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Robinson Crusoe for Children by  James Baldwin


 

 

I EXPLORE MY CAVE FURTHER

[113] THE next day I brought out with me six big candles.

For you must know that I was a candle maker as well as a baker. Indeed, I made very good candles of goats' tallow, using some bits of old ropes for the wicks.


[Illustration]

As I have just said, I took six candles with me, for I had made up my mind to learn more about the cave I had found.

I lit two of the candles, and went in. The poor old goat was dead, and it was no easy work to dig a hole right there and bury him.

After this unpleasant task was done, I went into the back part of the cave. The flame of the candles lighted up the darkness, and I could see quite plainly.

[114] The narrow passage of which I have told you was no less than thirty feet long. In one place it was so low that I had to creep through on all fours.

But no sooner was I through this low place than I found myself in a splendid chamber. It was large enough to shelter a hundred men.

Indeed, it seemed like the great hall of some old English castle. I had never seen anything so grand.

The roof was at least twenty feet high. The light from my two candles shone upon the walls and made it look as though covered with thousand of bright stars.

Whether these were diamonds, or gold, or some other precious things, I did not know, and in fact I never learned.

The floor was dry and level. It was covered with white sand, which was very clean.

I was delighted. No better or safer storehouse could I have wished.

When I had looked at the room on every side and found that it was really the end of the cave, I went out and hurried back to my castle.

I found that I still had about sixty pounds of [115] powder. This was the first thing that I carried to my new cavern. I took thither also the lead that I had for making bullets and small shot.

I felt now like one of the wonderful elves that you read about. They live, as you know, in rocks and in caves where none can get at them; and they have hidden treasures of gold and precious stones.

What if a hundred savages should hunt me? They could not come near me here. I was safe from all foes.

I fitted the cave up with whatever was needed to make it comfortable.

If the worst came to the worst, I meant to live there. And yet I did not wish to be obliged to do this.

When everything was safe and snug, I laid some green branches over the entrance and went back to my castle.

I was very glad when I sat down in my old kitchen again. For, after all, no other place was so much like home.

I had now been twenty-three years on this island. If it had not been for fear of savages, I would have been the happiest man in the world.

[116] During all those years I had been very busy. I did not work all the time, as you know, but I amused myself in various ways.

I spent much time with Poll, the parrot. He soon learned to talk so well that it was a pleasure to hear him.

My dog had been my best friend and companion. He lived for sixteen years, and then died of old age.

As for my cats, the woods were full of them. All ran wild except the two that I kept in my castle. These were good mousers and fine pets.

I had also several tame fowls. These I had caught near the seashore when they were young. I cut their wing feathers short and taught them to eat from my hand.

I never knew what kind of birds they were, but they were large, almost as large as chickens. They lived among the hedge trees in front of my castle.

They made their nests there and kept me well supplied with eggs. I did not need to keep any other poultry.

Thus I lived very pleasantly in my island home. I would have been content to live there always if I could have felt safe from savages.


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