| 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 MAKE A SURPRISING DISCOVERY
 ONCE every week I went into the woods to see the flock of goats
that I had hidden there.
I always carried my gun, but since my last great fright I
did not dare to fire it off. I was afraid even to drive a
nail or chop a stick of wood, lest some savages might be
near enough to hear the sound.
I was afraid to build a fire at my castle, lest the smoke
should be seen.
At last I carried some of my pots and kettles to my hidden
field in the woods. I could do my cooking there much more
safely than at my castle.
Hardly had I put things in order there when I found
something that made me very glad. What do you suppose it
It was a cave—a real cave. The door into it was through a
little hollow place at the bottom of
 a great rock. It was so well hidden that no one could have
found it even by looking for it.
Shall I tell you how I came upon it?
I was afraid to make a smoke near my house, and yet I could
not live without cooking meat. I tried all kinds of dry
wood, and yet there was always some smoke. Then I thought I
would try charcoal. But I must first make the charcoal.
I found a place in the darkest part of the woods where the
smoke would hardly rise to the tops of the trees. There I
built my charcoal pit.
This was done in the following way:—
First, I cleared off a round space about ten feet in
diameter. Here I dug out the earth till I made a pit about a
foot deep. Then I cut a cord or more of wood and piled it up
in this space. I piled it up until it was almost as high as
my shoulders. I covered it a foot deep with earth and turf,
leaving a small open place at the bottom.
When this was done, I set fire to the wood through the hole
in the bottom. It burned slowly. The wood became charcoal.
One day, while cutting wood for my charcoal pit, I happened
to see a hollow place in the rock close by a tree I was
 It was half covered with brush. I pushed this aside and
looked in. I saw a little cave just large enough for me to
creep into on my hands and knees.
But, a little farther in, it was larger. It was so high that
I could stand upright, and it was so wide that two men could
have walked in it side by side.
It was a very dark place, and I stood still a moment till my
eyes should become a little used to it.
All at once I saw something in the darkness that made me
scramble out of that place much faster than I had come into
What do you think it was? Two big shining eyes that glowed
like coals in the darkness. Whether they were the eyes of a
man or of some fierce beast, I did not stop to see.
I stood a little while by the mouth of the cave and then I
began to get over my fright.
What could there be in this cave that would do me harm? No
man could live there in the darkness. As for any animal, I
knew there was nothing fiercer on the island than one of my
So, with a blazing stick for a torch, I crept back into the
cave. But I had not gone three steps before I was frightened
almost as much as before.
 I heard a loud sigh, like that of a man in trouble. Then
there were low moans, and sounds as of some one trying to
I stopped short. Cold chills ran down my back. My hair
seemed to stand on end. But I would not allow myself to run
I pushed my little torch forward into the darkness, as far
as I could. The blaze lit up the cave. And what do you
suppose I saw then?
Why, nothing but a shaggy old goat that I had missed from my
flock for nearly a week past.
He was stretched on the floor of the cave, and too weak to
rise up. He was a very old fellow, and perhaps had gone in
there to die.
I gave him some food and water, and made him as comfortable
as I could. But he was too far gone to live long.
I found that, although I could stand up in the cave, it was very
small. It was only a hole in the rocks, and was neither
round nor square.
But at the end of this little chamber there seemed to be a
passage that led farther in. This passage was very narrow
and dark, and as my torch had burned out, I did not try to
I went back to my wood chopping.
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