he had seen.
When he awoke, the ague was gone, but he was still very weak. The sickness and the dream made him think of God. He remembered the warning words of his father and began to pray.
He was afraid that the ague would return. Thinking that tobacco might help him, he looked for tobacco leaves. As he searched, he ran across one of the Bibles that he had salvaged from the ship. As he read this Bible, he sincerely regretted the wickedness of his past life.
When he grew stronger, he decided to examine his island more carefully. He found a wooded area where grapes and melons grew. A little further on, he entered a pleasant valley with cocoa trees and various citrus fruits. He almost decided to move his residence to this valley. However, the site was too far from the sea, so he decided to stay where he was. However, he did build a protected bower in the pleasant valley. He used another sail to pitch a tent and surrounded it with a fence. He liked to refer to this bower as his country home.
By the time that Robinson put the finishing touches on this new habitation, his first year on the island was drawing to a close. He had spent considerable time in this pleasant valley, but seasonal rains began to fall, so he had to stick to his old fortress, where he enjoyed the protection of the overhanging rock and his cave. He had hung up many bunches of grapes. By the time the rains came, they had turned into raisins, so he had fruit to eat when it was not in season.
One of his cats had left him, and he thought it might be dead. However, it returned with three kittens. Since his other cat was a female, it must have mated with some wild cat. Robinson eventually had more cats than he wanted.
During the rainy season, he enlarged his cave. Excavating toward one side, he eventually reached the outside of the hill. He used the resultant hole as an entrance to his fortification. His home was no longer as secure as it was before, but since he had found no dangerous creatures on the island, he felt that stringent security measures were no longer necessary.
He planted his first rice and barley after the rainy season had ended. It proved to be a mistake. Because of the drought, he experienced a crop failure. Fortunately, he had saved a portion of the seeds. He planted them at a more propitious time and harvested a peck of seeds, more or less. However, he had to save it for the next planting.
Since the rains had stopped, he visited his country home. He had used stakes made from trees to make the encircling fence. He found that these stakes had sprouted leaves and branches. He decided to cut some more stakes and make a similar hedge outside the wall of his original habitation. The stakes eventually sprouted, and their leaves protected his home from the burning sun.
At the same time, he made some wicker baskets out of twigs. He needed the baskets to haul earth and for other purposes.
Robinson had not yet explored the entire island. He now went all the way across to the other side. He found that it was far more pleasant than the side on which he had built his home. He encountered many turtles, parrots, and other animals. He remained there for about a month. At night, he slept in a tree or protected himself by planting a circle of stakes.
It was an exceptionally clear day when he first approached the sea on the other side of the island. In the distance, he descried a stretch of land extending from the west to the southwest. He figured that it must be fifteen or twenty leagues away. He could not tell whether it was a large island or a continent. He did not think it was inhabited by the Spanish because he never saw ships going that way. It was more probable that savages lived there, possibly even cannibals.
He felt relieved when he got back home. He did not like sleeping out in the open, and he resolved not to journey so far from home any longer.
During his explorations, Robinson had acquired a parrot and a live kid. He called the parrot Poll and diverted himself by trying to teach the parrot to talk.
His second year on the island was drawing to a close. By now, he realized that the island had two rainy seasons. One began in the middle of August; the other started in the middle of February.
Some time after he returned from his journey, he planted the rice and barley seeds that he saved from the previous harvest. Watered by the seasonal rains, his crops flourished.
Since animals began to feed on his crops, Robinson enclosed his little field in a protective wall. Then birds started to decimate his harvest. Robinson shot three birds and hung them up as a sort of scarecrow. The predatory birds not only left his crops alone, but also avoided the general area as long as the scarecrow was visible.
Robinson harvested about two bushels of rice and two and a half bushels of barley. However, he did not know how to make bread, nor did he have the necessary equipment. So he did not eat any of the grain, but saved it all for the next planting.
In the ensuing months, Robinson prepared a larger field, sowed the seed that he had saved, and made all the equipment necessary for turning the grain into bread. He had to learn several skills, such as making earthenware pots.
His next crop yielded so much grain that he could freely eat all the bread he wanted. He also had to make large containers in which he could store the grain.
