| 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 HAVE A PERILOUS ADVENTURE
 I HAD never given up the idea of having a canoe.
My first trial, as you have seen, was a failure. I had made
too big a boat, and I had made it too far from the water. I
could do better another time.
One day after I had harvested my grain, I set to work.
There was no tree near the river that was fit for a canoe.
But I found a fine one nearly half a mile away.
Before I began to chop the tree, I made all my plans for
taking the canoe to the water.
I worked now with a will, for I felt sure that I would
In a few weeks the little vessel was finished. It was a very
pretty canoe, and large enough for only two or three
Small as it was, it was quite heavy. For you
 must remember that it was a part of the tree, hollowed out
and shaped like a boat. It was as much as I could do to lift
one end of it.
How should I ever get it to the river?
I have already told you that I had made plans for this.
Through the soft ground between the river and the canoe I
dug a big ditch. It was four feet deep and six feet wide and
nearly half a mile long.
I worked at this ditch for nearly two years. When it was
done and filled with water from the river, I slid my canoe
into it. It floated, as I knew it would.
As I pushed it along to the end of the great ditch and out
into the river, it looked very small. I could never hope to
make a long voyage in it!
But I could sail round the island, and make little journeys
close to the shore.
Before starting out, I put up a mast in the prow of the
canoe and made a sail for it of a piece of the ship's sail
that I had kept with great care.
Then at each end of the little vessel I made lockers or
small boxes, in which I put a supply of food and other
things that I would need on my voyage.
 On the inside of the vessel I cut a little, long, hollow
place or shelf where I could lay my gun; and above this I
tacked a long flap of goatskin to hang down over it and keep
In the stern I set up my umbrella, so that it would keep the
hot sun off of me while I was steering the canoe.
Then every day I made short trips down the river to the sea
and back again. Sometimes, when the wind was fair, I sailed
a little way out; but I was afraid to go far.
At last I made up my mind for a voyage around the island.
I filled my lockers with food. In one I put two dozen barley
cakes and a pot full of parched rice. In the other I stored
the hind quarters of a goat.
I also put in powder and shot enough to kill as much game as
I would need.
On a day in November I set sail on my voyage. It proved to be
a harder voyage than I had bargained for.
In the first place, there were so many rocks along the shore
that I sometimes had to sail for miles out into the sea to
get around them.
Then, when I was on the farther side of the
 island, I struck a furious current of water that was pouring
round a point of land like the sluice of mill.
I could do nothing in such a current. My canoe was whirled
along like a leaf in a whirlwind. The sail was of no use.
The little vessel spun round and round in the eddies and was
carried far out to sea.
I gave myself up for lost. I was so far out that I could
hardly see the low shores of my island.
Suddenly I noticed that the canoe was only a little way from
the edge of the current. Just beyond it the water was quite
calm and smooth.
I took up my paddle again and paddled with all my might.
With great joy I soon found myself floating in quiet water.
The wind was fair for the shore, and I set my sail again.
The canoe sped swiftly back toward the island.
I saw then that I was sailing midway between two strong
currents. If I should be caught in either, I would again be
carried out to sea.
I needed all the skill I had to steer
the canoe aright. At last, when the sun was almost down, I
brought it into a quiet little cove where the shore was
green with grass.
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