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Robinson Crusoe for Children by  James Baldwin


 

 

I SOW SOME GRAIN

[60] THE first wet season began about the middle of February and lasted till the middle April.


[Illustration]

The first dry season began about the middle of April and lasted till the middle of August.

The second wet season began about the middle of August and lasted till the middle October.

The second dry season began about the middle of October and lasted till the middle of February.

I could not have kept track of these thing easily if it had not been for my calendar.

Just before the first rainy season began I was one day rummaging among the shelves in my cave.

There I found the little bag that I had brought from the ship with some barley in it, as I have already told you.

I lifted it; it was almost empty.

[61] I looked inside. I saw nothing there but some dust and chaff. The rats had been there, and had eaten the grains of barley.

The bag would be useful for something else. I took it outside and shook the dust and chaff upon he ground. It was a sunny place, close by the great rock.

About a month after this, I saw that something green was starting to grow at that place. I wondered what it was. It could not be grass, for the stalks were larger and stronger.

I had forgotten about the barley. But I took care that nothing should break the stalks down.

They grew fast, and were soon as high as my waist. Then I was surprised to see ten or twelve heads of green barley come out.

You cannot think how glad I was. I remembered, then, how I had shaken the bag of dust and chaff over that very spot.

But there was another surprise for me. I noticed in the wet ground a little nearer the rock some other green plants. These were not so tall as the barley stalks, and they did not seem to be the same.

I watched them for several days. Then I saw [62] that they were stalks of rice. No doubt some grains of rice had been in the bag with the barley, and had fallen out with the dust and chaff.

You may be sure that I took good care of the grain. As soon as the barley was ripe I harvested it. There was only a handful or two; but I put it away where no rats could get to it. I wished to keep it safe and plant it again the next season.

I did the same way with the rice.

There was so little to begin with that it took a long time to grow a big crop. It was not until the fourth harvest that I could keep some of the barley for bread.

I found that the best place to plant the grain was not on the hillside, but in a moist spot not far from my summer home.

One day, as soon as the wet season was at an end, I made a visit to the country to see how my crops were growing.

There I saw something that surprised me.

You will remember the fence that I built around my summer house, or bower as I called it. It was made of two rows of tall stakes, with brush between.

Well, I now found that the stakes were still green, and that long shoots or twigs were growing [63] from them. Some of these branches were already two or three feet long.

This pleased me very much. I cut and trained the growing branches into just such shapes as I wished.

They grew very fast, and soon the whole fence was covered with green leaves. Then I trained the long branches toward the top of a pole which I set up in the center of my bower.

In a few months the whole inclosure was covered with a green roof.

You cannot think how beautiful it was. The place was shady and cool, the pleasantest spot one could wish to have.

I did not know what kind of tree it was that grew in this wonderful way. But I cut some more stakes of the same sort and carried them home to my castle.

I set these stakes in a double row, about twenty inches outside of my first wall. In a few weeks they began to grow. They grew so fast that in two years they covered the whole space in front of my castle.

They were not only handsome to look at, but they helped to protect my castle.


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