ira B E
46 4pa4109 Eol eqW.Ce
* J :
/~A 7 4Cr
iie t ( 2
The Baldwin Library
XW .74% v'
buffalo. "Oh r. Hosma! I sad "tw f h sitns
ii~rR Ci;j: *
fK eo7~ta I" w
Abot n ou aferthy adstate, ac reuredonhi
buflo h M.Hrsmn1 ai, i wso tesifns
eveI -" ____4-- 1 L I *, .'I- -
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON;
THE ADVENTURES OF A FATHER AND HIS FOUR SONS
ON A DESERT ISLAND.
Scour binbugs on St
GALL & INGLIS, 6 GEORGE STREET.
A Swiss PASTOR who had lost nearly his all in the Revolution
of 1798, had determined to emigrate to a newly discovered region
in the Southern Ocean, which has since been named Australia.
He contrived to save as much from the wreck of his property
as purchased some cattle and seeds to take out with him.
After a prosperous voyage to the Pacific Ocean, a violent storm
drove his vessel from its course, and finally wrecked it on an
uninhabited island near the coast of New Guinea. The Swiss
FAMILY ROBINSON is tie journal Kept by the good Pastor.
I. THE SHIPWRECK, I 1
II, FIRST DAY ON LAND, 7
III. VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY, 20
IV. EXPEDITION TO THE VESSEL, 42
V. WHAT HAD HAPPENED DURING OUR ABSENCE, 53
VI. CHANGE OF RESIDENCE, 63
VII. THE REMOVAL, 71
VIII. CONSTRUCTION OF OUR HOUSE, 89
IX. A HOLIDAY, 93
X. THE SLEDGE, 104
XI. SECOND VOYAGE TO THE VESSEL, 113
XII. THIRD VOYAGE TO THE VESSEL, 120
XIII. BAKING, 124
XIV. THE PINNACE, 127
XV. THE CROCODILE, .132
XVI. THE HEATH-COCK, 140
XVII. LAST VOYAGE TO THE VESSEL, 145
XVIII. TRAINING OF ANIMALS, 156
XIX. THE WILD Ass, 168
XX. THE DRY SEASON, 177
XXI. THE COTTON PLANT, 189
XXII. THE ANNIVERSARY, 197
XXIII. ADVENTURES OF JACK, 205
,iXIV. THE LOOM, 218
XXV. THE Ass, 225
XXVI. THE EXCURSION, 227
XXVII. THE VOYAGE TO THE HERMITAGE, 231
XXVIII. SUGAR MEADOW, 235
XXIX. WALK IN THE SAVANNAHS, .236
XXX. EXCURSION, 240
XXXI. AN OSTRICH, 244
XXXII. RETURN OF THE RAINY SEASON, 252
XXXIII. THE WILD BOAR, 256
XXXIV. DISAPPEARANCE OF FRITZ, 262
XXXV. HYENA, 269
XXXVI. ELEPHANTS, 276
XXXVII. AFTER TEN YEARS, 282
XXXVIII. FRIrz's VOYAGE, 290
XXXIX. THE ENGLISHWOMAN, 292
XL FRITZ'S EXPEDITION, o 296
XLI. THE CASTAWAY, 305
XLII JENNY'S HISTORY, 314
XLIII. CONCLUSION, 313
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
T HE storm had lasted six days, and, far from
subsiding, seemed doubly furious. We
were driven so far to the south-west, out of our
route, that it was impossible to discover in what
latitude we were. The ship had lost her masts,
and was drawing water on all sides. We each
commended our souls to God, praying Him in
mercy to show us a way of escape.
Children," said I to my four sons, who
gathered, weeping, round their mother, "God
can still save us, if such is His will, but if He de-
cide otherwise let us be resigned. At the worst,
we leave this world only to be re-united in a
My wife, drying her tears, and forcing herself
to appear calm, tried to inspire the children with
courage and resignation. We knelt down and
All at once, above the roar of the wind and
2 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
waves, I heard, with a thrill of delight, the joy-
ful cry, "Land! land !" At the same moment
we felt a shock, followed by a frightful crash; and
I knew, from the fixedness of the vessel, and the
dead sound of the waves breaking against her,
that we had been thrown upon the rocks.
"We are lost-lower the boats !" cried a voice
which I recognized as the captain's.
"Lost!" repeated the children, looking towards
me with terror.
Take heart," said I; "do not despair. I
will go and see what can be done to secure our
I left the cabin and went on deck. Struck,
blinded, thrown down by the waves, it was
some time before I could distinguish anything.
"When at last I had gained the higher part of the
vessel, I saw the boats had been launched, and
were already overloaded with the crew and pas-
sengers, who had eagerly crowded into them. A
sailor was just cutting the last rope! They had
forgotten us! I shouted to them; but my voice
was lost in the noise of the tempest, and I saw,
with horror, that we were abandoned with the
wreck. At the same time I discovered that the
vessel had been cast so high that the stern, in
which our cabin was situated, could not be
reached by the waves; and notwithstanding the
thick rain which fell, I could perceive, at some
distance, a shore, which, in spite of its bare and
desolate aspect, awoke some hopes of safety.
I returned to my wife and children, and affec-
ting a calmness I was far from feeling, said to
Take courage; part of the vessel is, thanks
to God, firmly fixed. To-morrow the wind and
the sea will be calmer, and we may then gain the
The children, with the confiding disposition of
their age, brightened up at my words; and their
mother, as the evening drew on, hastily prepared
a slight repast, of which they partook with a good
appetite, and having gone to bed, were soon fast
asleep. My wife and I continued all night watch-
ing, and passed most of our time in prayer.
Towards the morning I began to be conscious
that the storm was subsiding. As soon as day
dawned I went on deck. The wind was much
fallen, the sea was quieter, and the horizon was
glowing with the rosy tints of sunrise. Cheered
by the changed aspect of the sky, I called my
wife and sons. The latter were very much as-
tonished to find that we were the sole occupants
of the vessel.
",Where are the sailors?" they cried; "why
did they not take us with them ? What is to
become of us ?"
1My children," I answered, "our companions
have acted rashly. They crowded into the boats,
and pushed off without giving us a thought; ani
4 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
I am afraid they have been drowned in the night.
However, the sky is now clear, and land is not
very far off; we may yet live to thank God that
we were left behind; let us, without delay, take
means to secure our safety."
"Father," said Fritz, "I have been thinking
how we could get to the land. If we had some
cork or bladders, we might make floats for my
mother and brothers; you and I could swim
without any help."
"That is a good idea, my boy," I answered,
only there are neither corks nor bladders in the
ship, I fear. We must see if we cannot find
some barrels, which will do as well."
Ernest, my second son, an intelligent, but a
timid and indolent boy of about twelve, was
alarmed at the idea of so precarious a voyage,
and suggested that we would be safer on a raft.
"Well, let us make a raft with barrels," I said.
"I have no doubt there are plenty in the hold, if
we can but reach them." With some difficulty,
I succeeded in drawing four of them up to the
lower deck, which was nearly on a level with the
water. They were made of good strong wood,
and clasped with iron hoops. I began our work
by sawing them in two, with Fritz's help.
We arranged side by side the eight little tubs
thus obtained, leaving sufficient space between
them for seats; and finding a few slight planks
long enough to join them together, we nailed
THE RAFT. 5
them firmly down and fastened them by bolts.
We also nailed two planks along the entire length
on both sides, bending them at the ends. This
accomplished, we found ourselves in possession
of a boat, which, at least on a calm sea, would
be tolerably secure. We next tried to launch it,
but it was so heavy that our united efforts failed
to move it.
I called for a lever; and Fritz, who remem-
bered having seen one, went, with his two
brothers, to fetch it. With this instrument, I
raised our unwieldy contrivance, and when Fritz
had placed rollers under it, it was easily moved.
The children were amazed at the power of the
lever; and I promised to explain to them how it
worked at our first leisure hour, if we were spared.
In a few moments afterwards our boat slid from
the deck into the sea, and darted away so swiftly,
that we should have lost it, had I not taken care
to secure it by a strong cable to one of the pins
of the vessel. The children, when they saw it
afloat, shouted for joy. The raft rested on the
water,- but in an unstable position for want of
ballast. Seeing this, I felt a momentary disap-
pointment, but soon provided a remedy.
I went myself to where I knew the provisions
were kept, to take some of them ashore with us
for immediate use, and put them in one of the
barrels. Fritz, by my directions, went to the am-
munition store, from which he brought rifles,
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
pistols, powder, balls, and shot. Ernest ran-
sacked the carpenter's cabin, and came back
loaded with tools and nails. Little Francis, my
youngest child, anxious to make himself as useful
as the others, produced a box of fish-hooks. Fritz
and Ernest laughed at this trophy; but I told
them it was not to be despised; it might yet be
our only means of support. All these except the
last we stowed away in the barrels. As to Jack,
my third son, a lively frolicsome boy of ten, he
appeared leading by the ears two enormous dogs,
which had been shut up in the captain's cabin,
and were quite tamed by hunger. My wife re-
minded me that there was a cow, an ass, two
goats, and a pig on board; but these we were
unable to take with us. The only discovery
which struck me as being of little use was Jack's.
"You have brought us," I told him, "two
enormous eaters, which will cost much, and be of
Father," he answered, I thought they would
help us to hunt when we got ashore."
"You are right," said I, but we are not yet
ashore, and cannot find room for them just
We still wanted oars. Ernest found four that
the sailors had left behind. Remembering that
savages, to preserve the equilibrium of their canoes,
use a kind of balance, I determined to follow their
example. I took two yards, and joined them to-
FIRST DAY ON LAND. 7
gether, so that they could turn freely towards
either end of the boat. To each of these poles I
tied a small empty barrel, which kept the boat
By the time all was adjusted, it was too late to
think of setting sail that day; we must pass an-
other night on the foundered vessel; but my wife
consoled us for this disappointment by a good
At length we all retired to rest-having first
commended ourselves to God-and slept well, for
the day had been a laborious one. That night
passed away without any accident.
FIRST DAY ON LAND.
AT break of day we were all awake; hope, like
sorrow, sleeps little. Morning prayers over, I said
to my children, "With God's help we will now
attempt our deliverance. Give the animals pro-
visions for several days; we will return and fetch
them if, as I hope, we succeed in saving our-
I took, in addition to what we had collected on
the previous day, as being most necessary, a bar-
rel of powder, one or two guns, several pairs of
pistols, some balls, along with lead and moulds
8 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
to enable us to make more. We were each pro-
vided with a bag of provisions. I took a case of
portable soup, a box of biscuits, a large pot, some
knives, hatchets, saws, pincers, nails, gimlets, and
some sailcloth for a tent. We had heaped so
many things together, that I was obliged to leave
much behind. We were just going on board when
we heard the cocks crowing, as if bidding us fare-
well. My wife thought we had better take them
with us, as well as the ducks, geese, and pigeons.
Accordingly, we put two cocks and a dozen hens
into one of the tubs, which I covered over with a
wooden grating. As for the geese, ducks, and
pigeons, I set them at liberty, trusting that their
own instinct would guide them to land.
The children were already embarked, in the
order I had assigned to them, when my wife came
from the hold of the vessel carrying a large sack,
which she threw into the tub where she had put
little Francis. I thought nothing of it at the
time, supposing that the careful mother was only
providing a more comfortable seat for her child.
When I had seen them all seated, I cut the
cable, and we rowed toward the shore. In the first
tub was my wife; in the second, Francis. Fritz
and I sat upon a rough plank which we had made
as a seat, to enable us to row. I gave Ernest one
of the oars for a helm. Jack was in the sixth
The dogs being too heavy to be allowed to
THE LANDING. 9
embark with us, we left them on the vessel.
When they saw that we were gone, they began
to howl piteously, but suddenly threw themselves
into the water, and soon rejoined us.
The sea swelled gently, the sky was clear, and
the sun was bright. We rowed along smoothly,
aided by the rising tide. Around us floated boxes
and barrels belonging to the wreck. Fritz and
I would fain have seized them, but we were
too heavily loaded already, and moved very
We made the passage without accident; but
the nearer we drew to the land, the more barren
and desolate it appeared. All we could distinguish
was a range of naked grey rocks. Fritz, however,
thought he discerned clumps of palms. Ernest,
naturally fond of luxuries, was delighted with the
idea, for, judging from what he had read, cocoa
nuts, he thought, were much better than any
How happy I shall be," cried little Francis.
On this a discussion arose amongst the children
about the nature of the trees which Fritz had
pointed out to them; and I was regretting that I
had not brought the Captain's telescope, when
Jack drew from his pocket a small perspective
glass he had found in the boatswain's room. I
turned towards the shore, and, forgetting the
point in question, I tried to discover a convenient
landing-place, and spied a creek, towards which
10 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
the geese and ducks, having got ahead of us, were
directing their course.
And the cocoas, papa; do you see them?"
Yes," I replied, smiling, Fritz's eyes have
not deceived him. I can distinguish trees, even
at this distance, very like cocoas."
Oh, how delightful," cried he, clapping his
Hard rowing soon brought us ashore, and we
landed at the mouth of a little stream, where the
water was only deep enough to float our raft, and
where, the banks being low and shelving, it was
easy to leap out. The children sprang lightly
ashore, all excepting little Francis, who, in spite
of his impatience, could not leave his tub without
his mother's help. The dogs welcomed us by
barking and leaping for .joy. The ducks and
geese, already at home on the banks of the stream,
mingled their salutations with the hoarse cries of
the penguins perched on the rocks, and the
screams of the flamingoes overheard. Francis, in
his delight at seeing them, forgot even the cocoas.
Our first care when we landed was to kneel
down and thank God, who had so mercifully pre-
served us, and ask Him to continue to us His
protection. I embraced my wife and children;
and my wife, with tearful eyes, said, God is
good. He has still left us each other, and our dear
MAKING SOUP. 11
We then began to unload the raft; and although
what we had been able to bring with us was in-
considerable, we thought ourselves rich in pos-
sessing it. Having chosen a convenient place, we
set about erecting our tent. I drove into the
ground one of the poles we had used to balance
the boat; to the top of this I fastened the second,
the other end of which rested in a cleft of the
rock. Over this I threw the sailcloth, which
I fastened to the ground with stakes, making it
more secure by placing upon it our casks of pro-
visions, and other heavy objects. Fritz attached
hooks to the opening, so that we could shut our-
selves in at night.
I told the children to gather together, for beds,
all the dry herbs and moss they could find.
While they were thus occupied, I constructed at
a little distance from the tent a sort of hearth, to
which I carried several armfuls of dry wood from
the banks of the stream, and we had soon a bright
crackling fire. My wife placed on it a large pot
full of water, into which I put some of the port-
What are you going to glue, papa," said
Francis, who mistook the soup in its solid form
for glue. His mother, smiling at the question,
told him I was making soup.
Soup made of glue !" said he, making a wry face.
"No, dear," said his mother, ( good rich soup
made of meat."
12 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
Made of meat !" cried Francis ; "then you are
going to the butcher's, mamma ?" His mother
explained to him that what he had mistaken for
glue was the juice of meat reduced to a solid state
by cooking. It is used by sailors," she said," in-
stead of fresh meat, which would not keep during
Fritz, who had loaded his gun, went higher
up the stream, Ernest wandered in an opposite
direction along the shore. Jack amused himself
climbing the rocks in search of mussels. I was
pulling out of the water the casks we had towed
to shore, when I heard Jack screaming. Armed
with a hatchet, I ran in the direction in which
I heard his voice, and found him up to his knees
in the water.
Papa, papa," cried he, in a voice in which
triumph mingled, "make haste, I have caught
a large lobster."
Well, bring it here."
"I cannot, papa; it has got hold of me."
"I could scarcely help laughing when I saw
this would-be conqueror held prisoner by his
captive; but there was no time to be lost in going
to his rescue. A large lobster held him by the
leg, and poor Jack struggled in vain to escape
from its pincers. When I waded into the water
it let go its hold and tried to make off, but I
caught it and brought it ashore. Jack, anxious
to show this prize to his mother, seized it with
CATCHING A LOBSTER. 13
both hands, but it gave him such a pinch that
he quickly let it go, and began to cry. I could
not restrain my inclination to laugh any longer;
but when I showed him that the best way to
secure his prisoner was to seize it by the middle
of the body, he was quite consoled, and ran away
triumphantly to his mother.
Mamma! Francis! Ernest! Fritz! Where
is Fritz ? he cried, on arriving at the tent;
" come, see a lobster! a lobster! "
Ernest, after gravely examining the animal,
gave it as his opinion, that it should be put
into the pot to improve our soup. His mother,
however, not quite persuaded of the excellence
of this receipt, preferred to cook it separately.
Ernest then told us that he also had made a
I saw some shell-fish in the water," said he,
" but I could not reach them without wetting
I saw them, too," said Jack disdainfully,
"but what of that ? They were only bad mus-
sels, that no one could eat. They are not to be
compared to my lobster."
"Who knows," replied Ernest, "that they
are not oysters ? Indeed I am almost sure they
are, from the manner in which they are attached
to the rocks, and from the depth of water at
which they are found."
"Well, Mr Nicety," said I, if you think they
14 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
are oysters, why did you not bring us some ?
You were afraid of wetting your feet, you say;
remember that in our circumstances we must not
be too particular."
I saw, besides," answered Ernest, some
salt in a crevice of the rocks; I suppose it has
been formed by sea-water, being dried up by the
"Well," cried I, "you great discoverer, you
should have brought a whole sackful of it; go
and make amends for your negligence, or we
shall have very insipid soup."
Ernest ran off, and soon reappeared with the
salt, which, however, was so mixed with sand
and earth, that I was on the point of throwing it
away, when my wife stopped me. Melting it in
some water, she strained the water through a
piece of linen and seasoned the soup with it. I
told Ernest he should have been more careful in
gathering it. The soup was now ready, but
Fritz had not yet returned; and, besides, con-
templating the large boiling pot, we began to ask
how we were to partake of it. Must we lift this
great boiling pot to our lips each in turn, or must
we lift the soup in our hands ? Our circum-
stances were not unlike those of the fox in the
fable, when the stork presented his food in a
bottle. Our situation was really laughable-.
If we had only some cocoa-nuts," said
Ernest, we could make them into spoons."
ANOTHER CAPTURE. 15
Yes," said I; if to wish were to have, we
might instantly supply ourselves with beautiful
silver spoons. We have not yet discovered
Fritz's cocoa trees; the rocks are between us and
them; we must think of something within our
Could we not use oyster shells ?" replied
"A very good idea," cried I; "run and get some."
Ernest obeyed; but Jack, more active in his
movements, was already in the water when he
reached the shore. Jack separated them from
the rocks and threw them on the beach to Ernest,
who thus did not require to wet his feet. As
they returned, Fritz also reappeared. He came
forward with one hand behind his back, affecting
a dispirited air.
Have you found nothing ? I asked.
"Nothing at all," he answered. But his
brothers, who crowded round him, shouted,
" Oh, a guinea-pig! Where did you find it ? Let
us see it!"
Fritz then produced it proudly. I congratu-
lated him on his success; but at the same time
reprimanded him for the untruth he had told,
and which he thought was excusable as a joke.
He asked my pardon; and then related to us
how, when he had crossed to the other side of
the stream, he found that the country was much
more fertile than where we were. The vege-
16 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
station there," he said, "is very luxuriant, and
besides, on that part of the beach the sea has
thrown up a quantity of boxes and casks and
other things from the wreck. We must not let
all these be lost. Let us go to the vessel and
bring the cattle on shore. The milk the- cow
would give us would make our biscuits much
more palatable; and on the other side of the
stream there is plenty of fine pasture for her, as
well as large trees to shelter us. Let us go over
there, and leave this bare desolate shore."
Patience, patience," said I. Everything
in its right time; to-morrow must follow to-day;
and first of all, have you seen any trace of our
unhappy companions ? "
No, none. Neither on shore nor on the sea.
I saw no living creatures, but a troop of animals
like the one I have brought. I think they are
guinea-pigs, but they must be of a particular
species, for they have feet like hares. They are
so tame that I could observe them quite near.
They frisk amongst the grass, and sit and eat
Ernest, with his most learned air, examined
the animal minutely, and then, on the authority
of his book of natural history, declared it to be
"Ah!" said Fritz, "listen to the sage who
tries to impose upon us; I am sure that is a
THE AGOUTI. 17
Do not speak so positively," I said to Fritz;
" I never saw an agouti alive, but the animal
you have there answers to the description given
of it by naturalists. Besides being too large, its
flattened head, little ears, short tail, and thick
smooth hair, all forbid the idea of its being a
guinea-pig. It is like a large rabbit; and see
how sharp and curved its front teeth are. A
guinea-pig never had such teeth."
Father," said Ernest, since the agoutis
are so tame, why could we not train them like
rabbits, and then we should have game without
hunting for it ?"
"Yes, that would suit your indolence nicely,
my lazy Ernest; try it, if you like; the agouti is
not very difficult to tame. But I warn you they
will give you much more trouble than rabbits.
They are famous gnawers; nothing can resist
their teeth, however hard; I have heard of them
even gnawing through an iron wire cage. In
what kind of prison would you confine yours ? "
Jack, while his brothers were listening to this
lesson in natural history, was trying hard to
open an oyster with a knife, but in spite of all
the wry faces he pulled and the great efforts he
made, he did not succeed. I showed him, how-
ever, that if laid upon hot coals they opened of
Now, children," I said, this is one of the
dainties most prized by gourmands." So saying,
18 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
I ate one; but Fritz and Jack, imitating my
example, declared them very bad; Ernest and
Francis agreed with them. No one cared to eat
any more; so we threw away all but the shells
of the others, and used them as spoons.
While we were making a good meal, the dogs,
which thought they could not do better than follow
our example, discovered Fritz's agouti, and began
to attack it. Perceiving this, Fritz was furious,
and the first thing he could lay hold of being his
gun, he struck them with it so violently as to
break it. Then, when they made their escape, he
threw stones after them so long as he thought he
could reach them.
This was not the first time that Fritz had given
way to passion. I reprimanded him severely for
this violent outbreak-which grieved me the more
as it was a very bad example for his brothers-
and showed him that, in the blindness of his rage,
he had not only completely destroyed his gun,
but also maimed the poor animals which would
be of the greatest service to us. He saw the
justice of the rebuke, and soon showed that he
was sorry for his fault. I pardoned him on con-
dition that he would make his peace with the
dogs. He took a bit of biscuit in each hand and
set off, soon reappearing with the faithful ani-
Oh, father," he said, the tears standing in
his eyes, they licked my hands before taking the
THE FIRST NIGHT ON SHORE. 19
biscuit. How could I be so cruel to such good
The sun was setting as we finished our repast.
The fowls and ducks gathered round us, and my
wife got them some corn from the bag I had
seen her throw into the tub Francis had oc-
cupied. I praised her forethought, but advised
that the birds be fed on biscuit crumbs, and that
the corn be kept for sowing. The pigeons went
to roost in the crevices of the rocks, and the
fowls on the top of the tent, while the ducks
sought shelter for the night among the rushes at
the mouth of the stream. We also made pre-
parations for repose. We loaded our arms and
placed them so as to be at hand in case of any
alarm; and having offered up our evening prayer,
we retired into the tent. To the great surprise
of the children, it was dark almost immediately,
from which I guessed we were somewhere near
the equator, or at least within the tropics.
I looked out once more before retiring to rest,
to make sure that all was right, and then closed
the entrance to our tent. It was a chill fresh
night, and the cold made us draw close together.
The children were soon asleep. My wife and I
had arranged that I should watch till midnight,
and that she should then replace me; but in-
sensibly sleep crept over me, and God alone
watched over us during the first night we passed
on this land of exile.
20 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
MY wife and I were early wakened the next morn-
ing by the crowing of the cocks. Our first care
was to deliberate on the day's work. She agreed
with me that we should first try to discover some
trace of our shipmates. We could, at the same
time, explore the country, and fix on some spot
on which to pitch our tent. It was arranged that
Fritz and I should go on this tour of discovery,
and that the other boys and their mother should
stay near the tent. The latter set about prepar-
ing breakfast, while I awoke the children, who
were all soon up, not even excepting Ernest. I
asked Jack what had become of the lobster. He
told me he had hid it in a crevice of the rocks, to
save it from the fate of Fritz's agouti.
Well," said I, "you are not blind to your
own interests, and you have learned a lesson from
Fritz's experience. Will you let us take its claws
for food during the journey we are going to
make ? "
Oh, a journey! a journey!" cried all the
children at once; take me, papa, take me !"
It is impossible to take you all at this time,'
said I, we should get on so slowly; and if we
THE START. 21
met with any danger, it would be difficult to de-
fend you all. Fritz and I will go alone with
Turk, and you will stay with your mother, and
keep Flora for protection."
Fritz, reddening, asked me if he might leave
his own gun, which he had spoiled, and take
another. I gave him permission, without seem-
ing to notice the confusion the remembrance of
his fault caused him. I made him take a pair of
pistols and a hatchet in his belt, and did the
same myself. We filled our bags with powder and
shot and provisions, taking, besides, a tin bottle
of water. Breakfast was now ready. It consisted
of the lobster, which, however, proved so hard
that the most of it was left for us to take with us.
Fritz advised that we should set out before the
heat became very great.
You are right," said I; let us go ; but stay,
we have forgotten something very important."
What is it ?" he asked; to kiss my mother
and brothers ?"
"It is to thank God," said Ernest.
"Yes, my dear Ernest, you have guessed
I was interrupted by Jack, who, imitating the
ringing of a bell, cried, "Ding dong, ding dong!
to prayers! to prayers !"
"1Naughty child," said I, "thus to ridicule
sacred things. Leave us; we will not admit you
to worship at all." Jack went away with a full
22 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
heart, and knelt by himself. After prayers he
came forward and promised me he should never
again commit the same fault. I kissed him
fondly, glad to pass by his thoughtlessness.
When I had reminded the children to be kind
and obedient to their mother, we set out, not
without tearful eyes and anxious hearts; for my
wife was afraid our adventure might be a danger-
ous one, and I was anxious about the safety of
the dear ones we were leaving. We proceeded at
a brisk pace, and before long the noise of the
stream drowned the farewells of those we had left
In order to cross the stream, we had to go
farther up its course, to a place where the steep
overhanging rocks made its bed considerably
narrower, and where it formed a waterfall. On
the opposite side, the country presented quite a
different appearance. We found ourselves first
amongst high dry grass, through which we found
it very difficult to make our way. We had gone
about a hundred steps, when we heard a rustling
behind us, and, turning quickly round, we saw
that something was moving the grass. Fritz
loaded his gun, and held himself ready, with his
finger on the trigger, to meet the intruder; but he
soon recognized Turk, whom we had forgotten.
and who now came to rejoin us. I patted the
faithful animal, and praised the presence of mind
which Fritz had shown in not being afraid ot the
SEARCH FOR THE LOST. 23
danger, and in not firing hastily before he had
distinctly seen who the supposed enemy was.
Continuing our course, we gained the sea shore,
which we scanned anxiously to discover some
traces of our shipmates; but all in vain. We
examined the sand to find, if possible, some foot-
prints; but we could see nothing. Fritz suggested
that we might fire our guns once or twice, so
that, if any of the castaways were in the neigh-
bourhood, they would be attracted to us.
That is very well," I answered, if we were
sure the noise would not attract bands of savages,
an encounter with whom would be anything but
"After all," said he, "I do not see why we
should trouble ourselves about those who so
heartlessly abandoned us."
For several reasons," I answered: first, be-
cause it is contrary to the golden rule to render
good for evil; and, besides, we have as much
need of them as they have of us."
But, father, we are losing time in searching
for them, which might be better employed in
bringing ashore the cattle we left on the wreck."
Of the two duties let us attend first to the
most important," said I. The animals have food
enough to last them several days, and they are
in no danger from the sea, which is very calm."
We left the shore, and after going about two
leagues, always keeping a watchful eye around us,
24 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
we entered a small wood. Having walked about
two hours, and the sun being now high, we rested
beside a small stream, which murmured gently,
while round us flew, chirped, and warbled, birds
of a beautiful bright plumage, quite unknown to
us. Fritz thought he saw a monkey amongst the
branches of the trees. I thought he was right,
for Turk began first to smell about, and then to
bark at something in that direction. As Fritz
went to see what it was, and walked along look-
ing up at the trees, he stumbled on something
round, all bristling with hair. He took it up
eagerly and brought it to me, saying that he
thought it must be the nest of some large bird.
Your nest, my dear Fritz," I said, laughing
at his mistake, "is a cocoa-nut."
Fritz, however, with a self-confident spirit,
natural to youth, persisted in his opinion.
"There are many birds," he said, "that make
their nests round like that."
"That is true; but why do you speak so posi-
tively. Do you not remember having read that
the cocoa-nut is protected by a mass of fibres,
which, in their turn, are covered with a thin
brittle skin. The one you have found is evi-
dently old; the outer covering has been de-
stroyed by the air; if you lift those hairy fibres
you will see the nut." Fritz did so, and saw
that I was right. We then broke the shell, but
found the kernel dry and uneatable.
THE COCOA. 25
"What," said Fritz, is that the fruit that
the learned Ernest praised so much ? I expected
to find a delicious milk in it."
"You would have done so had this nut not
been so perfectly ripe; but as the nut ripens, the
milk thickens and forms a kernel, which becomes
dry and hardens, unless the fruit falls into a soil
where it can germinate, in which case it breaks
the shell to give birth to a new tree."
"What!" said Fritz, very much astonished,
"has the kernel power to break through a shell
so solid as that is ?"
"Yes," said I; "have you never seen a peach
stone open in the same way ? yet it is very hard."
But peach stones are naturally formed of two
parts, which the kernel separates when softened
by the moisture."
I told him he was right, but that the cocoa
germinates in a different way. I showed him
three little holes near the end of the nut. These
openings," I said, are closed, as you will see, by
a softer substance than that of which the rest of
the shell is composed. It is by these that the
germs of the stalk and the roots find there way
out." I was glad to see that my son listened
with great interest to these lessons on the wisdom
of nature's laws. We now started afresh on our
journey, keeping still across the wood. We were
often obliged to cut a road with our hatchets
through the luxurious undergrowth which formed
26 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
a network on our path. We discovered strange
unknown plants and trees at every step. Fritz,
who thought every one stranger and more beauti-
ful than another, suddenly exclaimed :-
Oh! papa what are those trees with wens on
their trunks ?"
I recognized the calabash, which, twisting its
flexible stem round the trunks of other trees,
forms on them a species of excrescence, with a
hard dry rind. These gourds are useful for
making plates, bowls, bottles, or spoons. I told
Fritz that the savages make use of them even for
boiling water or cooking food. He was very
much astonished that such utensils could stand
the fire. I then explained to him that they were
not put upon the fire, but that the water was
heated by red-hot pebbles, which were thrown into
Oh is that all ?" cried he ; "the plan is so
simple that I would have found it out with very
"Yes," said I, "you would have found it out,
just as the friends of Columbus discovered how to
make an egg stand on end after he had told them.
The most simple ideas are often those most diffi-
cult to discover."
While speaking, we had each taken a calabash,
and were trying to convert them into some useful
utensil. Fritz tried to cut his with his knife, but
failing, threw it away impatiently. Tying a cord
THE CALABASH. 27
round mine, I tightened it gradually till it cut the
gourd through, and I had two bowls of equal size.
"I own," said Fritz, "that I could not have
been so ingenious."
I do not claim credit for the invention," I an-
swered; "I have only put into practice what I
remember having read the savages, who have no
Fritz wanted to know how the gourds could be
made into bottles. "I understand," he said,
"how, when the calabash is dried, the pith may
be extracted by a hole; but is there no way of
making them into a more convenient shape, and
giving them a neck ?"
I told him that to form a neck, while the fruit
is still young, the upper end of it is bandaged
tightly round with linen or bark, which prevents
its further growth, while the other part is allowed
to grow freely. Fritz took courage from my suc-
cess, and we made a good many bowls, which I
placed in the sun to dry, filling them with sand
to prevent them shrivelling up too much; and,
marking the spot where we left them, so as to
be able again to find it, we went on our way.
We tried to manufacture some spoons as we went
along; and although they were very clumsy pro-
ductions, they were a great improvement on the
oyster-shells we had used the previous evening.
Fritz leapt with joy: "Plates, cups, and spoons!
Ali! how delighted mamma will be!" Then,
23 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
thinking of little Francis, he cried, "Let us look
out a small calabash; our spoons would hurt his
little mouth; I will make him a small one for
One kind thought always gives birth to another;
so Fritz also made two large bowls, one for each
of the dogs. When they were finished, he made
a kind of soup for Turk in one them, of a biscuit
and some fresh water. Turk showed his delight
by licking Fritz's hand, and doing full justice to
the unexpected meal. Having walked about
three ho'"rs longer, we came to a tongue of land
which ran out into the sea; on it rose a hill, which
we climbed with difficulty. The view from the
top was very extensive, and showed us a beautiful
rich country all around; but no trace could we
discover of our shipwrecked companions, nor
anything to lead us to suppose that the country
was inhabited. At our feet lay the calm sea,
forming a large bay, the shores of which were
covered with a rich vegetation, and which stretched
away into the blue distance. This sight would
have filled me with joy had not the fate of our
companions weighed heavily upon me. Never-
theless, I could not help feeling glad that the fer-
tility of the land promised so well for our com-
Come," said I; "we are destined to be lonely
colonists. God has decided thus. Let us sub-
mit cheerfully and bravely to his will."
THE SUGAR-CANE. 29
"Bah!" said Fritz, "who knows, if we may
not, like the old patriarch of whom the Bible
speaks, be the founders of a great nation."
The idea of an Abraham of fifteen made me
smile; and the sun being very hot at the time, I
told Fritz to follow me to the shelter of a wood
at some distance off. "For," I said, "my poor
Fritz, it would be a pity to allow ourselves to be
burnt up before having fulfilled our patriarchal
My dear father," said Fritz, throwing his
arms round my neck, "I only wished to cheer
you a little. As for us boys, we have no reason
to complain; where you and my mother are, we
must be happy. We are growing fast, and will
soon be able to relieve you of all trouble."
The dear child! his heart was older than his
years. Clasping him in my arms, I thanked God
for having given me such a son.
To get to the wood we had to cross a field of
reeds so thick and entangled, that it was with
difficulty we got along. Thinking it was a likely
place for reptiles to lurk in, I cut one of the reeds,
with which to defend us, should we encounter
any. As I cut it I felt that my hand was covered
with a glutinous liquid; when I had tasted this
liquid I was convinced that we were in a natural
plantation of sugar-cane. I said nothing of it to
Fritz, however, anxious that he should make the
discovery for himself. He was walking before
30 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
me; and I told him he had better cut a reed also;
it would be a better defence against serpents than
either our pistols or knives. He obeyed, and 1
soon heard him crying with transport, "Oh!
sugar-canes! sugar-canes! what an exquisite
juice! what a delicious syrup! how delighted my
mother and brothers will be! and Mr Ernest, for
once, will want nothing to complete his happi-
ness !" He broke his reed in several places, and
sucked the juice eagerly.
"I should like," he said, "to carry some of these
to my mother and brothers, as well as a few to
refresh ourselves on the way." I advised him
not to take too many, for we had still a long way
to go; but he cut a dozen of the largest canes,
and stripping them of their leaves, carried them
under his arm. We had scarcely entered the
palm wood when a troop of monkeys, startled by
our footsteps and Turk's barking, rushed up the
trees, where they sat grinning and chattering at
us. Fritz, without a moment's reflection, threw
down his bundle of canes and seized his gun, but
I stopped him.
Why would you kill the animals ?"
"Monkeys," he said, "are wicked, silly an-
imals. Just look how they are showing their teeth
Yes, but they are enraged, and not without
reason. We have intruded upon them; do not
let us unnecessarily kill any creature. It is sad
PELTED WITH COCOA-NTTS. 31
enough that man is already at war with most of
the animals. Leave the monkeys alone ; they may
yet be useful to us."
Useful," repeated Fritz, astonished; "mon-
keys useful! And how, I should like to know ?"
You will see," I said.
I threw some stones at them, when, obeying
their natural imitative impulse, they seized
some cocoa-nuts and threw them back in re-
turn. Not being very well aimed, we did not
find much difficulty in avoiding these missiles.
Fritz was very much amused by the success of
my ruse. Thanks, Messrs Monkey," he cried,
hiding behind the trees, many thanks "
When the shower was over, he gathered as
many as he could carry, and we sat down, out of
reach of the monkeys, to regale ourselves with
them. We first made openings at the softer
places near the end of the nuts, by which to
drink the milk; but we were disappointed in the
excellence of the liquid. The cream, which we
found when we broke the shell, we thought much
better.- We supped it with our spoons, sweeten-
ing it with the juice of the sugar canes. Thanks
to this delicious windfall, Fritz threw the re-
mainder of the lobster and our biscuits to Turk,
who, however, found it necessary to supplement
this poor fare with some canes and cocoa-nuts.
Refreshed by our repast, we proceeded on our
homeward journey, I carrying a string of cocoa-
32 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
nuts tied together by their stalks, and Fritz the
remainder of the sugar-canes. Fritz soon tired
of his load. He changed it from one shoulder to
another, and from one arm to the other. At last
he said, impatiently, "Really, I did not think
those canes would be so much trouble; still I
should like to carry some to the tent to my mo-
ther and brothers."
Have patience," I said; your bundle may be
compared to the panniers of bread that .Esop
carried, which became lighter with every step.
Yours also will be considerably diminished before
we rejoin the others. Let us take one each; they
will do equally well as pilgrim-staffs, or as hives
of portable honey. Tie the others together, and
sling them across your back with your gun."
" Remember," I added, that henceforth we will
often have to draw on our imagination to relieve
the tedium of this deserted land." As we went
along I often tasted my cane, and Fritz, trying
to imitate me, found he could not extract any
juice whatever. He asked me what was the
Reflect a little," I said, and I am sure you
will find out."
It soon occurred to him that he must make an
opening above the first knot of the cane to let in
the air. This done, he found no difficulty in re-
freshing himself as much as he wished with this
delicious beverage. He drew my attention, now-
DEATH OF A MONKEY. 33
ever, to the fact that, if we continued to use them
as we were doing, very few of the canes would
reach the tent.
Do not allow that to distress you," I said,
" for the juice will not keep sweet long, especially
when it is exposed to the sun. The heat makes
it ferment. As we have still a considerable dis-
tance to walk, the probability is that by the time
we reach the tent our canes will be full of a very
At any rate," replied Fritz, they will taste
the cocoa milk, for I have taken some in my tin
Yes," said I, but you must know, that when
taken out of the nut it very soon ferments also,
and becomes very bitter. You may be disap-
pointed in it also."
Fritz took out his bottle, but when he removed
the cork it escaped by the neck, effervescing like
champagne. We tasted it, and found it very de-
licious. Fritz was so delighted with it, that I
warned him to be moderate, lest it should go
to his head. Very much refreshed, we walked
on more briskly, and soon returned to the
place where we had left our calabash dishes.
We found them quite dry, and took them with
A little farther on Turk ran barking at a troop
of monkeys, which had not been aware of our
approach. They all made off and escaped but
"34 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
one, which tried to take its young one with it,
but which fell a victim to its maternal care.
Fritz ran off to save it, throwing down in his
haste his bottle and sugar canes, and losing his
hat besides; but he was too late; the poor beast
was already dead, and almost half devoured.
The young ape, in its fright, had taken refuge in
a tuft of grass, and sat contemplating the sad
sight, grinding its teeth.
Whenever he saw Fritz, with one bound he
seated himself on his shoulders, and clung to him
so tightly, that, notwithstanding all his efforts,
the poor boy could not disengage himself from
its hold. He was sorry for the little innocent
thing, who did not intend to hurt him, but only
to seek his protection from the dreadful enemy
that had made it an orphan. Greatly amused at
Fritz's embarrassing position, I petted the little
monkey, and soon coaxed it to loosen its hold.
It lay in my arms just like a child.
"Poor little creature," I said, "what can we
do with you ? We must think seriously before
adding another useless eater to the number of
But Fritz interrupted me. Oh, papa, do
keep it! pray, do keep it! It will die if we
abandoned it. Let me adopt it. I have read
that monkeys, guided by their instinct, can dis-
tinguish between the fruits that are good to eat
and those that are poisonous; if such is the
t .. ... ..
, ,' j ill
They all made off and escaped but one which tried to take iit,.s
young one with it, but which fell a victim to its maternal care.
THE ORPHAN MONKEY. 35
case, we need not hesitate to keep this little one;
it will be very useful to us."
"Well, my child, I see you are prompted
both by a good heart and by wise considera-
tions. I consent to the adoption of your little
protege; but remember you must train it up
well, so that we shall never be forced to part
Mr Turk," said Fritz, addressing him
solemnly, and pointing to the little ape, "you
have made this poor little innocent an orphan;
you have killed its mother; and I pardon you
only because you are without reason. But look
at this little monkey, and promise me to love
and respect it in future. It is too young, for-
tunately, to understand all the wrong you have
done. If you are honest and repentant, I pro-
mise you such good fare as will for ever disgust
you with such abominable meals of raw flesh."
Turk lay down at Fritz's feet, as if he under
stood the gravity of this discourse, and looked
from his young master to the little animal that
Fritz was caressing, as if to say that henceforth
the little monkey would be sacred in his eyes.
This done, the little animal again established
itself on Fritz's shoulder, and sat there with as
much confidence as if it had long been accus-
tomed to it. It was very much afraid whenever
Turk came near, and tried to hide in Fritz's
arms. Fritz then hit upon a curious idea.
36 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
To assure himself of the complete repentance
of the guilty dog, he again addressed Turk.
" You wicked animal," said he, make amends
for your fault. You have deprived this little
orphan of its mother and guardian; it is only
just that you should fill its place." Passing
a cord round Turk's neck, he made the little
monkey, whom he had set down on the dog's
back, hold the other end. After a little coaxing,
Turk submitted with a tolerably good grace, and
the little animal, completely reassured, seemed to
find his seat very comfortable.
"Now," said I, "we have all the appearance
of jugglers going to a fair. How astonished your
brothers will be to see us arrive with this equi-
"Yes," said Fritz, "and Jack, who likes so
much to pull faces, will now have a teacher."
"Do not speak so of your brother," said I;
"those who love each other and live together,
should not remark on one another's faults. Mu-
tual forbearance is a great help to union and
happiness. We have all our share of faults and
Fritz acknowledged that he had spoken with-
out reflection, and hastened to turn the conver-
sation. He was led naturally to speak of the
cruelty of the Spaniards, who, when they' dis-
covered America, trained dogs to hunt the poor
natives, and tear them in pieces as Turk had
RETURNING LOADED. 37
done the poor monkey. I then told him all I
knew about the habits of monkeys. These con-
versations helped greatly to shorten the way;
and before long we found ourselves in the midst
of our friends, who had come to the banks of the
stream to meet us. The dogs saluted each other
when still some distance off, by barking. The
tumult so frightened the poor little monkey, that
it again sought refuge on Fritz's shoulder, and
could not be persuaded to leave it. When the
children saw us, they shouted with joy; but
when they saw the little animal which clung
trembling to its protector, they cried--
"Oh a monkey a monkey! Where did you
find it? How did you catch it? How pretty
it is !"
Then seeing our provisions: "What are these
rods and large balls that papa is carrying ?"
They so deluged us with questions, that we
could not answer one half. When I had had
time to take breath, I said, "Yes, thank God,
we are returned safe and sound, and have
brought you all sorts of good things. But what
we went in search of, alas! we have not found.
There is not the smallest trace of our compan-
ions." To relieve ourselves, we then distributed
our loads among the children.
Ernest took the cocoa-nuts, which, however, he
had not yet recognized. Francis carried the
calabash utensils, which were greatly admired,
38 THE SWISS FAMILY ROLINSON.
Francis declaring that he liked his little spoon
better than his old silver one. Jack took my
gun, and his mother my bag. Fritz, distributing
his sugar-canes, and replacing his little charge
on Turk's back, presented Ernest with his gun.
The latter took it, remarking, however, that it
was dangerous to carry with such heavy loads.
His mother, understanding the hint, relieved him
of the cocoa-nuts, and the little procession wound
its way back to the tent.
"Ah," said Fritz, if Ernest only knew
what thooe are that he let mamma take from
him, he would not have given them up so wil-
lingly. These are cocoa-nuts "
Cocoa-nuts !" cried Ernest, "cocoa-nuts!
Oh, mamma give me them back, please, I can
carry both the gun and them quite easily."
"No, no," replied his mother, "you com-
plained of their weight, and you cannot have
I promise you, I will not complain," said
Ernest; besides, I can throw away these long
rods, and carry the gun in my hand."
You had better not," said Fritz, these rods
are nothing less than sugar canes, and I am
going to teach you all how to drink the sweet
juice they contain."
Yes, yes," cried all the children at once,
" let us taste the sugar canes."
As Fritz and his brothers walked before, dis-
ROAST PENGUIN. 39
cussing the excellence of this new luxury and the
best mode of enjoying it, I satisfied my wife's
curiosity about the incidents of our adventure.
Nothing we had brought gave her so much
pleasure as the dishes we had manufactured from
the calabashes. Though very imperfect, there
was no doubt they would be really useful to us.
When we arrived at the tent, I was glad to see
all ready for a comfortable repast. On the fire
was the large pot full of savoury soup; at one
side was a spit with fish, at the other a goose
roasting, the gravy of which was gathered in a
large shell; near was a cask of good Dutch
cheese; all promised well for the satisfaction of
our appetites, which the fruits we had fallen in
with on our way had rather staved off than
satisfied. I advised, however, that we should let
our fowls multiply before beginning to kill any of
"Keep yourself easy," said my wife, "our
farm-yard has not supplied any part of our meal.
The fish were caught by Francis; and the roast
was provided by Ernest, who gives to his game a
very singular name."
I gave it its true name," answered the young
naturalist, "I call it a stupid penguin. I am
sure I am not wrong; the bird let me come close
up to it and kill it with a stick. Besides, it has
a webbed foot with four toes, and a long, strong,
curved beak; all agreeing perfectly with the
40 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
description the naturalist Franklin gives of the
I praised the young philosopher for making so
good a use of what he read; and we all seated
ourselves in a circle on the sand, and began our
repast, each using a calabash bowl and spoon.
While waiting for the soup to cool, the children
broke some of the cocoa-nuts, and drank the
milk eagerly. After the soup we attacked the
fish, which were rather dry, and the penguin had
a strong oily taste ; nevertheless, we were thank-
ful for such good cheer. A good appetite makes
a good dinner.
The monkey, as was to be expected, was the
object of general attention. The children dipped
the corners of their handkerchiefs in the cocoa
milk, and made him suck it. This he seemed to
enjoy very much; and we thought we should not
have much difficulty in bringing him up. We
agreed to call him Knips. Fritz asked us to
taste his cocoa champagne. Taste it yourself
first," said I, and see if it is worth offering us."
He did so, but pulled a dreadfully wry face,
and cried, Pooh it is as sour as vinegar."
"I warned you of that," said I; but never
mind; it's an ill wind brings good to no one; the
vinegar we can take as a sauce to this dry fish."
I showed them an example by taking some
on my plate, and we all agreed that the cocoa
vinegar was not to be despised. By the time we
ENCOUNTER WITH JACKALS. 41
finished our repast, the sun was disappearing
under the horizon; so we had evening prayers,
and retired to our bed in the tent. IKnips was
appointed a place between Fritz and Jack, who
called him their son, and covered him well in
from the cold.
After reconnoitring, as on the previous evening,
to be sure there was no enemy lurking near us, I
also lay down and slept amongst them. I had
not, however, been long asleep, when I was
startled by the dogs barking furiously, and by a
disturbance amongst the fowls perched on the
top of the tent. I sprang to my feet, and went
out, followed by my wife, and by Fritz, who was
not so sound a sleeper as his brothers. We each
seized some kind of weapon. The bright moon-
light showed us the dogs fighting desperately
against about ten jackals. The brave animals
had already stretched three of the jackals dead
on the ground, but they must have yielded to
superior numbers had we not come to their aid.
Fritz and I fired together and killed two of them,
and the others, frightened by the report of the
guns, made off. Fritz dragged the one he had
shot into the tent, to show in the morning to
his brothers, whom neither the firing of the guns
nor the barking of the dogs had wakened. We
lay down once more to sleep, and were not dis-
turbed again that night.
42 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
EXPEDITION TO THE VESSEL.
IN the morning, I consulted my wife as to the
best way of spending the day. "My dear," I
said, bthre are so many important things to
be done, that I scarcely know what to do first.
One consideration is, that if we wish to save the
cattle and a number of other useful things, we
must make a voyage to the ship. Then, again,
we are in great need of a more comfortable
dwelling. We have no want of work."
"Do not distress yourself," she answered;
patience and perseverance will overcome all
obstacles. Your own courage, aided by brave
children like ours, will accomplish all. I must
confess that I cannot see you return to the vessel
without anxiety; but if it is necessary-and I
think with you that it is-I will not oppose it."
Fritz was the first to appear; and while his
brothers were rubbing their eyes, he hastened to
drag the dead jackal to the door, so as to see the
surprise the sight of it would cause them. He
had not, however, thought of the dogs, who,
thinking it was alive, pounced upon it; and he
had the greatest difficulty in driving them away.
This unusual scuffle hastened the appearance of
THE DEAD JACKAL. 43
the little idlers. They came one by one; Jack
with Knips on his shoulders, who, however,
when he saw the jackal, scampered back into the
tent and hid amongst the moss which made up
our beds, showing only hislittle nose.
A wolf! cried Jack. Are there wolves in
our island ?"
No," said Ernest, it is a fox."
No," said little Francis, "it is a yellow
Ah! ah! Mr Ernest," answered Fritz, in
a mocking tone, you recognized the agouti, but
this time your science is at fault. What! you
take that for a fox ? "
Yes," answered Ernest, I think it is a
Ah, a golden fox !" cried Fritz, laughing.
Poor Ernest! his pride was hurt, and the
tears came into his eyes. You are unkind,"
he said to his brother; I may be mistaken, but
did you know the animal's name yourself before
papa told you ?"
