| 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 TEACH FRIDAY MANY THINGS
 WHEN my man Friday had been with me three days I took him out
As we were going through some woods, I saw a wild goat lying
under a tree with two young kids sitting by her. I caught
hold of Friday.
"Stop," I said. "Stand still."
Then I took aim at one of the kids, shot and killed it.
The noise of the gun so frightened the poor savage that he
did not know what to do. He shook like a leaf. He thought
that I was going to kill him.
He did not see the kid I had shot. He threw himself at my
feet. Although I could not understand a word he said, yet I
knew that he was begging me to have pity on him.
And indeed I did pity him—he was so frightened.
 I took him by the hand and lifted him up. I laughed at him
and pointed to the kid that I had killed. When he saw it and
understood me, he ran to fetch it.
Going on through the woods, I saw a big bird sitting on a
tree. I thought it was a hawk.
"See there, Friday!" I said, as I pointed to it.
Bang! went my gun. The bird fell to the ground. It was not a
hawk, but a parrot.
Friday was amazed. He looked at the gun and trembled.
For a long time he would not touch a gun. He would look at
it and talk to it.
He would say, in his own language: "O wonderful thing! Do
not kill me! Do not kill me!"
We found nothing more in the woods that day. Friday carried
the kid home, and I took off its skin and dressed it. Then I
stewed some of the best pieces and made some good broth.
At dinner I gave some of the broth to my man. He liked it
very well, but he could not bear salt in it.
I tried to show him that food was best with a little salt.
But he did not think so, and he would never eat meat that
 The next day I set Friday to work. I had him thrash some
barley for me and grind the grains into meal as I had always
He did his work very well.
Then I let him see me make some bread and bake it. He
learned very fast and soon could cook and keep house as well
as any one.
Little, by little I taught him how to work on my farm. We
fenced another field and sowed more barley. For now there
were two mouths to feed instead of one.
Very soon Friday learned to talk quite well. He learned the
name of everything he saw. He was very quick, and I took
pleasure in teaching him.
I told him all about gunpowder and guns and showed him how
to shoot. I gave him a knife, which pleased him not a
little. I made him a belt and gave him a hatchet to carry in
I told him about the countries on the other side of the
great ocean. And I told him something of my own history.
Little by little I explained how my people traded in great
ships, and how my own ship had been wrecked on the coast of
Thus, between working and teaching, I forgot all
 my fears. The days passed by, and every day brought some new
It was the pleasantest year of my life.
I often asked my man Friday to tell me about his own
country. He told me all that he knew, and his words made me
feel quite sure that the mainland of South America was not
In fact, the low shore that I could see far to the west of
my island was part of the coast of that great continent.
Friday told me that white men sometimes went there. He said
that they had long, dark beards and were always trying to
trade with his people.
I felt quite sure they were Spaniards, and I had a great
mind to go over, if I could, and join them. Indeed, my whole
mind was set on seeing some of my own people again.
I thought that if I could only get to the mainland, I would
find some way to reach England, or at least some place where
At last I told Friday that I would give him a boat to go
back to his own country. This was part of my plan for
getting away from the island.
I took him over to the other side of the island and showed
him my canoe.
 We cleared it of water and then took a short sail in it.
Friday could paddle very well.
"Now, Friday," I said, "shall we paddle across the sea to
your own country?"
He looked very dull at my saying this, and I saw that he
thought the canoe was too small.
"Well," I said, "I have a bigger boat. I will show it to you
The next morning, therefore, I took him to see the first
boat I had made and which I could not get to the water.
He said it was big enough. But it had been lying on the
ground for twenty-three years and was rotten.
"We will make a new boat, Friday," I said. "We will make one
as big as this. Then you shall go to your old home in it."
He looked very sad.
"Why are you angry with Friday?" he asked. "What has he
I told him that I was not angry, and asked him what he
"Not angry! not angry!" he cried. "Then why do you want to
send Friday away to his old home?"
 "Why, Friday," I said, "didn't you say that you wished you
"Yes, yes," said he. "Friday wishes both were there, but not
Friday without his master."
"But what would I do there?" I asked. "I could do nothing."
"Oh, yes, master," he answered very quickly "You could do
much. You could teach wild mans to be tame, to know God, to
live right. You could do much."
"No, Friday," I said. "You shall go without me. Leave me
here to live by myself as I did before."
He looked very sad. Then all at once he ran and picked up a
hatchet. He brought it and gave it to me.
"What shall I do with this?" I asked.
"You take it. Kill Friday," he said.
"Indeed," I said, "and why shall I do that?"
"Then why do you send Friday away?" he said "Better kill
than send away."
The tears stood in his eyes as he spoke. I saw that he loved
me and would always stand by me.
So I told him that I would never, never send him away, and
that he should always stay with me.
You should have seen his eyes brighten.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics