Robinson Crusoe HTML version

A Boat
BUT first I was to prepare more land, for I had now seed enough to sow above an acre of
ground. Before I did this, I had a week's work at least to make me a spade, which, when it
was done, was but a sorry one indeed, and very heavy, and required double labour to
work with it. However, I got through that, and sowed my seed in two large flat pieces of
ground, as near my house as I could find them to my mind, and fenced them in with a
good hedge, the stakes of which were all cut off that wood which I had set before, and
knew it would grow; so that, in a year's time, I knew I should have a quick or living
hedge, that would want but little repair. This work did not take me up less than three
months, because a great part of that time was the wet season, when I could not go abroad.
Within-doors, that is when it rained and I could not go out, I found employment in the
following occupations - always observing, that all the while I was at work I diverted
myself with talking to my parrot, and teaching him to speak; and I quickly taught him to
know his own name, and at last to speak it out pretty loud, "Poll," which was the first
word I ever heard spoken in the island by any mouth but my own. This, therefore, was
not my work, but an assistance to my work; for now, as I said, I had a great employment
upon my hands, as follows: I had long studied to make, by some means or other, some
earthen vessels, which, indeed, I wanted sorely, but knew not where to come at them.
However, considering the heat of the climate, I did not doubt but if I could find out any
clay, I might make some pots that might, being dried in the sun, be hard enough and
strong enough to bear handling, and to hold anything that was dry, and required to be
kept so; and as this was necessary in the preparing corn, meal, &c., which was the thing I
was doing, I resolved to make some as large as I could, and fit only to stand like jars, to
hold what should be put into them.
It would make the reader pity me, or rather laugh at me, to tell how many awkward ways
I took to raise this paste; what odd, misshapen, ugly things I made; how many of them
fell in and how many fell out, the clay not being stiff enough to bear its own weight; how
many cracked by the over-violent heat of the sun, being set out too hastily; and how
many fell in pieces with only removing, as well before as after they were dried; and, in a
word, how, after having laboured hard to find the clay - to dig it, to temper it, to bring it
home, and work it - I could not make above two large earthen ugly things (I cannot call
them jars) in about two months' labour.
However, as the sun baked these two very dry and hard, I lifted them very gently up, and
set them down again in two great wicker baskets, which I had made on purpose for them,
that they might not break; and as between the pot and the basket there was a little room to
spare, I stuffed it full of the rice and barley straw; and these two pots being to stand
always dry I thought would hold my dry corn, and perhaps the meal, when the corn was
Though I miscarried so much in my design for large pots, yet I made several smaller
things with better success; such as little round pots, flat dishes, pitchers, and pipkins, and
any things my hand turned to; and the heat of the sun baked them quite hard.