Don't quarrel about trifles," said I, "and
before you laugh at your brother as in the
wrong, allow me to tell you, my dear Fritz, that,
according to the naturalists, the jackal partakes
of the nature at once of the wolf, the fox, and
the dog. It is even pretty generally admitted
that the dog may be originally descended from
the jackal. Therefore F.rnest is not far wrong
44 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
in calling it a fox, and neither are Jack and
Francis, who took it, the one for a wolf, and the
other for a dog."
This dispute settled, I called my children to
prayer, reminding them that we should begin the
day with God. Our next care was breakfast, for
children always rise with an appetite; so we
visited the biscuit and cheese barrels. As we
were doing so, Ernest had been anxiously
examining one of the other casks, and suddenly
Oh, papa, how much nicer the biscuits would
taste, if we could have some butter to them."
Oh, those eternal 'if's' of yours," said I;
you only tantalize us with speaking of things
which there is no possibility of our getting. Can
you not be content with good cheese ?"
"I do not say I am not content," replied
Ernest; "but I wish some one would open this
What barrel ?"
This one. I am sure it is full of butter,
for there is a kind of greasy substance oozing
through it all round, which smells like butter."
Having assured ourselves that Ernest was
right, we made an opening with a knife, by which
to extract the butter without destroying the
barrel. It tasted so well, that our breakfast was
greatly improved by it.
The dogs, tied with their battle, slept quietly
LAUNCHING THE RAFT. 45
beside us. I noticed they had not come quite
scatheless through the combat with the jackals,
for they had both large wounds in their necks.
My wife washed some of the butter in fresh
water to remove the salt, and applied it to the
wounds. They submitted quietly to have them
dressed, and then began to lick one another,
which made me hope that before long they would
be quite healed.
It is important," said Fritz, that, in
future, our dogs should be protected by spiked
Oh!" said Jack, "if mother would help me, I
would undertake to make them good strong ones."
With all my heart,' said his mother; "I
will put myself entirely at your service; we shall
see if your idea is a good one."
Yes, my child," said I, bend your mind to
it, and if your project is at all a practicable one,
we will all help you to work it out. As to you,
Fritz, you must get ready to go with me to the
vessel. Your mother and I both think we should
We soon launched our boat of tubs. Before
leaving we arranged that my wife should hoist,
as a signal on the shore, a piece of sailcloth on
a pole. As a signal of distress, she was to re-
verse it, and fire three shots. She courageously
granted us permission to remain all night on
board if we should find it was more convenient
46 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
to do so, in which case we were to light lanterns
to show that all was well with us. Remembering
that there were still some provisions on the wreck,
we carried nothing but our arms, and the little
monkey, which I allowed Fritz to take with him,
that it might have some goat's milk. Having
bidden farewell to those left behind, and com-
mended them and ourselves to God's keeping, we
set out on our expedition. Fritz rowed vigour-
ously, and I did my best to help by directing our
awkward craft. When we had got a little way
out to sea, I noticed another streamlet, larger
than the one on whose banks we had established
ourselves, and also emptying itself into the bay.
I conjectured that the stream, on falling into the
sea, would create a current, which, if we took
advantage of it, might aid us greatly in getting
to the vessel. I was not deceived, for we soon
found ourselves floating out to our destination
almost without effort on our part. A few strokes
with our oars brought our voyage to a happy con-
clusion. We disembarked, and fastened our raft
securely to the opening in the ship's side I had
nade when we first left it.
Fritz's first care was the animals, which wel-
comed us, each in its own way, and seemed really
glad to see us. We gave them some food and
fresh water, and then easily procured ourselves a
"good meal, for the vessel had been stocked for a
CONSTRUCTING A SAIL. 47
Fritz brought his little monkey to the goat,
and it drank the milk, and seemed to enjoy it
Let us see," said I." What shall we do
"I think," said Fritz, "we should begin by
making a sail for our boat."
I did not at first see that this was a very
urgent necessity; but Fritz said that, when mak-
ing our way over to the vessel, he had remarked
a wind blowing against us, which would have
hindered us very much had we not been aided by
the current, but which might help us very materi-
ally by means of a sail, on our return voyage.
The difficulty of making our way home, with only
our oars to depend upon, would be further in-
creased, he remarked, by the heavy load we should
have to carry. Convinced of the importance of
these considerations, I set to work, and soon
found two poles, one large enough for a mast,
and a thinner one for a cross spar; and to these
I fastened the sail. Fritz meanwhile nailed a
thick plank into one of the tubs, and made a hole
in it, in which to fix the mast. I then fixed
pulleys to the corners of the sail, to facilitate its
management. As a finish, Fritz hoisted a piece
of red cloth on the top of the mast, and was very
much delighted to see it floating on the wind.
Smiling at his glee, I took out the telescope
I had found in the calptain's room, and, turning
48 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
it towards the land, reassured myself of the safety
and welfare of our dear ones. It was already
getting late, and it soon became evident that we
could not return that night. The rest of the
day we employed in removing from the vessel all
kinds of useful things, and loading our tubs
In making provision for a long sojourn on this
deserted land, I gave the preference to tools,
which might aid us in our efforts to make a com-
fortable home for ourselves, and to firearms,
which were necessary for defence.
The vessel, which had been destined to found a
colony in some of the South Sea Islands, was more
fully provided with useful implements, and with
all sorts of provisions, than it would have been
for an ordinary voyage; we had only, therefore,
to choose amongst a multitude of useful objects.
Of these I did not forget spoons, knives, plates,
pots and pans, Fritz even taking possession of
a service of silver plate, belonging to the captain,
as well as some bottles of wine and liqueurs, and
a few Westphalian hams. These luxuries, how-
ever, did not make us despise sacks of corn,
maize, and other grain; and we were glad to
possess ourselves of a compass, and some garden-
ing tools, also a few guns and pistols. We took
also hammocks, blankets, cord, and sailcloth,
and even a small barrel of sulphur, of which to
make matches, those we had being pretty nearly
A NIGHT IN THE TUBS. 49
exhausted. I thought our provision was already
complete; when Fritz appeared with another
"M y dear child," I said, "we shall be obliged
to leave that; we have no more room; it is too
large, and looks heavy.
"Oh, papa," said Fritz, "let me take this
packet; it is the captain's books; books of science
and natural history; journals of voyages, and a
Bible. Ernest and mamma will be so pleased."
Dear child," I said, you are right; the food
of the mind is as necessary as that of the body;
your package will be a treasure to us."
Our boat was now so loaded that the water
was washing up to the edge; had the sea not
been so perfectly calm, I should have been
obliged to lighten it. As it was, we secured our-
selves against accident by tying on some cork
floats we had found. Night was already coming
on. A large fire blazing on the shore assured
us that all was right with our friends. In answer
to this signal, we suspended three lighted lamps
to the stern of the vessel; and the report of a
gun let us know that our signal also was observed.
Our preparations were soon made for passing
the night in our tubs. We did not think it safe
to remain on the vessel, for the slightest breeze
might at any moment break it up and place us
in danger of our lives. Fritz was soon asleep, in
spite of the discomforts of his temporary bed.
50 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
As for myself, I did not shut an eye; anxiety
about those we had left on land, as well as for
our own safety, kept me wakeful.
As soon as the day dawned, I mounted the
deck of the vessel, and turned my telescope
towards the shore. I saw my wife come out of
the tent, and gaze towards the vessel. I hoisted
a flag on the mast, and, to show that she under-
stood my signal, she raised and lowered her flag
three times. God be praised," I cried; all
our dear ones are safe. Now for the best way to
get our cattle safely ashore."
Let us make a raft," said Fritz.
I showed him the trouble such a piece of work
would cost us, and the difficulty, not to say
impossibility, of guiding it in the water.
"Well," he said, if the animals are thrown
into the water, they will swim ashore. The pig,
especially, with its great fat body, will have no
difficulty in keeping afloat."
Yes, but I would more willingly sacrifice it
than any of the others. How do you think the ass,
the cow, the goat, and the sheep, would come on ?"
"But," replied Fritz, "why could we not
make floats for them as we have for ourselves ?
It would be delightful to see them all swimming
ashore with their help."
"Bravo.! my boy; your suggestion, though
droll, is yet practicable. Let us go to work im-
mediately, and try one of the animals."
THE ANIMALS SWIM ASHORE. 51
We took one of the sheep, and tying round its
body a pair of floats, threw it into the sea. The
poor trembling thing disappeared below the
water, but soon rose to the surface, and, reassured
by feeling the support of the floats, ceased strug-
gling, and we were glad to see could swim with
perfect ease. Quite satisfied of the excellence
of this arrangement, for the smaller animals
we made floats of cork, but the ass and cow,
being much heavier, we supported by an empty
barrel, tied at each side with cords and bands of
All our animals being thus provided, we fixed
a cord to the horns or the body of each, the
other end of which we intended to fasten to
our boat of tubs. They were soon all in the
water, the ass, with its proverbial obstinacy, being
the only one which gave us much trouble. It
struggled very much at first, but, once fairly
afloat, set off and swam in a most exemplary
manner. We then went on board our boat, and
having loosened the rope, the wind filled our sail,
and we glided towards the shore. Fritz, over-
joyed at the success of our expedition, played
with Knips, and looked proudly at the red flag
waving at our mast-head. My eyes and my
thoughts were with the loved ones on land,
whom, with the help of the telescope, I could see
leave the tent and run down to the shore to meet
as. Suddenly, Fritz exclaimed-
52 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
Oh, father, there is an enormous fish coming
"Have your gun ready," I answered. Our
guns were loaded, and as the creature came
nearer we recognized it as an immense shark.
"Let us fire both at once," said I, as the
monster, which was swimming near the surface,
opened its huge jaws to devour one of our sheep.
Our shot took effect, and the monster dis-
appeared; but a long line of blood assured us
that we had rid ourselves of that enemy. I
made Fritz keep his gun loaded, in case the
shark might not have been alone; but we had
no further encounters, and a few minutes
brought us to the shore.
My wife and the three children were awaiting
us, and we threw them the rope, by which they
fastened our raft securely. The animals, which
were already ashore, we relieved of their floats.
The ass careered about on the sand in great glee,
and at last gave expression to its joy on being
once more on terra firma, in a hearty, not to say
musical bray. After exchanging mutual con-
gratulations on our safe re-union after such a
perilous separation, we all adjourned to the
banks of our little stream, where we seated our-
selves on the grass, and I recounted the incidents
of our expedition, giving Fritz the high praise he
deserved for the help he had rendered me.
JACK'S GIRDLE. 53
AN ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAD HAPPENED DURING
FRITZ'S invention for transporting the animals
ashore was the subject of general admiration;
and we set about unloading the tubs. Jack,
leaving that work to the others, turned his
attention to the live stock, and jumping on the
ass's back, which had not yet been relieved of its
barrels, he rode towards us majestically. This
comic equipage was too much for our gravity; but
our amusement was changed to surprise, when
we saw that he wore round his waist a hairy
girdle, in which he had stuck a brace of pistols.
Where did you find that brigand-like
costume ?" I said.
All this is our own manufacture," he said, at
the same time pointing to the two dogs, which
were each armed with a collar bristling with
Bravo my son," I said, "is this your own
Mamma did what sewing was necessary," he
"But where did you get the skin, and the
thread and needle?" I asked, turning to my
54 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
Fritz's jackal furnished the skin; as for the
rest," she added, smiling, "a good housewife
should always have a stock of them."
I saw that Fritz was only half pleased with
this cool appropriation of the skin of his jackal;
but disguising his ill humour, he went up to -Jack,
pulling a wry face, and saying, Faugh! what
a disagreeable smell! "
"It is the skin of my girdle," replied Jack
quietly; "when it is quite dry it will lose it."
"You must keep to our leeward, so that the
wind won't waft the disgusting odour to us," said
Yes," cried all the children, laughing, "keep
to the leeward, Jack."
The little man himself did not seem in the least
annoyed at the disagreeable perfume he carried
with him, but strutted proudly about, displaying
his pistols. Knowing that it was near supper-
time, I asked my wife if she had anything for us.
"Here are some turtle's eggs," she said, "and
with the frying-pan you have brought, I will make
an omelette, which will not want even butter."
Turtle's eggs," said Ernest, always glad to
display his knowledge, are easily recognized by
their roundness, their membranous shell, parch-
ment-like and damp ; and, besides, it is only
turtles which lay their eggs in the sand of the
How did you discover them ?" I asked.
That belongs to the account of our day's
history," said our good housewife; and before
beginning that we must think about our supper."
You are right," I answered; get the ome-
lette ready; we will keep the recital till we sit
down; meantime the children and I will see
about getting the cargo we brought over to some
safe place, and try to find some shelter where
the cattle may go for the night."
We accordingly set off towards the shore, and
had just finished our work there, when my wife
called us to come and do honour to her supper.
