The Baldwin Library
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SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON,
J V V f''- RLA IN D
THE SWISS FAMILY
ADVENTURES OF A SHIPWRECKED FAMILY ON AN
UNINHABITED ISLAND NEAR NEW GUINEA.
A NEW TRANSLATION FROM THE ORIGINAL,
MRS. H. B. PAULL.
Witbh @tiginal colaureb Illustratiane
AND NUMEROUS WOOD ENGRAVINGS.
LONDON AND NEW YORK:
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.,
T HE numerous English editions of the Swiss Family Robin-
son," which have been presented to the juvenile public
during the past fifty years, would almost appear to render an
additional one superfluous.
The translator of the following pages, therefore, wishes to explain
the motives which have induced her to attempt another translation.
In the editions referred to the translators appear to have fallen
into one or two errors: either the style of the original German
(which is at times obscure and confused) has been too strictly
followed, and the idiom retained; or by an unnecessarily free
translation, and the alterations of conversations and events by
additions or omissions, traces of the original story have been in a
great measure lost.
In the following pages the translator has endeavoured to avoid
these errors, and to render the German sentences into good, simple
Saxon English, without altering the sense or meaning of the
In translating a work of this kind, it should also be.remembered
that boys from ten and twelve, to fourteen or sixteen, do not use
long or pedantic words, neither should those who are represented
as living in the early part of the present century be made to utter
the slang of an English boy of our own times.
In this translation-which is made entirely from the original
German-the incidents and events are faithfully preserved un-
altered, with one or two necessary but slight exceptions. No inter-
polation or omission could possibly improve the tissue of wondrous
events, which are often described in the original with a graphic
power, and at times with poetic effect.
The author of the "Swiss Family Robinson" was JOHANN
DAVID WYss, a descendant of an old citizen family of the town of
Berne, in Switzerland. He was an only son, and after completing
his education, obtained in 1766 the position of military chaplain, in
which it was necessary for him to preach in French and in German
His regiment was at this time on service in Sardinia, and while
here he not only acquired a knowledge of the Italian language, but
made himself acquainted with general literature and science, in-
cluding natural history, military tactics, and fortification. In short,
lie acquired the knowledge of merchandise, seafaring life and its
technical terms, of various trades, of farming, and other information
which, as the author of the "Swiss Family Robinson Crusoe," he so
The story of the Swiss Family Robinson was originally related
to his four children, but he never had it printed; indeed, it is very
possible he had no intention of giving it publicity.
For our possession of it we are indebted to one of his sons, the
well-known Professor JOHANN RUDOLF WYSS, who, with a natural
and praiseworthy ambition, placed his father's story in MS. (with a
few alterations) in the hands of a printer.
The first edition appeared in German, at Zurich, in 1813; but
the story at that time only extended over ten or twelve years, the
arrival of a ship from Europe at the end of that period enabling the
Swiss family to return to their native country.
Madame DE MONTOLIEU, when translating this tale into French
in 1824, suggested to the author's son that he should make a
different ending to his story; but he was, as it appears, too
much occupied as Professor at the Berne Academy to un-
dertake such a task. The accomplished French authoress, how-
ever, succeeded in obtaining his permission to complete the story
The writer of the following pages has strictly adhered to the
form of the tale as it appears in the German of M. W'Wss, with the
additions made by the Baroness MONTOLIEU in the more modern
SHIPWRECKED AND ALONE 1
A DESOLATE ISLAND 9
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY 25
THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY 39
A SUCCESSFUL VOYAGE -
A LIVING FREIGHT 55
ANOTHER EXPLORING EXPEDITION 62
THE JOURNEY TO THE WONDERFUL TREES 76
A NIGHT'S LODGING 90
A CASTLE IN THE AIR 98
TIE VISIT TO ZELTHEIM 110
THE SLEDGE, THE MASQUERADE, AND THE KANGAROO 121
A VOYAGE TO THE WRECK-THE RAFT 133
TIE WIIEELBARROWS AND THE TURTLE 145
TIE PINNACE AND THE PETARD 155
THE WALK TO THE CALABASH WOOD 161
THE CANADIAN FOWL AND THE INDIA-RUBBER TREE 181
CANDLE-MAKING-THE NEW CART 191
THE BABY JACKAL 212
GRIZZLE'S NEW FRIEND 236
SPRING DAYS AND THE SALT CAVERN 249
THE WINTER HOUSE IN THE GROTTO 267
LITTLE FRANK AND THE CALF 285
THE MISCHIEVOUS MONKEYS 296
JACK'S ADVENTURE-THE STRANDED WHALE 12
ROWING BY MACHINERY-THE TURTLE 331
THE DREADFUL VISITOR-POOR GRIZZLE'S FATE 3- 341
ANOTHER EXCURSION-FRITZ AND THE RATS 358
THE GREEN VALLEY- THE BEARS 369
THE CONDOR-FRANK HEARS THE CUCKOO 384
THE OSTRICH TRAINER 397
THE YOUNG RAT-CATCHERS-THE CANOE 410
THE CRUSHING MIACHINE-A PLENTIFUL HARVEST 420
THE DRAWBRIDGE-THE HYENA 43
FRITZ RELATES THE ADVENTURES OF THEIR EXCURSION 441
AFTER TEN YEARS-PEART. BAY 46
THE MYSTERIOUS MESSAGE-THE LIONS 466
TIE SEARCH FOR FRITZ-A VISITOR 477
THE ADVENTURES OF FRITZ-JENNY'S HISTORY 47
THE WELCOME AT ROOK HOUSE-CONCLUSION 496
"s? .- ,_.,. .
