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I SEE A STRANGE SAIL
 I PASS over some wonderful things that happened during my last year
on the island. For I must not make this story too long.
I was fast asleep in my castle one morning when Friday came
"O master, master!" he cried, "a boat, a boat!"
I jumped up and went out as quickly as could. I was in such
haste that I forgot to carry my gun with me.
I looked toward the sea. About three miles from the shore I
saw a strange boat coming to the island. It carried a
leg-of-mutton sail and was coming swiftly with the wind.
"Surely," I thought, "this is not the kind of boat that
savages sail in."
Then I saw that it was coming not from the open sea on my
side of the island, but from around a point on the south
I ran back to my castle and told Friday to stay
 inside and keep quiet till we could learn whether the people
in the boat were friends or foes.
Then I climbed up to my lookout on the top of the great
I looked out toward the south shore, and there I saw a ship
lying at anchor. As nearly as I could guess, it was about
five miles from my castle and at least three miles from the
It looked just like an English ship, and the boat was surely
an English longboat.
I cannot tell you how glad I was at the thought that some of
my own countrymen were so near. Yet I felt strange fears,
and so made up my mind to be very cautious.
In the first place, what business could an English ship have
in these seas? The English had no lands in this part of the
world. They would not come here to trade. There had been no
storms to drive the vessel to this place.
The more I thought of the matter, the more I doubted. If
these people were indeed English, they must be here for no
By this time the boat was quite near the shore. I could see
the men in it quite plainly. They looked like Englishmen.
 As they came in the tide was at its highest, and so they ran
the boat far up on the beach about half a mile from me.
I now counted eleven men, and all but three were armed with
swords. As soon as the boat touched the land, the most of
them jumped out.
Then I saw that the three unarmed men were prisoners. Their
hands were tied behind them and they were closely guarded.
As they were led on shore, they seemed in great distress as
though begging for their lives.
When Friday saw all this, he cried out to me, "O master! the
white mans do just like savage mans with their prisoners."
"Why, Friday," I said, "do you think they are going to eat
"Yes, yes," he answered, " they are going to eat them."
The prisoners were led far up on the beach, and I expected
every moment to see them killed.
But soon their guards seemed to change their minds. They
talked together for a little while. Then they untied the
prisoners' hands and let them go where they pleased.
The seamen scattered, some going this way,
 some that, as though they wished to see the country. But the
men who had been prisoners sat down on the ground and seemed
very sad and full of despair.
I thought then of the time when I had first landed on that
shore—how I had no hope, and how I gave myself up for lost.
As I have said, the tide was at its highest when the men
came on shore. They rambled around till it had flowed out
and left their boat high and
dry on the sand.
They had left two men with the boat to guard it. But the
weather being very warm, these men had fallen asleep.
When one of them awoke and found the water far out from the
boat, he began to hello for help. All the men came running
and tried to drag the boat out to the water.
But it was so heavy they could not move it. They tugged and
pulled for a long time. Then I heard one of them shout:
"Let her alone, boys! She'll float all right when the next
tide comes up.
With that they gave it up and all strolled out into the