i The Mona ;usaed bhi head; M either beoaUw uq4i~tb. eota.] V
touoheI him, or because the scales of his i" were izeqmitrable to tang. he
appeared to have received no around. Frita esd I thn ifled..
, rx- A-
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON;
A FATHER AND MOTHER AND FOUR SONS
A DESERT ISLAND.
COMBINING THE FIRST AND SECOND SERIES,
NOTES AND ENGRAVINGS.
SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.; WHITTAKER AND CO.;
HOULSTON AND STONEMAN; AND SAMPSON LOW.
(.ILIHERT & RIVINGTON, PRINTERS,
ST. JOHN'S SQUARE.
THE first part of the Swiss Family Robinson was published
many years ago, and has ever since that time remained
one of our standard works for the young; it has passed
through fourteen editions, and although of the juvenile
class, is read by persons of all ages with pleasure and in-
struction. The descriptions of the different animals,
their nature and habits, the uses of different plants, and
other natural productions of the earth, are delineated
with the utmost fidelity. No story can be better calcu-
lated to awaken and reward curiosity, to excite amiable
sympathies, to show the young inquirer after good, that
the accidents of life may be repaired by the efforts of his
own thought, and the constancy of his own industry; and
to rouse the most inert to emulation.
The second portion, more recently published, bids fair
to rival its predecessor in popularity. In its pages the use-
ful, the moral, and the entertaining so naturally mix with
or succeed each other, that every generous taste is suited.
The intense interest of the narrative is fully sustained,
the same regard is paid to virtuous principle throughout,
and the whole is pervaded by a devotional sense of the
goodness of our merciful Creator.
In the present edition the two series are combined in
a single volume. The success which has hitherto attended
the work has induced the publishers to present it in this
condensed form, which, while it omits nothing of import-
ance, nor detracts from the interest of the original, enables
them to offer it at a price, which will place it within the
reach of a still more numerous class of readers.
London, July, 18f2.
A PASTOR or Clergyman of West Switzerland, having
lost his fortune in the Revolution of 1798, resolved to
become a voluntary exile, and to seek in other climates
the means of support for himself and his family. He
sailed accordingly with his wife and children, four sons,
from twelve to five years of age, for England, where he
accepted an appointment of Missionary to Otaheite; not
that he had any desire to take up his abode in that island,
but that he had conceived the plan of passing from thence
to Port Jackson, and domiciliating himself there as a free
settler, and no better opportunity of accomplishing his
objects then presented itself. He possessed a considerable
knowledge of agriculture, and by this means hoped, with
the aid of his sons, to gain an advantageous establishment,
which his own country, convulsed with the horrors of war,
denied him. He turned the small remnant of his fortune
into money, and bought with it seeds of various sorts, and
a few cattle as a farming stock. The family took their
passage accordingly, satisfied with this consolation-that
they should still remain together: and they sailed with
favourable winds till within sight of New Guinea. Here
they were attacked by a destructive and unrelenting
tempest and it is in this crisis of their Adventures that
the Swiss Pastor begins the Journal which is now pre-
sented to the Public.
I II _
8KTTLNMZNT OF THE
SWI18 PASTOR AND HIS FAMILY IN THB
Cabbage Palm Wood.
M. Cotton Wood.
N. Flamingo Marsh.
P. Falcon's Nest.
Q. Palm Cocoa Wood.
R. Family Bridge.
S. Root Plantation.
T. Tent House.
W. Shark's Island.
1. A Shipwreck, and Preparations for Deliverance 1
2. A Landing, and consequent Occupations 12
3. Voyage of Discovery 20
4. Return from the Voyage of Discovery.-A Nocturnal Alarm. 46
5. Return to the Wreck.-A Troop of Animals in Cork-Jackets 68
6. Second Journey of Discovery performed by the Mother of the
Family ........ 74
7. Construction of a Bridge 85
8. Change of Abode 96
9. Constructionof a Ladder.-Settling in the Giant Tree 106
10. The Sabbath and the Parable 117
11. Conversation, a Walk, and Discoveries 129
12. The Sledge.-Bathing.-The Kangaroo 142
13. More Stores from the Wreck.-The Tortoise Harnessed 152
14. Another Trip to the Wreck.-A New Trade 161
15. The Cracker and the Pinnace.-A Kitchen Garden 169
16. Gymnastic Exercises; Various Discoveries; Singular Ani-
mals, &c. 181
17. Excursion into Unknown Tracts 194
18. Useful Occupations and Labours.-Embellishments 206
19. A New Domain.-The Troop of Buffaloes.-The Vanquished
Hero .. 213
20. The Malabar Eagle.-Sago Manufactory.-Bees 225
21. Treatment of Bees.-Staircase.-Training of the Buffalo.-
Manufactures, &c .. 234
22. The Wild Ass.-Difficulty in breaking it--The Heath-Fowl's
Nest .. 241
23. Flax ;-and the Rainy Season 251
24. Spring.-Spinning.-Salt-Mine 258
25. House in the Salt Rock.-New Discoveries. 270
26. Completion of Two Farm-Houses.-A Lake.-The Beast
with a Bill.-A Boat 282
27. Anniversary of our Deliverance.-Holiday Rejoicings 23
28. Bird-taking.-Molucca-Pigeons.-The Dove-Cot 2!8
2). Return of the Rainy Season.-Winter Occupations 310
30. The Whale.-Its Dissection.-Uses of the different Parts 317
31. Excursion to Prospect Hill.-A Turtle Drive.-Weaving-
32. The Alarm.-The Boa-Constrictor and its Victim.-Serpents
and the Serpent-Eater. 333
33. The Burial of the Ass, and Stuffing the Skin of the Boa.-
Boa-nesting-Excursion to the Farm-House, and Fresh
Discoveries .. 342
34. The Pig-Hunt.-The Otaheitan Roast.-Excursion into the
Savanna.-The Ostrich.Hunt.-The Land Turtles 357
35. Discovery of Porcelain Earth, and Pepper.-Excursion of the
Boys on the Savanna.-Their Return and Adventures 371
36. Ostriches again.-A Hunt and a Capture.-The Return to
37. Taming the Ostrich.-Various Manufactures 386
38. Return of the Rainy Season.-The Cajack.-Conchology 396
39. Adventures of the Boys.-Use of the Air-Pump for Skinning.
40. Trial of the Cajack.-The Sea-Cow.-A Storm.-Salmon 413
41. The Drawbridge.-Sugar and the Sugar-cane.-Adventures
of an Expedition to the Savanna 424
42. Despatches from the Interior.-Adventures in the Savanna
continued.-Alarming Intelligence 436
43. The Redoubt.-Various valuable Discoveries.-Crocodiles
and Alligators.-Fortification of Shark Island 447
44. A General Review of the Colony after Ten Years' Establish.
ment .. .. 459
45. Excursion of Fritz.-A Discovery of Pearls.-Intelligence of
a Fellow-Creature .. 470
46. The Edible Birds' Nests.-The Pearl-Fishery.-Departure of
Fritz for the Smoking Rock .483
47. Our Adopted Sister.-Attack of Wolves.-Preparations for
Returning Home 491
48. Return to Felsenheim.-Fritz's Narrative, and Emily's His-
tory. ....... 500
49. Conclusion 514
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
A Shipwreck, and Preparations for Deliverane.
..... ALBEADY the tempest had continued six days;
on the seventh its fury seemed still increasing; and the
morning dawned upon us without a prospect of hope, for
we had wandered so far from the right track, and were so
forcibly driven toward the south-east, that none on board
knew where we were. The ship's company were ex-
hausted by labour and watching, and the courage which
had sustained them was now sinking. The shivered
masts had been cast into the sea; several leaks appeared,
and the ship began to fill. The sailors forbore from
swearing; many were at prayer on their knees; while
others offered miracles of future piety and goodness, as
the condition of their release from danger. "My beloved
children," said I to my four boys, who clung to me in
their fright, God can save us, for nothing is impossible
to Him. We must however hold ourselves resigned, and,
instead of murmuring at his decree, rely that what He
sees fit to do is best, and that should He call us from this
earthly scene, we shall be near Him in heaven, and united
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSION.
My excellent wife wiped the tears which were falling
on her cheeks, and from this moment became more tran-
quil; she encouraged the youngest children who were
leaning on her knees; while I, who owed them an example
of firmness, was scarcely able to resist my grief at the
thought of what would most likely be the fate of beings
so tenderly beloved. We all fell on our knees, and sup-
plicated the God of Mercy to protect us; and the emotion
and fervour of the innocent creatures are a convincing
proof that even in childhood devotion may be felt and un-
derstood, and that tranquillity and consolation, its natural
effects, may at that season be no less certainly experienced.
Fritz, my eldest son, implored, in a loud voice, that God
would deign to save his dear parents and his brothers,
generously unmindful of himself: the boys rose from
their posture with a state of mind so improved, that they
seemed forgetful of the impending danger. I myself
Began to feel my hopes increase, as I beheld the affecting
group. Heaven will surely have pity on them, thought I,
and will save their parents to guard their tender years I
At this moment a cry of "Land, Land!" was heard
through the roaring of the waves, and instantly the vessel
struck against a rock with great violence: a tremendous
cracking succeeded, as if the ship was going to pieces:
the sea rushed in, in all direction; we perceived that the
vessel had grounded, and could not long hold together.
The captain called out that all was lost, and bade the men
lose not a moment in putting out the boats. The sounds
fell on my heart like a thrust from a dagger: "We are
lost!" I exclaimed, and the children broke out into
piercing cries. I then recollected myself, and, addressing
them again, exhorted them to courage, by observing that
the water had not yet reached us, that the ship was near
land, and that Providence would assist the brave. Keep
THE swiss PLUELY ROBINSON.
where you are," added I, while I go and examine what
is best to be done."
I now went on the deck. A wave instantly threw me
down, and wetted me to the skin; another followed, and
then another. I sustained myself as steadily as I could;
and looking around, a scene of terrific and complete dis-
aster met my eyes: the ship was shattered in all direc-
tions, and on one side there was a complete breach. The
ship's company crowded into the boats till they could con-
tain not one man more, and the last who entered were
now cutting the ropes to move off. I called to them with
almost frantic entreaties to stop and receive us also, but
in vain; for the roaring of the sea prevented my being
heard, and the waves, which rose to the height of moun-
tains, would have made it impossible to return. All hope
from this source was over, for, while I spoke, the boats,
and all they contained, were driving out of sight. My
best consolation now was to observe, that the slanting
position the ship had taken would afford us present pro-
tection from the water; and that the stern, under which
was the cabin that enclosed all that was dear to me on
earth, had been driven upwards between two rocks, and
seemed immovably fixed. At the same time, in the di.-
tance southward, I described through clouds and rain,
several nooks of land, which, though rude and savage in
appearance, were the objects of every hope I could form
in this distressing moment.
Sunk and desolate from the loss of all chance of human
aid, it was yet my duty to appear serene before my
family: "Courage, dear ones," cried I on entering their
cabin, "let us not desert ourselves: I will not conceal
from you that the ship is aground; but we are at least in
greater safety than if she were beating upon the rocks;
our cabin is above water; and should the sea be more
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINBON.
calm to-morrow, we may yet find means to reach the land
What I had just said appeased their fears, for my family
had the habit of confiding in my assurances. My wife,
however, more accustomed than the children to read my
thoughts, perceived the anxiety which devoured me. I
made her a sign which conveyed an idea of the hopeless-
ness of our situation; and I had the consolation to see
that she was resolved to support the trial with resigna-
tion; Let us take some nourishment," said she; "our
courage will strengthen with our bodies: we shall per-
haps need this comfort to support a long and melancholy
Soon after night set in: the fury of the tempest had
not abated; the planks and beams of the vessel separated
in many parts with a horrible crash. We thought of
Sthe boats, and feared that all they contained must have
I sunk under the foaming surge.
My wife had prepared a slender meal, and the four
boys partook of it with an appetite to which their parents
were strangers. They went to bed, and, exhausted by
fatigue, soon were snoring soundly. Fritz, the eldest, sat
up with us: "I have been thinking," said he, after a long
silence, "how it may be possible to save ourselves. If
we had some bladders or cork-jackets for my mother and
my brothers, you and I, father, would soon contrive to
swim to land."
"That is a good thought," said I; "we will see what
can be done."
Fritz and I looked about for some small empty fir-
kins; these we tied two and two together with handker-
chiefs or towels, leaving about a foot distance between
them, and fastened them as swimming-jackets under the
arms of each child, my wife at the same time preparing
THE SWISS FANMhY ROBINSON.
one for herself. We provided ourselves with knives,
some string, and other necessaries which could be put
into the pocket, hoping that if the ship went to pieces in
the night, we should either be able to swim to land, or be
driven thither by the waves.
Fritz, who had been up all night, and was fatigued with
his laborious occupations, now lay down near his brothers,
and was soon asleep; but their mother and I, too
anxious to close our eyes, kept watch, listening to every
sound that seemed to threaten a further change in our
situation. We passed this awful night in prayer, in
agonizing apprehensions, and in forming various resolu-
tions as to what we should next attempt. We hailed
with joy the first gleam of light which shot through a
small opening of the window. The raging of the winds
had begun to abate, the sky was become serene, and hope
throbbed in my bosom, as I beheld the sun already tinging
the horizon. Thus revived, I summoned my wife and
the boys to the deck, to partake of the scene. The
youngest children, half forgetful of the past, asked with
surprise, why we were there alone, and what had become
of the ship's company ? I led them to the recollection of
our misfortune, and then added, "Dearest children, a
Being more powerful than man has helped us, and will,
no doubt, continue to help us, if we do not abandon our-
selves to despair. Observe, our companions, in whom we
had so much confidence, have deserted us, and that
Divine Providence, in its goodness, has given us protec-
tion! But let us show ourselves willing in our exertions,
and thus deserve support from Heaven. Let us not forget
this useful maxim, and let each labour according to his
Fritz advised that we should all throw ourselves into
the sea, while it was calm, and swim to land.-" Ah! that
THE swiss AMILY ROBINSON.
may be well enough for you," said Ernest, "for you can
swim; but we others should soon be drowned. Would
it not be better to make a float of rafts, and get to land
all together upon it ? "
"Vastly well," answered I, "if we had the means for
contriving such a float, and if, after all, it were not a dan-
gerous sort of conveyance. But come, my boys, look each
of you about the ship, and see what can be done to ena-
ble us to reach the land."
They now all sprang from me with eager looks, to do
as I desired. I, on my part, lost no time in examining
what we had to depend upon as to provisions and fresh
water. My wife and the youngest boy visited the animals,
whom they found in a pitiable condition, nearly perishing
with hunger and thirst. Fritz repaired to the ammunition
room; Ernest to the carpenter's cabin; and Jack to the
apartment of the captain; but scarcely had he opened the
door, when two large dogs sprang upon him, and saluted
him with such rude affection, that he roared for assist-
ance, as if they had been killing him. Hunger, however,
had rendered the poor creatures so gentle, that they
licked his hands and face, uttering all the time a low sort
of moan, and continuing their caresses till he was almost
suffocated. Poor Jack exerted all his strength to drive
them away; at last he began to understand, and to sym-
pathize in their joyful movements, and put himself upon
another footing: he got upon his legs; and gently taking
the largest dog by the ears, sprang upon his back, and
with great gravity presented himself thus mounted before
me, as I came out of the ship's hold. I could not refrain
from laughing, and I praised his courage: but I added a
little exhortation to be cautious, and not go too far with
animals of this species, who, in a state of hunger, might
THE sWISS F.XILY ROBI0NSON
By-and-by my little company were again assembled
round me, and each boasted of what he had to contribute.
Fritz had two fowling-pieces, some powder and small-shot,
contained in horn flasks, and some bullets in bags.
Ernest produced his hat filled with nails, and held in
his hands a hatchet and a hammer; in addition, a pair of
pincers, a pair of large scissors, and an auger, peeped out
at his pocket-hole.
Even the little Francis carried under his arm a box of
no very small size, from which he eagerly produced what
he called some little sharp-pointed hooks. His brothers
smiled scornfully. "Vastly well, gentlemen," said I;
"but let me tell you that the youngest has brought the
most valuable prize. These little sharp-pointed hooks, as
Francis calls them, are fishing-hooks, and will probably
be of more use in preserving our lives than all we may
find besides in the ship. In justice, however, I must con-
fess, that what Fritz and Ernest have contributed will
also afford essential service."
"I, for my part," said my wife, "have brought no-
thing; but I have some tidings to communicate which I
hope will secure my welcome: I have found on board a
cow and an ass, two goats, six sheep, and a sow big with
young: I have just supplied them with food and water,
and I reckon on being able to preserve their lives."
All this is admirable," said I to my young labourers;
"and there is only master Jack, who, instead of thinking
of something useful, has done us the favour to present us
two personages, who, no doubt, will be principally dis-
tinguished by being willing to eat more than we shall
have to give them."
Ah!" replied Jack, but if we can once get to land,
you will see :hat they will assist us in hunting and
TME swiss FAMILY ROBINSON.
"True enough," said I, but be so good as to tell us
how we are to get to land, and whether you have con-
trived the means?"
"I am sure it cannot be very difficult," said Jack with
an arch motion of his head. "Look here at these large
tubs. Why cannot each of us get into one of them, and
float to the land? I remember I succeeded very well in
this manner on the water, when I was visiting my god-
father at 8 **."
Every one's thought is good for something," cried I,
"and I begin to believe that what Jack has suggested is
worth a trial: quick, then, boy! give me the saw, the
auger, and some nails; we will see what is to be done."