-.' & -.. r "
LIST OF COLOURED ILLUSTRATION S.
Jack mounted on Whirlwind Front.
Looking in every direction across the Ocean 28
Jack and the Donkey 59
I tried in Vain 89
The Pet Flamingo 113
The Tub-boat and the Turtle 137
Jack and the Land-crab 172
climbing for Cocoanuts 198
The Swarm of Bees 226
Seaman's chest used as a trap for shell-fish 266
Jack riding "Storm" the Buffalo 293
The Stranded Whale 326
The American Sailors and the Pigs 348
The Ostrich and the Eagle 394
Fritz and the Walrus 427
Fritz's Postman 466
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
T HE story of the "Swiss Family Robinson" is founded on the
report of the captain of a Russian vessel, who, on one of
his voyages, discovered a group of fertile islands, situated towards
the south-east of Java, and not far distant from New Guinea. On
landing on one of these, the crew were greatly surprised to find it
inhabited by a family consisting of a father, mother, and four sons,
who informed the captain of the circumstances which had placed
them in such a position.
The father related that he had been a Swiss pastor or clergyman,
and in the Revolution of 1798 had lost all his property. He there-
fore resolved to become a missionary, and for this purpose proceeded
to England with his wife and family, and there obtained an appoint-
ment to go out to Otaheite, and establish Christianity among these
savage tribes. From thence he intended to proceed to Port Jackson
xvi IN TRO UTII ON.
in New South Wales (now Tasmania), and remain to work his way
in that newly-formed colony.
He and his family sailed from England with other passengers
having a similar intention, and continued their voyage prosperously
till they arrived near the coast of New Guinea.
Here they were overtaken 1 y a fearful storm, and it is in the
moment when its fierceness is at its height that the author has
chosen to commence his story.
The father of the family tells the tale, and the vicissitudes
through which he and his wife and children pass, the wonderful
discoveries they make, and the dangers they encounter, form the
story of the Swiss FAMILY RomBiNsx.
SHIPWRECKED AND ALONE.
THE storm, which had lasted for six long and terrible days,
appeared on the seventh to redouble its fury. We were
driven out of our course far to the south-east, and all trace
of our position was lost.
Sailors and passengers were alike worn out with fatigue and
long watching ; indeed, all hope of saving the ship had disappeared.
The masts were split and overboard, the sails rent, and the water
in the hold from a leak made us expect every moment to be
swallowed up in the waves.
2 SWISS FAMILY IRBINSOy.
Nothing could now be heard among the crew or the passengers
but earnest prayers to God for mercy !-each commending his soul
to his Maker, knowing that His power alone could save them from
My children stood clinging to their mother, and trembling with
fear in our little cabin, and I endeavoured to cheer them by : i -i.
My children, God can save us if it is His will; if not, we must
resign ourselves to what He judges is best for us, and to die will
be to meet again in a better world, where partings are unknown."
My poor wife on this wiped her tears and became cnlm, to give
courage to her boys ; and yet I could scarcely restrain my own grief,
even while endeavouring to comfort my family.
At last we knelt together and offered our united prayers to the
Almighty for succour: my eldest boy Fritz prayed aloud most
earnestly that God would save his dear parents and brothers,
seeming not to think at all of his own f. I All else was forgotten
in the threatened danger, and yet the evident faith of childhood in
the power of the prayers they uttered restored my own.
Will not the Lord hear and answer these prayers," I thought,
"offered in such childlike trust and confidence ?"
All at once was heard above the fury of the storm the cry,
"Land land !" At the same moment we felt a shock so violent
that I believed the ship had struck on a rock, and would im-
mediately fall to pieces. The sounds of cracking timber, and the
rush of water over the decks, quickly proved that I was not
mistaken, especially when the voice of the captain made itself
heard in terrible tones, "We are lost! lower the boats! and the
words struck like a sword to my heart.
