Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children - James Baldwin

I Make a Bold Rescue

I knew that the tide would not be at its highest again before night. So I thought that I would arm myself, and, as soon as it was dark, would venture out and learn more about my strange visitors if I could.

[Illustration] from Robinson Crusoe  by James Baldwin

I looked at my guns and got everything ready, and then sat down to wait.

The day, as I have said, was very hot. The three men who had been prisoners still sat under a tree by the shore. But all the rest were in the woods. No doubt they would rest in some shady place until the sun went down.

At about two o'clock I became so uneasy that I could wait no longer.

"Friday," I said, "let us go out and see what we can do."

You should have seen us as we marched out of the castle.

I had two guns on my shoulders and Friday had three. I had on my goatskin coat and my great hat that I have told you about. At my side was a naked sword, and in my belt were two huge pistols.

I must have looked very fierce.

We went quietly down the hill, keeping ourselves hidden among the trees. At last, when we were quite near the three men, I jumped suddenly out before them and cried, "What are you, gentlemen?"

Never were men more surprised.

They sprang to their feet, but they could not speak a word. In fact, they were on the point of running away from me when I cried: "Hold, gentlemen! Do not be afraid. I am a friend. I bring help."

"Then, indeed," said one of them, "you must have been sent from heaven; for our case is hopeless."

"All help is from heaven, sir," I said; and then I briefly told them how I had seen them brought to the shore.

"I am an Englishman," I said, "and I stand ready to help you. I have one servant, and we are well armed. Tell us what is your case, and how we may serve you."

"Our case," said the foremost of the three men, "is too long to tell you now; for our enemies are very near. I was the captain of the ship that lies at anchor offshore. Three days ago the sailors all rose against me. They made me their prisoner. They seized upon the ship, for they wanted to become pirates.

"They were about to kill me; but this morning they decided to leave me on this island to die. The men who are with me, they are doomed to the same fate. One is my mate, the other a passenger.

"Being brought ashore here, we had no hope but to perish. For it did not seem to us that any one could live in such a desolate place."

"But where are those cruel enemies of yours?" I asked. "Do you know where they are gone?"

"They are there, sir," he said, pointing to a grove not far away. "They are sleeping in the shade. If they should wake and see you with us, they would kill us all."

"Have they any firearms?" I asked.

"Only two muskets," he answered, "and one of these they have left in the boat."

"Then trust everything to me," I said. "If they are asleep it will be easy to kill them all. But I think it will be better to make them our prisoners."

The captain then told me that there were two very wicked fellows among them who were the ringleaders.

"It is they who have made all this trouble," he said. "If they and two others could be overcome the rest would come back and do their duty. Indeed, I am sure that many of them have gone into this business against their will."