I recollected having seen some empty casks in the ship's
hold: we went down, and found them floating in the
water which had got into the vessel; it cost us but little
trouble to hoist them up, and place them on the lower
deck, which was at this time scarcely above water. We
saw, with joy, that they were all sound, well guarded by
iron hoops, and in every respect in good condition; they
were exactly suited for the object; and, with the assist-
ance of my sons, I instantly began to saw them in two.
In a short time I had produced eight tubs, of equal size,
and of the proper height. We now allowed ourselves
some refreshment of wine and biscuit. I viewed with
delight my eight little tubs, ranged in a line. I was
surprised to see that my wife did not partake our
eagerness; she sighed deeply as she looked at them:
"Never, never," cried she, "can I venture to get into
one of these."
"Do not decide so hastily, my dear," said I: "my
plan is not yet complete; and you will see presently that
it is more worthy of our confidence than this shattered
vessel which cannot move from its place."
TRHE Swiss FAMILY RO31NSO1.
I then sought for a long pliant plank, and placed my
eight tubs upon it, leaving a piece at each end reaching
beyond the tubs; which, bent upward, would present an
outline like the keel of a vessel: we next nailed all the
tubs to the plank, and then the tubs to each other, as
they stood, side by side, to make them the firmer, and after-
wards two other planks, of the same length as the first,
on each side of the tubs. When all this was finished, we
found we had produced a kind of narrow boat, divided
into eight compartments, which I had no doubt would be
able to perform a short course in calm water.
But now we discovered that the machine we had con-
trived was so heavy, that with the strength of all united,
we were not able to move It an inch from its place. I
bid Fritz fetch me a crow, who soon returned with it: in
the meanwhile I sawed a thick round pole into several
pieces, to make some rollers. I then, with the crow,
easily raised the foremost part of my machine, while Fritz
placed one of the rollers under it.
"How astonishing," cried Ernest, "that this engine,
which is smaller than any of us, can do more than our
united strength was able to effect! I wish I could know
how it is constructed."
I explained to him as well as I could the power of
Archimedes' lever, with which he said he could move the
world, if you would give him a point from which his
mechanism might act, and promised to explain the nature
of the operation of the crow when we should be safe on
One of the points of my system of education for my
sons was, to awaken their curiosity by interesting obser-
vations, to leave time for the activity of the imagination,
and then to correct any error they might fall into. I
contented myself now, however, with this general remark,
THE SWISS JXILY R03114501i.
that God sufficiently compensated the natural weakness
of man by the gifts of reason, of invention, and the
adroitness of the hands; and that human meditation and
skill had produced a science, called mechanics, the object
of which was, to teach us how to make our natural strength
act to an incredible distance, and with extraordinary
force, by the intervention of instruments.
Jack here remarked, that the action of the crow was
"Better slow than never, Jack," replied I. Expe-
rience has ever taught, and mechanical observations have
established as a principle, that what is gained in speed is
lost in strength: the purpose of the crow is not to en-
able us to raise any thing rapidly, but to raise what is
exceedingly heavy; and the heavier the thing we would
move, the slower is the mechanical operation. But are
you aware what we have at our command, to compensate
this slowness P"
"Yes, it is turning the handle quicker."
"Your guess is wrong; that would be no compen-
sation: the true remedy, my boy, is to call in the assist-
ance of patience and reason: with the aid of these two
fairy powers I am in hopes to set my machine afloat."
As I said this, I tied a long cord to its stern, and the
other end of it to one of the timbers of the ship, which
appeared to be still firm, so that the cord being left loose
would serve to guide and restrain it when launched. We
now put a second and a third roller under, and applying
the crow, to our great joy our machine descended into the
water with such a velocity, that if the rope had not been
well fastened, it would have gone far out to sea. But
now a new difficulty presented itself: the boat leaned so
much on one side, that the boys all exclaimed they could
not venture to get into it. I was for some moments in
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
the most painful perplexity; but it suddenly occurred to
me, that ballast only was wanting to set it straight. I
drew it near, and threw all the useless things I could find
into the tubs, so as to make weight on the light side: by
degrees the machine became quite straight and firm in the
water, seeming to invite us to take refuge in its protection.
All now would get into the tubs, and the boys began to
dispute which should be first. I drew them back, and
seeking a remedy for this kind of obstacle, I recollected
that savage nations make use of a paddle for preventing
their canoes from upsetting. I once more set to work to
make one of these.
I took two poles of equal length, upon which the sails
of the vessel had been stretched, and having descended
into the machine, fixed one of them at the head, and the
other at the stern, in such a manner as to enable us to
turn them at pleasure to right or left, as should best
answer the purpose of guiding and putting it out to sea. I
stuck the end of each pole, or paddle, into the bung-hole
of an empty brandy-keg, which served to keep the pad-
dles steady, and to prevent any interruption in the
management of our future enterprise.
There remained nothing more to do, but to find in what
way I could clear out from the incumbrance of the wreck.
I got into the first tub and steered the head of the
machine, so as to make it enter the cleft in the ship's
side, where it could remain quiet. I then remounted
the vessel, and sometimes with the saw, and sometimes
with the hatchet, I cleared away, to right and left, every
thing that could obstruct our passage; and, that being
effected, we next secured some oars for the voyage we re-
solved on attempting.
We had spent the day in laborious exertions; it was
already late; and as it would not have been possible to
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
reach the land that evening, we were obliged to pass a
second night in the wrecked vessel, which at every in-
stant threatened to fall to pieces. We next refreshed
ourselves by a regular meal; for, during .the day's work,
we had scarcely allowed ourselves to take a bit of bread,
or a glass of wine. Being now in a more tranquil and
unapprehensive state of mind than the day before, we all
abandoned ourselves to sleep; not, however, till I had
used the precaution of tying the swimming apparatus
round my three youngest boys and my wife, in case the
storm should again come on. I also advised my wife to
dress herself in the clothes of one of the sailors, which
were so much more convenient for swimming, or any
other exertions she might be compelled to engage in.
She consented, but not without reluctance, and left us to
look for some that might best suit her size. In a quarter
of an hour she returned, dressed in the clothes of a young
man who had served as volunteer on board the ship; and
I soon found means to reconcile her to the change, by re-
presenting the many advantages it gave her, till at length
she joined in the merriment her dress occasioned, and
one and all crept into our separate hammocks, where a
delicious repose prepared us for the renewal of our
A Landing and consequent Occupations.
BT break of day we were all awake and alert, for hope
as well as grief is unfriendly to lengthened slumbers.
When we had finished our morning prayer, I said, We
must now, with the assistance of Heaven, enter upon the
work of our deliverance. The first thing to be done, is
THE Swiss FAMIY ROBINSON.
to give to each poor animal on board a hearty meal; we
will then put food enough before them for several days;
we cannot take them with us; but we will hope it may
be possible, if our voyage succeeds, to return and fetch
them. Are you all ready ? Bring together whatever is
absolutely necessary for our wants. It is my wish that
our first cargo should consist of a barrel of gunpowder,
three fowling-pieces, and three carbines, with as much
small-shot and lead, and as many bullets as our boat will
carry; two pairs of pocket-pistols, and one of large ones,
not forgetting a mould to cast balls in: each of the boys,
and their mother also, should have a bag to carry game in;
you will find plenty of these in the cabins of the officers."
-We added a chest containing cakes of portable soup,
another full of hard biscuits,.an iron pot, a fishing-rod, a
chest of nails, and another of different utensils, such as
hammers, saws, pincers, hatchets, augers, &c., and lastly,
some sail-cloth to make a tent. Indeed the boys brought
so many things, that we were obliged to reject some of
them, though I had already exchanged the worthless bal-
last for articles of use in the question of our subsistence.
When all was ready we stepped bravely each into a tub.
At the moment of our departure the cocks and hens
began to cluck, as if conscious that we had deserted them,
yet were willing to bid us a sorrowful adieu. This sug-
gested to me the idea of taking the geese, ducks, fowls, and
pigeons with us; observing to my wife, that if we could
not find means to feed them, at least they would feed us.
We accordingly executed this plan. We put ten hens
and an old and a young cock into one of the tubs, and
covered it with planks; we set the rest of the poultry at
liberty, in the hope that instinct would direct them to-
wards the land, the geese and the ducks by water, and
the pigeons by the air.
THE SWISS !AMILY ROBINSON.
We were waiting for my wife, who had the care of this
last part of our embarkation, when she joined us loaded
with a large bag, which she threw into the tub that
already contained her youngest son. We then started
in the following order:-
In the first tub, at the boat's head, my wife, the most
tender and exemplary of her sex, placed herself. In the
second, our little Francis, a lovely boy, six years old, re-
markable for the sweetest and happiest temper, and for
his affection to his parents. In the third, Fritz, our eldest
boy, between fourteen and fifteen years of age, a hand-
some, curlpated youth, full of intelligence and vivacity.
In the fourth was the barrel of gunpowder, with the cocks
and hens, and the sail-cloth. In the fifth, the provisions
of every kind. In the sixth, our third son, Jack, a light-
hearted, enterprising, generous lad, about ten years old.
In the seventh, our second son, Ernest, a boy of twelve
years old, of a rational, reflecting temper, well-informed
for his age, but somewhat disposed to indolence and plea-
sure. In the eighth, a father, to whose care the task of
guiding the machine for the safety of his beloved family
was intrusted. Each of us had useful implements within
reach; the hand of each held an oar, and near each was a
swimming apparatus, in readiness for what might happen.
The tide was already at half its height when we left the
ship, and I had counted on this circumstance as favourable
to our want of strength. We held the two paddles long-
ways, and thus we passed without accident through the
cleft of the vessel into the sea. The boys devoured with
their eyes the blue land they saw at a distance. We
rowed with all our strength, but long in vain, to reach it;
the boat only turned round and round: at length I had
the good fortune to steer in such a way that it proceeded
in a straight line. The two dogs, perceiving we had
ITHE sWIsH FAILY ROBIRSON.
abandoned them, plunged into the sea and swam to the
boat; they were too large for us to think of giving them
admittance, and I dreaded lest they should jump in and
upset us. Turk was an English dog, and Flora a bitch of
the Danish breed. I was in great uneasiness on their
account, for I feared it would not be possible for them to
swim so far. The dogs, however, managed the affair with
perfect intelligence. When fatigued, they rested their
fore-paws on one of the paddles, and thus with little effort
Jack was disposed to refuse them this accommodation,
but he soon yielded to my argument that it was cruel and
unwise to neglect creatures thrown on our protection, and
who indeed might hereafter protect us in their turn, by
guarding us from harm, and assisting in our pursuit of
animals for food. Besides," added I, God has given
the dog to man to be his faithful companion and friend."
Our voyage proceeded securely, though slowly; but the
nearer we approached the land, the more gloomy and un-
promising its aspect appeared. The coast was clothed
with barren rocks, which seemed to offer nothing but
hunger and distress. The sea was calm; the waves,
gently agitated, washed the shore, and the sky was serene
in every direction; we perceived casks, bales, chests, and
other vestiges of shipwrecks, floating round us. In the
hope of obtaining some good provisions, I determined on
endeavouring to secure some of the casks. I bade Fritz
have a rope, a hammer, and some nails ready, and to try
to seize them as we passed. He succeeded in laying hold
of two, and in such a way that we could draw them after
us to the shore. Now that we were close on land, its
rude outline was much softened; the rocks no longer ap-
peared one undivided chain; Fritz, with his hawk's eye,
already described some trees, and exclaimed that they were
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
palm-trees. Ernest expressed his joy that he should
now get much larger and better cocoa-nuts than he had
ever seen before I, for my part, was venting audibly
my regret, that I had not thought of bringing a telescope
that I knew was in the captain's cabin, when Jack drew
a small one from his pocket, and with a look of triumph
presented it to me.
The acquisition of the telescope was of great import-
ance; for with its aid I was able to make the necessary
observations, and was more sure of the route I ought to
take. On applying it to my eye, I remarked that the
shore before us had a desert and savage aspect, but that
towards the left the scene was more agreeable; but when
I attempted to steer in that direction, a current carried
me irresistibly towards the coast that was rocky and
barren: By-and-by we perceived a little opening be-
tween the rocks, near the mouth of a creek, towards which
all our geese and ducks betook themselves; and I, relying
on their sagacity, followed in the same course. This
opening formed a little bay; the water was tranquil, and
neither too deep nor too shallow to receive our boat. I
entered it, and cautiously put to shore on a spot where
the coast was about the same height above the water as
our tubs, and where, at the same time, there was a quan-
tity sufficient to keep us afloat. The shore extended in-
land, in something of the form of an isosceles triangle,
the upper angle of which terminated among the rocks,
while the margin of the sea formed the basis.
All that had life in the boat jumped eagerly on land.
Even little Francis, who had been wedged in his tub like
a potted herring, now got up and sprang forward; but,
with all his efforts, he could not succeed without his
i The coeos nucifera, of the order of palma, grows in both the East
and West Indies.
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBISBON.
mother's help. The dogs, who had swam on shore, re-
ceived us, as if appointed to do the honours of the place,
jumping round us with every demonstration of joy; the
geese kept up a loud cackling, to which the ducks, from
their broad yellow beaks, contributed a perpetual thorough
bass; the cocks and hens which we had already set at
liberty, clucked; the boys chattering all at once, pro-
duced altogether an overpowering confusion of sounds:
to this was added the disagreeable scream of some pen-
guins and flamingoes, which we now perceived; the
latter flying over our heads, the others sitting on the
points of the rocks at the entrance of the bay. Though
we could not avoid making a comparison between the
sounds they uttered, and the harmony of the feathered
musicians of our own country, I had yet one advantage
in perspective;-it was, that should we hereafter be
short of food these very birds might serve for our sub-
The first thing we did on finding ourselves safe on
terra frma, was to fall on our knees, and return thanks
to the Supreme Being who had preserved our lives, and
to recommend ourselves with entire resignation to the
care of his paternal kindness.
We next employed our whole attention in unloading
the boat. How rich we thought ourselves in the little
we had been able to rescue from the merciless abyss of
waters! We looked about for a convenient place to set
up a tent under the shade of the rocks; and having all
consulted and agreed upon a place, we set to work. We
drove one of our poles firmly into a fissure of the rock;
this rested upon another pole, which was driven perpen-
dicularly into the ground, and formed the ridge of our tent.
A frame for a dwelling was thus made secure. We next
threw some sail-cloth over the ridge, and stretching it to
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
a convenient distance on each side, fastened its extremities
to the ground with stakes. Lastly, I fixed some tenter-
hooks along the edge of one side of the sail-cloth in front,
that we might be able to enclose the entrance during
night, by hooking in the opposite edge. The chests of
provisions, and other heavy matters, we had left on the
shore. The next thing was to desire my sons to look
about for grass and moss, to be spread and dried in the
sun, to serve us for beds. During this occupation, in
which even the little Francis could take a share, I erected
near the tent a kind of little kitchen. A few flat stones
I found in the bed of a fresh-water river, served for a
hearth. I got a quantity of dry branches: with the largest
I made a small enclosure round it; and with the little
twigs, added to some of our turf, I made a brisk, cheer-
ing fire. We put some of the soup-cakes, with water,
into our iron pot, and placed it over the flame; and my
wife, with her little Francis for a scullion, took charge of
preparing the dinner.
In the meanwhile, Fritz had been reloading the guns,
with one of which he had wandered along the side of the
river. He had proposed to Ernest to accompany him;
but Ernest replied that he did not like a rough, stony
walk, and that he should go to the sea-shore. Jack took
the road towards a chain of rocks which jutted out into
the sea, with the intention of gathering some of the
muscles which grew upon them.
My own occupation was now an endeavour to draw the
two floating casks on shore, but in which I could not
succeed; for our place of landing, though convenient
enough for our machine, was too steep for the casks.
While I was looking about to find a more favourable
spot, I heard loud cries proceeding from a short distance,
and recognized the voice of my son Jack. I snatched
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINBON.
my hatchet, and ran anxiously to his assistance. I soon
perceived him up to his knees in water in a shallow, and
that a large lobster had fastened its claws in his leg.
The poor boy screamed pitiably, and made useless efforts
to disengage himself. I jumped instantly into the water;
and the enemy was no sooner sensible of my approach,
than he let go his hold, and would have scampered out to
sea, but I turned quickly upon him, took him up by the
body, and carried him off, followed by Jack, who shouted
our triumph all the way. He begged me at last to let
him hold the animal in his own hand, that he might him-
self present so fine a booty to his mother. Accordingly,
having observed how I held it to avoid the gripe, he laid
his own hand upon it in exactly the same manner; but
scarcely had he grasped it, when he received a violent
blow on the face from the lobster's tail, which made him
loose his hold, and the animal fell to the ground. Jack
again began to cry out, while I could not refrain from
laughing heartily. In his rage he took up a stone, and
killed the lobster with a single blow. I was a little
vexed at this conclusion to the scene.-" This is what we
call killing an enemy when he is unable to defend him.
self, Jack; it is wrong to revenge an injury while we are in
a state of anger: the lobster, it is true, had given you a
bite; but then you, on your part, would have eaten the
lobster. So the game was at least equal. Another time,
I advise you to be both more prudent and more merci-
ful."-" But, pray, father, let me carry it to my mother,"
said Jack, fearless now of further warfare; and accord-
ingly he carried it to the kitchen, triumphantly exclaim-
ing, "Mother, mother, a sea lobster!-Ernest, a sea
lobster! Where is Fritz? Take care, Francis, he will
bite you." In a moment all were round him to examine
the wonderful creature, and all proclaimed their astonish-
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
ment at his enormous size, while they observed that its
form was precisely that of the common lobster so much
in use in Europe.
