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Robinson Crusoe for Children by  James Baldwin


 

 

I SEE SAVAGES

[117] EARLY one morning in harvest time I went out to my grain fields to cut down some barley. The days were so very hot that it was pleasanter to rise before daylight and do the heavier part of my work before the sun was high.


[Illustration]

On this morning of which I am telling you, I started out while it was still quite dark. I had been to the fields so often that I could have found the way with my eyes shut.

As I went along, I was surprised to see a light far over toward my side of the island. I stopped and looked. It was plainly the light of a blazing fire.

Who could have built a fire there?

Surely none but savages.

I was so much surprised that I stood still and wondered.

[118] What if those savages should find my grain fields?

They would know at once that somebody had planted them, and they would never rest till they should find me.

I could now see the blaze quite plainly. As the day dawned, I could also see the smoke rising above the trees. The fire was not more than two miles away.

I hurried back to my castle as fast as I could run. I made everything on the outside of it look as wild as possible.

I climbed over the wall and pulled up the ladder after me.

I loaded all my cannon, as I called the guns, that I had placed in the wall. I put everything in order for a siege.

Then I waited to see if any enemy would come near.

Two hours, three hours passed, and there was no sight nor sound that was at all uncommon. I began to wonder if, after all, the fire had been kindled by some accident and not by strange men.

At last I could wait no longer. I set up my ladder against the side of the rock and climbed [119] up to a flat place above my castle. I pulled the ladder up after me and then mounted to another landing. I pulled it up a second time, and it now reached to the top of the great rock.

Here was the place I called my lookout.

Very carefully I climbed up. I laid myself down upon the rock and through my spyglass looked over toward the place where I had seen the fire.

I could still see the smoke. Yes, and I could see some naked savages sitting around a small fire.

I counted them, and made out that there were no fewer than nine of the wretches.

They surely did not need a fire to warm themselves by, for the day was very hot. No doubt they were cooking something. Perhaps they were cannibals and were getting ready for one of their horrible feasts.

On the beach not far from them I saw the two canoes in which they had arrived.

The tide was now at its lowest. When it returned and floated the canoes, they would probably go away.

This thought made me feel much easier, for I was sure they would not wander far inland.

[120] I waited and watched till the tide was again at the flood.

Then I saw them all get into the boats and paddle away. They seemed to be going around to the other side of the island.

I could now breathe freely again. As soon as they were well gone, I armed myself and hurried across the land to see if I could get another sight of them.

I carried two guns on my shoulder, two pistols in my belt, and a big sword at my side. You would have been frightened, had you seen me.

It was a long, hard walk. But by and by I came to the hill that overlooked the farther shore of the island.

This I climbed. I scanned sea and land with my spyglass.

Yes, there were the two canoes coming slowly around the coast.

But what was my surprise to see three other boats put off from a cove near by and hasten around to meet them!

It seemed, then, that another party of savages had been feasting at the very spot where I had seen the first footprint in the sand.

[121] I watched the canoes until all five were far out to sea, on their way to the low-lying shore in the distant west.

Then I went down to the place where the savages had been feasting.

What a dreadful sight met my eyes! The sand was covered with blood and bones. No doubt some poor captive had been killed there and eaten.

I made up my mind that if any other savages should ever come to my island for such a feast, I would not let them enjoy it.

I gathered up the bones and buried them in the sand. Then I went slowly and sadly back to my castle.

After that I never felt quite safe at any time. I dared not fire a gun; I dared not build a fire; I dared not walk far from home.

While awake, I was always planning how to escape the savages. While asleep, I was always dreaming of dreadful things.

Yet days and months passed by, and still no other savages came.


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