It wanted for nothing-omelette, cheese, and
biscuit, all were excellent; and the table service
we had found contributed not a little to our
comfort. Francis alone, faithful to his calabash
dinner-set, would not avail himself of the more
elegant silver ones.
The dogs, the fowls, goats, and sheep stood
round about us like a circle of interested spec-
tators. As for the ducks and geese, I left them
to find their own supper, with which arrange-
ment they seemed to agree perfectly, quite revel-
ling in the quantity of worms and small crabs
they found at the marshy mouth of the stream.
Supper over, I bade my wife give us her account
of the day's proceedings.
"It is well," she said, laughing, "that my
turn is at last come, to record my high achieve-
ments. I must first tell you about Jack and his
56 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
collars. The morning after you left, Jack ap-
peared with two stripes cut out of the jackal's
hide, and began to clean them as best he could.
This done, he stuck them full of long nails, and
then with a piece of sailcloth lined the inside of
his work, and asked me to sew the leather and
the lining firmly together, so as to cover the
heads of the nails. I did as he wished, notwith-
standing the disagreeable odour of the skin. He
was proceeding to line another band for a girdle
to himself, when I showed him, that as it was
not yet dry, it would probably shrink and make
all his work useless. Ernest, laughing, advised
him to nail it on a plank, and then lay it in the
sun to dry; and Jack, not seeing through the
joke, went and put the advice in practice,
gravely bringing his plank to the sunshine.
I then told my sons of a plan I had thought
of for the day, with which they were very much
delighted. It was to try and discover a more
suitable place for an encampment. In a very
short time, they had collectedall the arms and
provisions we considered necessary. I took a
bottle of water and a hatchet, and we set off,
accompanied by the dogs.
Turk, who had been over the road before,
preceded us, and acted as our guide. My two
sons marched resolutely forward, proud of carry-
ing arms, and feeling all the importance of their
situation; for I told them that our safety de-
CROSSING THE STREAM. 57
pended on their courage and address. I then
appreciated more than ever the wisdom of your
teaching our children the management of fire-
arms, so that they might be able to avert or to
meet danger. It was no easy matter to cross
the stream on the wet, slippery stones. Ernest
crossed first, without any accident; Jack relieved
me of the hatchet and the bottle of water, and I
took Francis on my back. I had great difficulty
in preserving my balance, for the dear little thing
threw his arms round my neck and clung to my
shoulders with all his strength. However, I
got safely over; and when we climbed the hill
from which you had discovered the beautiful
country beyond, my heart yielded, for the first
time since our shipwreck, to feelings of pleasure
and hope. Then we started afresh, and entered
a green shady valley.
We saw a wood at some distance off, and
made for it; but first we had to traverse an
extent of reeds, so close and high, that the
children were almost buried. At last, Jack found
a path, which we concluded was the one you had
made. Following it, we soon arrived at the
wood. All at once we heard a rustling amongst
the leaves; and a large bird rose and flew away.
Each of my little men got ready his gun, but the
bird was already beyond reach.
"'What a pity,' said Ernest, 'that I had
not my small gun; if the bird had not made off
58 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
so fast, I would have been sure to bring it
"'Yes,' I answered, 'you would be a good
shot, if the game would only make known its
intention of flying off a quarter of an hour before-
"'But I could not tell,' replied he, 'that a
bird would rise so near us.'
"'It is just such surprises that make suc-
cessful shooting a difficulty; and not only is
a correct eye necessary, but also presence of
What could the large bird be ?' asked Jack.
"'An eagle, I am sure,' said Francis; 'it
had such large wings.'
'That does not prove it,' said Ernest; all
birds with large wings are not eagles.'
1 suppose,' said I, that it flew away from
its nest when we disturbed it; if we could find
the nest, perhaps it would enlighten us as to the
kind of bird.'
Thoughtless Jack sprang instantly towards
the spot from which the bird had risen, when
suddenly another bird like the first flew off, deal-
ing the brave little intruder such a heavy stroke
with one of its great wings, that he stood very
much amazed and almost frightened. The other
children, not less astonished, did not attempt to
shoot this second bird.
What poor hunters,' I said to them; is it
THE NEST. 59
possible you have learned so little from the
lesson you had a minute or two ago ? I see you
must still have some lessons from your father.'
"Ernest looked vexed; as for Jack, making a
mock salaam to the fugitive, now only a speck
against the sky, he cried, 'Farewell, Mr Bird;
we may meet again; till then I remain your
obedient servant.' Ernest soon discovered the
nest we were searching for. It was roughly
built, and only contained a few broken egg shells.
We concluded from this that the fledglings had
left it shortly before.
These birds cannot be eagles,' said Ernest,
'eaglets could not run so soon after being
hatched, like domestic fowls or other birds of the
same species. They are bustards, I believe. Their
plumage is white underneath, mixed with black
rnd red on the back; and besides, that last one
has on his beak the long thin feathers which
mark the male bird.'
'Instead of examining it thus,' said I to my
little savan,' who was refreshing himself after
having finished his learned lecture, 'you would
have done better by securing it, and thus gaining
an opportunity of examining it more closely.'
In returning, we came upon a little wood. A
crowd of birds unknown to us filled the branches,
and produced quite a concert of sound. The
children prepared to take aim; but I drew their
attention to the great height of the trees, which
60 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
would make their shots quite useless. The form
and extraordinary size of these giant trees sur-
prised us greatly. The immense trunks were
sustained by roots spread over a great space on
the surface of the ground. Jack climbed on one
of the roots to measure with a cord the thickness
of the trunk. Ernest thought the circumference
could not be less than forty feet, and the height
eighty. The arched roots, sixty in number,
formed a wonderful vault. Nothing ever aston-
ished me so much as this splendid vegeta-
tion. Ten or twelve great trees formed what
we had taken for a wood. The branches spread
themselves far out, and the foliage, resembling
that of our European walnut trees, cast a delight-
ful shade. Underneath, the ground was carpeted
with soft green grass, on which we rested. Our
basket of provisions was opened, and we had no
lack of appetite. The streamlet close by sup-
plied us with clear cold water, and the vocal con-
cert over our heads turned our simple meal
quite into a fete.
Our dogs had been absent for some time, but
now returned, and to our surprise, lay down
quickly and went to sleep, without begging any-
thing to eat. They had evidently had some re-
freshment in their absence.
"This spot seemed to me so desirable, that I
thought we need not go farther in search of a place
to settle. I resolved, therefore, to return and
THE TURTLE'S EGGS. 61
then go to the coast and recover anything that
the sea might have cast up from the ship. Before
starting, Jack besought me to sew for him the
straps and band of skin, which he had carried the
whole way, and which were now quite dry. This
done, he put on his belt, and, quite proud, stick-
ing his pistols into it, marched away to meet you.
We had often to quicken our steps to keep him
"On arriving at the shore, we did not find
much to bring away, things we would have
liked being too heavy to carry. I noticed our
dogs busy catching small crabs, and feasting
upon them. 'See, my children,' said I, 'how
hunger makes them industrious ;' we need take
no thought about the feeding of our dogs, nor
fear their devouring us, so long as the sea pro-
vides so liberally for them. On leaving the
shore, Flora scratched up a large ball, and
swallowed it greedy.
"' I suppose that was a turtle's egg,' said
Ernest. 'A turtle's egg,' said Francis; 'are
turtles fowls, then?' You may imagine the
amusement of Jack and Ernest at this question.
"'Let us profit by Flora's discovery,' said I,
' for I have heard these eggs are very good to
eat.' It was no easy task to drive away Flora
from this repast, which she found very much to
her taste; but we succeeded in rescuing twenty
of the eggs, which we placed in our provision
62 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
bags. Looking towards the sea, we saw the sail
of your boat. Francis feared it might be sav-
ages coming to kill us; but Ernest was sure it
was your boat; and he was right, for a few
moments after you landed.
"' Such, my dear, are our adventures. I
searched for a better place for our house. I
have found a delightful spot; and if you agree
with me, we will go to-morrow and establish
ourselves under these magnificent trees; the
view from them is exquisite. We can con-
struct tents between the branches of these trees.
Have you not seen the same thing in Europe ?
Do you not remember in our own country that
lime tree with a pavilion upon it, called' lRob-
inson's Tree ?'"
All right," said I; but it is already late,
and we must have a good night's rest before
entering on this formidable undertaking."
Night had set in, but our interesting conver-
sation had made us forget how time was flying.
We had evening prayers all together; and, glad
to be once more re-united, we fell asleep, and
were only wakened by the sun's first rays.
REASONS FOR REMOVING. 63
CHANGE OF RESIDENCE.
I HAVE been considering your plan," I said to
my wife next morning, "and I think we ought
not to be too hasty in changing our abode.
First of all, I do not know if we are justified in
leaving the place Providence has chosen for us,
and which is so conveniently situated. Besides,
here we are protected on one side by the sea,
and on the other by the rocks, which also would
help us to fortify the banks of the stream, in
case of danger. And, most important of all, here
we are within reach of the ship, still quite a
mine of wealth, which we would be forced to
abandon should we remove to a distance."
"Your reasons are certainly strong," answered
my wife, but you do not know how unbearable
the noon-day heat is here. During your excur-
sion with Fritz, you were sheltered from the
greatest heat by the cool shade of the trees, and
were refreshed by delicious fruits; but here, the
only refuge we have is the tent, where the heat
is so suffocating as to make me anxious about
the children's health, and our only refreshment
the mussels and oysters we gather on the shore,
which are not very tempting. As for the safety
64 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
of this retreat, it seems to me that the jackals
had not much difficulty in finding us out, and I
don't think lions and tigers would have more.
The treasures the vessel contains are not to be
despised, I know; but I would renounce them
all gladly to be spared the anxiety your sea
voyages cause me."
Come," I said, you defend your opinions
so warmly, that I feel forced to yield to you; but
I think we can make a compromise. I will con-
sent to change our residence to the wood, on
condition that we retain this settlement as a pro-
vision store, and as a sort of fortress to which
we can retire in time of danger. We will leave
between the rocks our stock of powder, which is
very useful to us, but which it would not be safe
to keep in our immediate neighbourhood. If
this plan be adopted, our first care must be to
throw a bridge across the stream, so as to make
constant communication between the two places
Do you think so ?" cried my wife. The
construction of a bridge will be long and tedious.
Could we not load the ass and the cow with our
baggage?" I assured her that she was exag-
gerating the difficulty of the work, and the ob-
stacles that stood in our way. In that case,
let us all set to work without further delay," she
said; I am anxious to leave this place as soon
MILKING THE COW. 65
Thus was settled the question of our change of
abode. The children, when we awoke them and
told them our project, were overjoyed. They
immediately named the little wood, The Land
of Promise," and were very anxious to lose no
time in setting about the construction of the
bridge. Morning prayers over, each one impro-
vised a breakfast as best he could. Fritz did not
forget his little monkey, but brought it to the
goat for its morning meal. Jack, thinking the
example a good one, first tried to milk the cow
into his hat; but not succeeding, he set to drink
like the monkey, the gentle creature standing
quite quiet all the time.
Francis," he cried, while taking breath,
" Francis, come here; you can have such a de-
lightful warm drink." His brothers, seeing him
in this singular position, ridiculed him much;
they called him the little calf-a name which
stuck to him for some time. His mother re-
proved him for his greediness, and, proceeding to
milk the cow, showed him there was no need for
such an awkward way of procuring the milk.
She filled a cup for each, and then proceeded to
put some into a pan to be boiled with biscuits,
which made a very palatable dish.
Meantime I got our boat in readiness, to go
over to the vessel for the pieces of timber and
planks I knew we should require. Knowing we
would need help, I determined to take Ernest.
66 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
We pushed out to sea, and soon fell in with the
current of the stream we had already found so
useful. As we passed an islet at the entrance of
the bay, we saw quite a cloud of gulls, albatrosses,
and other sea birds, hovering over a spot on the
shore, and screeching so shrilly that we were glad
to stop our ears. Fritz prepared to fire amongst
them, but I forbade him. I knew so extraordi-
nary a gathering must be caused by something
unusual, and I wished to find out what it was.
I hoisted the sail, and a slight breeze soon
brought us close to the islet. Fritz kept his
eyes fixed on a spot towards which the birds
seemed to be crowding.
Oh," he cried at last, they are discussing
some sea monster, and have not invited us to
He was not wrong. Having landed, we secured
our boat, and stood near enough to look on with-
out disturbing the birds, which we found were
dissecting an enormous fish, and were so ab-
sorbed in their feast that they did not observe
our approach. Fritz wondered how we did not
notice the fish the previous day.
Will it not be the shark you killed yester-
day ?" said Ernest.