"Yes, yes," said Jack, holding up one of the claws:
"you may well wonder at his size: this was the frightful
claw which seized my leg, and if I had not had on my
thick sea pantaloons, he would have bit it through and
through: but I have taught him'what it is to attack me:
I have paid him well."
"Oh, oh! Mr. Boaster," cried I, "you give a pretty
account of the matter. Now mine would be, that if I
had not been near, the lobster would have shown you
another sort of game; for the slap he gave you in the
face compelled you, I think, to let go your hold. And it
is well it should be thus; for he fought with the arms with
which nature had supplied him, but you had recourse to
a great stone for your defence. Believe me, Jack, you
have no great reason to boast of the adventure."
Ernest, ever prompted by his savoury tooth, recom-
mended that the lobster should be put into the soup, which
would give it an excellent flavour: but this his mother
opposed, observing, that we must be more economical
of our provisions, for the lobster of itself would furnish a
dinner for the whole family. I now left them, and
walked again to the scene of this adventure and exa-
mined the shallow; I then made another attempt upon
my two casks, and at length succeeded in getting them
into it, and in fixing them there securely on their
On my return, I complimented Jack on his.being the
first to procure an anilnal that might serve for subsist-
ence, and promised him, for his own share, the famous
claw which had furnished us with so lively a discussion.
"Alh! but Ihave seen something too, that is good to
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON(.
eat," said Ernest; "and I should have got it if it had
not been in the water, so that I must have wetted my
Oh! that is a famous story," cried Jack: "I can tell
you what he saw,-some nasty muscles: why, I would
not eat one of them for the world.- Think of my
"That is not true, Jack; for they were oysters, and
not muscles, that I saw: I am sure of it, for they stuck
to the rock, and I know they must be oysters."
Fortunate enough, my dainty gentleman," interrupted
I, addressing myself to Ernest; "since you are so well
acquainted with the place where such food can be found,
you will be so obliging as to return and procure us some.
In such a situation as ours, every member of the family
must be actively employed for the common good; and,
above all, none must be afraid of so trifling an inconve-
nience as wet feet."
I will do my best, with all my heart," answered Er-
nest; and at the same time I will bring home some salt,
of which I have seen immense quantities in the holes of
the rocks, where I have reason to suppose it is dried by
the sun. I tasted some of it, and it was excellent.
Pray, father, be so good as to inform me whether this
salt was not left there by the seaP"
No doubt it was, Mr. Reasoner, for where else do you
think it could come from ? You would have done more
wisely if you had brought us a bag of it, instead of spend-
ing your time in profound reflections upon operations so
simple and obvious; and if you do not wish to dine upon
a soup without flavour, you had better run and fetch a
He set off, and soon returned: what he brought had
the appearance of sea-salt, but was so mixed with earth
TrHE SWISS FAXMhTY ROBINSON.
and sand, that I was on the point of throwing it away;
but my wife prevented me, and by dissolving, and after-
wards filtering some of it through a piece of muslin, we
found it admirably fit for use.
Why could we not have used some sea-water," asked
Jack, instead of having all this trouble ? "
So we might," answered I, "if it had not a somewhat
sickly taste." While I was speaking, my wife tasted the
soup with a little stick with which she had been stirring
it, and pronounced that it was all the better for the salt,
and now quite ready. "But," said she, "Fritz is not
come in. And then, how shall we manage to eat our
soup without spoons or dishes ? Why did we not re-
member to bring some from the ship ? "-" Because, my
dear, one cannot think of every thing at once. We shall
be lucky if we have not forgotten even more important
things."-" But, indeed," said she, "this is a matter which
cannot easily be set to rights. How will it be possible
for each of us to raise this large boiling pot to his lips ? "
I soon saw that my wife was right. We all cast our
eyes upon the pot with a sort of stupid perplexity, and
looked a little like the fox in the fable, when the stork
desires him to help himself from a vessel with a long neck.
Silence was at length broken, by all bursting into a hearty
laugh at our want of every kind of utensil, and at the
thought of our own folly, in not recollecting that spoons
and forks were things of absolute necessity.
Ernest observed, that if we could but get some of the
nice cocoa-nuts he often thought about, we might empty
them, and use the pieces of the shells for spoons.
Yes, yes," replied I; "if we could but get,-but we
have them not; and if wishing were to any purpose, I had
as soon wish at once for a dozen silver spoons; but, alas!
of what use is wishing ? "
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
: But at least," said the boy, we can use some oyster-
shells for spoons."
"Why this is well, Ernest," said I, "and is what I
call a useful thought. Run then quickly for some of
them. But, gentlemen, I give you notice, that no one of
you must give himself airs because his spoon is without a
handle, or though he chance to grease his fingers in the
Jack ran first, and was up to his knees in the water
before Ernest could reach the place. Jack tore off the
fish with eagerness, and threw them to slothful Ernest,
who put them into his handkerchief, having first secured
in his pocket one shell he had met with of a large size.
The boys came back together with their booty.
Fritz not having yet returned, his mother was begin-
ning to be uneasy, when we heard him shouting to us
from a small distance, to which we answered by similar
sounds. In a few minutes he was among us, his two
hands behind him, and with a sort of would-be melancholy
air, which none of us could well understand.-" What have
you brought P asked his brothers; "let us see your booty,
and you shall see ours."-" Ah! I have, unfortunately,
nothing."-" What! nothing at all said I.-" Nothing
at all," answered he. But now, on fixing my eye upon
him, I perceived a smile of proud success through his
assumed dissatisfaction. At the same instant Jack,
having stolen behind him, exclaimed, "A sucking pig! a
sucking pig!" Fritz, finding his trick discovered, now
proudly displayed his prize, which I immediately per-
ceived, from the description I had read in different books
of travels, was an agouti, an animal common in that
country, and not a sucking pig, as the boys had supposed.
"The agouti," says M. de Courtills, in his voyage to St.
Domingo, is of the size of a hare, and runs with the
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBEN50w.
same swiftness; but its form is more like the pig, and he
makes the same grunting noise. He is not a voracious
animal, but is nice in the choice of his food. When his
appetite is satiated, he buries what remains, and keeps it
for another time. He is naturally of a gentle temper;
but if provoked, his hair becomes erect, he bites, and
strikes the ground with his hind feet like the rabbit,
which he also resembles in digging himself a burrow
under ground: but this burrow has but one entrance; he
conceals himself in it during the hottest part of the day,
taking care to provide himself with a store of patates and
bananas. He is usually taken by coursing, and some-
times by dogs, or with nets. When it is found difficult
to seize him, the sportsman has only to whistle. As soon
as the agouti hears the sound, he is instantly still, re-
mains resting on his hind feet, and suffers himself to be
taken. His flesh is white, like that of the rabbit; but it
is dry, has no fat, and never entirely loses a certain wild
flavour, which is disagreeable to Europeans. He is held
in great esteem by the natives, particularly when the
animal has been feeding near the sea on plants impreg-
nated with salt. They are therefore caught in great
numbers, and for this reason the species is much dimi-
nished."-" Where did you find him ? How did you get
at him ? Did he make you run a great way ?" asked all
at once the young brothers. I, for my part, assumed a
somewhat serious tone.-" I should have preferred," ob-
served I, that you had in reality brought us nothing to
your asserting a falsehood. Never allow yourself, even
in jest, my dear boy, to assert what you know to be an
untruth. By such trifles as these, a habit of lying, the
most disgusting of vices, may be induced. Now then
that I have given you this caution, let us look at the
animal. Where did you find it "
THE SWISS ?ALTY ROBINOSO.
Fritz related, that he had passed over to the other side
of the river. "Ah !" continued he, "it is quite different
from this place; the shore is low, and you can have no
notion of the quantity of casks, chests, and planks, and
different sorts of things washed there by the sea. Ought
we not to go and try to obtain some of these treasures P"
-" We will consider of it soon," answered I; "but first
we have to make our voyage to the vessel, and fetch away
the animals: at least you will all agree, that of the cow
we are pretty much in want."-" If our biscuit were
soaked in milk, it would not be so hard," observed our
dainty Ernest.-" I must tell you too," continued Fritz,
"that over on the other side there is as much grass for
pasturage as we can desire; and besides a pretty wood, in
the shade of which we could repose. Why then should
we remain on this barren desert side?"-" Patience,"
replied I; "there is a time for every thing, friend Fritz:
we shall not be without something to undertake to-
morrow, and even after to-morrow. But, above all, I am
eager to know if you discovered in your excursion any
traces of our ship companions ?"-" Not the smallest
trace of man, dead or alive, on land or water; but I have
seen some other animals, that more resemble pigs than
the one I have brought you, but with feet more like
those of the hare; the animal I am speaking of leaps
from place to place; now sitting on his hind legs, rubbing
his face with his front feet, and then seeking for roots,
and gnawing them like the squirrel. If I had not been
afraid of his escaping me, I should have tried to catch
him with my hands, for he appeared almost tame."
We had now notice that our soup was ready, and each
hastened to dip his shell into the pot, to get out a little;
but, as I had foreseen, each drew out a scalded finger,
and it was who could scream the loudest. Ernest was
THE SWISS PA3131Y ROBINSON.
the only one who had been too cautious to expose himself
to this misfortune: he quietly took his muscle-shell, as
large and deep as a small saucer, from his pocket, and
carefully dipping it into the pot, drew it out filled with as
much soup as was his fair share, and casting a look of
exultation on his brothers, he set it down till it should
be cold enough to eat.
"You have taken good care of yourself, I perceive,"
said I. "But now answer me, dear boy, is the advantage
worth the pains you take to be better off than your com-
panions ? Yet this is the constant failing in your cha-
racter. As your best friend, I feel it my duty to dis-
appoint you of the expected prize; I therefore adjudge
your dish of delicious soup to our faithful followers, Turk
and Flora. For ourselves, we will all fare alike; we will
simply dip our shells into the pot till hunger is appeased;
but the picked dish for the dogs, Ernest: and all the
This gentle reproach sunk, I perceived, into his heart;
he placed the shell, filled with soup, upon the ground,
and in an instant the dogs had licked up every drop.
We on our parts were as ready as they, and every eye
was fixed on the pot, watching for the steam to subside
a little, that we might begin dipping; when, on looking
round, we saw Turk and Flora standing over the agouti,
gnawing and tearing him fiercely with their teeth and
paws. The boys all screamed together: Fritz seized his
gun, and struck them with it; called them the unkindest
names, threw stones at them, and was so furious, that if
I had not interfered, it is probable he would have killed
them. He had already bent his gun with the blows he
had given them, and his voice was raised so high as to
be re-echoed from the rocks.
When he had grown a little cool, I seriously remon-
THE SWISS IFAXIY ROBINSON.
strated with him on his violence of temper. I re-
presented to him what distress he had occasioned his
mother and myself for the event of a rage so alarming;
that his gun, which might have been so useful, was now
spoiled; and that the poor animals, upon whose assist-
ance we should probably so much depend, he had, no
doubt, greatly injured. "Anger," continued I, "is
always a bad counsellor, and may even lead the way to
crimes: you are not ignorant of the history of Cain,
who in a moment of violent anger killed his brother."-
"Say no more, my dearest father," interrupted Fritz in a
tone of horror. Happy am I to recollect, on this occa-
sion," resumed I, "that it was not human creatures you
treated thus. But an angry person never reasons; he
scarcely knows whom he attacks. The most convincing
proof of this is, that you just now fell upon two dumb
animals, incapable of judgment, and who most likely
thought that your agouti was placed there, as the soup
had been before, for them to eat. Confess, too, that it
was vanity which excited the furious temper you ex-
hibited. If another than yourself had killed the agouti,
you would have been more patient under the accident."
Fritz agreed that I was right, and, half drowned in tears,
entreated my forgiveness.
Soon after we had taken our meal, the sun began to
sink into the west. Our little flock of fowls assembled
round us, pecking here and there what morsels of our
biscuit had fallen on the ground.-Just at this moment
my wife produced the bag she had so mysteriously hud-
dled into the tub. Its mouth was now opened; it con-
tained the various sorts of grain for feeding poultry-
barley, peas, oats, &c., and also different kinds of seeds
and roots of vegetables for the table. In the fulness of
her kind heart she scattered several handfuls at once
THE SWI8S FAMILY ROBINSON.
upon the ground, which the fowls began eagerly to seize.
I complimented her on the benefits her foresight had
secured for us; but I recommended a more sparing use
of so valuable an acquisition, observing, that the grain, if
kept for sowing, would produce a harvest, and that we
could fetch from the ship spoiled biscuit enough to feed
the fowls. Our pigeons sought a roosting-place among
the rocks; the hens, with the two cocks at their head,
ranged themselves in a line along the ridge of the tent;
and the geese and ducks betook themselves in a body,
cackling and quacking as they proceeded, to a marshy bit
of ground near the sea, where some thick bushes afforded
A little later, we began to follow the example of our
winged companions, by beginning our preparations for
repose. First, we loaded our guns and pistols, and laid
them carefully in the tent: next, we assembled together
and joined in offering up our thanks to the Almighty for
the succour afforded us, and supplicating his watchful care
for our preservation. With the last ray of the sun we
entered our tent, and, after drawing the sail-cloth over
the hooks, to close the entrance, we laid ourselves down
close to each other on the grass and moss we had col-
lected in the morning.
The children observed, with surprise, that darkness
came upon us all at once; that night succeeded to day
without an intermediate twilight.-" This," replied I,
"makes me suspect that we are not far from the equator,
or at least between the tropics, where this is of ordinary
occurrence; for the twilight is occasioned by the rays
of the sun being broken in the atmosphere; the more
obliquely they fall, the more their feeble light is extended
and prolonged; while on the other hand, the more per-
pendicular the rays, the less their declination: con-
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
sequently the change from day to night is much more
sudden when the sun is under the horizon."
I looked once more out of the tent to see if all was
quiet around us. The old cock, awaking at the rising of
the moon, chanted our vespers, and then I lay down to
sleep. In proportion as we had been during the day
oppressed with heat, we were now in the night incon-
venienced by the cold, so that we clung to each other for
warmth. A sweet sleep began to close tlie eyes of my
beloved family; I endeavoured to keep awake till I was
sure my wife's solicitude had yielded to the same happy
state, and then I closed my own. Thanks to the fatigue
we had undergone, our first night in the desert island
was very tolerably comfortable.
Voyage of Discovery.
I wAs roused at the dawn of day by the crowing of the
cocks. I awoke my wife, and we consulted together as
to the occupations we should engage in. We agreed that
we should seek for traces of our late ship companions, and
at the same time examine the nature of the soil on the
other side of the river, before we determined on a fixed
place of abode.-My wife easily perceived that such an
excursion could not be undertaken by all the members of
the family; and full of confidence in the protection of
Heaven, she courageously consented to my proposal of
leaving her with the three youngest boys, and proceeding
myself with Fritz on a journey of discovery. I begged
her to prepare some breakfast for us, while I awoke the
children. They were soon roused, and when I asked
Jack for his lobster, he ran and fetched it from a cleft in
THE SWISS JAMMTY ROBINSON.
the rock, in which he had concealed it: "I was deter-
mined," said he, "that the dogs should not treat my
lobster as they did the agouti, for I knew them for a sort
of gentlemen to whom nothing comes amiss."-" I am
glad to see, Jack," said I, "that that giddy head upon
your shoulders can be prevailed upon to reflect. Happy
is he who knows how to profit by the misfortunes of
others,' says the proverb. But will you not give Fritz
the great claw, to carry with him for his dinner in our
"What journey P" asked all the boys at once.-" Ah!
we will go too: a journey! a journey!" repeated they,
clapping their hands, and jumping round me like little
kids. For this time," said I, it is impossible for all
of you to go; we know not yet what we are to set about,
nor whither we are going. Your eldest brother and my-
self shall be better able to defend ourselves in any danger
without you; besides that with so many persons we could
proceed but slowly. You will then all three remain with
your mother in this place, which appears to be one of
perfect safety, and you shall keep Flora to be your guard,
while we will take Turk with us. With such a protector,
and a gun well loaded, who shall dare treat us with dis-
: respect ? Make haste, Fritz, and tie up Flora, that she
may not follow us; and have your eye on Turk, that he
may be at hand to accompany us; and see the guns are
At the word guns, the colour rose in the cheeks of my
poor boy. His gun was so bent as to be of no use; he
took it up and tried in vain to straighten it: I let him
alone for a short time: but at length I gave him leave to
take another, perceiving with pleasure that the vexation
had produced a proper feeling in his mind. A moment
after, he attempted to lay hold of Flora to tie her up; but
THE SWISS PAILY ROBINSION.
the dog, recollecting the blows she had so lately received,
began to snarl, and would not go near him. Turk
behaved the same, and I found it necessary to call
with my own voice, to induce them to approach us.
Fritz, then, in tears entreated for some biscuit of his
mother, declaring that he would willingly go without his
breakfast to make his peace with the dogs: he accordingly
carried them some biscuit, stroked and caressed them,
and in every motion seemed to ask their pardon. As of
all animals, without excepting man, the dog is least
addicted to revenge, and at the same time is the most
sensible of kind usage, Flora instantly relented, and began
to lick the hands which fed her; but Turk, who was of a
more fierce and independent temper, still held off, and
seemed to feel a want of confidence in Fritz's advances.
-" Give him a claw of my lobster," cried Jack, for I
mean to give it all to you for your journey."
