Robinson Crusoe HTML version

Wrecked On A Desert Island
AFTER this stop, we made on to the southward continually for ten or twelve days, living
very sparingly on our provisions, which began to abate very much, and going no oftener
to the shore than we were obliged to for fresh water. My design in this was to make the
river Gambia or Senegal, that is to say anywhere about the Cape de Verde, where I was in
hopes to meet with some European ship; and if I did not, I knew not what course I had to
take, but to seek for the islands, or perish there among the negroes. I knew that all the
ships from Europe, which sailed either to the coast of Guinea or to Brazil, or to the East
Indies, made this cape, or those islands; and, in a word, I put the whole of my fortune
upon this single point, either that I must meet with some ship or must perish.
When I had pursued this resolution about ten days longer, as I have said, I began to see
that the land was inhabited; and in two or three places, as we sailed by, we saw people
stand upon the shore to look at us; we could also perceive they were quite black and
naked. I was once inclined to have gone on shore to them; but Xury was my better
counsellor, and said to me, "No go, no go." However, I hauled in nearer the shore that I
might talk to them, and I found they ran along the shore by me a good way. I observed
they had no weapons in their hand, except one, who had a long slender stick, which Xury
said was a lance, and that they could throw them a great way with good aim; so I kept at a
distance, but talked with them by signs as well as I could; and particularly made signs for
something to eat: they beckoned to me to stop my boat, and they would fetch me some
meat. Upon this I lowered the top of my sail and lay by, and two of them ran up into the
country, and in less than half-an- hour came back, and brought with them two pieces of
dried flesh and some corn, such as is the produce of their country; but we neither knew
what the one or the other was; however, we were willing to accept it, but how to come at
it was our next dispute, for I would not venture on shore to them, and they were as much
afraid of us; but they took a safe way for us all, for they brought it to the shore and laid it
down, and went and stood a great way off till we fetched it on board, and then came close
to us again.
We made signs of thanks to them, for we had nothing to make them amends; but an
opportunity offered that very instant to oblige them wonderfully; for while we were lying
by the shore came two mighty creatures, one pursuing the other (as we took it) with great
fury from the mountains towards the sea; whether it was the male pursuing the female, or
whether they were in sport or in rage, we could not tell, any more than we could tell
whether it was usual or strange, but I believe it was the latter; because, in the first place,
those ravenous creatures seldom appear but in the night; and, in the second place, we
found the people terribly frighted, especially the women. The man that had the lance or
dart did not fly from them, but the rest did; however, as the two creatures ran directly into
the water, they did not offer to fall upon any of the negroes, but plunged themselves into
the sea, and swam about, as if they had come for their diversion; at last one of them
began to come nearer our boat than at first I expected; but I lay ready for him, for I had
loaded my gun with all possible expedition, and bade Xury load both the others. As soon
as he came fairly within my reach, I fired, and shot him directly in the head; immediately