"Lost!" I exclaimed, in my terror; but the piteous cries of my
children aroused me. I must not allow them to despair at this
awful moment. "Keep up your courage I exclaimed. God
can help us still if we trust in Him! I will go at once, and
try to discover whether some way of deliverance may not be left
I went up quickly on deck, but as I endeavoured to advance,
wave after wave passed over me. The first, for which I was un-
prepared, dashed me to the ground; but I struggled to withstand
the force of the next by clinging to the side of the ship, and then
what a sight presented itself
One boat was far out at sea, and a sailor-the last to leap on
board the other boat-was about to cut the rope and let it drift
away. When I realized the fact that they were escaping, and had
SHIPWRECKED AND ALONE. 3
left me and my dear ones to perish, I raised my voice in earnest
entreaty. I cried, I prayed, I implored them to return and rescue
us. All to no purpose. My voice was lost amid the roar of the
storm, and even had I been heard, the fury of the waves made
the return of the boats an impossibility.
For a few moments I looked around me in despair. Then,
with a sudden hope, I observed the position of the vessel. The
bow had sunk forward, leaving the tern high above the water as
far as a kind of partition situated amidships, which separated the
captain's and the other cabins from the steerage of the ship.
Added to this, I found that the wreck was fixed in this position
between two rocks, and therefore likely to remain in safety, es-
pecially if the storm abated. A few moments served for me to
realize the absence of immediate danger, and then I turned my
attention towards the shore, which lay, as I supposed, to the
southward. A misty rain obscured the view, and perhaps made
it appear more barren and desolate; yet I determined to strain
every nerve in an effort to reach a spot upon which I now placed
my highest hopes of safety. Still, I had to restrain the troubled
thought that all hope of human help had vanished, as I went
below to the cabin and addressed my dear ones hopefully.
"Take courage, my children," I said as I entered, all hope is
not lost. The ship is fixed between the rocks, and this little place
of refuge is high above the water. To-morrow, if the wind and
waves subside, we may be able to reach the land."
The hopefulness of childhood enabled my boys to receive this
news with transports of joy. They passed all at once from despair
to unbounded confidence. All doubts and difficulties vanished,
especially as the rolling of the vessel, which had so often dashed
them to and fro, or against the side of the ship, had entirely ceased.
But my wife discovered my hidden anxiety in spite of my calm-
ness; yet, while I saw this clearly, I knew by her manner that her
confidence in God was still unshaken, and this gave me renewed
Her first act was to search in the steward's room for provisions,
and with such success that a plentiful supper was quickly prepared
"Let us take food," she said: "nourishment for the body gives
strength to the spirit, and we may have a very disturbed night."
And so it truly proved. The three younger boys gladly retired
to rest after supper, and were soon fast asleep, overcome with
fatigue and excitement. Fritz, the eldest, a youth of fourteen,
4 SWIISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
understood our position more clearly than his brothers, and pre-
ferred to share the watch with his parents. He was a thoughtful
boy, and we discovered after awhile one of his reasons for wishing;
to sit up with us.
As night advanced the storm still continued, and the waves broke
over the lower part of the ship with undiminished fury. From time
to time a cracking noise told us that the planks and beams of the
wreck were strained by their force, and a continual trembling
caused a dread that every moment the vessel would fall in
It was after one of these shocks that Fritz exclaimed,
My father, do you think we could find any swimming-belts
on board for my mother and the boys ? You and I could swim
on shore if anything happened to the wreck, but they cannot
"Not a bad thought, my boy," I replied: "we will search at
But no swimming-belts could be obtained, and I determined
to contrive a plan which I hoped would prove successful. In
the steward's cabin we found a number of empty flasks and tin
water-cans strong enough to support a light person in the waves.
These we fastened together with pocket-handkerchiefs, and tied
them under the arm-pits of the three boys and my wife, who
willingly adopted this means of safety. We also supplied our-
selves with knives, string, a tinder-box and matches, and other
useful but not cumbrous articles, and then seated ourselves to await
calmly the result, hoping that, should the vessel fall to pieces, we
might be able to gain the shore partly by swimming and partly by
being borne on the waves.
Fritz, however, feeling more secure in the safety of his dear'
mother and brothers, retired to rest and slept soundly. I and my
brave wife remained awake in watchful anxiety, listening to each
shock that threatened a change in the position of the vessel. It
was, indeed, a sad night for us both; we passed it in prayer and
consultation respecting our future, till with thankful hearts we
observed the first glinnmer of daylight, and felt that we were safe.
As morning advanced the wind lulled, the sky cleared, and with
joyful eyes we gazed at the brilliant colours that glowed in the
east as the sun rose foretelling a bright day.
In a cheerful voice I roused the boys, and led them with their
mother on deck. Then for the first time they became aware that
we were alone on the ship.
SHIPWRECKED AND ALONE. 5
"Oh, papa!" exclaimed Jack, "where are the sailors and the
other passengers ? How are we to continue the voyage or get to
land ?-are they gone ?-why did they not take us ?"
"My children," I said, "our companions have left us to our
fate, but we must not despair. If we exert ourselves and do all
we can, God in His mercy will help us; still let us trust in Him
without fear, and consider what is best to Ibe done."
Could we not make a raft, papa," said Ernest, and get to shore
all together ?"
It would certainly be an excellent plan if we had the materials,"
"The sea is calm enough to reach the shore by swimming,"
"Swimming would be all right for you," said Ernest, but not
for us, who can't swim."
"Alh, yes, I forgot; but will those contrivances we made in the
night be safe for mamma and the boys, papa ?" exclaimed Fritz.
"I would rather adopt some other plan," I replied; "and now
suppose we search the ship, and see if any materials for a raft can
At these words we all dispersed in different directions. I
proceeded at once to the provision stores, which, to my great satis-
faction, were well supplied with both food and water. My wife
and the youngest boy went to visit the animals; Fritz ran to the
armoury-room, and Ernest to the ship-carpenter's workshop. Jack,
as he opened the door of the captain's cabin, got a little fright.
Two large dogs sprang out, and, full of joy, bounded upon him so
roughly, that they threw him down, and covered him with their
caresses. This performance, however, startled the little man, and
lie at first cried out in alarm. But soon remembering that the
poor doggies must be hungry, he recovered himself quickly, rose
to his feet, and mr hunting on the back of the largest dog, he rode
gravely towards me, just as I appeared coming up from the ship's
I could not help laughing even while I praised his courage, but
not without advising him to be more cautious in future with strange
animals, otherwise it might cost him dear.
One by one we returned to the cabin, each bringing what he
considered would be the most useful in our position.
Fritz brought powder, small shot, bullets, and two sporting
guns. Ernest held in his hand a hatful of nails and a hammer,
while from his pocket stuck out a pair of pincers and a hatchet.
(i STFISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
Even little Frank had a packet of fishing-hooks and lines, with
which he seemed very much pleased.
"As to myself," said my dear wife, I have only brought good
news, yet I hope it will prove very valuable. I am delighted to
tell you that there are still alive on the ship a cow, a donkey, two
goats, six sheep, a ram and a sow. I was only just in time to save
them from dying of hunger and thirst."
You have all done well," I said at last, yet I am afraid Master
Jack has brought two tremendous eaters instead of anything use-
ful ; we shall find it difficult to feed them."
"'Oh! 1 ut, papa," exclaimed Jack, "when we get on shore the
dogs will help us to hunt."
Yes," I replied, but how are we to get there ?"
Can we not sail in tubs ? said Jack, I have often done so on
the pond at home."
"Happy thought!" I exclaimed; "let us begin at once. Now
for the nails, a hamnuer, a saw, and a gimlet. We will see what
can be found in the hold."
My wife and the boys, excepting Jack, followed me to the hold
with tools, and here we drew from the water four large empty
casks. These we dragged to the lower deck, which was just above
the water's edge, and discovered with joy that they were all made
of solid wood and bound with strong iron hoops. The water in the
hold on which they floated had prevented them from getting dry,
and proved that they were watertight.
I found them exactly suited to my purpose, and set to work
at once to saw them apart through the middle. We succeeded
at last, after great exertion, and then gladly refreshed ourselves
with the wine and biscuits which were contained in two other
small casks. I contemplated with pride the eight half-casks or
tubs as they stood side by side on the sloping deck, and felt quite
astonished to observe that my wife looked sad.
"I could never dare to trust myself on the open sea in one of
those things," she said with a sigh.
"l)o not alarm yourself too soon, dear wife," I replied: my
work is not yet finished; wait a little,-you will find that these
tubs are much better for us than a wrecked vessel which is a
fixture in the rocks."
After a search I discovered a long and flexible plank, and upon
this I fastened my eight tubs, so that the two ends of the plank
might bend upwards and form a keel. Two other planks I also
found, and these we nailed firmly to the tubs on each side, and
SHIPWRECKED AND ALONE. 7
brought together at the ends to form the stem and stern. In
reality I had made a narrow boat divided into eight compart-
ments. All was strong and well fitted, and appeared quite suitable
for navigation, at least on a calm sea and for a short distance.
But, alas when my wonderful contrivance was finished, it was
found so heavy that in spite of our united efforts we were not able
to move it an inch.
"Fetch me one of the capstan-rods,"* I cried, "I can use it as
Fritz understood, and ran to find one. Then I cut off some
pieces of wood from the sail-yards t for rollers, and lifting the
lower part of my boat with the iron bar, Fritz placed them under-
neath, and now we could move it easily where we pleased.
"How strange," exclaimed Ernest, "that one man can do more
with that thing than we could do with all our strength! How is
it, papa ?"
"If we get safely to land, Ernest, I will explain this to you:
the iron bar forms a lever which is one of the six mechanical
powers. Now, however, I am too anxious about the boat to talk
While saying this I was fastening a rope to the tub-raft with a
strong knot, and after placing the two rollers under it and giving
it a slight push, we had the pleasure of seeing our little vessel
glide from the lower deck towards the sea. But she descended
with such rapidity that had I not taken the precaution to fasten
the rope to a beam on the wreck, she would have been carried
far out of our reach. Unfortunately, the boat leaned so much on
one side that no one would have dared to embark in it; but I saw
in a moment what it wanted. I quickly gathered up all the heavy
things around me, and threw them as ballast into the tubs. The
boat immediately righted itself, and my children with eager joy
rushed forward, in their haste disputing who should first enter,
and forgetting all idea of danger.
But I hastily stopped them. I knew we could not venture to
put to sea with any safety yet, for I saw plainly that the slightest
obstruction would capsize the craft. To avoid this danger, there-
fore, I thought I might contrive to manufacture some of those
paddles which savage nations use to balance their canoes even
against adverse winds.
I again set myself to work to procure this happy means of
An iron bar used to turn the capstan when raising the anchor.
+The poles across the masts on which the sailors stand to unfurl or furl the sails.
8 SIVISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
safety, and with the help of Fritz I succeeded. We found two
long sail-yards, which were fastened, one in front and the other at
the hinder part of the boat, so that they could be moved without
in any way interfering with the progress of our little raft.
To the end of each of these we fixed two little empty casks
which were to serve as a counterpoise, and at last I believed
that our arrangements were complete and safe. It only remained
for me to ascertain the best means of escape from the wreck of
the ship to the open sea. I therefore embarked in one of the
tubs, and directing the boat towards a fissure in the side which
seemed to open a passage, I contrived, by the use of the hatchet
and the saw, to cut away the planks and beams which stood in our
Nothing now remained but to secure the oars for our voyage
on the morrow. It was late when all this was finished, and
impossible to attempt to go on shore at that hour. We were
obliged, therefore, to pass another night on the wreck, which
threatened every moment to fall to pieces.
My wife, however, had prepared for us an abundant supper,
which we greatly needed, for in an eager desire to finish the tub-
raft, we had taken nothing but the wine and biscuits found in the
At last we all gladly sought repose after the fatigues of the day,
but I took the precaution to desire my boys to attach the empty
cans and flasks to their arms as a means of safety, should anything
happen to the ship. I advised my wife also to dress herself in
sailor's clothes, as more convenient for swimming should she be
thrown into the water.
She objectly greatly at first, but eventually I convinced her of
the means of safety the dress would prove in case of accident,
and she retired from the cabin to make the change.
When she re-appeared, looking very embarrassed, I could not
help paying her a compliment, for the middy's dress became her
admirably. Perhaps my bright hopes for the morrow made her
forget her boyish appearance, and she retired to rest in her berth
and slept peacefully till morning.
A DESOLATE ISLAND.
T HE next morning at daybreak we were all awake, for hope
as well as care is no friend to sleep. As soon as we had
knelt and offered our morning prayers to God, I said to my
"I hope now, that with the aid of the Almighty, we shall soon
be out of danger. And, first, let us provide food and water for the
poor animals enough to last for several days; perhaps we may
be able to return for them, if we succeed in reaching the land.
And will you, my boys, collect together all that we shall require
to take with us for our most pressing wants, while I attend to the
My first care had been to place on board our little barque a
barrel of powder, three fowlingpieces, guns, pistols, and a supply
of bullets, with a bullet-mould and lead to prepare more when
these were gone. To my wife and each of the boys I gave a
game-bag for future use, but now filled with provisions found in
the sea-chests of the ship's officers. Among these were tablets of
soup, dried meat, and biscuits.
I also loaded the two unoccupied tubs of the boat with an iron
pot for cooking, a fishing line and rod, a box of nails, a hammer,
saw, hatchet, pincers, and a quantity of sail-cloth, with which to
erect a tent. So many things were at last collected together to
place in the boat, that I had to set aside the least useful for
objects more precious.
When all was ready, we knelt once more to ask protection on
our perilous voyage. I then placed the boys each in a boat, and
waited for my wife. Presently she returned from the cabin,
carrying a large well-filled bag, which she threw into the tub
10 STVISS FAMILY IROBINSON.
with little Frank, and I imagined that she only intended it to form
a more comfortable seat for her youngest boy.
We were about to follow the children into the boat, when all at
once the cocks began to crow and the hens to cluck in such a
mournful manner, that they appeared to be complaining at being
SI think we might manage to take them with us," I said ; "for
if they are not cared for now we cannot expect them to be of use
to us by- ,!,1-1i,.. "
My advice was followed: two cocks and ten hens were placed in
the tubs, and I contrived a kind of latticework roughly from
splinters of wood, to keep them from jumping out. The ducks,
geese, and pigeons I merely set free, feeling convinced that they
would find their way to land, either through the air or by water.
At length, when we were all safely stowed away in our tubs, I
cut the cable and placed myself at the helm. In the first tub was
my wife, close behind her little Frank ; the two next tubs contained
the ammunition, the sail-cloth, the tools, the provisions, and the
chickens ; Fritz occupied the fifth; Ernest and Jack the sixth and
seventh; and I had taken the last for myself, that I might guide the
vessel containing my familyby the stern oar, which served for a rudder.
Each of my elder boys took an oar, and, as well as their mother
and little Frank, wore the swimming belts I had contrived as a
protection in case our strange craft should be capsized.
It was just half-tide as we quitted the vessel, and I counted
upon that to carry us to land, and compensate for the weakness of
our rowers. The eyes of my children were soon eagerly attracted
by the green shore before them, and they rowed with all their
strength to reach it; but for a long time we appeared to make but
Presently we were startled by hearing the two dogs, which had
been left on the wreck, whining piteously ; and in a few moments
they sprang into the sea and swam after us. They were too heavy
for us to add to the weight by taking them on board our frail
barque. Turk was a large English mastiff, and Floss, equally large,
a Danish hound. I pitied them, however, for I feared they would
not be able to swim for such a distance; yet, now and then, they
supported themselves very cleverly, by-resting their fore-paws on
the planks which balanced the tubs, and followed us as a rear-guard
without much trouble.
After awhile, finding we made but little progress, I took another
oar, and by guiding the boat into the current of the flowing tide,
A DESOLATE ISLAND. 13
our navigation became less difficult, and we found ourselves ap-
proaching nearer to the shore.
A DESOLATE COAST.
Its aspect was not very inviting: barren rocks and the absence
of all vegetation predicted for us a sad prospect of hunger and
14 SIWISS FAMILY IROBINSON.
suffering. The sea, however, was calm, and the sky without a cloud,
and the waves rippled gently against the shore; while around us
floated chests, casks, and bales of goods-the debris of the ill-fated
ship. In the hope that these stray casks might contain provisions,
Fritz and I hooked some of them with our oars, and as I drew
them near, I told hlim to have nails and a hanmner ready to fasten
them to our raft.
As we drew nearer, the land lost much of its wild and sterile
aspect, and Fritz, who has the eye of a falcon, declared that he
could already distinguish trees, and amongst them palns and
"Oh !" cried Ernest, who was fond of good things, "how nice it
will be to have cocoanuts they are larger and better than the nuts
A difficulty now arose as to the most convenient point on the
coast for us to land, and I was beginning to regret that I had for-
gotten to bring the telescope from the captain's cabin, when Jack
drew from his pocket a smaller one, and offered it to me with
delight at being able to gratify my wish.
This telescope enabled me to take precautions in avoiding
dangerous rocks, for the impetuous current seemed driving us at
its will. Presently I perceived a narrow bay, towards which our
ducks and geese were rapidly swimming in advance of us, as if to
lead the way.
This creek in the shore presented also a much more pleasant
aspect, and as I guided our boat towards the entrance, I found the
water only just sufficiently deep to float it; and we arrived at last,
after some little trouble, at a spot where it was so shallow that the
shore was on a level with the top of our tubs.
We all sprang out joyfully from the boat excepting little Frank,
who was obliged to be assisted by his mother. The dogs, who had
arrived as soon as ourselves, bounded with joy and barked around
us in the wildest manner. The geese and ducks quacked loudly
to welcome us.. To this and the barking of the dogs were added
the cries of the flaniingoes, who flew away as we appeared, mingled
with the screams of the penguins perched on the rocks. The
appearance of these wild birds was not disagreeable to me: I
decided that the land in which they found a home could not be so
sterile and desolate after all.
But these noises and confusion of sounds did not make us
forget that we were safe; and our first act was to fall upon our
knees and thank God for having mercifully preserved us in the
A DESOLATE ISLAND. 15
hour of danger, and pray to Him to continue to grant us His
We then commenced unloading the boat, and, small as our cargo
appeared, I considered we had saved a great deal, especially if we
included the cocks and hens, which were set free to roam for the
present and find food for themselves.
After choosing a suitable spot, we prepared to erect a tent as
a place of shelter for the night, and in this we quickly succeeded,
having all the necessary materials. One of the poles, which had
served to balance the boat, was firmly fixed in the ground, and the
end of another pole placed on the top of it, the opposite end being
fixed in a crevice of the rock.
Over this framework we threw our sail-cloth, stretching it out
16 SWISS FAMILY Y ROBINSON.
as far as possible on all sides, and then fastening it firmly to the
ground with a number of stakes.
For greater security our chests and other heavy articles were
placed round the cloth to keep out the wind, and Fritz attached
hooks to the edges in front, that we might draw them together
during the night. Then I sent the children to gather as much
moss and grass as they could find, and lay it in the sun to dry,
so that we might have something softer than the hard ground to
sleep on at night.
While they were thus engaged, I piled up a number of large
stones at some distance from the tent, to form a fireplace, on the
borders of the little creek by which we had reached the land.
Branches of trees and dried wood I found readily, and gathering
armfuls, I placed them on my stone hearth, and presently a fire-
that true friend of man-rose sparkling and flaming towards the
Upon this I placed our iron pot full of water, and into it my
Upon this I placedl our iron pot full of water, and into it my
A DESOLATE ISLAND. 17
wife threw one of the tablets, for she intended us to have soup for
dinner. Little Frank watched the performance, and said presently,
Mamma, what is papa going to stick together ?"
"Nothing, my boy: I am making soup."
"Glue soup, mamma! Oh, I shan't like to eat that."
"No," she replied, "meat soup; what made you think it was
"It looks like it, mamma; besides, we can't get meat here, there
are no butchers' shops."
"Listen, my boy,"'said his mother: these cakes, that perhaps do
look like glue, are made of the jelly of good meat, well cooked, for
persons to carry with them to sea. It would be impossible for us
to take fresh meat enough to last for a long voyage, it would not
keep, so these meat and soup cakes are made to supply its
Meanwhile Fritz had loaded his gun and took his way along
the banks of the stream. Ernest, remarking that to seek for game
upon a desert coast did not appear very agreeable, turned towards
the sea, while Jack wandered among the rocks to search for shells.
I employed myself in drawing from the water the two casks which
we had secured in our transit from the ship to the shore.
I discovered, however, that while the water at the spot on which
we landed was convenient for unloading the boat, it had not depth
enough to float it when heavily laden. While I stood considering
what was best to be done, I heard Jack cry out as if in terror.
Seizing a hatchet, I ran in the direction of his voice, and saw him
in the water up to his knees, and an enormous lobster or crab
holding him by the leg in one of his claws, while Jack tried in
vain to get rid of his enemy.
I at once jumped into the water; the crustaceous animal no
sooner perceived my approach than he let go his hold and tried to
escape; but to allow this was not my intention. I followed his
movements with my eyes, owing to the agitation of the water, and
at length disabling him with my hatchet, I brought him ashore, to
Jack's great delight.
Burning with impatience to show his beautiful captive to his
mother, he caught the creature in both hands; but hardly had he
touched it whan it struck him such a violent blow with its tail
that he threw it on the ground and began to cry.
I terribly offended him by laughing outright, and in his anger
he took up a stone a:d stunned the fallen foe by a blow on the
18 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"It is not generous to strike a vanquished foe," I exclaimed.
"You should have approached the creature more cautiously."
But Jack, finding the lobster helpless, paid no attention to my
words; seizing it at once, he ran in triumph to his mother, ex-
"See, mamma! Ernest! Frank! look, I've caught a lobster-
such a large one Where is Fritz ?"
4- V, .
JACK CAUGHT BY THE LOBSTER.
Everyone came round him and congratulated him on his
success; and Ernest suggested that the creature should be at
once cooked for dinner, and that it would make delicious soup.
But his mother decided that it should be set aside till we had
more need of it.
My four boys possessed different dispositions, as will be seen in
the story. Fritz, the eldest, was a manly intelligent boy of four-
A DESOLATE ISLAND. 19
teen, quick-tempered, but generous to a fault. Ernest, aged twelve,
was more gentle and refined than his elder brother, but with very
little energy, and a tendency to indolence and self-indulgence,
which rendered him far less useful than even his high-spirited
younger brother Jack, a boy of ten. Little Frank, only six, was
the youngest, and rather childish, as the youngest of a family
The reader will see as the story proceeds how greatly the position
into which we were thrown by certain events, tended to develop
traits of character in these four boys.
Jack's pride in the capture of the lobster made him forget his
alarm and cowardice.
"You see this monster!" he exclaimed-" he caught me by the
leg with his terrible claws; and I believe he would have torn it,
but for my thick sailor's trousers. However, I soon settled him."
"Little boaster!" I said to him, "you would have been more
likely settled by the lobster, had I not run to your assistance.
Your glory does not rest on a very firm foundation."
I acknowledged, however, that he had made a splendid discovery,
and promised him the claws of the lobster for a reward.
Oh!" cried Ernest, "I think I have seen some animals quite
as good to eat as Jack's lobster; but I did not care to get any,
because I should have had to wade through the water."
"What an excuse !" exclaimed Jack. "Afraid of getting wet!
and they were only mussels after all, I dare say, and not fit to eat."
"In my opinion they are oysters," replied Ernest, "and they are
not at any great depth in the water."
"And pray, Mr. Philosopher, if they are oysters, why did you
not bring us some for dinner ? In our present position every
sort of wholesome food is acceptable; and to fear getting wet
is absurd You see that the sun has dried my clothes and Jack's
"I forgot that, papa," replied Ernest, "or I could have brought
salt as well. I saw a great quantity in the crevices of the rocks,
left there by the sea, I suppose."
"Of course, my son. Well, now go and fetch some of this salt,
unless you would like to eat your soup without it, Ernest."