"I cannot think why you should give it at all," in-
terrupted Ernest, "for you need not be uneasy about
their journey. Like Robinson Crusoe, they will be sure
enough to find some cocoa-nuts, which they will like
much better than your miserable lobster: only think, a
fine round nut, Jack, as big as my head, and with at least
a teacup-full of delicious sweet milk in it!"
"Oh! brother Fritz, pray do bring me some," cried
We now prepared for our departure: we took each a
bag for game, and a hatchet: I put a pair of pistols in
the leather band round Fritz's waist, in addition to the
gun, and provided myself with the same articles, not
forgetting a stock of biscuit and a flask of fresh river
water. My wife now called us to breakfast, and we all
attacked the lobster; but its flesh proved so hard, that
there was a great deal left when our meal was finished,
THE SWISS FAMMhY ROBIINSON.
and we packed it for our journey without further regret
from any one. The sea-lobster is an animal of consider-
able size, and its flesh is much more nutritious, but less
delicate, than the common lobster.
Fritz urged me to set out before the excessive heat
came on.-" With all my heart," said I, "but we have
forgot one thing."-" What is that ? asked Fritz, look-
ing round him; I see nothing to do but to take leave of
my mother and my brothers."-" I know what it is," cried
Ernest; "we have not said our prayers this morning."-
"That is the very thing, my dear boy," said I. We are
too apt to forget God, the Giver of all, for the affairs of
this world: and yet never had we so much need of his
care, particularly at the moment of undertaking a journey
in an unknown soil."
Upon this our pickle, Jack, began to imitate the sound
of church bells, and to call "Bome! borne! bidi bore!
To prayers, to prayers, bome, bore!"-" Thoughtless
boy!" cried I, with a look of displeasure, when will you
be sensible of that sacredness in devotion that banishes
for the time every thought of levity or amusement ?
Recollect yourself, and let me not have again to reprove
you on a subject of so grave a nature."
In about an hour we had completed the preparations
for our departure. I had loaded the guns we left behind,
and I now enjoined my wife to keep by day as near the
boat as possible, which in case of danger was the best and
most speedy means of escape. My next concern was to
shorten the moment of separation, judging by my own
feelings those of my dear wife; for neither could be
without painful apprehensions of what new misfortune
might occur on either side during the interval. In the
midst of our adieus I drew Fritz away, and we were
soon approaching the sea-shore where we turned our
TRI OW[55 FAXILT ROSP(80N,
thoughts upon ourselves and the immediate object of our
The banks of the river were every where steep and
difficult, excepting at one narrow slip near the mouth on
our side, where we had drawn our fresh water. The other
side presented an unbroken line of sharp, high, perpendi-
cular rocks. We therefore followed the course of the
river till we arrived at a cluster of rocks at which the
stream formed a cascade: a few paces beyond, we found
some large fragments of rock which had fallen into the
bed of the river; by stepping upon these, and making
now and then some hazardous leaps, we contrived to reach
the other side. We proceeded a short way along the
rock we had ascended in landing, forcing ourselves a pas-
sage through tall grass, which twined with other plants,
and was rendered more capable of resistance by being
half dried by the sun. Perceiving, however, that walking
on this kind of surface in so hot a sun would exhaust our
strength, we looked for a path to descend and proceed along
the river, where we hoped to meet with fewer obstacles,
and perhaps to discover traces of our ship companions.
When we had walked about a hundred paces, we heard
a loud noise behind us, as if we were pursued, and per-
ceived a rustling motion in the grass, which was almost
as tall as ourselves. I was a good deal alarmed, thinking
that it might be occasioned by some frightful serpent, a
tiger, or other ferocious animal. But I was well satisfied
with Fritz, who, instead of being frightened, and running
away, stood still and firm to face the danger, the only
motion he made being to see that his piece was ready,
and turning himself to front the spot from whence the
noise proceeded. Our alarm was, however, short; for what
was our joy on seeing rush out, not an enemy, but our
faithful Turk, whom in the moment of parting we had
34 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
forgotten, and whom no doubt our anxious relatives had
sent on to us! I received the poor creature with lively
joy, and did not fail to commend both the bravery and
discretion of my son, in not yielding to even a rational
alarm, and for waiting till he was sure of the object be-
fore he resolved to fire: had he done otherwise, he might
have destroyed an animal likely to afford us various kinds
of aid, and to contribute by the kindness of his temper to
the pleasure of our domestic scene.-" Observe, my dear
boy," said I, to what dangers the tumult of the passions
exposes us: the anger which overpowered you yesterday,
and the terror natural to the occasion we have this mo-
ment witnessed, if you had unfortunately given way to it,
might either of them have produced an irretrievable mis-
Fritz assured me he was sensible of the truth and im-
portance of my remarks: that he would watch constantly
over the defects of his temper; and then he fell to caress-
ing the faithful and interesting animal.
Conversing on such subjects, we pursued our way. On
our left was the sea, and on our right the continuation of
the ridge of rocks which began at the place of our landing,
and ran along the shore, the summit every where adorned
with fresh verdure and a great variety of trees. We
were careful to proceed in a course as near the shore as
possible, casting our eyes alternately upon its smooth ex-
panse and upon the land in all directions to discover our
ship companions, or the boats which had conveyed them
from us; but our endeavours were in vain.
Fritz proposed to fire his gun from time to time, that,
should they be any where concealed near us, they might
thus be led to know of our pursuit.
This would be vastly well," I observed, "if you could
contrive that the savages, who are most likely not far dis-
THE SWISs FiTAhY ROBflW5ON.
tant, should not hear the sound, and come in numbers
upon us."-" I am thinking, father," interrupted Fritz,
"that there is no good reason why we should give our-
selves so much trouble and uneasiness about persons who
abandoned us so cruelly, and thought only of their own
"There is not only one good reason, but many," re-
plied I: "first, we should not return evil for evil: next,
it may be in their power to assist us; and lastly, they
are perhaps at this moment in the greatest want of as-
sistance. It was their lot to escape with nothing but life
from the ship, if indeed they are still alive, while we had
the good fortune to secure provisions enough for present
subsistence, to a share of which they are as fully entitled
"But, father, while we are wandering here, and losing
our time almost without a hope of benefit to them, might
we not be better employed in returning to the vessel, and
saving the animals on board ? "
When a variety of duties present themselves for our
choice, we should always give the preference to that which
can confer the most solid advantage. The saving of the
life of a man is a more exalted action than the contribut-
ing to the comfort of a few quadrupeds, whom we have
already supplied with food for several days; particularly
as the sea is in so calm a state, that we need entertain no
apprehension that the ship will sink or go entirely to
pieces just at present."
My son made no reply to what I said, and we seemed
by mutual consent to take a few moments for reflection.
When we had gone about two leagues, we entered a
wood situated a little further from the sea: here we threw
ourselves on the ground, under the shade of a tree, by
the side of a clear running stream, and took out some
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
provisions and refreshed ourselves. We heard the chirp.
ing, singing, and motion of birds in the trees, and ob-
served, as they now and then came out to view, that they
were more attractive by their splendid plumage than by
any charm of note. Fritz assured me that he had caught
a glimpse of some animals like apes among the bushes,
and this was confirmed by the restless movements of
Turk, who began to smell about him, and to bark so loud
that the wood resounded with the noise. Fritz stole
softly about, and presently stumbled on a small round
body which lay on the ground: he brought it to me, ob-
serving that it must be the nest of some bird.-" What
makes you of that opinion?" said I. "It is, I think,
much more like a cocoa-nut."
But I have read that there are some kinds of birds,
which build their nests quite round: and look, father,
how the outside is crossed and twined."
But do you not perceive that what you take for straws
crossed and twined by the beak of a bird, is in fact a coat
of fibres formed by the hand of Nature ? Do you not
remember to have read, that the nut of a cocoa-shell is
enclosed within a round, fibrous covering, which again is
surrounded by a skin of a thin and fragile texture ? I
see that in the one you hold in your hand, this skin has
been destroyed by time, which is the reason that the
twisted fibres (or inner covering) are so apparent: but
now let us break the shell, and you will see the nut in-
We soon accomplished this; but the nut, alas! from
lying on the ground, had perished, and appeared but little
different from a bit of dried skin, and not the least in-
viting to the palate.
Fritz was much amused at this adventure. How I
wish Ernest could have been here!" cried he. "How he
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
envied me the fine large cocoa-nuts I was to find, and the
whole teacup-full of sweet delicious milk which was to
spring out upon me from the inside!-But, father, I my-
self believed that the cocoa-nut contained a sweet refresh-
ing liquid, a little like the juice of almonds; travellers
surely tell untruths!"
"Travellers certainly do sometimes tell untruths, but
not, I believe, on the subject of cocoa-nuts which, it is
well known, contain the liquid you describe, just before
they are in a state of ripeness. It is the same with our
European or hazel nuts, with a difference of quantity; and
also that in the unripe state they contain only a pith of a
sub-acid taste: one property, however, is common to both,
that as the nut passes maturity, the milk diminishes, by
thickening, and becoming the same substance as the nut.
If you put a ripe nut a little way under the earth, in a
good soil, the kernel will shoot and burst the shell: but
if it remain above ground, or in a place that does not
suit its nature, the principle of vegetation is extinguished
by internal fermentation, and the nut perishes as you
"I am now surprised that this principle is not extin-
guished in every nut; for the shell is so hard it seems
impossible for a softer substance to break it."
The peach-stone is no less hard; the kernel, notwith-
standing, never fails to break it, if it is placed in a well-
"Now I begin to understand. The peach-stone is di-
vided into two parts, like a muscle-shell; it has a kind of
seam round it, which separates of itself when the kernel
is swelled by moisture: but the cocoa-nut in my hand is
not so divided, and I cannot conceive of its separating."
"I grant that the cocoa-nut is differently formed; but
you may see by the fragments you have just thrown on
THI SWISS FAMILY BRBINS5ON.
the ground, that Nature has in another manner stepped
in to its assistance. Look near the stalk, and you will
discover three round holes, which are not, like the rest of
its surface, covered with a hard impenetrable shell, but
are stopped by a spongy kind of matter; it is through
these that the kernel shoots."
"Now, father, I have the fancy of gathering all the
pieces together and giving them to Ernest, and telling
these particulars: I wonder what he will say about it,
and how he will like the withered nut ? "
Now the fancy of your father, my dear boy, would be
to find you without so keen a relish for a bit of mischief.
Joke with Ernest, if you will, about the withered nut;
but I should like to see you heal the disappointment he
will feel by presenting him at last with a sound and per-
fect nut, provided we should have one to spare."
After looking for some time, we had the good luck to
meet with one single nut. We opened it, and finding it
sound, we sat down and ate it for our dinner, by which
means we were enabled to husband the provisions we had
brought. The nut, it is true, was a little oily and rancid ;
yet, as this was not a time to be nice, we made a hearty
meal, and then continued our route. We did not quit the
wood, but pushed our way across it, being often obliged to
cut a path through the bushes, overrun by creeping plants.
At length we reached a plain, which afforded a more ex-
tensive prospect, and a path less perplexed and intricate.
We next entered a forest to the right, and soon ob-
served that some of the trees were of a singular kind.
Fritz, whose sharp eye was continually on a journey of
discovery, went up to examine them closely. "Father,
what odd trees, with wens growing all about their trunks!"
I had soon the surprise and satisfaction of assuring him
that they were bottle gourds, the trunks of which bear
THE SWIsS FAMILY ROBIlNSON.
fruit. Fritz, who had never heard of such a plant, could
not conceive the meaning of what he saw, and asked me
if the fruit was a sponge or a wen.-" We will see," I re-
plied, if I cannot unravel the mystery. Try to get down
one of them, and we will examine it minutely."
"I have got one," cried Fritz, "and it is exactly like a
gourd, only the rind is thicker and harder."
"It then, like the rind of that fruit, can be used for
making various utensils," observed I; "plates, dishes,
basins, flasks. We will give it the name of the gourd-
Fritz jumped for joy.-" How happy my mother will
be!" cried he in ecstasy; "she will no longer have the
vexation of thinking, when she makes soup, that we shall
all scald our fingers."
What, my boy, do you think is the reason that this
tree bears its fruit only on the trunk and on its topmost
branches ? "
"I think it must be because the middle branches are
too feeble to support such a weight."
"You have guessed exactly right."
"But are these gourds good to eat P"
"At worst they are, I believe, harmless; but they have
not a very tempting flavour. The fiegro savages set as
much value on the rind of this fruit as on gold, for its use
to them is indispensable. These rinds serve them to keep
their food and drink in, and sometimes they even cook
their victuals in them."
Oh, father! it must be impossible to cook their vic-
tuals in them, for the heat of fire would soon consume
such a substance."
"I did not say the rind was put upon the fire. When
it is intended to dress food in one of these rinds, the pro-
cess is, to cut the fruit into two equal parts, and scoop
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
out the inside; some water is put into one of the halves,
and into the water some fish, a crab, or whatever else is
to be dressed: then some stones, red hot, beginning with
one at a time, are thrown in, which impart sufficient heat
to the water to dress the food, without the smallest injury
to the pot."
We next proceeded to the manufacture of our plates
and dishes. I taught my son how to divide the gourd
with a bit of string, which would cut more equally than a
knife; I tied the string round the middle of the gourd as
tight as possible, striking it pretty hard with the handle
of my knife, and I drew tighter and tighter till the gourd
fell apart, forming two regular-shaped bowls or vessels;
while Fritz, who had used a knife for the same operation,
had entirely spoiled his gourd by the irregular pressure of
his instrument. I recommended his making some spoons
with the spoiled rind, as it was good for no other purpose.
I, on my part, had soon completed two dishes of conve-
nient size, and some smaller ones to serve as plates.
Fritz was in the utmost astonishment at my success.
"I cannot imagine, father," said he, "how this way of
cutting the gourd could occur to you!"
I have read the description of such a process," replied
I, in books of travels; and also that such of the savages
as have no knives, and who make a sort of twine from
the bark of trees, are accustomed to use it for this kind of
"And the flasks, father; in what manner are they
"For this branch of their ingenuity they make prepa-
ration a long time beforehand. If a negro wishes to have
a flask, or bottle with a neck, he binds a piece of string,
linen, or'bark of a tree, or any thing he can get, round
the part nearest the stalk of a very young gourd; he
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
draws this bandage so tight, that the part at liberty soon
forms itself to a round shape, while the part which is
confined contracts, and remains ever after narrow. By
this method it is that they obtain flasks or bottles of a
"Are then the bottle-shaped gourds I have seen in
Europe trained by a similar preparation P"
No, they are of another species, and what you have
seen is their natural shape."
Our conversation and our labour thus went on together.
Fritz had completed some plates, and was not a little
proud of the achievement. Ah, how delighted my mo-
ther will be to eat upon them!" cried he. "But how
shall we convey them to her P They will not, I fear, bear
We must leave them here on the sand for the sun to
dry them thoroughly; this will be accomplished by the
time of our return this way, and we can then carry them
with us; but care must be taken to fill them with sand,
that they may not shrink or warp with the excessive heat."
My boy did not dislike this -task; for he had no great
wish to carry such a load on our journey of further dis-
covery. Our sumptuous service of porcelain was accord-
ingly spread upon the ground, and for the present aban-
doned to its fate.
We amused ourselves, as we proceeded, in endeavour-
ing to fashion some spoons from the fragments of the
gourd-rinds; but in the mean time we did not neglect the
great object of our pursuit,-the making every practicable
search for our ship companions. But our endeavours,
alas! were all in vain.
After a walk of about four leagues in all, we arrived at
a spot where a slip of land reached far out into the sea,
on which we observed a rising piece of ground or hill.
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBIINSON.
We determined to ascend it, concluding we should obtain
a clear view of all adjacent parts, which would save us the
fatigue of further rambles. We accordingly accomplished
We did not reach the top of the hill without some diffi-
culty; but when there, we beheld a scene of wild and
solitary beauty, comprehending a vast extent of land and
water. The shore, rounded by a bay of some extent, the
bank of which ended in a promontory on the further side;
the agreeable blue tint of its surface: the sea, gently
agitated by waves in which the rays of the sun were re-
flected; the woods, of variegated hues and verdure, formed
altogether a picture of such magnificence, of such new
and exquisite delight, that if the recollection of our un-
fortunate companions, engulfed perhaps in this very ocean,
had not intruded to depress our spirits, we should have
yielded to the ecstasy the scene was calculated to inspire.
It was however in vain that we used our telescope in all
directions; no trace of man appeared; and, from this
moment, we began to lose even the feeble hope we had
entertained. We, however, became but the more sen-
sible of the goodness of the Divine Being, in the special
protection afforded to ourselves, in conducting us to a
home where there was no present cause for fear of dan-
ger from without, where we had not experienced the want
of food, and where there was a prospect of future safety
for us all. We had encountered no venomous or ferocious
animals; and, as far as our sight could yet reach, we were
not threatened by the approach of savages. I remarked
to Fritz, that we seemed destined to a solitary life, and
that it was a rich country which appeared to be allotted
us for a habitation;-" at least, my son, our habitation it
must be, unless some vessel should happen to put on
shore on the same coast, and be in a condition to take us
THE SWiss PTAILY ROBINSoN.
back to our native land. And God's will be done!"
added I; "for he knows what is best for us. Having
left our native country, fixed in the intention of inhabit-
ing some propitious soil, it was natural at first to en-
counter difficult adventures. Let us therefore consider
our situation as no disappointment in any essential re-
spect. We can pursue our scheme for agriculture. We
shall learn to invent arts. Our only want is numbers."
