The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Chapter 13, 14, 15

Chapter XIII

I WAS now in my twenty-third year of residence in this island, and was so naturalised to the place and to the manner of living, that could I have but enjoyed the certainty that no savages would come to the place to disturb me, I could have been content to have capitulated for spending the rest of my time there, even to the last moment, till I had laid me down and died, like the old goat in the cave: I had also arrived to some little diversions and amusements, which made the time pass more pleasantly with me a great deal than it did before; as, first, I had taught my Poll, as I noted before, to speak; and he did it so familiarly, and talked so articulately and plain, that it was very pleasant to me, and he lived with me no less than six-and-twenty years: how long he might live afterwards I knew not, though I know they have a notion in the Brazils, that they live a hundred years; perhaps some of my Polls may be alive there still, calling after Poor Robin Crusoe to this day: I wish no Englishman the ill luck to come there and hear them; but if he did, he would certainly believe it was the devil. My dog was a very pleasant and loving companion to me for no less than sixteen years of my time, and then died of mere old age. As for my cats, they multiplied, as I have observed, to that degree, that I was obliged to shoot several of them at first, to keep them from devouring me and all I had; but at length, when the two old ones I brought with me were gone, and after some time continually driving them from me, and letting them have no provision with me, they all ran wild into the woods, except two or three favourites, which I kept tame, and whose young, when they had any, I always drowned, and these were part of my family: besides these, I always kept two or three household kids about me, which I taught to feed out of my hand; and I had also more parrots, which talked pretty well, and would all call Robin Crusoe, but none like my first, nor, indeed, did I take the pains with any of them that I had done with him. I had also several tame sea-fowls, whose names I know not, which I caught upon the shore, and cut their wings; and the little stakes which I had planted before my castle wall being now grown up to a good thick grove, these fowls all lived among these low trees, and bred there, which was very agreeable to me; so that, as I said above, I began to be very well contented with the life I led, if it might but have been secured from the dread of savages.

But it was otherwise directed; and it might not be amiss for all people, who shall meet with my story, to make this just observation from it, namely, how frequently, in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into, is the most dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen into. I could give many examples of this in the course of my unaccountable life; but in nothing was it more particularly remarkable, than in the circumstances of my last years of solitary residence in this island.

It was now the month of December, as I said above, in my twenty-third year; and this being the southern solstice—for winter I cannot call it—was the particular time of my harvest, and required my being pretty much abroad in the fields; when, going out pretty early in the morning, even before it was thorough day-light, I was surprised with seeing a light of some fire upon the shore, at a distance from me of about two miles, towards the end of the island where I had observed some savages had been, as before: but not on the other side, but, to my great affliction, it was on my side of the island.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Categories: Defoe, Daniel