Robinson Crusoe HTML version

Agricultural Experience
I HAD now been in this unhappy island above ten months. All possibility of deliverance
from this condition seemed to be entirely taken from me; and I firmly believe that no
human shape had ever set foot upon that place. Having now secured my habitation, as I
thought, fully to my mind, I had a great desire to make a more perfect discovery of the
island, and to see what other productions I might find, which I yet knew nothing of.
It was on the 15th of July that I began to take a more particular survey of the island itself.
I went up the creek first, where, as I hinted, I brought my rafts on shore. I found after I
came about two miles up, that the tide did not flow any higher, and that it was no more
than a little brook of running water, very fresh and good; but this being the dry season,
there was hardly any water in some parts of it - at least not enough to run in any stream,
so as it could be perceived. On the banks of this brook I found many pleasant savannahs
or meadows, plain, smooth, and covered with grass; and on the rising parts of them, next
to the higher grounds, where the water, as might be supposed, never overflowed, I found
a great deal of tobacco, green, and growing to a great and very strong stalk. There were
divers other plants, which I had no notion of or understanding about, that might, perhaps,
have virtues of their own, which I could not find out. I searched for the cassava root,
which the Indians, in all that climate, make their bread of, but I could find none. I saw
large plants of aloes, but did not understand them. I saw several sugar-canes, but wild,
and, for want of cultivation, imperfect. I contented myself with these discoveries for this
time, and came back, musing with myself what course I might take to know the virtue
and goodness of any of the fruits or plants which I should discover, but could bring it to
no conclusion; for, in short, I had made so little observation while I was in the Brazils,
that I knew little of the plants in the field; at least, very little that might serve to any
purpose now in my distress.
The next day, the sixteenth, I went up the same way again; and after going something
further than I had gone the day before, I found the brook and the savannahs cease, and the
country become more woody than before. In this part I found different fruits, and
particularly I found melons upon the ground, in great abundance, and grapes upon the
trees. The vines had spread, indeed, over the trees, and the clusters of grapes were just
now in their prime, very ripe and rich. This was a surprising discovery, and I was
exceeding glad of them; but I was warned by my experience to eat sparingly of them;
remembering that when I was ashore in Barbary, the eating of grapes killed several of our
Englishmen, who were slaves there, by throwing them into fluxes and fevers. But I found
an excellent use for these grapes; and that was, to cure or dry them in the sun, and keep
them as dried grapes or raisins are kept, which I thought would be, as indeed they were,
wholesome and agreeable to eat when no grapes could be had.
I spent all that evening there, and went not back to my habitation; which, by the way, was
the first night, as I might say, I had lain from home. In the night, I took my first
contrivance, and got up in a tree, where I slept well; and the next morning proceeded
upon my discovery; travelling nearly four miles, as I might judge by the length of the