We, however," observed Fritz, form a larger society
than was the lot of Adam before he had children; and, as
we grow older, we will perform all the necessary labour,
while you and my mother enjoy ease and quiet."
Your assurances are as kind as I can desire, and they
encourage me to struggle with what hardships may present
themselves. Who can foresee in what manner it may be
the will of Heaven to dispose of us ? In times of old,
God said to one of his chosen, 'I will cause a great nation
to descend from thy loins.' "
And why may not we too become patriarchs, father ?"
"Why not, indeed? But come, my young patriarch,
let us find a shady spot, that we may not be consumed
with the fierce heat of the sun before the patriarchal con-
dition can be conferred upon us. Look yonder at that
inviting wood: let us hasten thither to take a little rest,
before we return to our dear expecting family."
We descended the hill, and made our way to a wood of
palms, which I had just pointed out to Fritz: our path
was clothed with reeds, entwined with other plants, which
greatly obstructed our march. We advanced slowly and
cautiously, fearing at every step to receive a mortal bite
from some serpent that might be concealed among them.
We made Turk go before, to give us timely notice of any
thing dangerous. I also cut a reed-stalk of uncommon
length and thickness, for my defence against any enemy.
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBfLSOX.
It was not without surprise that I perceived a glutinous
sap proceed from the divided end of the stalk. Prompted
by curiosity, I tasted this liquid and found it sweet and
of a pleasant flavour, so that not a doubt remained that
we were passing through a plantation of sugar-canes. I
again applied the cane to my lips, and sucked it for some
moments, and felt singularly refreshed and strengthened.
I determined not to tell Fritz immediately of the fortunate
discovery I had made, preferring that he should find it
out for himself. As he was at some distance before me,
I called out to him to cut a reed for his defence. This
he did, and without any remark, used it simply for a stick,
striking lustily with it on all sides to clear a passage.
The motion occasioned the sap to run out abundantly
upon his hand, and he stopped to examine so strange a
circumstance. He lifted it up, and still a larger quantity
escaped. He now tasted what was on his fingers. Oh!
then for the exclamations -" Father, father, I have found
some sugar!-some syrup! I have a sugar-cane in my
hand! Run quickly, father!"-We were soon together,
rejoicing in our fortunate discovery.
"We will take home a good provision of the canes; it
will be so delightful to regale my mother and my little
brothers with them!"
I have no objection; but do not take too heavy a load,
for you have other things to carry, and we have yet far to
Counsel was given in vain. He persisted in cutting
at least a dozen of the largest canes, tore off their leaves,
tied them together, and putting them under his arm,
dragged them, as well as he was able, to the end of the
plantation. We regained the wood of palms without ac-
cident: here we had scarcely stretched our limbs in the
shade, when a great number of large monkeys, terrified by
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
the sight of us and the barking of Turk, stole so nimbly,
and yet so quietly, up the trees, that we hardly perceived
them till they had reached the topmost parts. From this
height they fixed their eyes upon us, grinding their teeth,
making horrible grimaces, and saluting us with streams
of hostile import.-Being now satisfied that the trees were
palms, bearing cocoa-nuts, I conceived the hope of obtain-
ing some of this fruit in a milky state, through the mon-
keys. Fritz, on his part, prepared to shoot at them in-
stantly. He threw his burdens on the ground, and it was
with difficulty I could prevent him from firing.
Ah, father, why did you not let me fire ? Monkeys
are such malicious, mischievous animals! Look how they
raise their backs in derision of us!"
And is it possible that this can excite your vengeance,
my most reasonable Mr. Fritz ? To say the truth, I have
myself no predilection for monkeys, who, as you say, are
naturally prone to be malicious. But as long as an animal
does us no injury, or if his death can in no shape be useful
in preserving our own lives, we have no right to destroy
it, and still less to torment it for our amusement, or from
an idle desire of revenge. But what will you say if I
show you that we may find means to make living mon-
keys contribute to our service ? See what I am going to
do; but step aside for fear of your head. If I succeed,
the monkeys will furnish us with plenty of our much-
I now began to throw some stones at the monkeys;
and though I could not make them reach to half the height
at which they had taken refuge, they showed every mark
of excessive anger. With their accustomed trick of imi-
tation, they furiously tore off, nut by nut, all that grew
upon the trunk near them, to hurl them down upon us;
so that it was with difficulty we avoided the blows; and
TIE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
in a short time a great number of cocoa-nuts lay on the
ground round us. Fritz laughed heartily at the excellent
success of our stratagem; and as the shower of cocoa-
nuts began to subside, we set about collecting them. We
chose a place where we could repose at our ease, to feast
on this rich harvest. We opened the shells with a
hatchet, but first enjoyed the sucking of some of the
milk through the three small holes, where we found it
easy to insert the point of a knife. The milk of the cocoa-
nut has not a pleasant flavour; but it is excellent for
quenching thirst. What we liked best was a kind of solid
cream which adheres to the shell, and which we scraped off
with our spoons. We mixed with it a little of the sap of
our sugar-canes, and it made a delicious repast.
Our meal being finished, we prepared to leave the wood
of palms. I tied all the cocoa-nuts which had stalks toge-
ther, and threw them across my shoulder. Fritz resumed
his bundle of sugar-canes. We divided the rest of the
things between us, and continued our way towards home.
Returnfrom the Voyage of Discovery. A Nocturnal
MY poor boy now began to complain of fatigue; the
sugar-canes galled his shoulders, and he was obliged to
shift them often. At last he stopped to take breath.-
"I never could have thought," cried he, "that a few
sugar-canes could be so heavy. How sincerely I pity the
poor negroes who carry heavy loads of them! Yet how
glad I shall be when my mother and Ernest are tasting
While we were conversing and proceeding onwards,
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
Fritz perceived that from time to time I sucked the end
of a sugar-cane, and he would needs do the same. It
was in vain, however, that he tried: scarcely a drop of
the sap reached his eager lips.-" What can be the rea-
son," said he, "that though the cane is full of juice, I
cannot get out a drop!"
"The reason is," answered I, "that you make use
neither of reflection nor of your imagination."
"Ah! I recollect now; is it not a question about air ?
Unless there were a particular opening in the cane I may
suck in vain; no juice will come."
You have explained the nature of the difficulty, but
how will you manage to set it right P"
"Let me see: I imagine that I have only to make a
little opening just above the first knot, and then the air
Exactly right. But tell me what you think would be
the operation of this opening near the first knot; and in
what manner can it make the juice get into your mouth ? "
The pith of the cane being completely interrupted in
its growth by each knot, the opening made below could
have no effect upon the part above; in sucking the juice
I draw in my breath, and thus exhaust the air in my
mouth: the external air presses at the same time through
the hole I have made, and fills this void; the juice of the
cane forms an obstacle to this effort, and is accordingly
driven into my mouth. But we must not become too
expert in the art of drawing out the juice, or but few of
the canes will reach our good friends in the tent."
"I also am not without my apprehensions, that of our
acquisition we shall carry them only a few sticks for fire-
wood; for I must bring another circumstance to your
recollection: the juice of the sugar-cane is apt to turn
sour soon after cutting, especially in such heat as we now
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINISO.
experience; we may suck them, therefore, without com-
punction at the diminution of their numbers."
"Well, then, if we can do no better with the sugar-
canes, at least I will take them a good provision of the
milk of the cocoa-nuts, which I have here in a tin bottle."
In this too, my generous boy, I fear you will be dis-
appointed. The milk of the cocoa-nut, no less than the
juice of the sugar-cane, when exposed to the air and heat,
turns soon to vinegar. I would almost wager that it is
already sour; for the tin bottle which contains it is parti-
cularly liable to become hot in the sun."
Oh! father, how provoking! I must taste it this very
minute."-The tin bottle was immediately lowered from
his shoulder, and he began to pull the cork; as soon as it
was loose the liquid flew upwards, hissing and frothing
"Bravo, Fritz! you have manufactured there a wine of
some mettle. I must now caution you not to let it make
Oh, taste it, father, pray taste it, it is quite delicious,
not the least like vinegar: it is rather like excellent new
wine: its taste is sweet, and it is so sparkling! do take a
little, father. Is it not good P If all the milk remains in
this state, the treat will be better even than I thought."
"I wish it may prove so, but I have my fears: its
present state is what is called the first degree of ferment-
ation; the same thing happens to honey dissolved in
water, of which hydromel is made. When this first
fermentation is past, and the liquid is clear, it becomes
a sort of wine or other fermented liquor, the quality of
which depends on the materials used. By the application
of heat, there next results a second and more gradual fer-
mentation, which turns the fluid into vinegar. But this
may be prevented by extraordinary care, and by keeping
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
the vessel that contains it in a cool place. Lastly, a
third fermentation takes place in the vinegar itself, which
entirely changes its character, and deprives it of its taste,
its strength, and its transparency. In the intense tem-
perature of this climate, this triple fermentation comes
on very rapidly, so that it is not improbable that, on
entering our tent, you might find your liquids turned to
vinegar, or even to a thick liquid of ill odour: we may
therefore venture to refresh ourselves with a portion of
our booty, that it may not all be spoiled. Come, then, I
drink your health, and that of our dear family. I find
the liquor at present both refreshing and agreeable; but
I am pretty sure that, if we would arrive sober, we must
not venture on frequent libations."
Our regale imparted to our exhausted frames an increase
of strength and cheerfulness. We reached the place
where we had left our gourd utensils upon the sands; we
found them perfectly dry, as hard as bone, and not the
least misshapen. We now, therefore, could put them
into our game-bags conveniently enough, and this done,
we continued our way. Scarcely had we passed through
the little wood in which we breakfasted, when Turk
sprang away to seize upon a troop of monkeys who were
skipping about and amusing themselves without observing
our approach. They were thus taken by surprise; and
before we could get to the spot, our ferocious Turk had
already seized one of them; it was a female, who held a
young one in her arms, which she was caressing almost
to suffocation, and which incumbrance deprived her of
the power of escaping. The poor creature was killed,
and afterwards devoured; the young one hid himself in
the grass, and looked on, grinding his teeth all the time
that this horrible feat was performing.
The next scene that presented itself was of a different
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINO5N.
nature, and comical enough. The young monkey sprang
nimbly on Fritz's shoulders, and fastened his feet in the
stiff curls of his hair; nor could the cries of Fritz, nor all
the shaking he gave him, make him let go his hold. I
ran to them, laughing heartily, for I saw that the animal
was too young to do him any injury, while the panic
visible in the features of the boy made a ludicrous con-
trast with the grimaces of the monkey, whom I in vain
endeavoured to disengage. There is no remedy, Fritz,"
said I, "but to submit quietly and carry him. The con-
duct of the little creature displays a surprising intelli-
gence; he has lost his mother, and he adopts you for his
father; perhaps he discovered in you something of the
air of a father of a family."
Or rather the little rogue found out that he had to
do with a chicken-heart, who shrinks from the idea of ill-
treating an animal which has thrown itself on his pro-
tection. But I assure you, father, he is giving me some
terrible twitches, and I shall be obliged to you to try
once more to get him off."
With a little gentleness and management I succeeded.
I took the creature in my arms as one would an infant,
nor could I help pitying and caressing him. He was not
larger than a kitten, and quite unable to help himself.
"Father," cried Fritz, "do let me have this little
animal to myself. I will take the greatest care of him;
I will give him all my share of the milk of the cocoa-nuts,
till we get our cows and goats; and who knows? his
monkey instinct may one day assist us in discovering
some wholesome fruits."
"I have not the least objection," answered I. "It is
but just that the little protege should be given up to
your management and discretion; much will depend on
your manner of educating him; by and by we shall see
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
whether he will be fittest to aid us with his intelligence,
or to injure us by his malice; in this last case we shall
have nothing to do but to get rid of him."
We now thought of resuming our journey. The little
orphan jumped again on the shoulders of his protector, while
I on my part relieved my boy of the bundle of canes.
In pleasant conversation we forgot the length of our
journey, and soon found ourselves on the bank of the
river, and near our family, before we were aware. Flora
from the other side announced our approach by a violent
barking, and Turk, who began to be acquainted with the
country, ran off to meet his companion. Shortly after,
our much-loved family appeared in sight, with demon-
strations of unbounded joy at our safe return. They
advanced along by the course of the river, till they on
one side, and we on the other, had reached the place we
crossed in the morning. We repassed it again n safety,
and threw ourselves into each other's arms. Scarcely
had the young ones joined their brother, than they again
began their joyful exclamations: "A monkey, a live
monkey! Papa, mamma, a live monkey! Oh, how delight-
ful! How did you catch him ? What a droll face he
has! "-" He is very ugly," said little Francis, half afraid
to touch him.-" He is prettier than you," retorted Jack;
"only see, he is laughing: I wish I could see him eat."
-" Ah! if we had but some cocoa-nuts!" cried Ernest;
"could you not find any? Are they nice "-" Have
you brought me any milk of almonds ?" asked Francis.
-"Have you met with any unfortunate adventure?"
interrupted my wife. In this manner, questions and ex-
clamations succeeded to each other with such rapidity as
not to leave us time to answer them.
At length, when all became a little tranquil, I answered
them thus: Most happy am I to return to you again,
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
my best beloved, and, God be praised! without any new
misfortune. We have even the pleasure of presenting
you with many valuable acquisitions; but in the object
nearest my heart, the discovery of our ship companions,
we have entirely failed."
"Since it pleases God that it should be so," said my
wife, "let us endeavour to be content, and let us be
grateful to Him for having saved us from their unhappy
fate, and for having once more brought us all together: I
have had much uneasiness about your safety, and imagined
a thousand evils that might beset you. But put down
your burdens; we will all help you; for though we have
not spent the day in idleness, we are less fatigued than
you. Quick then, my boys, and take the loads from your
father and your brother."
Jack received my gun, Ernest the cocoa-nuts, Francis
the gourd-rinds, and my wife my game-bag. Fritz dis-
tributed the sugar-canes, and put his monkey on the back
of Turk, to the great amusement of the children, at the
same time begging Ernest to relieve him of his gun. But
Ernest, ever careful of his ease, assured him, that the
large heavy bowls with which he was loaded were the
most he had strength to carry. His mother, a little too
indulgent to his lazy humour, relieved him of these; and
thus we proceeded all together to our tent.
Fritz whispered me, that if Ernest had known what
the large heavy bowls were, he would not so readily have
parted with them. Then turning to his brother, Why,
Ernest," cried he, "do you know that these bowls are
cocoa-nuts, your dear cocoa-nuts, and full of the sweet
nice milk you have so much wished to taste ? "
"What, really and truly cocoa-nuts, brother? Pray
give them to me, mother; I will carry them, if you please,
and I can carry the gun too."
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"No, no, Ernest," answered his mother, "you shall
not tease us with more of your long-drawn sighs about
fatigue: a hundred paces and you would begin again."
Ernest would willingly have asked his mother to give him
the cocoa-nuts, and take the gun herself, but this he was
ashamed to do; "I have only," said he, "to get rid of
these sticks, and carry the gun in my hand."
"I would advise you not to find the sticks heavy,
either," said Fritz drily; "I know you will be sorry if
you do: and for this good reason,-the sticks are sugar-
"Sugar-canes! Sugar-canes exclaimed they all; and,
surrounding Fritz, made him give them full instructions
on the sublime art of sucking sugar-canes.
My wife, also, who had always entertained a high
respect for the article of sugar in her household manage-
ment, was quite astonished, and earnestly entreated we
would inform her of all particulars. I gave her an
account of our journey and our new acquisitions, which I
exhibited one after the other for her inspection. No one
of them afforded her more pleasure than the plates and
dishes, because, to persons of decent habits, they were
articles of indispensable necessity. We now adjourned
to our kitchen, and observed with pleasure the pre-
parations for an excellent repast. On one side of the
fire was a turnspit, which my wife had contrived by
driving two forked pieces of wood into the ground, and
placing a long even stick, sharpened at one end, across
them. By this invention she was enabled to roast fish,
or other food, with the help of little Francis, who was
entrusted with the care of turning it round from time to
time. On the occasion of our return, she had prepared
us the treat of a goose, the fat of which ran down into
some oyster-shells placed there to serve the purpose of a
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
dripping-pan. There was, besides, a dish of fish, which
the little ones had caught; and the iron pot was upon
the fire, provided with a good soup, the odour of which
increased our appetite. By the side of these most ex-
hilarating preparations stood one of the casks which we
had recovered from the sea, the head of which my wife
had knocked out, so that it exposed to our view a cargo
of the finest sort of Dutch cheeses, contained in round
tins. All this display was made to excite the appetite of
the two travellers, who had fared but scantily during the
day; and I must needs observe, that the whole was very
little like such a dinner as one should expect to see on a
"What you call a goose," said my wife, "is a kind of
wild bird, and is the booty of Ernest, who calls him by a
singular name, and assures me that it is good to eat."
"Yes, father, I believe that the bird which I have
caught is a kind of penguin, or we might distinguish him
by the surname of Stupid He showed himself to be a
bird so destitute of even the least degree of intelligence,
that I killed him with a single blow with my stick."
I Penguin. A bird of the goose kind, found near the straits of Ma-
gellan: but two species also exist in New Guinea. It is about the size
of the Indian cock; the feathers on the back are black, and on the
belly white. It has a large neck, circled round with a white collar.
