I DISCOVER A WRECK
 ONE day in May a great storm burst upon the island. All day and
far into the night the rain fell and the wind blew, the
lightnings flashed, and the thunder rolled.
But I was used to such storms, and I minded it but little. I
stayed home in my castle, and felt very thankful that I had a
place so safe and dry and comfortable.
I sat up quite late, reading my Bible by the light of a
little lamp I had made, and thinking of my strange lot in
life. Suddenly I heard a sound which I felt sure was the
noise of a gun fired at sea.
I started up quickly. I threw on my raincoat and mounted to
my lookout on the top of the great rock.
The rain had stopped and the wind was going down. It was now
past midnight, and very dark.
 A moment after I had reached my place there was a flash of
light that caused me to stop and listen for another gun.
In a few seconds I heard it. It seemed to come from that
part of the sea where I was once caught by the strong
current and driven far out in my boat.
I knew at once that the shots were fired from some ship in
distress. Perhaps she was being driven upon the shore by the
wind and waves.
Could I do anything to help the poor men on board?
With great labor and danger to myself I gathered some sticks
and brush into a pile on the rock and set it on fire.
The wood was not dry, but when the fire was once kindled it
blazed up fiercely and cast a light over all the rocks and
trees about me.
I felt sure that if there were sailors on the ship, they
could not help but see it. And no doubt they did see it, for
I soon heard another gun.
All night long I kept the fire burning; but no other sound
besides the wind did I hear.
When it was broad day and the mists had cleared away, I
turned my spyglass toward that part of the sea from which
the sounds came.
 Far away from the shore there was surely something; but
whether it was a wreck or a ship under sail, I could not
tell. The distance was too great.
I watched it from time to time all day. It did not move.
"It must be a ship at anchor," I said to myself.
Early the next morning I took my gun and went down toward
that side of the island where the current had once caught
me. When I had come to the shore there, I climbed upon some
rocks and looked out over the sea.
The air was very clear now, and I could plainly see the
She was not at anchor. She was fast on some great rocks of
which there were many in that part of the sea.
I saw that the masts of the vessel were broken, and that her
hull was lying more than halfway out of the water.
I thought of the sailors who must have been on board, and
wondered if any had escaped. It seemed impossible that any
could have reached the shore through the furious sea that
was raging during the storm.
 "Oh, that one had been saved!" I cried as I walked up and
down the shore.
I wrung my hands, my lips were firmly set, my eyes were full
"Oh, that one had been saved!" I cried again and again.
It was thus that after so many lonely years without seeing a
friendly face I longed to have at least one companion to
talk with and to share my hopes and fears.
The sea was now quite calm. Even among the rocks the water
Seeing everything thus favorable, I made up my mind to get
my canoe and go out to the wreck.
I hurried back to my castle to get things ready for my
I packed a big basket with bread; I filled a jug with fresh
water; I put a compass in my pocket that I might have it to
steer by; I threw a bag full of raisins upon my shoulder.
Loaded with all these necessary things, I went round to the
place where my canoe was hidden. I found her half full of
water, for she had been lying there neglected for a long
With much labor I bailed the water out of her
 and got her afloat. Then I loaded my cargo into her, and
hurried home for more.
My second load was a bag full of rice, the umbrella to set
up over my head for shade, another jug of water, a cheese, a
bottle of milk, and about two dozen barley cakes.
All these I carried around to my canoe. If there were men on
board the wreck they might be in need of food.
When I had arranged everything in good order, I started out.
I kept the canoe quite close to the shore until I had
rounded the point past which the dangerous current flowed.
Being then in smooth water, I struck boldly out toward the
Soon, however, upon looking a little ahead of me, I saw the
second current flowing in a great eddy past a long line of
As I looked on these rapid currents, my heart began to fail
me. I knew that if I should be driven into one of them, it
would carry me a great way out to sea. It would carry me so
far that I should never be able to get back again.
Yet I was determined to persevere in my venture.