Robinson did not forget the distant land that he had seen on the other side of the island. In spite of possible dangers from wild animals and savages, he wanted to go to this land. The boat in which he and his companions had taken refuge was still intact. However, because of the action of wind and waves, it was lying upside down on the beach. Robinson unsuccessfully tried to turn it over. He had to give up.
He then made a piragua, which is a sort of woody canoe. He felled a cedar tree and spent several months turning it into a piragua. However, though it was only one hundred feet from the creek, he could not get it to the water.
He started making this canoe during the fourth year of his insular existence, and his fifth year was well under way when he finally gave up.
Robinson had been wearing some of the clothes that he had salvaged from the ship. Eventually he made a complete set of clothes from the skins of animals that he had killed.
He also made a smaller canoe. He could not use it to travel to the distant land that he had seen because it was too small. He decided to circumnavigate the island with it.
Before he had completed the circuit, a strong current pushed him out toward sea, and for a while he thought he would perish. However, a helpful eddy brought him back to a reasonable distance from the island, and he managed to make it to shore.
He was afraid to continue his circumnavigation of the island. So he found a safe place to deposit his canoe and walked back to his country home.
In the eleventh year of Robinson’s insular existence, his supply of gunpowder was running low. By hunting goats, Robinson always had enough meat to eat. Now he was afraid that this bounty would soon cease.
He decided to trap goats and tame them. His first traps proved to be useless, but finally he managed to trap a he-goat and three kids. He had to free the he-goat because it was too wild. Near his country home, he constructed an enclosure 150 yards long and 100 yards wide in which he could keep the three kids and other goats that he captured. He tamed them by feeding them barley or rice.
Besides trapping goats, he also bred them. In two years time, there were forty-three animals in his flock. His goats provided him with both meat and milk. By trial and error, he learned to make cheese and butter.
By this time, his dog was old, and his two cats were dead. However, by the time that they died, there were many cats on the island, and Robinson kept two of them as pets.
Robinson wished to make use of the canoe that he had made. Since his country home was halfway between his original home and the canoe, he often visited his boat and occasionally did a little sailing. However, He was afraid to sail it back to the other side of the island. He eventually decided to build another canoe. Then he would have a boat on both sides of the island.
On one occasion when he was visiting his boat, he spotted a single footprint in the sand. He was so frightened that he hurried home and remained in his fortification for three days. He was afflicted with all kinds of morbid thoughts.
Hunger and concern for his goats roused him to action. He had not milked his goats for three days, and he feared that they might suffer. Besides, he began to think that he might have made the footprint himself.
After a few days, he went back to the footprint. To his dismay, it did not match his foot.
Robinson now regretted that it was possible to enter his cave through an entrance outside his wall. Since this entrance was inside the living hedge that he had planted outside his wall, he decided to convert this hedge into another fortification. The result was a formidable barrier. To get out, Robinson climbed to the top of the hill with the help of two ladders.
In addition, he planted stakes outside the fortification. When they sprouted and grew, Robinson’s home was hidden from view by a grove of trees.
Robinson did not like it that all his goats were in one place. If an enemy found them, his entire herd would be lost. He decided to build two or three small enclosures and put a few goats in each one.
After finding a suitable spot, he built an enclosure and put ten she-goats and two he-goats in it. Then he looked around for another spot. His search took him to the other end of the island.
He thought he saw a ship sailing away in the distance. On the beach, he saw human bones lying about and noticed a place where a fire had been made. He concluded that cannibals had visited the island. He felt a deep-seated repugnance and hoped that he would never see them.
After this, Robinson did not roam about the island for two years. He did not even visit his boat, though he still was thinking of making another one. He remained in the vicinity of his country home and his fortress, taking care of his goats and crops.
In time, his fear became less pronounced, but he still exercised caution. Though he no longer hunted, he always carried firearms with him.
For a while, Robinson was planning to ambush the cannibals. He daily climbed a high hill to see if their ship was coming to the island. However, he soon realized that God had not given him the right to kill them unless they were threatening him.
Robinson was afraid to start a fire in his fortress. He was afraid that enemies might see the smoke. So he transferred many of the operations that required fire to the woods.