Properly speaking, it has no wings, but two pinions which hang like two
little arms from its sides, having no feathers beyond the joint. These
pinions serve the purpose of fins, in enabling the penguin to swim with
ease, but it cannot fly. The tail is short; the feet black; the beak
narrow, and rather larger than that of the raven. The bird carries its
head erect in walking, and the pinions fall at its side; so that when
many of them are seen in a line along the shore, where they are accus-
tomed to assemble in large numbers, they may, from a distance, be
mistaken for little men. Their flesh is well tasted, but their skin is so
tough, that, but for the extreme stupidity of their nature, it would be
difficult to destroy them.-See Valmont de Bromare.
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"What is the form of his feet, and of his beakP"
His feet are formed for swimming; in other words,
he is what is called web-footed; the beak is long, small,
and a little curved downwards: I have preserved his head
and neck, that you might examine it yourself: it reminds
me exactly of the penguin, described as so stupid a bird
in my book of natural history."
My wife here interrupted us to announce that supper
was ready, at the same time proposing that the cocoa-
nuts, which the boys had already begun eagerly to exa-
mine, should serve for dessert.
We accordingly seated ourselves on the ground; each
article of the repast was placed in one of our new dishes,
the neat appearance of which exceeded all our expecta-
tions. My sons had not patience to wait, but had broken
the cocoa-nuts, and already convinced themselves of their
delicious flavour; and then they fell to making spoons
with the fragments of the shells. The little monkey,
thanks to the kind temper of Jack, had been served the
first, and each amused himself with making him suck the
corner of his pocket-handkerchief, dipped in the milk of
the cocoa-nut. He appeared delighted with the treatment
he received, and we remarked with satisfaction that we
should most likely be able to preserve him.
The boys were preparing to break some more of the
nuts with the hatchet, after having drawn out the milk
through the three little holes, when I pronounced the word
halt, and bade them bring me a saw;-the thought had
struck me, that by dividing the nuts carefully with this
instrument, the two halves, when scooped, would remain
with the form of tea-cups or basins already made to our
hands. Jack, who was on every occasion the most active,
brought me the saw. I performed my undertaking in the
THE SWISS VA ILY ROBINSON.
best manner I could, and in a short time each of us was
provided with a convenient receptacle for food. My wife
put the share of soup which belonged to each into the new
basins, delighted that we should no longer be under the
necessity, as before, of scalding our fingers by dipping
into the pot; and I firmly believe, that never did the
most magnificent service of china occasion half the plea-
sure to its possessor, as our utensils, manufactured by our
own hands from gourds and cocoa-nuts, excited in the
kind heart of my wife. Fritz asked me, if he might not
invite our company to taste his fine champagne, which he
said would not fail to make us all the merrier.-" I have
not the least objection," answered I, "but remember to
taste it yourself before you serve it to your guests." He
ran to draw out the stopple and to taste it.-" How un-
fortunate!" said he, "it is already turned to vinegar."
"What, is it vinegar ?" exclaimed my wife: "How
lucky! it will make the most delicious sauce for our bird,
mixed with the fat which has fallen from it in roasting,
and will be as good a relish as a salad." The same sauce
improved our dish of fish also. Each boasted most of
what he himself had been the means of procuring: it was
Jack and Francis who had caught the fish in one of the
shallows, while Ernest was employed with very little
trouble to himself in securing his penguin. My poor
wife had herself performed the most difficult task of all,
that of rolling the cask of Dutch cheeses into the kitchen,
and then knocking out its head.
By the time we had finished our meal, the sun was re-
tiring from our view; and recollecting how quickly the
night would fall upon us, we were in great haste to regain
our place of rest. My wife had considerately collected a
tenfold quantity of dry grass, which she had spread in the
tent, and being all heartily fatigued by the exertions of
THE SWISS FAMILY OBINSON.
the day, we soon fell into a profound and refreshing
But I had not long enjoyed this pleasing state, when I
was disturbed by the motion of the fowls on the ridge of
the tent, and by a violent barking of our vigilant safe-
guards, the dogs. My wife and Fritz had also been
alarmed; so we each took a gun, and sallied forth.
The dogs continued barking with the same violence,
and at intervals even howled. We had not proceeded
many steps from the tent, when we perceived by the light
of the moon a terrible combat. At least a dozen jackals
had surrounded our brave dogs, who defended themselves
with the stoutest courage, and had already laid three or
four of their adversaries on the ground.
I, for my part, had apprehended something worse than
jackals.-" We shall soon manage to set these gentlemen
at rest," said I. "Let us fire both together, my boy;
but let us take care how we aim, for fear of killing the
dogs; mind how you fire, that you may not miss, and I
shall do the same." We fired, and two of the intruders
fell instantly dead upon the sands. The others made
their escape; but we perceived it was with great difficulty,
in consequence, no doubt, of being wounded. Turk and
Flora afterwards pursued them, and put the finishing
stroke to what we had begun; and thus the battle ended;
but the dogs, true Caribbees by nature, made a hearty
meal on the flesh of their fallen enemies. My wife, see-
ing all quiet, entreated us to lie down again and finish
our night's sleep; but Fritz asked me to let him first drag
his jackal towards the tent, that he might exhibit him the
next morning to his brothers."
The children had not once awoke during the whole of
the scene which had been passing, and having nothing
further to prevent us, we lay down by their side till day
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
began to break, and till the cocks, with their shrill morn.
ing salutation, awoke us both. The boys being still
asleep, afforded us an excellent opportunity to consult
together respecting the plan we should pursue for the
.eturn to the Wreck.-A troop of Animals in Cork-
I BBoKE a silence of some moments, with observing to my
wife, that I could not but view with alarm the many diffi-
culties we had to encounter. "In the first place, a jour-
ney to the vessel. This is of absolute necessity; at least,
if we would not be deprived of the cattle and other useful
things, all of which we risk losing by the first heavy sea.
What ought we to resolve upon ? Should not our very
first endeavour be the contriving a better sort of habita-
tion, and a more secure retreat from wild beasts, also a
separate place for our provisions ? I own I am at a loss
what to begin first."
All will fall into the right order by degrees," observed
my wife; "patience and regularity in our plans will go as
far as actual labour. I cannot, I confess, help shuddering
at the thought of this voyage to the vessel; but if you
judge it to be of absolute necessity, it cannot be under-
taken too soon."
"I will follow your advice," said I, and without fur-
ther loss of time. You shall stay here with the three
youngest boys; and Fritz, being so much stronger and
more intelligent than the others, shall accompany me in
At this moment I started from my bed, crying out
THE SWISS FAMILY EOBINSON'.
loudly and briskly, Get up, children, get up; it is almost
light, and we have some important projects for to-day; it
would be a shame to suffer the sun to find us still sleeping,
we who are to be the founders of a new colony!"
At these words Fritz sprang nimbly out of the tent,
while the young ones began to gape and rub their eyes,
to get rid of their sleepiness. Fritz ran to visit his jackal,
which during the night had become cold and perfectly
stiff. He fixed him upon his legs, and placed him like a
sentinel at the entrance of the tent, joyously anticipating
the wonder and exclamations of his brothers at so unex-
pected a sight. Jack was the first who appeared, with
the young monkey on his shoulders; but when the little
creature perceived the jackal, he sprang away in terror,
and hid himself at the furthest extremity of the grass
which composed our bed, covering himself with it so com-
pletely, that scarcely could the tip of his nose be seen.
The children were much surprised at the sight of a
yellow-coloured animal standing without motion at the
entrance of the tent-" O what can it be!" cried Francis,
stepping back a few paces from fear; "is it a wolf ?"-"No,
no," said Jack, going near the jackal, and taking one of
his paws, it is a yellow dog, and he is dead; he does not
move at all."-" It is neither a dog nor a wolf," inter-
rupted Ernest in a consequential tone: do you not see
that it is the golden fox ? "-" Best of all, most learned
professor!" now exclaimed Fritz. So you can tell an
agouti when you see him, but you cannot tell a jackal;
for jackal is the creature you see before you, and I killed
him myself in the night."
Ernest.-In the night, Fritz ? In your sleep, I sup-
Fritz.-No, Mr. Ernest; not in my sleep, as you so
good-naturedly suppose, but broad awake, and on the
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
watch to protect you from wild beasts! But I cannot won-
der at this mistake in one who does not know the differ-
ence between ajackal and a golden fox!
Ernest.-You would not have known it either, if papa
had not told you--
Come, come, my lads, I will have no disputes," inter-
rupted I. "Fritz, you are to blame in ridiculing your
brother for the mistake he made. Ernest, you are also to
blame for indulging that little peevishness of yours. But as
to the animal, you all are right and all are wrong; for he
partakes at once of the nature of the dog, the wolf, and
the fox." The boys in an instant became friends; and
then followed more questions, answers, and wonder in
abundance.-" And now, my boys, let me remind you,
that he who begins the day without first addressing the
Almighty, ought to expect neither success nor safety in his
undertakings. Let us therefore acquit ourselves of this
duty before we engage in other occupations."
Having finished our prayers, the next thing thought of
was breakfast. To-day their mother had nothing to give
them for their morning meal but some biscuit, which was
so hard and dry, that it was with difficulty we could
swallow it. Fritz asked for a piece of cheese to eat
with it, and Ernest cast some searching looks on the
second cask we had drawn out of the sea. In a minute he
came up to us, joy sparkling in his eyes; Father," said
he, "this cask is filled with excellent salt butter. I made
a little opening in it with a knife; and see, I got out enough
to spread nicely upon this piece of biscuit."
"Youhaveindeed made a fortunate discovery," answered
I. "But now let us profit by the event. Who will have
some butter on his biscuit ?" The boys surrounded the
cask in a moment, while I made a hole in the bottom,
sufficiently large to take out a small quantity at a time.
THEH SWISS FAMILY ROBINS5ON(.
We toasted our biscuit, and, while it was hot, applied the
butter, and contrived to make a hearty breakfast.
One of the things we must not forget to look for in
the vessel," said Fritz, "is a spiked collar or two for our
dogs, as a protection to them should they again be called
upon to defend themselves from wild beasts, which I fear
is too probable will be the case."
Oh!" says Jack, I can make spiked collars, if my
mother will give me a little help."
"That I will, most readily, my boy; for I should like
to see what new fancy has come into your head," cried she.
"Yes, yes," pursued I, "as many new inventions as
you please; you cannot better employ your time; and if
you produce something useful, you will be rewarded with
the commendations of all. But now for work. You, Mr.
Fritz, who, from your superior age and discretion, enjoy
the high honour of being my privy-counsellor, must make
haste and get yourself ready, and we will undertake to-day
our voyage to the vessel. You younger boys will remain
here, under the wing of your kind mother: I hope I need
not mention, that I rely on your perfect obedience to her
will, and general good behaviour."
While Fritz was getting the boat ready, I looked about
for a pole, and tied a piece of white linen to the end of it:
this I drove into the ground, in a place where it would be
visible from the vessel; and I concerted with my wife,
that in case of any accident that should require my prompt
assistance, they should take down the pole and fire a gun
three times as a signal of distress, in consequence of which
I would immediately turn back. But I gave her notice,
that there being so many things to accomplish on board
the vessel, it was probable that we should not, otherwise,
return at night; in which case I, on my part, also pro-
mised to make signals. My wife had the good sense and
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
the courage to consent to my plan. She, however, ex-
torted from me a promise that we should pass the night
in our tubs, and not on board the ship. We took nothing
with us but our guns and a recruit of powder and shot,
relying that we should find provisions on board.
We embarked in silence, casting our anxious looks on
the beloved objects we were quitting. Fritz rowed steadily,
and I did my best to second his endeavours, by rowing
from time to time with the oar which served me for a
rudder. When we had gone some distance, I remarked
a current which was visible a long way. To take ad-
vantage of this current, and to husband our strength
by means of it, was my first care. Little as I knew
of the management of sea affairs, I succeeded in keep-
ing our boat in the direction in which it ran, by which
means we were drawn gently on, till at length the gradual
diminution of its force obliged us again to have recourse
to our oars; but our arms having now rested for
some time we were ready for new exertions. A little
afterwards we found ourselves safely arrived at the cleft
of the vessel, and fastened our boat securely to one of
Fritz the first thing went to the main deck, where he
found all the animals we had left on board assembled. I
followed him, well pleased to observe the generous impa-
tience he showed to relieve the wants of the poor
abandoned creatures, who, one and all, now saluted us
by the sounds natural to its species. It was not so much
the want of food, as the desire of seeing their accustomed
human companions, which made them manifest their joy
in this manner, for they had a portion of the food and water
we had left them still remaining. We took away what
was half spoiled, and added a fresh supply, that no anxiety
on their account might interrupt our enterprise. Nor did
THE SWISS FAMILY RlOBINSON.
we neglect the care of renewing our own strength by a
While we were seated, and appeasing the calls of hun-
ger, Fritz and I consulted what should be our first occu-
pation; when, to my surprise, the advice he gave was,
that we should contrive a sail for our boat.-" You
astonish me, Fritz," cried I, what makes you think of
this at so critical a moment, when we have so many things
of indispensable necessity to arrange P" -" True, father,"
said Fritz; "but let me confess that I found it very dif-
ficult to row for so long a time, though I assure you I did
my best, and did not spare my strength. I observed that,
though the wind blew strong in my face, the current still
carried us on. Now, as the current will be of no use in
our way back, I was thinking that we might make the
wind supply its place. Our boat will be very heavy when
we have loaded it with all the things we mean to take
away, and I am afraid I shall not be strong enough to
row to land; so do you not think that a sail would be a
good thing just now P"
I perceive much good sense in your argument," I re-
plied, "and feel obliged to my privy-counsellor'for his
good advice. The best thing we can do is, to take care
and not overload the boat, and thus avoid the danger of
sinking, or of being obliged to throw some of our stores
overboard. We will, however, set to work upon your
sail; it will give us a little trouble. But come, let us
I assisted Fritz to carry a pole strong enough for a
mast, and another not so thick for a sailyard. I directed
him to make a hole in a plank with a chisel, large enough
for the mast to stand upright in it. I then went to the
sail-room, and cut a large sail down to a triangular shape:
I made holes along the edges, and passed cords through
THE SWISS FAMILY EOBINSON.
them. We then got a pulley, and with this and some
cords, and some contrivance in the management of our
materials, we produced a sail.
Fritz, after taking observations through a telescope of
what was passing on land, imparted the agreeable tidings
that all was still well with our dear family. He had dis-
tinguished his mother walking tranquilly along the shore.
He soon after brought me a small streamer, which he had
cut from a piece of linen, and which he entreated me to
tie to the extremity of the mast, as much delighted with
the streamer as with the sail itself. He gave to our
machine the name of The Deliverance; and in speaking
of it, instead of calling it a boat, it had now always the
title of the little vessel.
"But now, father," said Fritz, looking kindly on me as
he spoke, as you have eased me of the labour of rowing,
it is my turn to take care of you. I am thinking to make
you a better contrived rudder; one that would enable
you to steer the boat both with greater ease and greater
safety."-" Your thought would be a very good one,"
said I, "but that I am unwilling to lose the advantage of
being able to proceed this way and that, without being
obliged to veer. I shall therefore fix our oars in such
a manner as to enable me to steer the raft from either
end." Accordingly I fixed bits of wood to the stem and
stern of the machine, in the nature of grooves, which
were calculated to spare us a great deal of trouble.
During these exertions the day advanced, and I saw
that we should be obliged to pass the night in our tubs,
without much progress in our task of emptying the vessel.
We had promised our family to hoist a flag as a signal, if
we passed the night from home, and we found the
streamer precisely the thing we wanted for this purpose.
We employed the remnant of the day in emptying the
THE SWISS rA.MILY ROBINBSON.
tubs of the useless ballast of stones, and putting in their
place what would be of service, such as nails, pieces of
cloth, and different kinds of utensils, &c. &c. The Van-
dals themselves could not have made a more complete
pillage than we had done. The prospect before us of an
entire solitude made us devote our attention to the se-
curing as much powder and shot as we could, as a means
of catching animals for food, and of defending our-
selves against wild beasts. Utensils for every kind of
workmanship, of which there was a large provision in the
ship, were also objects of incalculable value to us. The
vessel, which was now a wreck, had been sent out as a
preparation for the establishment of a colony in the
South Seas, and had been provided with a variety of
stores not commonly included in the loading of a ship.
Among the rest, care had been taken to have on board
considerable numbers of European cattle: but so long a
voyage had proved unfavourable to the oxen and the
horses, the greatest part of which had died, and the
others were in so bad a condition, that it had been found
necessary to destroy them. The quantity of useful things
which presented themselves in the store-chambers made
it difficult for me to select among them, and I much re-
gretted that circumstances compelled me to leave some
of them behind. Fritz, however, already meditated
a second visit; but we took good care not to lose the
present occasion for securing knives and forks, and
spoons, and a complete assortment of kitchen utensils.
In the captain's cabin we found a little chest filled with
bottles of many sorts of excellent wine, which we put
into our boat. We next descended to the kitchen, which
we stripped of gridirons, kettles, pots of all kinds, a small
roasting-jack, &c. Our last prize was a chest of choice
eatables, intended for the table of the officers, containing
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON2.
