Young Folks' Treasury: Classic Tales and Old-Fashioned Stories HTML version
By DANIEL DEFOE
ADAPTED BY JOHN LANG
HOW ROBINSON FIRST WENT TO SEA; AND HOW HE WAS SHIPWRECKED
Long, long ago, before even your grandfather's father was born, there lived in the town of York a
boy whose name was Robinson Crusoe. Though he never even saw the sea till he was quite a big
boy, he had always wanted to be a sailor, and to go away in a ship to visit strange, foreign, far-
off lands; and he thought that if he could only do that, he would be quite happy.
But his father wanted him to be a lawyer, and he often talked to Robinson, and told him of the
terrible things that might happen to him if he went away, and how people who stopped at home
were always the happiest. He told him, too, how Robinson's brother had gone away, and had
been killed in the wars.
So Robinson promised at last that he would give up wanting to be a sailor. But in a few days the
longing came back as bad as ever, and he asked his mother to try to coax his father to let him go
just one voyage. But his mother was very angry, and his father said, "If he goes abroad he will be
the most miserable wretch that ever was born. I can give no consent to it."
Robinson stopped at home for another year, till he was nineteen years old, all the time thinking
and thinking of the sea. But one day when he had gone on a visit to Hull, a big town by the sea,
to say good-by to one of his friends who was going to London, he could not resist the chance.
Without even [pg 137] sending a message to his father and mother, he went on board his friend's ship,
and sailed away.
But as soon as the wind began to blow and the waves to rise, poor Robinson was very frightened
and seasick, and he said to himself that if ever he got on shore he would go straight home and
never again leave it.
He was very solemn till the wind stopped blowing. His friend and the sailors laughed at him, and
called him a fool, and he very soon forgot, when the weather was fine and the sun shining, all he
had thought about going back to his father and mother.
But in a few days, when the ship had sailed as far as Yarmouth Roads on her way to London,
they had to anchor, and wait for a fair wind. In those days there were no steamers, and vessels
had only their sails to help them along; so if it was calm, or the wind blew the wrong way, they
had just to wait where they were till a fair wind blew.
While they lay at Yarmouth the weather became very bad, and there was a great storm. The sea
was so heavy and Robinson's ship was in such danger, that at last they had to cut away the masts
in order to ease her and to stop her from rolling so terribly. The Captain fired guns to show that
his ship wanted help. So a boat from another ship was lowered, and came with much difficulty