While Robinson was in the woods cutting branches to make charcoal, he discovered a natural cave. It was an ideal retreat that he could use in case of emergency. He deposited some of his firearms and gunpowder in this cave.
In December during the twenty-third year of his residence on the island, cannibals came to shore on his side of the island. After they left, Robinson viewed the results of their cannibalistic orgy. He again entertained murderous thoughts. The experience also enhanced his fears and his caution. However, he did not see any more cannibals for a year and three months.
In May of his twenty-third year on the island, Robinson heard a shot. It was a distress signal from a ship. Robinson was not able to help the ship, but he thought that the ship might help him. He climbed to the top of his hill and lit a fire, hoping that the crew would see it and come to rescue him.
The next day, Robinson crossed the island to investigate. He saw a wrecked ship on a rock. His canoe was nearby, but he was afraid to use it to approach the ship, since this area had tricky currents. In fact, this was the very place where a current had carried him far out to see when he was trying to circumnavigate the island.
After figuring out a way to approach the ship safely, he went out with his canoe. He did not find any living people on board, and the food had been soaked. However, he found some badly needed shoes. He also took some gunpowder, a cask of liquor, a fire shovel and tongs, two brass kettles, a copper pot, a gridiron, and two chests. The chests had cordial waters, sweetmeats, clothes, and money. He decided to deposit them in the natural cave that he had discovered.
One night he dreamed that some cannibals came to his side of the island. Their victim escaped and hid in the grove in front of his fortress. When Robinson approached him, the frightened man made signs asking for help. So Robinson took brought him into his fortress. It occurred to Robinson that with the help of this savage, he might be able to escape from the island.
When Robinson awoke, he tried to turn his dream into reality.. He began to scout around regularly, hoping to find a party of cannibals with a victim that he could rescue. For a year and a half, he searched in vain.
Then a large party came in five canoes to his side of the island. Robinson put two guns at the foot of the ladder and climbed to the top of the hill.
The cannibals were going to eat four victims, but one of them escaped. He ran in the general direction of Robinson’s fortress. When he came to a creek, he quickly swam across.
Three men chased him, but one of them turned back when he came to the creek. He could not swim.
Robinson climbed down to get his two guns. Then he went out to help the fugitive. He knocked out one of the pursuers with the butt end of his gun. Since the other pursuer was about to kill Robinson with an arrow, Robinson shot him. By easily understood signs, the fugitive told Robinson that he would serve him for ever.
When the man whom Robinson had hit with the butt end of his gun began to recover, the fugitive decapitated him with Robinson’s sword.
Robinson called the fugitive Friday because he thought that Friday was the day when he came to the island. At first, Robinson did not trust him. He pitched a tent for him between the two walls of his fortress, while he himself slept in his tent within the inner wall. To make sure that he was not disturbed, he barricaded the opening to his cave with a door that opened only from the inside. However, Friday proved to be honest and faithful. He was also very intelligent. He readily learned the English language. He also became adept at the different tasks that were necessary for their daily life, such as milking goats.
Robinson provided him with some clothes. At first, he did not seem comfortable wearing them, but he soon became accustomed to the novelty.
Friday had buried his two pursuers shortly after they died. However, he later made signs that he would like to eat them. In reply, Robinson showed his abhorrence of cannibalism with unmistakable signs.
To discourage his cannibalistic tendencies, Robinson fed him animal flesh. After tasting it, Friday promised never to eat human flesh again.
Robinson had not heard the sound of a human voice for more than twenty-five years, so he enjoyed Friday’s company.
When Friday knew enough English, Robinson taught him the Christian religion He proved to be a receptive and intelligent student.
From conversations with Friday, Robinson learned that the distant coastline that he had seen was the island of Trinidad and that the South American coastline and the mouth of the Orinoco River were not far away. He also learned that a canoe trip to the mainland was reasonably safe, provided that the people in the canoe knew how to use the currents caused by the draft and reflux of the Orinoco River.
He also learned that although Friday’s people were cannibals, they ate only enemies whom they had captured in battle. In fact, seventeen white men had landed on their shore in distress. Friday’s people had treated them kindly. These white men had been living in peace with Friday’s people for several years. Robinson remembered the shipwreck that he had examined. He figured that the seventeen sailors must have been part of its crew.
Robinson thought that he could escape from the island with Friday’s help. The two men built a canoe. However, when they were finished, Friday said that it was too small to make the trip. They inspected the larger canoe that Robinson had built long ago, but it had rotted. So they made a new canoe that was large enough to make the crossing. Robinson fitted it out with a sail and a rudder. Friday quickly learned how to use these conveniences.
After Robinson had learned about the experiences of the seventeen white men, he was planning to go with Friday to his homeland. However, by the time that the canoe was finished, the rainy season had begun. So he decided to wait till the rains stopped in November and December. It was now the twenty-seventh year of his insular existence.
Before Robinson could carry out their plan, cannibals came to Robinson’s side of the island. They ate one victim and were planning to eat two others.
One of the victims was a Spaniard. When the cannibals were about to kill him, Robinson and Friday began shooting. With the help of the Spaniard, whom Robinson freed, most of the cannibals were killed. A few escaped in one of their canoes.
Friday experienced a pleasant surprise. The other victim whom they had rescued was his own father.
Robinson discussed the possibility of escape with the Spaniard. Robinson wanted to fetch the men who were living with Friday’s people. They would then build a ship, and sail away from the island. Since Robinson was afraid of the Spanish Inquisition, he exacted a promise from the Spaniard not to force him to go to New Spain. The Spaniard said that they would sail wherever Robinson wanted to go, and he would induce his comrades to make a similar promise.
However, the Spaniard pointed out that there was not enough grain to feed all those men. He suggested that they first plant a large amount of grain and wait till the harvest before they brought the other men to the island.
Robinson and his helpers prepared more fields and planted as much rice and barley as they did not need for themselves. They also caught more goats, and Robinson dried a huge amount of raisins. When all was prepared, the Spaniard and the father of Friday crossed in a canoe to fetch the other white men.
While the two men were gone, a ship came to the island. It was filled with mutineers. Eight of them came to shore in a boat with three prisoners: the captain of the ship, his mate, and a passenger. They were planning to maroon them on the island. However, they first explored the island. When they finally planned to return to their ship, the tide had receded, and they could not push their boat into the water. They decided to sleep until high tide.
Robinson approached the captain and his companions and learned what had happened. He exacted a promise that the captain would abide by his commands while they were on the island. The captain also promised to give him free passage to England if they succeeded in getting control of his ship. Robinson then gave firearms to the captain and his two companions.
They shot the two worst mutineers and induced those who were less guilty to surrender. The six prisoners were bound. They chopped a hole in the boat in which the mutineers had come and took everything useful out of it.
Later ten more mutineers came to shore in another boat. They wondered why their companions had not returned and decided to see what was wrong. The captain knew the characters of these men. He said that there were three or four honest men among the ten who were coming ashore.
On the captain’s recommendation, two of the captive mutineers were released on the condition that they promise to fight for their captain and his allies.
The mutineers were puzzled when they saw the condition of the boat in which their companions had come. After vainly trying to attract their companions by firing shots, they gave up hope and headed toward their boat, which they had anchored not far from shore.
If they had returned to the ship and the ship had sailed away, the captain and Robinson could not have taken possession of the ship. So the mate and Friday went a half mile away and called to the mutineers. They were pretending to be their lost companions.
The trick worked. The mutineers headed in the direction of the voices calling to them until their progress was stopped by the creek. So they signaled to three companions who had remained in the boat. The boat entered the creek and took the mutineers to the other side. Robinson anticipated that this would happen.
Only two mutineers remained with the boat. The other eight followed the voices in the hope that they would meet their companions.
By constantly moving farther away and then calling, the mate and Friday led the eight mutineers far from the place where they had left their boat. When they finally stopped calling them, they were so far away that the day would be drawing to a close by the time that they returned to their boat.
In the meantime, the captain and his four companions overpowered the two men who had remained by the boat. One of them had not been as guilty as the rest. He agreed to fight with his captain.
