| 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 WORK UNDER MANY DIFFICULTIES
 MY barley ripened and was ready to be harvested. I had neither
scythe nor sickle to cut it down.
But you will member that I had two old swords which I had
found in the ship.
With one of the swords I cut off the heads of the barley and
dropped them into a big basket I had made. I carried these
heads into my cave and thrashed out the grain with my hands.
When all my harvesting was done, I measured the grain. I had
two bushels of rice and two bushels and a half of barley.
This pleased me very much. I felt now that I should soon be
able to raise grain enough for food.
 Have you ever thought how many things are necessary for the
making of your bread?
You have nothing to do but eat the bread after others have
made it. But I had to sow, to reap, to thrash, to grind, to
sift, to mix, and to bake.
To do all these I needed many tools.
I had no plow to turn up the ground. I had no spade nor
shovel with which to dig it. But with great labor I made me
a wooden spade, which was better than nothing.
After the ground was turned up, I sowed the seed by
scattering it with my hands. But it must be covered so it
would grow, and I had no harrow. I cut down the branch of a
tree, and dragged it over the field. This, I think, was the
way that people in old times harrowed their ground.
The third thing to be done was to build a fence around my
field. After that came the reaping, the curing, the carrying
home, the thrashing, the parting of the grain from the
chaff, the grinding.
I needed a mill to do the grinding. I needed a sieve to sift
the flour. I needed yeast and salt to mix with the dough. I
needed an oven to bake it.
I had to do without the most of these things. And this made
my work very slow and hard.
 I was very lucky in having saved so many tools from the
wreck, and for this I was indeed thankful. What a hard case
I would have been in if I had saved nothing at all!
From time to time, as I felt the need of things I made a
number of tools that served me very well. They were not such
tools as you would buy at the store, but what did it matter?
I have already told you about the shovel which I made from a
piece of hard wood. Next to the shovel I needed a pickax
most of all.
Among the many things that I had saved from the wreck, I
found an old crowbar. This I heated in the fire until it was
almost white hot.
I then found that I could bend it quite easily. Little by
little I shaped it until I had made quite a good pickax of
it. Of course, it was heavy and not at all pretty. But who
would look for beauty in a pickax?
I at first felt the need of some light baskets in which to
carry my fruit and grain. So I began to study how baskets
It was not until I had searched almost every nook on the
island that I found some long slender twigs that would bend
to make wicker ware. Then I
 spent many an hour learning how to weave these twigs
together and shape them into the form of a basket.
In the end, however, I was able to make as good baskets as
were ever bought in the market.
I had quite a goodly number of edge tools. Among these there
were three large axes and a great store of hatchets; for you
will remember that we carried hatchets to trade with the
savages. I had also many knives.
But all these became very dull with use. I had saved a
grindstone from the wreck, but I could not turn it and grind
my tools at the same time.
I studied hard to overcome this difficulty. At last, I
managed to fasten a string to the crank of the grindstone in
such a way that I could turn it with my foot.
My tools were soon sharp, and I kept them so.
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