"Ernest is right," said I; this is just our
pirate of yesterday. Look at its terrible jaws,
and its skin, which is so coarse, that it is used to
polish iron and wood. It is certainly a large
THE DEAD SHARK. 67
specimen of its class, for it measures at least
fifteen feet. We cannot be too thankful to God,
who delivered us from such an enemy. Let the
gulls take what they want of its flesh; but I
think we should carry away some stripes of the
skin; they may be useful to us. Ernest took
the ramrod of his gun and went amongst the
birds, striking right and left. He killed some,
and the others took to flight. Fritz then cut off
some of the shark's skin, and we returned to the
boat. As we were aboit to wade over to it, I
thought I perceived, at some little distance along
the shore of the islet, some rafters and planks
that the waves had thrown up; so that it was no
longer necessary to continue our voyage. I
chose from the debris, what I thought would be
serviceable to us, and made a sort of raft, which
we tied behind our boat, and set sail towards our
own island. The wind favoured us; so we did
not need to use our oars; it was only necessary
for me to steer. Fritz nailed the pieces of skin
to the mast, so that the sun might dry them,
while Ernest examined minutely the birds he
He asked me a great many questions about
them, which I answered to the best of my ability.
Then he wished to know what I intended to do
with the shark's skin; and I satisfied him by
saying that I meant to manufacture some files.
Having landed, we were surprised to find no
68 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
trace of the others. When we shouted, however,
they came running; Francis with a fishing-rod
over his shoulder, and Jack with a handkerchief
carefully closed, which, when he came up to us,
he opened, and showed us a number of large
"It was I, father, it was I who discovered
them !" cried Francis, proudly.
"Yes," said Jack, but I fished them up. I
waded up t3 my knees in the river to catch them.
I would have caught more if you had not called
We have a great many more than we can
use," said I; I think it would even be wise to
throw the small ones back into the sea again, to
let them grow."
"But," cried he, there are millions more;
the river is swarming with them."
"No matter," I answered; "we must not
waste the good things God sends us."
Turning in the direction of the stream, he
asked me to come with him, for he thought he
had found the most suitable place for the erec-
tion of the bridge. "I am glad," said I, that
you have for once thrown off your habitual cae-
lessness, and thought of the good of the colony.
I am anxious to see if you have made a wise
choice; if you have, we will immediately set
about bringing up the planks, while your mother
prepares our repast." Jack led the way to the
ERECTING A BRIDGE. 69
spot he had fixed upon; and I thought we could
not have a better; so we began by transporting
our materials from the shore, making use, for this
purpose, of the ass and the cow. Of course we
had no harness for them; but we passed ropes
round the animals' necks, the other ends of which
were tied to the pieces of timber. This trans-
portation being accomplished, we proceeded to
the construction of the bridge. At the point
Jack had chosen, the stream was much narrower
tan at other parts of its course, and its banks
were of an equal height, besides having trees at
each side, to which we could fasten the beams.
Now," said I, when we were all ready to be-
gin, "the first thing to be done is to measure
the breadth of the stream, and find out if our
planks are long enough."
Nothing is easier," said Ernest; "we have
only to tie a stone to the end of a cord, throw it
over to the other side, and, drawing it to the
edge of the bank, measure with the cord the dis-
tance between the two banks."
By this simple but ingenious plan, Ernest cal-
culated the stream to be eighteen feet wide. So,
as the principal beams would need to rest three
feet at least on each bank, we chose three, twenty-
four or twenty-five feet long. The greatest diffi-
culty was still to be overcome, which was how to
get the ends of these immense logs passed over
to the other side. I told the boys to try and
70 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
think of some plan during our meal, which we had
kept waiting some time; and my wife was getting
impatient, for the lobsters had long been ready.
She showed us some carrying sacks she had
made for the ass and cow. We praised her
patience, and admired it still more, when we
learned that, having no large strong needles,
she was obliged to pierce every hole with a nail.
We did not linger over our repast, all be-
ing anxious to return to work. Though the
children suggested many plans of getting the
ends of the planks over the stream, none of them
were practicable. But I had thought of a plan
myself, which I proceeded to work out as soon
as we returned to the scene of our labours. One
end of a large beam I tied to a tree; to the
other end I tied a long rope which I carried
with me, and, crossing the stream, passed it
over a pulley fastened to a tree on the opposite
bank. Then returning, I tied the end of the
rope round the necks of the ass and cow, and
made them both pull. The beam turned round
the trunk it was tied to, and soon rested on the
other side. The children sprang on to it, clap-
ping their hands, and shouting for joy. The most
difficult part of our work was over. Two other
beams were soon placed beside the first, and it
only remained to nail on a few cross planks to
finish our bridge. Before night our task was
accomplished, and we went to bed pretty much
THE REMOVAL. 71
fatigued with our hard day's work, and slept
more soundly than we had yet done since we
landed from the wrecked vessel.
I AWOKE the children when day broke, as I wished
to give them some directions about our emigra-
tion. "We are going," I said, "to a part of
the country which is new to us. See that none
of you wander away alone. You may get into
danger as well by going on before as by lingering
behind. Keep as much as possible all together,
and if we meet an enemy, let me direct the at-
tack or the defence."
Prayers and breakfast over, we prepared to
depart. The cavalcade was assembled; the ass
and the cow carried the bags my wife had made,
filled with a number of indispensables. We took
care not to forget the captain's stock of wine, and
a barrel of butter. As I was going to load the
animals with our hammocks and blankets, my
wife interposed and claimed a place for little
Francis, and for the sack she called her magic
bag. Then she showed me the absolute necessity
of taking with us the fowls and pigeons, which,
72 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
if they were left behind, would be scattered and
lost. I saw she was right. A comfortable seat
was found for Francis on the ass's back, between
the two bags, with his mother's magic bag to
lean his back upon. We had still to get hold of
our fowls and pigeons. The children set off to
chase them, but returned unsuccessful, and were
persuaded by their mother to remain where they
were, while she undertook the capture of the
"We shall see, we shall see," cried the little
blunderers. "You shall see," replied their mother.
By means of a handful of corn scattered on the
ground, the birds were tempted within the tent,
where they were easily caught.
Skill works better than violence, you see,
gentlemen," said she, closing the entrance to our
tent, through which Jack crept, and handed us
one by one our feathered prisoners, whose feet we
bound, and then placed them upon the back of the
cow. This done, we covered them with a cloth,
and thus, plunged in darkness, they ceased to
annoy us by their cries. All the things that we left,
that could have suffered from exposure, were laid
up in the tent, which was well barricaded with
stakes and boxes, both full and empty. We were
all well armed, and each carried a bag for provi-
sions and ammunition. Every one seemed in
Fritz, with his gun under his arm, marched
THE PROCESSION. 73
first; behind him, his mother drove the ass and
cow, side by side; on the ass rode little Francis,
amusing us all by his simple remarks; third
from the front came Jack, with the goat; fourthly,
Ernest, with the sheep ; while I myself brought
up the rear. Our dogs kept running here and
there, barking and scenting. This caravan
moved along slowly, and was really quite pic-
turesque; so much so, indeed, that I could not
help calling to my eldest son-
Well, Fritz, here is your idea carried out, for
something after this fashion Abraham must have
travelled. How do you like it, my little patri-
arch ?" Ernest answered for his brother: I,
papa, think it is delightful."
True," said I, but it is not God's will that
we should long be reduced to wander about like
this. You would soon tire of it, and I trust this
may be our last pilgrimage."
So do I," said my wife. "I hope that ou-
new abode will please us, and that we shall be able
to remain in it. If not, the responsibility is mine."
Wherever you lead," replied I, "we shall be
willing to follow."
As we approached the bridge, the pig, which
had at first appeared very loath to accompany
us, now joined the procession, grunting loud re-
monstrances against this long walk; but its ill
humour did not meet with much sympathy from
the rest of the party.
74 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
The passage of the stream was effected without
accident; but the luxuriant vegetation on the
other side did not fail to retard our march con-
siderably. The rich grass, such as they had
never before seen, was a temptation too great to
be resisted by our cow and ass. It was only by
the aid of our dogs, who barked and snapped at
their heels, that we could get them to move on.
To avoid such hindrances in future, I changed
our course, going with the stream towards the
sea, hoping to reach the well known road by the
shore, where there was nothing to impede our
We had scarcely started in that direction, when
our dogs bounded into the thick grass, growling
as if they were on the track of some fierce animal.
Fritz, with his gun loaded, and his finger on the
trigger, advanced resolutely. Ernest, terrified,
drew near his mother, having at the same time
loaded his gun. Jack courageously followed his
elder brother, and I hurried to his assistance, lest
he should run into danger. Suddenly I heard
him cry, Oh, papa, come quick, a porcupine, a
I quickened my steps, and soon came in sight
of the porcupine, which, however, was not so
large as Jack had led me to believe. The dogs
barked furiously round the animal, which they
could not attack without paying dearly for it.
The porcupine turned his back to his enemies,
THE PORCUPINE. 75
lowered his head between his two fore paws, and
marched backwards, his bristles erect like so many
swords. Every time the dogs attempted to charge,
they came off bleeding and wounded. Fritz and
I were watching for the moment when we might
fire without injuring the dogs. Jack, all impa-
tience, and not understanding our hesitation,
discharged one of his pistols, and killed the por-
cupine on the spot. Fritz, a little spiteful at
his brother's success, said hastily-
Imprudent boy; you might have killed the
dogs, or wounded us, in firing so near."
Wound you, indeed !" repeated Jack, proudly;
"do you think no one can manage a gun but
Seeing that Fritz was going to reply, I hastened
to interfere. "It is true," I said to my eldest
son, "that Jack might have acted more pru-
dently; but you must admit that he has shewn
great skill. You must learn to praise others
when they deserve it."
Jack, meanwhile, without thinking, had laid
hold of the animal with his hands, and was
Go and get a rope," I said to him, and
Fritz and you can carry it with the help of a
stick between you."
But, impatient to show his prize to his mother
and brothers, Jack tied his handkerchief round
the animal's neck, and drew it after him to the
76 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
place where we had left the caravan. See,
mamma," he cried, see, Ernest, see, Francis,
the great animal I have killed. Yes, I killed it;
I was not afraid of a hundred thousand lances;
I went up to it and killed it with one shot; and
it is excellent eating ; papa says so."
His mother congratulated him on his courage
and skill. Ernest examined the animal in his
usual cool manner, observing that he had in each
jaw two long incisors like those of the hare and
squirrel, and that his ears were short and
rounded like a man's. My wife and I sat down
and began pulling out the bristles from the
muzzles of our dogs.
Jack," said I, were you not afraid that the
porcupine would send its quills into your body ?
It is said the animal has that power."
I never thought of it," he replied, but I
think that statement must be a fable."
"You see, however," said I, "that the dogs
have not been spared."
It is true," he answered; but they threw
themselves on the animal; if they had kept at a
distance, they would not have been hurt."
You are right, my son," I said, and I am
glad to see you can defend your opinions. The
porcupine has not the power of shooting out its
quills; his losing some in a fight has probably
given rise to the story."
Determined to carry home the porcupine, I
GIGANTIC TREES. 77
covered him with a thick coat of grass, rolled
him in a cover, and placed him on the ass
behind Francis. We had not gone far, however,
when the ass escaped from my wife, who held
the bridle, and ran on before us, jumping and
cutting a number of grotesque capers that would
have amused us very much, had we not all
feared for Francis. Fritz ran after him, and
aided by the dogs, soon got the better of him.
Searching for the cause of this sudden change in
the conduct of the usually quiet animal, I found
that the bristles of the porcupine had come
through the grass and covering in which he was
wrapped; so I placed the carcase on the en-
chanted bag, and counselled Francis not to lean
upon it. Fritz kept at some distance from the
caravan, doubtless with the intention of taking
his revenge, if an occasion presented itself.
Wonderful!" exclaimed Ernest, when he
saw the large trees we were approaching, what
gigantic vegetation the steeple of Strasbourg is
not higher; how luxuriant nature is here. It
was a -good idea of mamma's to leave the deso-
late country in which we were, for a place like
this." He asked me if I knew the name of the
I have never seen them described, and we
are probably the first Europeans who have seen
them," said I; "but I defy the most agile bear
to reach us at the top of these enormous trunks,
76 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
when we shall have succeeded in establishing
Well," said my wife, "what do you think
of our trees ? "
I understand your admiration, and approve
of your choice," said I.
When we halted, our first care was to unload
the ass and cow, which, with the sheep and
goats, we allowed to graze round us, taking the
precaution, however, to shackle their fore legs.
The sow orly was allowed perfect freedom. We
also set the fowls and pigeons at liberty. The
fowls kept near us, scraping and picking up what
they could get. The pigeons perched themselves
on the branches of the trees, from which eleva-
tion, however, they descended when the first
handful of corn was thrown down.
While we rested on the soft thick grass with
which the ground was carpeted, we deliberated
as to the best means of erecting our house on the
branches of one of the giant trees. As it was not
likely we could get comfortably installed that
night, I was somewhat anxious about our safety
during the night, which we should be forced to
pass in the open air, exposed to the damp and
quite unprotected against the attacks of wild
animals. I called Fritz, believing him to be close
at hand, to tell him it would be absolutely neces-
sary for our safety to try and climb the largest
tree. He did not answer, but two gun-shots, one
"THE TIGER-CAT. 79
after the other, at some distance off, announced
to us that he was not idle. He soon appeared,
carrying by the hind legs a most beautiful tiger-
cat, which, as he advanced, he held up for our
"Bravo my young huntsman," I said; you
have really rendered a service to our feathered
flock, in ridding them of such an enemy as that,
which could follow them even to the tops of the
trees. If you should see any more in our neigh-
bourhood, I entreat you to give them no quarter."
"Why," said Ernest; "if God created the
animals, He surely did so for some useful end;
and I do not think we should declare against them
such a merciless war."
It would be presumptuous," answered I, "to
interrogate the Creator on the design of His
works; but we are allowed to hazard some con-
jectures. I believe, then, that the animals
which we call, no doubt wrongfully, destructive,
have been created to maintain a certain equality
between the creatures. Fritz will now tell us
where and how he discovered this animal."
I found it quite near," answered the hunter;
" I saw something moving amongst the leaves of
a tree; and creeping noiselessly to the foot of it,
I fired, and the animal fell at my feet. As I was
going to take it up, I saw it move; so I des-
patched it with my pistol."
"You may be ulad it did not spring upon
80 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
you when it was only wounded; for, although
those animals are small, they are very terrible
when fighting for life. I can assure you, you
have made a happy escape; all the more, that
I see this is not an ordinary tiger-cat, but a
margay, a species common in South America,
and notorious for its fierceness and rapacity.
Whatever it may be," said Fritz, "look at the
beautiful stains of black and brown on a gold
ground. I hope that Jack will not cut up the
skin of my margay, as he did that of my jackal."
Never fear. If you warn Jack, he will not
meddle with it. But what do you intend to do
with the skin?"
"Nay, it is I who should ask you that," he
answered; "I will follow your advice; I do not
want to retain it for my sole use."
"Well answered, my son; and now that we
have no need for clothing, you can make cases of
it, in which to keep our table service; and you
can have the tail for a hunting belt to hold your
knife and pistols."
"And I, father," asked Jack, "what shall I do
with the skin of my porcupine ?"
"When we have taken out as many quills as
we want for needles, and for arrow points, I be-
lieve we could make the skin into a sort of cuirass
for one of the dogs, to defend it in encounters
with wild animals."
"Oh, capital!" cried Jack, "I long to see Flora
MORE FRUIT. 81
or Turk harnessed like that;" and he gave me no
rest till I set about skinning his porcupine. This
I managed easily by tying the animal to a branch
by its hind feet. Fritz watched my progress,
doing the same with his margay. The two skins
were afterwards nailed to a tree to dry; part of
the porcupine's flesh was cooked for our dinner,
and the remainder was put aside to be salted.
As Ernest was working by me, making a hearth
with large stones, he asked if I did not think the
trees under which we were, were mangolias. I
said it was very probable, but I could not say
positively, without consulting the captain's
"Ah! those dear books," said he; "when shall
we be able to read and re-read them at our lei-
"Patience, my boy; let us first see to matters
that are indispensable; there are better days
coming, I hope."
Francis, whom his mother had commissioned
to gather fire-wood, came back dragging some
branches behind him, and greedily eating some
fruit he had found.
"You foolish child!" cried his mother, running
towards him; "how do you know that fruit is not
poisonous ? It might kill you. Show it to me."
"Kill me!" he repeated, terrified, putting out
what he was just about to swallow. "Oh no,
I don't want to die, mamma."
82 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
Dropping the branches he carried, he pulled
from his pocket two or three little figs, and gave
them to me. I was reassured; for I had never
heard of any kind of figs being poisonous. I
asked Francis where he had found them.
Just under one of those trees," he answered;
"there are a great many more. I thought I
might eat them when I saw the sow and the
fowls devouring them in such numbers."
That is not a sufficient guarantee," I said;
"for some fruits that are wholesome for animals
are not so for man; and vice versa. The monkey
however has a physical constitution resembling
that of a man, and besides has a natural instinct
about the nature of fruits; so I advise you
always to consult it about anything of which
you are in doubt."
I had scarcely said so when Francis ran to the
foot of a tree where the monkey was seated, and
offered it some of the figs with which his pockets
were filled.. The little animal took one in its
hands, looked at it, smelled it, and then began to
Hurrah cried Francis, quite reassured, and
again beginning to eat the fruit, which he very
Then these trees," said Ernest, "are fig-
trees ? "
"Yes," I replied, "but not dwarf trees, like
those that grow in our country. These belong
rather, as you supposed, to the genus of the man-
golia, and to the species called the yellow man-
golia, whose roots, as you see here, form arches
Thus conversing, and while Francis helped his
mother to prepare dinner, I tried to manufacture
needles from the spikes of the porcupine. The
point, of course, was already there; all I had to
do was to make a hole in the other end, which I
did with a red hot nail. In a short time, I had
an assortment of needles, of which our good house-
wife was very glad. The children, still astonished
at the great height of the trees on which we pro-
posed to erect our dwelling, set about trying to
discover some way of climbing them. I was, at
first, as much at a loss as they were; still, after a
little reflection, an idea struck me, but I deter-
mined to defer its execution.
Our dinner being now ready, we seated our-
selves in a circle; the porcupine's flesh and the
soup made from it were both highly praised; for
dessert, we had biscuit, with Dutch cheese and
butter. When we were sufficiently refreshed, I
determined that we should be busy during the
remaining hours of daylight. I asked my wife
to make the leather straps which were necessary
to yoke our beasts of burden to the pieces of tim-
ber to be brought from the shore. She immedi.
ately set to her task.
The next thing to be done was to suspend our
84 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
hammocks to the branches of the tree. Over
them we spread sailcloth, and fastened it in at
the sides, to protect us from the dew and mos-
quitoes. That done, Fritz, Ernest, and I went
to the shore to search for pieces of wood, strong
and straight enough to serve as steps to the rope
ladder I had resolved to make. Ernest dis-
covered on the borders of a small marsh a num-
ber of bamboos, half buried in the mud. We
pulled them out, and cut them with a hatchet
into lengths of three or four feet, putting them
into three bundles, one for each. A short dis-
tance farther on, and a little way into the marsh,
I saw a tuft of reeds, towards which I went, in-
tending to cut some for arrows. Flora, which
was at my side, suddenly sprang forward, bark-
ing, when a whole troop of beautiful flamingoes
flew away with an amazing rapidity. Fritz, who
seemed never to be taken by surprise, got ready
his gun, and fired before they were out of reach.
Two of them fell; one quite dead, the other only
wounded in the wing. The wounded bird would
probably have escaped, if Flora had not pursued
and seized it; the brave dog held it by the wing
till I came up. When I brought my captive to
the children they were overjoyed, and entreated
that the bird might be kept alive and tamed.
"How beautiful its bright red plumage will be
among the other fowls," said Fritz.
Ernest was astonished to see that the feet of
THE FLAMINGO. 85
the flamingo were equally well adapted for run-
ning or swimming; but I told him many other
kinds of birds were as well off. I then cut some
of the longest reeds, telling the boys as I did so,
that I wished, by their aid, to measure the exact
height of the tree we were to inhabit.
"Oh !" they cried incredulously, "you will
need a great number to measure even to the
beginning of the branches."
"Have patience," I replied; "you have for-
gotten the lesson you learned from your mother's
way of catching the fowls. Before pronouncing
your opinion, you must see what I do."
We returned loaded with the bamboos and reeds,
and the dead and living birds. Jack and Francis
welcomed the flamingo with shouts of joy, but
their mother looked grave when she saw another
mouth added to the number of our domestic
animals. Not at all alarmed on that score, I
examined the poor bird's wounds. I saw that the
extremities of both wings were fractured, the one
by the shot, and the other by Flora's teeth. I
dressed them with a kind of ointment composed of
butter, salt, and wine, and then tied it by the leg
to a stake near the stream, where, left to itself,
it put its head under its wing, and, standing on
one long leg, fell asleep.
While I had been thus occupied, the children
had tied a number of the reeds together, and
were trying to measure the height of one of the
86 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
trees. They could hardly reach to where the
branches joined the trunk, and I heard them
again speak doubtfully of the success of my plan,
which, however, I had not yet explained to them.
Smiling at their incredulity, I proceeded to con-
vert some of the canes into arrows, by sharpening
one end, and garnishing the other with the
feathers of the dead flamingo, using a flexible
bamboo for a bow. Jack and Fritz had been
watching the operation, and now exclaimed,
" Oh, a bow! a bow and arrows! Let me try
it, papa; you will see how expert I am !"
"Wtait a moment," I said; "I have had all
the trouble of making them, and I must have
the honour of trying them first. I did not make
them for play, however; I had an end in view,
which I will show you immediately." I asked
my wife if she could find me a clew of strong
"I will consult my magic bag," she said,
smiling; this is what you want, is it not ?" she
added, promptly satisfying my want.
"It is no great mystery," said Jack, "to find
in a bag what you put into it."
"It is no mystery, certainly," I answered;
" but it shows a presence of mind in your mother,
of which none of the rest of us were capable, to
remember, in a moment of danger-such as that
which preceded our departure from the vessel-
so many small things, useful to us all."
THE LADDER. 87
Now Jack had the best heart in the world; so,
throwing himself into his mother's arms, he said,
'I deserve to be sewed into your bag, and never
to be let out again."
Unrolling the greater part of the clew, I tied
one end of the thread to one of the arrows, which
I shot up amongst the branches of the trees. The
arrow passed over one of the branches, and, falling
on the other side, left the thread resting on it. We
easily ascertained by this means what height it
would be necessary to make our ladder, deciding
on fifty feet. Measuring, then, one hundred feet
of strong rope, and halving it, I stretched the two
lengths parallel on the grass, and told Fritz to
cut the bamboos into pieces two feet long; and
these again Ernest and Jack helped me to fasten
to the ropes by knots and nails, to prevent them
slipping. In less than an hour and a half our
ladder was completed; and to hoist it, the same
means were used as I had employed to discover
the height of the tree. I took another arrow, and
a triple cord, to ensure its being strong enough.
To the end of the cord we attached the ladder,
which was soon securely fixed.
Jack and Fritz disputed which should mount
first. I gave the preference to Jack, as being the
lightest, and as agile as a squirrel. I warned him
to make sure of the strength of every step before
venturing on to it, and to hurry down if he saw
the least danger of the ladder giving way. He
88 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
set off, paying very little heed to my warning-
reached the first branch safely, and seating him-
self on it, shouted, Victory, Victory !" Fritz
mounted after him, and fastened the ladder more
securely, when I followed them, and examined
the tree, to decide on the best mode of erecting
our dwelling. Night soon set in, and the last
piece of work I did, namely, fixing a strong
pulley, preparatory to commencing operations on
the following morning, had to be concluded by
I turned to descend, and was surprised to find
the boys had disappeared. I had just made up
my mind they must have gone down, when I
heard above me two clear young voices singing
an evening hymn. I did not think it right to
interrupt their song of praise; and their voices
sounded so sweetly, it seemed to me almost like
the presage of a blessing on our new habitation.
When they had finished, we all descended to-
gether; and my wife, who had meanwhile milked
the cow and goat, set before us some milk, and
slices of the porcupine which remained from
dinner. We tied the cattle for the night near
our hammocks, to the roots of our tree, and
made a large fire of dry wood as a protection
against beasts of prey.
Our prayer offered, my wife and children went
into their hammocks, and slept soundly. I
watched by the fire, kept wide awake during the
FARM LIFE. 89
first hours of the night by anxiety, and starting
at every slight noise I heard; but gradually I
was overcome by fatigue, and towards morning
fell asleep, only awaking when all the rest of the
family were astir.
CONSTRUCTION OF OUR HOUSE.
AFTER breakfast, my wife told Jack and Ernest to
put the harness she had made on the cow and
ass, and prepare to accompany Francis and her
to the shore, to fetch the wood necessary for our
house. I was afraid this kind of work, to which
she was not accustomed, would be too heavy for
"Do not distress yourself," she said; "this
farm life suits me very well. I think we should
only rest when we have earned it by the sweat of
our brow ; I like to feel I am fulfilling that com-
mandment of God. I have become quite attached
to our animals, and I think they are fond of me ;
our ducks, and fowls, and dogs, our cow, and our
poor ass-are they not all friends, and the most
faithful we have ever had, so humble, patient.
and grateful ? If we ever leave this island, what
an instructive and salutary school it will have