When the other eight mutineers returned, the captain and his companions killed two of them, including the boatswain, who was the principal ringleader of the mutiny.
They tricked the other six into surrendering. They pretended that the governor of the island (Robinson) had fifty men who would shoot them immediately if they did not surrender.
The worst prisoners were confined in the natural cave that Robinson had discovered. The rest were confined in Robinson’s country home.
With tactful persuasion, the mutineers in the country home were persuaded to help the captain regain his ship. To make sure that they did their duty, two of them were kept in confinement as hostages.
While Robinson remained on the island to care for the prisoners, the captain and his men took over the ship. In the process, the mate killed the man who had usurped the command of the ship. The other mutineers were taken prisoner.
It was still necessary to deal with the five worst mutineers who had been confined to the natural cave. Since they would be hanged if they were brought back to England in chains, they readily agreed to remain on the island. Robinson gave them his herd of goats, his firearms, and his other provisions. He also explained what they had to do to survive.
He wrote a message for the Spaniards explaining what had happened. He made the five mutineers promise to make common cause with the Spaniards and to treat them fairly.
Robinson boarded the ship the next day. Before they left, two of the five mutineers who had been left behind swam to the ship. They pleaded with the captain to allow them to come aboard, even if he hanged them. They complained that the other three were mistreating them.
They were punished severely, but their lives were spared. After this, they became docile sailors.
Robinson left the island in December, 1686. He took along the money he had salvaged from his own ship and from the Spanish ship. He also took one of his parrots and a few souvenirs, such as the goatskin cap that he had worn. Friday also went with him. (Unless there is some printing mistake in my copy of Robinson Crusoe, Defoe is guilty of another inconsistency. He writes that Robinson spent twenty-eight years on the island. However, he also writes that Robinson came in 1659 and left in 1686.)
When he reached England, he found that most of his family had died. Only two sisters and two children of one of his brothers remained alive. Since everyone thought that Robinson was dead, no provision had been made for him in his father’s will.
Robinson went to Lisbon and found the Portuguese captain who had befriended him. He learned that his plantation was prospering under the care of his partner. When considerable time had passed and Robinson did not return, the king began to receive one third of Robinson’s share of the profits, while the monastery of St. Augustine received two thirds.
No one disputed Robinson’s right to half the plantation. He did not even have to travel to Brazil. While a considerable portion of his past plantation profits were no longer available to him, a sufficient amount remained to make him rich. He received a considerable amount while he was still in Lisbon. He shared his bounty with the Portuguese captain, the widow who had cared for his money, and his two sisters.
When he returned to England, he decided to travel by land. His party had to cross the Pyrenees while the mountains were encumbered by snow. During the crossing, Friday killed a bear, and wolves proved to be a serious threat, especially in the forests on the French side of the Pyrenees. Otherwise, the journey was uneventful. The only time that they sailed on the sea was during the passage from Calais to Dover.
Instead of returning to his plantation in Brazil, he sold it. Since he was now a practicing Protestant, he would have had trouble with the Inquisition if he lived in Brazil.
Robinson wanted to return to his island to see whether everything was alright. However, he did not make the trip till seven years later.
In the meantime, he married and had two sons and a daughter. Then his wife died.
Robinson had provided for his two nephews. He made one of them a captain of a ship. In 1694, his nephew persuaded him to accompany him on a voyage. During this voyage, he revisited his island.
He learned that the three mutineers had caused some trouble at first. Finally, the Spaniards employed violence. The mutineers then lived with them in peace. The Spaniards did not take advantage of their ascendancy, but treated the three Englishmen fairly.
Cannibals had given the colonists some trouble, but the colonists emerged victorious. Five of the colonists had raided the mainland and brought back eleven men and five women as prisoners. By the time Robinson arrived, there were about twenty children on the island.
Robinson had brought a smith, a carpenter, and a lot of supplies to the island. He divided up the island, giving each colonist a portion. The three mutineers became contented with their lot and were not inclined to cause further trouble.
After twenty days, Robinson left. He stopped at Brazil and sent seven women to the colony to marry those who wanted a wife. He also sent cows, sheep, and hogs from Brazil. When he got back to England, he sent each of the mutineers a wife.
“Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe