Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children - James Baldwin

I Wish to Be a Sailor

My name is Robinson Crusoe. I was born in the old city of York, where there is a broad river, with ships coming and going.

When I was a little boy, I spent much of my time looking at the river.

How pleasant was the quiet stream, flowing, always flowing, toward the far-away sea!

[Illustration] from Robinson Crusoe  by James Baldwin

I liked to watch the ships as they came in with their white sails spread to the wind.

I liked to think of the strange lands which they must have visited, and of the many wonderful things they must have passed.

I wished to be a sailor. I thought how grand it must be to sail and sail on the wide blue sea, with the sky above and the waves beneath. Nothing could be pleasanter.

My father wanted me to learn a trade. But I could not bear the thought of it. I could not bear the thought of working every day in a dusty shop.

I did not wish to stay in York all my life. I wanted to see the world. I would be a sailor and nothing else.

My mother was very sad when I told her.

A sailor's life, she said, was a hard life. There were many storms at sea, and ships were often wrecked.

She told me, too, that there were great fishes in the sea, and that they would eat me up if I fell into the water.

Then she gave me a cake, and kissed me. "How much safer it is to be at home!" she said.

But I would not listen to her. My mind was made up, and a sailor I would be.

When I was eighteen years old, I left my pleasant home and went to sea.