| Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children|
|by James Baldwin|
|Adaptation of the story of Robinson Crusoe for children. Relates how the shipwrecked sailor makes a new life for himself on the island, crafting shelter, food, and clothing for himself from the few tools he rescued from the ship and what he is able to find on the island. Living on the island for over twenty years before he is finally rescued, he reinvents almost everything necessary for daily sustenance. Ages 7-9 |
I BUILD A BIG CANOE
 WHILE I was doing these things I was always trying to think of
some way to escape from the island.
True, I was living there with much comfort. I was happier
than I had ever been while sailing the seas.
But I longed to see other men. I longed for home and
You will remember that when I was over at the
 farther side of the island I had seen land in the distance.
Fifty or sixty miles of water lay between me and that land.
Yet I was always wishing that I could reach it.
It was a foolish wish. For there was no telling what I might
find on that distant shore.
Perhaps it was a far worse place than my little island.
Perhaps there were savage beasts there. Perhaps wild men
lived there who would kill me and eat me.
I thought of all these things; but I was willing to risk
every kind of danger rather than stay where I was.
At last I made up my mind to build a boat. It should be
large enough to carry me and all that belonged to me. It
should be strong enough to stand a long voyage over stormy
I had seen the great canoes which Indians sometimes make of
the trunks of trees. I would make one of the same kind.
In the woods I found a cedar tree which I thought was just
the right thing for my canoe.
It was a huge tree. Its trunk was more than five feet
through at the bottom.
I chopped and hewed many days before it fell
 to the ground. It took two weeks to cut a log of the right
length from it.
Then I went to work on the log. I chop and hewed and shaped
the outside into the form of a canoe. With hatchet and
chisel I hollowed out the inside.
For full three months I worked on that cedar log. I was both
proud and glad when the canoe was finished. I had never seen
so big a boat made from a single tree.
It was well shaped and handsome. More than twenty men might
find room to sit in it.
But now the hardest question of all must answered.
How was I to get my canoe into the water?
It lay not more than three hundred feet from the little
river where I had first landed with my raft.
But how was I to move it three hundred feet, or even one
foot? It was so heavy that I could not even roll it over.
I thought of several plans. But when I came to reckon the
time and the labor, I found that even by the easiest plan it
would take twenty years to get the canoe into the water.
 What could I do but leave it in the woods where it lay?
How foolish I had been! Why had I not thought of the weight
of the canoe before going to the labor of making it?
The wise man will always look before he leaps. I certainly
had not acted wisely.
I went back to my castle, feeling sad and thoughtful.
Why should I be discontented and unhappy?
I was the master of all that I saw. I might call myself the
king of the island.
I had all the comforts of life.
I had food in plenty.
I might raise shiploads of grain, but there was no market
I had thousands of trees for timber and fuel, but no one
wished to buy.
I counted the money which I had brought from the ship. There
were above a hundred pieces of gold and silver; but of what
use were they?
I would have given all for a handful of peas or beans to
plant. I would have given all for a bottle of ink.
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