Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children - James Baldwin

I Am Again Alarmed

Five or six years had passed, and not another footprint had I seen.

I had gotten over my great fright, and yet I was not so bold as I had been. Any sudden sound would make me start and look around.

[Illustration] from Robinson Crusoe  by James Baldwin

I thought that if savage men had been on the island once, they were quite likely to come again. So I kept on the lookout for them all the time.

My flock of goats had now grown to be very large, and I needed another field. I wished to put some of them in a hidden spot where the savages, if they did come, would not find them.

I had already a small flock in one such spot, as I have told you. But now I wished to have another.

In looking for the right kind of place, I went all over the island. I even went far out on a rocky point beyond the place where I kept my canoe.

As I was standing on a rock and looking out to sea, I thought I saw a boat in the distance. I was only a little speck on the water, and it seemed to rise and fall with the waves. It could not be a rock.

I looked at it till my eyes could look no more. I had saved a spyglass out of the ship; but, as luck would have it, I had left it at home. How I wished for it then!

Whether I really saw a boat or not, I do not know. But as I walked back along the shore, I made up my mind never to go out again without my spyglass.

I walked slowly along, thinking of what I had seen. All at once I came upon that which made my heart stand still.

On the sandy, sloping beach of a pleasant little harbor I saw not only one footprint, but hundreds of them.

I stood still, afraid to move.

But the footprints were not all. The beach at one place was covered with bones and bits of flesh, as in a slaughter house. Some of the bones were quite fresh; some had been charred with fire.

"Here the savages have been holding a feast," I said to myself.

A little farther on I saw that a pit had been dug in the sand, and here they had had their fire. The ashes were still warm.

I wondered what kind of a feast these wild men had been having. There were savages on the mainland who were said to kill and eat the captives whom they took in war. Cannibals, they were called.

Could this have been a feast of cannibals? And were these the bones and flesh of human beings?

I trembled as I thought of it.

I turned and ran from the place as fast as I could.

I ran until I could go no farther. My breath came fast. I sank down upon the ground.

When I had rested a little while, I looked around and found that I was not very far from my castle. All around me was peaceful and still. I was surely safe from harm.

With tears in my eyes I knelt down and gave thanks to God. I thanked him that he had kept me alive and safe through so many years. I thanked him that I had been cast on the side of the island which was never visited by savages. I thanked him for all the comforts and blessings that were mine.

Then I arose and went home to my castle.

As I sat before my door that evening, I thought the whole matter over, and felt much easier in my mind.

I had been on the island eighteen years before I saw the first footprint. I had been there twenty-three years before I saw any other signs of savages. It was likely that many more years would pass before any harm should come to me.

With these thoughts I lay down in my hammock and slept without fear.

But it was a long time before I went again to the farther shore of the island. I did not even go to look after my canoe.

The days went quietly by. I kept quite close to my castle, and busied myself with my goats and my grain.

I was always on my guard, and never stepped out of doors without first looking around me.