Westphalia hams, Bologna sausages, and other savoury
food. I took care not to forget some little sacks of
maize, of wheat, and other grain, and some potatoes. We
next added such implements for husbandry as we could
find; shovels, hoes, spades, rakes, harrows, &c. &c. Fritz
reminded me that we had found sleeping on the ground
both cold and hard, and prevailed upon me to increase
our cargo by some hammocks, and a certain number of
blankets; and as guns had hitherto been the source
of his pleasures, he added such as he could find of a
particular costliness or structure, together with some
sabres and clasp-knives. The last articles we took were
a barrel of sulphur, a quantity of ropes, some small
string, and a large roll of sail-cloth. The vessel appeared
to us to be in so wretched a condition, that the least
tempest must make her go to pieces. It was then quite
uncertain whether we should be able to approach her any
Our cargo was so large, that the tubs were filled to the
very brim, and no inch of the boat's room was lost. The
first and last of the tubs were reserved for Fritz and me
to seat ourselves in and row the boat, which sank so low
in the water, that if the sea had not been quite calm, we
should have been obliged to ease her of some of the load-
ing: we, however, used the precaution of putting on our
swimming-jackets, for fear of any misfortune.
It will easily be imagined that the day had been labo-
riously employed. Night suddenly surprised us, and we
lost all hope of returning to our family the same evening.
A large blazing fire on the shore soon after greeted our
sight,-the signal agreed upon for assuring us that all
was well, and to bid us close our eyes in peace. We re-
turned the compliment, by tying four lanterns, with lights
in them, to our mast-head. This was answered, on their
THE SWISS VAXiLY ROBINSON.
part, by the firing of two guns; so that both parties had
reason to be satisfied and easy.
After offering up our earnest prayers for the safety of
all, and not without some apprehension for our own, we
resigned ourselves to sleep in our tubs, which appeared
to us safer than the vessel. Our night passed tranquilly
enough: my boy Fritz slept as soundly as if he had been
in a bed: while I, haunted by the recollection of the
nocturnal visit of the jackals, could neither close my eyes
nor keep them from the direction of the tent. I had,
however, great reliance that my valiant dogs would do
their duty, and was thankful to Heaven for having en-
abled us to preserve so good a protection.
Early the next morning, though scarcely light, I
mounted the vessel, hoping to gain a sight of our beloved
companions on shore. While Fritz was preparing a sub-
stantial breakfast of biscuit and ham, the brightness of the
day had come on, and by the aid of a large telescope I dis-
covered my wife coming out of the tent, and looking
attentively towards the vessel, and at the same moment
perceived the motion of the flag upon the shore. A load
of anxiety was thus taken from my heart; for I had the
certainty that all were in good health, and had escaped
the dangers of the night.-" Now that I have had a sight
of your mother," said I to Fritz, my next concern is
for the animals on board; let us endeavour to save the
lives of some of them at least, and to take them with us."
Would it be possible to make a raft, to get them all
upon it, and in this way get them to shore?" asked
"But what a difficulty in making it! and how could
we induce a cow, an ass, and a sow, either to get upon a
raft, or, when there, to remain motionless and quiet?
The sheep and goats one might perhaps find means to re-
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
move, they being of a more docile temper: but for the
larger animals, I am at a loss how to proceed."
"Let us tie a swimming-jacket round the body of each
animal, and contrive to throw one and all into the water;
you will see that they will swim like fish, and we can
draw them after us."
"I think your invention is admirable: let us therefore
at once make the experiment."
We hastened to the execution of our design: we fixed
a jacket on one of the lambs, and threw it into the sea.
He sunk at first, and I thought him drowned; but he soon
re-appeared, shaking the water from his head, and in a
few seconds he had learned completely the art of swim-
ming. After another interval, we observed that he
appeared fatigued, gave up his efforts, and suffered him-
self to be borne along by the course of the water, which
sustained and conducted him to our complete satisfaction.
-"Victory!" exclaimed I with delight: "these useful
animals are all our own; let us lose not a moment in
adopting the same means with those that remain, but take
care not to lose our little lamb." Fritz now would have
jumped into the water to follow the poor creature who was
still floating safely on the surface; but I stopped him till I
had seen him tie on a swimming-jacket. He took with
him a rope, first making a slip-knot in it, and soon over-
taking the lamb, threw it round his neck, and drew him
back to our boat: and then took him out of the water.
We next got four small water-butts, emptied them, and
then carefully closed them again, uniting them with a
large piece of sail-cloth, and nailing one end to each cask.
I strengthened this with a second piece of sail-cloth, and
this contrivance I destined to support the cow and the
ass, two casks to each, the animal being placed in the
middle, with a cask on either side. I added a thong of
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
leather, stretching from the casks across the breast and
haunches of the animal, to make the whole secure; and
thus, in less than an hour, both my cow and my ass were
equipped for swimming.
It was next the turn of the smaller animals: of these
the sow gave us the most trouble: we were first obliged
to put a muzzle on her to prevent her biting; and then
we tied a large piece of cork under her body. The sheep
and goats were more accommodating, and we had soon
accoutred them for our adventure. And now we had
succeeded in assembling our whole company on the deck,
in readiness for the voyage; we tied a cord to either
the horns or the neck of each animal, and to the other
end of the cord a piece of wood similar to the mode used
for making nets, that it might be easy for us to take
hold of the ropes, and so draw the animal to us, if it
should be necessary. We struck away some more of the
shattered pieces of wood from the fissure of the vessel, by
which we were again to pass. We began our experiment
with the ass, by conducting him as near as possible to the
brink of the vessel, and then suddenly shoving him off.
He fell into the water, and for a moment disappeared;
but we soon saw him rise, and in the action of swimming
between his two barrels, with a grace which really merited
Next came the cow's turn: and as she was infinitely
more valuable than the ass, my fears increased in due
proportion. The ass had swum so courageously, that he
was already at a considerable distance from the vessel, so
that there was sufficient room for our experiment on the
cow. We had more difficulty in pushing her overboard:
but she reached the water in as much safety as the ass
had done before; she did not sink so low in it, and was
no less perfectly sustained by the empty barrels. Accord-
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBIHNON.
ing to this method we proceeded with our whole troop,
throwing them one by one into the water, where by-and-
by they appeared in a group floating at their ease, and
seemingly well content. The sow was the only exception:
she became quite furious, set up a loud squalling, and
struggled with so much violence in the water, that she
was carried to a considerable distance, but fortunately in
a direction towards the landing-place we had in view.
We had now not a moment to lose. Our last act was
to put on our cork-jackets; and then we descended with-
out accident through the cleft, took our station in the boat,
and were soon in the midst of our troop of quadrupeds.
We now perceived how impossible it would have been
for us to have succeeded in our enterprise without the
aid of a sail; for the weight of so many animals sunk the
boat so low in the water, that all our exertions to row to
such a distance would have been ineffectual; while, by
means of the sail, she proceeded completely to our satis-
faction, bearing in her train our company of animals: nor
could we help laughing heartily at the singular appearance
we made. My last act on board the vessel had been to
take one look more at the beloved beings we had left on
land, and I perceived my wife and the three boys all in
motion, and seeming to be setting out on some excursion:
but it was in vain that I endeavoured, by any thing I saw,
to conjecture what their plan might be. I therefore
seized the first moment of quiet to make another trial
with my glass, when a sudden exclamation from Fritz
filled me with alarm.-" Dear father !" cried he, we are
lost! a fish of an enormous size is coming up to the
boat."-"And why lost!" said I, half angry, and yet
half partaking of his fright. "Be ready with your gun,
and the moment he is close upon us we will fire upon
him." He had nearly reached the boat, anc had seized
THE SWISS 7A[ILY R0OBtBON.
the foremost sheep: at this instant Fritz aimed his fire so
skilfully, that the balls of the gun were lodged in the head
of the monster, which was an enormous shark. The fish
half turned himself round in the water and hurried off to
sea, leaving us to observe the lustrous smoothness of his
belly, and that as he proceeded he stained the water red,
which convinced us he had been severely wounded. I
determined to have the best of our guns at hand the rest
of the way, lest we should be again attacked by the same
fish, or another of his species.
The animal being now out of sight, and our fears ap-
peased, I resumed the rudder; and as the wind drove us
straight towards the bay, I took down the sail, and conti-
nued rowing till we reached a convenient spot for our
cattle to land. I had then only to untie the end of the
cords from the boat, and they stepped contentedly on
shore. Our voyage thus happily concluded, we followed
I had already been surprised and uneasy at finding none
of my family looking out for us on the shore: but I was
soon relieved by the joyful sounds which reached our
ears, and filled our hearts with rapture. It was my wife
and the youngest boys who uttered them, the latter of
whom were soon close up to us, and their mother followed
not many steps behind, each and all of them in excellent
health, and eager to welcome us back. When the first
burst of happiness at meeting had subsided, we all sat
down on the grass, and I began to give them an account
Af our occupations in the vessel, of our voyage, and of all
our different plans and their success. My wife could find
no words to express her surprise and joy at seeing so
many useful animals round us; and the hearty affection
she expressed for them increased my satisfaction at the
completion of our enterprise.
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"Yes," said Fritz, a little consequentially; "for this
once, the privy-counsellor has tried his talents at inven-
"This, indeed, is very true," replied I; in all humi-
lity have I to confess, that to Fritz alone all praise be-
longs, and that to his sagacity it is that we are indebted
for our success."
Ernest and Jack now ran to the boat, and began to
shout their admiration of the mast, the sail, and the flag,
desiring their brother to explain to them how all the
things they saw had been effected, and what he himself
did of them. In the mean time we began to unpack our
cargo, while Jack amused himself with the animals, took
off the jackets from the sheep and goats, bursting from
time to time into shouts of laughter at the ridiculous
figure of the ass, who stood before them adorned with his
two casks and his swimming apparatus, and braying loud
enough to make us deaf.
Perceiving that no preparations were making for sup-
per on our arrival at the tent, I told Fritz to bring us the
Westphalia ham. The eyes of all were now fixed upon
me with astonishment, believing that I could only be in
jest; when Fritz returned, displaying with exultation a
large ham, which we had begun to cut in the morning.
"A ham!" cried one and all; "a ham! and ready
dressed! What a nice supper we shall have!" said they,
clapping their hands to give a hearty welcome to the
bearer of so fine a treat.-" It comes quite in the nick of
time too," interrupted I; for to judge by appearances, a
certain careful steward I could name seems to have in-
tended to send us supperless to bed, little thinking, I
suppose; that a long voyage by water is apt to increase
"I will tell you presently," replied my wife, what it
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
vas that prevented me from providing a supper for you
all at an early hour: your ham, however, makes you ample
amends; and I have something in my hand with which I
shall make a pretty side-dish." She now showed us about
a dozen turtles' eggs, and then hurried away to make an
omelette of some of them.
Look, father," said Ernest, "if they are not the very
same which Robinson Crusoe found in his island! See,
they are like white balls, covered with a skin like wetted
parchment! We found them upon the sands along the
Your account is perfectly just, my dear boy," said I:
"by what means did you make so useful a discovery ? "-
Oh, that is part of our history," interrupted my wife;
"for I also have a history to relate, when you will be so
good as to listen to it."
"Hasten then, my love, and get your pretty side-dish
ready, and we will have the history for the dessert. In
the mean time I will relieve the cow and the ass from
their jackets. Come along, boys, and give me your help."
-I got up, and they all followed me gaily to the shore.
We were not long in effecting our purpose with the cow
and the ass, who were animals of a quiet and kind tem-
per; but when it was the sow's turn, our success was
neither so easy nor so certain; for no sooner had we un-
tied the rope than she escaped from us, and ran so fast
that none of us could catch her. The idea occurred to
Ernest of sending the two dogs after her, who caught at
her ears, and sent her back, while we were half deafened
with the hideous noise she made; at last she suffered us
to take off her cork-jacket. We now laid the accoutre-
ments across the ass's back, and returned to the kitchen;
our slothful Ernest highly delighted that we were likely
in future to have our loads carried by a servant.
THE SWISB FAMILY ROBINSON.
In the meanwhile the kind mother had prepared the
omelette, and spread a table-cloth on the end of the cask
of butter, upon which she had placed some of the plates
and silver spoons we had brought from the ship. The
ham was in the middle, and the omelette and the cheese
opposite to each other; and altogether made a figure not
to be despised by the inhabitants of a desert island. By.
and-by the two dogs, the fowls, the pigeons, the sheep,
and the goats had all assembled round us, which gave us
something like the air of sovereigns of the country. It
did not please the geese and ducks to add themselves to
the number of these our loyal subjects; they deserted us
for a marshy swamp, where they found a great abundance
of little crabs which furnished a delicious food for them,
and relieved us of the care of providing for their support.
When we had finished our repast, I bade Fritz present
our company with a bottle of Canary wine, which we had
brought from the captain's cabin, and I desired my wife
to indulge us with the promised history.
Second Journey of Discovery performed by the
Mother of the Family.
"You pretend," said my wife, with a smile, "to be
curious about my history, yet you have not let me speak
a single word in all this time: but the longer a torrent is
pent up, the longer it flows when once let loose. Now,
then, that you are in the humour to listen, I shall give
vent to a certain little movement of vanity which is flut-
tering at my heart. Not, however, to intrude too long
upon your patience, we will skip the first day of your ab-
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
sence, in the course of which nothing new took place, ex-
cept my anxiety on your account, which confined me for
the most part to the spot from whence you embarked,
and from which I could see the vessel. But this morn-
ing, when I was made happy by the sight of your signal,
and had set up mine in return, I looked about, before the
boys were up, in hopes to find a shady place where we
might now and then retire from the heat of the sun; but
I found not a single tree. This made me reflect a little
seriously on our situation. It will be impossible, said I
to myself, to remain in this place with no shelter but a
miserable tent, under which the heat is even more ex-
cessive than without. Courage, then! pursued I; my
husband and my eldest son are at this moment employed
fbr the general good; why should not I be active and en-
terprising also ? why not undertake, with my younger sons,
to do something that shall add some one comfort to our
existence ? I will pass over with them to the other side
of the river, and examine the country respecting which
my husband and Fritz have related such wonders. I will
try to find out some well shaded agreeable spot, in which
we may all be settled. I now cast another look towards
the vessel; but perceiving no sign of your return, I de-
termined to share a slight dinner with the boys, and then
we set out resolutely on a journey of discovery for a habi-
tation better sheltered from the sun.
"In the morning, Jack had slipped to the side of the
tent where Fritz had hung the jackal, and with his knife,
which he sharpened from time to time upon the rock, he
cut some long strips of skin from the back of the animal,
and afterwards set about cleaning them. Ernest disco-
vered him in this uncleanly occupation; and as he is, as
we all know, a little delicate, and afraid to soil his fingers,
he not only refused to give Jack any assistance, but
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
thought fit to sneer a little at the currier-like trade which
he had engaged in. Jack, who, as we also know, has not
the most patient temper in the world, raised his hand to
give him a little cuff. Ernest made his escape, more
alarmed, I believe, by Jack's dirty hands, than by the ex.
poected blow: while I, for my part, ran to set them right,
and to give a mother's reproof to both. Jack persisted
that he had a justification full and undeniable in the great
usefulness of the said dirty work; 'for,' observed he,' it
is intended to make some collars which I shall arm with
spikes, and the dogs will wear them for our defence.' I
saw in an instant that Ernest had been the aggressor, and
on him fell the reproof: I represented how little a squeam.
ishness like his suited with the difficulties of our situa-
tion, in which one and all were called upon to assist in
any employment that should promise to contribute to the
Jack returned to his strips of skin, the cleaning of
which he completed very cleverly. When he had finished
this part of his undertaking, he looked out from the chest
of nails those that were longest and which had the largest
and flattest heads; these he stuck through the bits of
skin intended for the collars, at small distances. He next
cut a strip of sail-cloth, the same breadth as the leather,
and laying it along on the heads of the nails, politely
proposed to me the agreeable occupation of sewing them
together, to prevent the heads of the nails from injuring
the dogs. I begged to be excused; but seeing the good
humour with which he tried to sew them himself, and
that, with all his good-will, it was too hard a task, I re-
warded him by doing it myself.
But now having yielded the first time, I found I had
made myself liable to further claims. The next thing
was a belt for himself, which he had manufactured of the
THE SWISS FAMnhY ROBINSON.
same materials, and was impatient to see completed, it
being intended to contain his pistols. 'We shall see,'
said he, strutting about as he spoke, if the jackals will
dare to attack us.'-' But, dear Jack, you do not foresee
what will happen;-a piece of skin not entirely dry is
always liable to shrink when exposed to the heat; so,
after all, you will not be able to make use of it.' My
little workman, as I said this, struck his forehead, and
betrayed other marks of impatience,-' What you say is
true,' said he, 'and I had not well considered; but I know
of an effectual remedy.' He then took a hammer and
some nails, and stretched his strips of leather on a plank,
which he laid in the sun to dry quickly; thus preventing
the possibility of their shrinking. I applauded his inven-
tion, and promised him I would not fail to give you a full
account of his proceedings.
"I next assembled them round me, and informed them
of my plans for an excursion; and you may believe I heard
nothing like a dissenting voice. They lost not a moment
m preparing themselves ; they examined their arms, their
game-bags, looked out the best clasp-knives, and cheerfully
undertook to carry the provision-bags; while I, for my
share, was loaded with a large flask of water and a hatchet,
For which I thought it likely we might find a use. I also
took the light gun which belongs to Ernest, and gave him
in return a carbine, which might be loaded with several
balls at once. We took some refreshment, and then sal-
Lied forth, attended by the two dogs for our escort. Turk,
who had already accompanied you in the same direction,
seemed well aware that he knew the way, and proceeded
at the head of the party in quality of a conductor.
"As we advanced, I reflected that our safety depended
in some measure on the two boys, because it was they
only who knew how to use the guns, and I now began to
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
feel how fortunate it was that you had accustomed them
from infancy to face danger of every kind. We arrived
at the place at which you had crossed the river, and
succeeded in passing over, though not without difficulty.
"Ernest was the first in reaching the other side. The
little Francis entreated me to carry him on my back,
which was difficult enough. At length we found means
to manage pretty well, thanks to Jack, who relieved me
of my gun and the hatchet. But for himself, finding he
was scarcely able to stand under his added weight, he
resolved to go straight into the water at once, rather than
run the risk of slipping, by stepping on the loose wet
pieces of stone so heavily loaded. I myself had great
difficulty to keep myself steady with the dear little burden
at my back, who joined his hands round my neck, and
leaned with all his weight upon my shoulders. After
having filled my flask with river-water, we proceeded on
our way till we had reached the top of the hill which you
described to us as so enchanting. I continued for some
time to look around and admire in silence; and for the first
time since the event of our dreadful accident at sea, I
felt my heart begin to open to a sense of enjoyment and
In casting my eyes over the vast extent before me, I
had observed a small wood of the most inviting aspect. I
had so long sighed for a little shade, that I resolved to
bend our course towards it; for this, however, it was
necessary to go a long way through a strong kind of grass,
which reached above the heads of the little boys; an
obstacle which, on trial, we found too difficult to overcome.
We therefore resolved to walk along the river, and turn
at last upon the wood. We found traces of your footsteps,
and took care to follow them till we had come to a place
which seemed to lead directly to it; but here again we
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
were interrupted by the height and thickness of the grass,
which nothing but the most exhausting endeavours could
have enabled us to get through.
At this point our attention was arrested by a sudden
noise, and looking about, we perceived a large bird rising
from the thickest part of the grass, and mounting in the
air. Each of the boys prepared to fire, but before they
could be ready, the bird was out of the reach of shot.
Ernest was bitterly disappointed, and instantly exchanged
the gun for the carbine I had given him, crying, 'What a
pity! If I had but had the lightest gun! if the bird had
not got away so fast, I should certainly have killed him.
Oh! if one would but come at this very moment!'
"' A good sportsman, Ernest, always holds himself in
readiness, this being, as I understand, one of his great
arts; but as the opportunity is gone, let us look for the
place in the grass from which he mounted; we may judge
at least of his size by the mark he will have left there.'
The boys all scampered away to the place, when suddenly
a second bird, exactly like the first, except that he was a
little larger, rushed out with a great noise and mounted
above their heads.
The boys remained stupid with astonishment, fol-
lowing him with their eyes without speaking a word, while
for my own part, I could not help laughing heartily. Oh!
such fine sportsmen as we have here! cried I; they will
never let us be in want of game, I plainly perceive. Ah! if
one would but come at this very moment!' Ernest, always a
little disposed to vent uneasiness by crying, now began
to whimper; while Jack, with a curious mixture of tragi-
comic bravery upon his features, his eyes darting upon
the mounting traveller, takes off his hat, makes a profound
bow, and roars out, as if for the bird to hear,' Have the
goodness, Mr. Traveller, to indulge me once more with a
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
little visit, only for a single minute: you cannot imagine
what good sort of people we are: I entreat that we may
have the pleasure of seeing you once again- We now
minutely examined the place from which the birds had
mounted, and found a kind of large nest formed of dry
plants, of clumsy workmanship; the nest was empty,
with the exception of some broken shells of eggs. I
inferred from this, that their young had lately been
hatched; and observing at this moment a rustling motion
among some plants of shorter growth, at some distance
from the spot on which we stood, I concluded that the
young covey were scampering away in that direction; but
as the motion soon ceased, we had no longer a guide to
conduct us to their retreat. We next reached a little
wood, where a prodigious quantity of unknown birds were
skipping and warbling on the branches of the trees,
without betraying the least alarm at our vicinity. The
boys wanted to fire on them; but this I absolutely
forbade, and with the less scruple, as the trees were of so
enormous a height as to be out of gun-shot reach. You
cannot possibly form an idea of the trees we now beheld!
You must somehow have missed this wood; or so extraor-
dinary a sight could not have escaped your observation.
What appeared to us at a distance to be a wood was only
in reality a group of fourteen trees, the trunks of which
seemed to be supported in their upright position by arches
on each side, these arches being formed by the roots of
Jack climbed with considerable trouble upon one of
these arch-formed roots, and with a pack-thread in his
hand measured the actual circumference of the tree itself,
He found that it measured more than fifteen branches
(the brache is equal to twenty-two inches and a half).
I made thirty-two steps in going round one of those giant
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
productions at the roots; and its height from the ground
to the place where the branches begin to shoot may be
about thirty-six branches. The twigs of the tree are strong
and thick; its leaves moderately large in size, and bearing
some resemblance to the hazel-tree of Europe; but I was
unable to discover that it bore any fruit. The soil imme-
diately round and under its branches produced in great
abundance a short thick kind of plant, unmixed with any
of the thistle kind, and of a perfectly smooth surface.
The large breadth of shade which presented itself, seemed
to invite us to make this spot the place of our repose;
and my predilection for it grew so strong, that I resolved
to go no further, but to enjoy its delicious coolness till it
should be time to return. I sat down with my three sons
around me. We took out our provision-bags: a charming
stream, formed to increase the coolness and beauty of the
scene, flowed at our feet, and supplied us with a fresh and
salutary beverage. Our dogs were not long in reaching
us; they had remained behind, sauntering about the
skirts of the wood. To my great surprise, they did not
ask for any thing to eat, but lay down quietly, and were
soon asleep at our feet. For my own part, I felt that I
could never tire of beholding and admiring this enchanting
spot; it occurred to me, that if we could but contrive a
kind of tent that could be fixed in one of the trees, we
might safely come and make our abode here. I had found
nothing in any other direction that suited us so well in
every respect; and I resolved to look no further. When
we had shared our dinner among us, and were resting
after our fatigue, Jack intreated me to finish sewing the
linen strips to his leather belt. The little coxcomb had
so great an ambition to strut about and exhibit himself
in this new ornament, that he had taken the trouble to
carry the piece of wood on which he had nailed his skin
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
along with him through the whole of our expedition. Find-
ing that the skin was really dry, I granted his request,
preferring, since work I must, to do it now when I had the
advantage of being in the shade. When I had finished,
we set out on our return; and on reaching the sea-
shore we found, as I expected, pieces of timber, poles,
large and small chests, and other articles, which I knew
had come from the vessel. None of us, however, were
strong enough to bring them away; we therefore con-
tented ourselves with dragging all we could reach to the
dry sands, beyond the reach of the waves at high water.
Our dogs, meanwhile, were fully employed in catching
crabs, which they drew with their paws to the shore as the
waves washed them up, and on which they made an
excellent repast. I now understood it was this sort of
prey which had appeased their hunger before they joined
us at dinner.
Presently we perceived Flora employed in turning over
a round substance she had found in the sands, some
pieces of which she swallowed from time to time. Ernest
also perceived her motions, and did us the favour, with
his usual composure, to pronounce just these words:-
'They are turtles' eggs.'
"' Run my children,' cried I, and get as many of them
as you can; they are excellent, and I shall have the
greatest pleasure in being able to regale our dear travellers
on their return with so new and delicious a dish.' We
found it difficult to make Flora leave the eggs, to which
she had taken a great fancy. At length, however, we
succeeded in collecting near two dozen of them, which we
secured in our provision-bags. When we had concluded
this affair, we by accident cast our eyes upon the sea, and
to our astonishment perceived a sail, which seemed to be
joyfully approaching towards the land. I knew not what
THE SWISS AIMLY ROBINSON.
to imagine; but Ernest exclaimed that it was you and
Fritz; and we soon had the happiness of being convinced
that he was right! We ran eagerly towards the river,
re-crossed it as before, and soon arrived at the place of
your landing, when we had nothing further to do but to
throw ourselves into your arms!"
And you think we could set up a tent in one of those
giant trees at a distance of sixty-six feet from the ground!
And by what means are we to ascend this tree ? for at
present I have no clear view of this important part of the
I perceived a tear stealing into my wife's eye, that she
could not prevail upon me to think as she wished of her
discovery, and that I treated the subject of her giant trees
with so little respect.
Do you recollect," said she, "the large lime-tree in
the public walk of the town we lived in; and the pretty
little room which had been built among its branches, and
the flight of stairs which led to it ? What should hinder
us from effecting such a contrivance in one of my giant
trees, which afford even superior facilities in the enormous
size and strength of their branches, and the peculiar
manner of their growth ? "
Well, well, we shall see about it. In the mean while,
my boys, let us extract a little lesson in arithmetic from the
subject of these marvellous trees, for this, at least, will be
deriving a real benefit from them. Tell me, learned Mr.
Ernest, how many feet there are in thirty-six branches P for
that, your mother assures us, is the height of the trees."
Ernest.-To answer this question, I must know first
how many feet or inches the brache contains.
Father.-The brache or half-ell, contains one foot ten
inches, or twenty-two inches. Now then make your
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
Ernest.-I do not find it so easy as I thought. You
must help me, Fritz: you are older than I am.
Fritz.-With all my heart. First we take thirty-six
branches; then multiply 36 by 22, the number of inches
each brache contains, and you have 792; divide this by
12, the number of inches in a foot, and it will give us 66
for the number of feet. Is that right, father ?
Father.-Yes, quite right. So, my dear wife, you will have
every evening to climb sixty-six feet to get to bed, which,
as we have no ladder, is not the easiest thing imaginable.
Now then let us see how many feet the tree is in circum-
ference, taking it round the roots. Your mother found that
she walked round it in thirty-two steps. Tell us then,
Ernest, how many feet do you think these thirty-two steps
would make ?
Ernest.- You always ask me the things that I know
nothing at all about; you should tell me, at least, how
many feet there are in a step.
Father.-Well, say two feet and a half to each step.
Ernest.-Twice 32 makes 64; the half of 32 is 16;
which added to 64 makes 80 feet.
Father.-Very well. Tell me now, if you recollect the
proper term in geometry for the circumference of a circle,
or say of a tree, since we are talking of trees.
Ernest.-Oh, you may be sure that I could not forget
that it is called the periphery.
Father.-Right. And what is the term for any line
which may be drawn from one point of the periphery to
another, passing through the centre ? Now, Jack, you
may show us what a great geometrician you intend to
Jack.-I believe it is called the diameter.
Father.-So far right. Next, can you tell me what is
the diameter of a periphery of eighty feet, and what dis-
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBIISON.
tance there is between the extremities of the roots of the
giant tree and its trunk ?
The boys all began to reckon, and soon one said one
number, one another, at random; but Fritz called out
louder than the rest, that the distance was twenty-six feet.
Father.-You are pretty near. Tell me, did you make
a calculation, or was it a mere guess ?
Fritz. -No, father, not a guess: but I will tell you. In
the town in which we lived, I have often taken notice that
the hatter, when he was about to bind the edge of a hat,
always measured three times the length of the diameter,
and a trifle over, for the quantity of riband he should use.
.Fther.-So; height from the ground to the branches,
sixty-six feet; thickness, eight feet in diameter; and
twenty-eight feet distance from the extremities of the
roots to the trunk: they really, with propriety, may be
called giant trees.
We now performed our devotions, and retired to rest,
grateful to find ourselves once more together, and in
health. We soon closed our eyes, and enjoyed tranquil
slumbers till break of day.
Construction of a Bridge.
WHEN my wife and I awoke the next morning, we re-
sumed the question of our change of abode. I observed
to her, that it was a matter of difficulty, and that we
might have reason to repent such a step. "My own
opinion is," said I, "that we had better remain here,
where Providence seems to have conducted us; the place
is favourable to our personal safety, and is near the vessel,
from which we may continue to enrich ourselves: we are
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBInSON.
on all sides protected by the rocks; it is an asylum in-
accessible but by sea, or by the passage of the river, which
is not easily accomplished. Let us then have patience
yet a little longer at least, till we have got all that can be
removed, or that would be useful to us from the ship."
My wife replied, that the intense heat of the sands was
insupportable; that by remaining, we lost all hope of
procuring fruits of any kind, and must live on oysters, or
on such wild birds as that we found so unpalatable. As
for the safety you boast of," pursued she, the rocks did
not prevent our receiving a visit from the jackals; nor
is it improbable that tigers or other animals might follow
their example. Lastly, as to the treasures we might
continue to draw from the vessel, I renounce them with
all my heart. We are already in possession of provisions
and other useful things: and, to say the truth, my heart
is always filled with distressing apprehensions, when you
and Fritz are exposed to the danger of that perfidious
element the sea."
"We will then think seriously of the matter; but let
us have a well-digested scheme of operation before we
leave this spot for your favourite wood. First, we must
contrive a store-house among the rocks for our pro-
visions and other things, to which, in case of invasion in
the wood, we can retreat for safety. This agreed, the
next thing is to throw a bridge across the river, if we are
to pass it with all our family and baggage."
"A bridge!" exclaimed my wife; "can you possibly
think of such a thing ? If we stay while you build a
bridge, we may consider ourselves as fixed for life. Why
should we not cross the river as we did before ? The ass
and the cow will carry all we possess upon their backs."
"But do you recollect, that to keep what they carry
dry, they must not perform their journey as they did from
THE BWISS FAMILY EOBINSON.
the vessel ? For this reason, then, if for no other, we
must contrive a bridge. We shall want also some sacks
and baskets to contain our different matters; you may
therefore set about making these, and I will undertake
the bridge, which, the more I consider, the more I find
to be of indispensable necessity; for the stream will, no
doubt, at times increase, and the passage become im-
practicable in any other way. At this moment it would
he found so for our shortest-legged animals, and I am
sure you would not wish to see them drowned."
"Well, then, a bridge let there be," said my wife;
and you will leave our stock of gunpowder here, I hope;
for I am never easy with it so near us: a thunder-storm,
or some thoughtless action of one of the boys, might ex-
pose us to serious danger."
You are right, my love; and I will carefully attend to
your suggestion. We will keep on hand only a sufficient
quantity for daily use; I will contrive a place in the rock
for the rest, where it will be safe from the chance of fire
Thus, then, we decided the important question of re-
moving to a new abode; after which, we fixed upon a plan
of labour for the day, and then roused the boys. Their
delight on hearing of our project may easily be con-
ceived, but they expressed their fear that it would be a
long while before a bridge could be built; a single hour
appearing an age to them, with such a novelty in view as
the prospect of removing to the wood, to live under the
giant trees. They, in the fulness of their joy, entreated
that the place might be called The Promised Land.
We now began to look about for breakfast; Fritz
taking care not to neglect his monkey, who sucked one
of the goats as contentedly as if she had been its mother.
My wife undertook to milk another, and then the cow,
THE SWISS FAMILY BOBINSON.
and afterwards gave some of the milk to each of the
children: with a part of what remained she made a sort of
soup with biscuits, and the rest she put into one of the
flasks, to accompany us in our expedition. During this
time, I was preparing the boat for another journey to the
vessel, to bring away a sufficient quantity of planks and
timbers for the bridge. After breakfast we set out; and
now I took with me Ernest as well as Fritz, that we
might accomplish our object in a shorter time.
We rowed stoutly till we reached the current, which
soon drew us on beyond the bay; but scarcely had we
passed a little islet, lying to one side of us, than we per-
ceived a prodigious quantity of sea-gulls and other birds.
I had a curiosity to discover what could be the reason of
such an assemblage of these creatures. I steered for the
spot; but finding that the boat made but little way, I
hoisted my sail.
To Ernest our expedition afforded the highest delight.
He was in ecstasies at seeing the sail begin to swell, and
the motion of the streamer in the air. Fritz, on his part,
did not for a moment take his eyes from the islet where
the birds were. Presently he suddenly exclaimed, I see
what it is; the birds are all pecking at a monstrous fish,
which lies dead upon the soil."
I approached near enough to step upon the land, and
after bringing the boat to an anchor with a heavy stone,
we stole softly up to the birds. We soon perceived that
the object which had attracted them was in reality an
enormous fish, which had been thrown there by the sea.
So eagerly were they occupied with the feast, that not
one of them attempted to fly off. We observed with
astonishment the extreme voracity of this plumed group:
each bird was so intent upon its prey, that we might have
killed great numbers of them with our sticks alone.
THE SWISs FAMILY ROBINSON.
Fritz did not cease to express his wonder at the mon-
strous size of the animal, and asked me by what means
he could have got there P
"I believe," answered I, "you were yourself the
means; there is every appearance that it is the very shark
you wounded yesterday. See, here are the two balls
which you discharged at his head."
Yes, yes, it is the very same," said my young hero,
skipping about for joy: I well remember I had two balls
in my gun, and here they are, lodged in his hideous
"I grant it is hideous enough," continued I; "its
aspect even when dead makes one shudder; particularly
when I recollect how easy it would have been for him to
have devoured us. See what a huge mouth he has, and
what a rough and prickly skin! one might almost use it
for a file; and his length must be above twenty feet. We
ought to be thankful to Providence, and a little to our
Fritz also, for having delivered us from such a monster!
But let us take away with us some pieces of his skin, for
I have an idea that it may in some way or other be useful
to us. But how to get at him is the difficulty."
Ernest drew out the iron ramrod from his gun, and by
striking with it to right and left among the birds, soon
dispersed them. Fritz and I then advanced and cut
several long strips of the skin from the head of the shark,
with which we were proceeding to our boat, when I ob-
served, lying on the ground, some planks and timbers
which had recently been cast by the sea on this little
island. On measuring the longest, we perceived they
would answer our purpose; and with the assistance of
the crow and a lever which we had brought with us, found
means to get them to the boat, and thus spare ourselves
the trouble of proceeding to the vessel. With great ex-