In a short he returned with what was evidently common salt,
but so mixed with sand that I should have thrown it away had not
my wife prevented me from doing so.
"I can improve it," she said, by dissolving it in fresh water, and
straining it through a piece of linen."
20 SIWLSS FAMILY ROBINSON.
And so it proved, for the pure salt fell through, and my wife
threw it into the soup.
"Why could we not use sea-water ?" asked Jack.
"Because it would be too bitter," replied Ernest. "The bitter
taste is very strong when sea-water is boiled."
"Quite right, Ernest," I said. "Sea-water contains a bitumen
very disagreeable to the taste, which does not exist in crystall-
My wife now informed us that the soup was ready, but Fritz
had not returned. Where could he be? While we waited, she
"How are we to eat the soup now it is prepared? We cannot
possibly lift a great burning pot to our lips, nor fish out the
biscuits with our hands, and we have neither spoons nor cups.
I think," she added, laughing, "we are in the same predicament as
the fox in the fable, when the stork offered him his breakfast in a
jug with a long narrow neck!"
This idea was so comical that we all laughed heartily, especially
when Ernest said,
"If we only had cocoanut-shells divided in two, they would
make splendid cups !"
"No doubt," I replied: "why don't you wish we had a dozen
silver spoons at hand ? Wishing is useless: can you not invent
Those shells I saw would serve us for spoons capitally !" said
"A bright idea, my boy,-although, as our oyster-shell spoons
will have no handles, we shall be obliged to burn our fingers
in getting out the soup. However, oyster-shells are better than
nothing, boys, so run and get as many as you can."
Away started Jack to the place described. Ernest followed
slowly, and when he reached the spot, there was Jack up to his
knees in the water. As he stood still, dreading to wet his feet, Jack
detached the oysters and threw them to his brother.
"You can gather them up and help me carry them," he said,
"if you are so afraid of the water."
Ernest gladly assented, and they quickly obtained a sufficient
number; while he waited, however, he contrived to put a large
shell in his own pocket. Presently they appeared at the tent, car-
rying a supply of unopened spoons.
At this moment Fritz approached, walking slowly with his hands
behind his back, and his head bowed as if in great trouble.
A DESOLATE ISLAND. 21
"I have found nothing," he said, dolefully.
"Absolutely nothing ? I said.
"Nothing," was the reply.
But his brothers slipping quietly behind him exclaimed,
Oh, Fritz and you've got a little pig ? Where did you find it ?
Did you kill it ? Oh, do show it to us.
Fritz then, with a self-satisfied air, placed before me the first
result of his hunting exploits.
You have succeeded, no doubt, Fritz," I said gravely; but I
cannot allow you to utter falsehoods even in joke or to surprise us.
The habit of untruthfulness in play easily leads to speaking falsely
on serious subjects."
Fritz promised not to offend again. And then he told us he
had wandered to the other side of the creek, and found the vege-
tation very different; green grass, pleasant meadows, and such
magnificent trees to shade us from the heat.
"And, papa," he added; "there are chests and boxes and spars
floating about from the wreck. Can we not go and fetch them ?
If the animals were here that we left on board, it would be easy to
find food for them; and how useful they would be, especially the
cow, to supply us with milk. Don't let us stay in this barren
"Patience, patience, my boy," I said. One thing at a time.
To-morrow we will try what can be done. But, tell me, did you
see anything of our fellow-passengers ?"
"No, papa; not a single trace on sea or land. And, papa, I
think this place is an island; and," he added quickly, "there are
pigs here, because I have shot one; but I don't think it exactly
resembles the pigs in Europe, for its paws are more like those of a
hare. I saw several in the grass: they had no fear of me, so I
ventured quite close, and saw them sitting on their hind legs, and
feeding themselves like squirrels. If I had not been afraid they
would all escape from me, I should have tried to catch one alive,
for they appeared almost tame."
Ernest, in spite of his indolent habits, had been a great reader,
and was perhaps the most intellectual of my boys. He had been
examining the dead animal carefully while his brother talked.
"This is not a pig at all, Fritz," he said; "it has hair like silk,
and four large incisor teeth in front. I believe it is an animal I've
read about in my Natural History called an agouti."
"Indeed!" said Fritz; "listen to our great doctor with his
universal scientific knowledge. I believe it's a young pig after all."
22 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"Gently, gently," I cried; don't be so hasty with your jokes.
Ernest, I believe, is right. I have never seen the agouti; but the
appearance of this animal corresponds entirely with the descrip-
tions I have read, as well as the pictures. The agouti is a native
of America. It inhabits hollow trees, is mild and gentle in its
nature, and forms excellent food."
While we were discussing this question, Jack was using his
utmost efforts to open an oyster with his knife, but without success.
"You will never succeed, Jack," I said, "unless you place the
oysters on the hot embers; they will then open of themselves."
5-Nf =-- --
In a few minutes Jack brought me an open oyster.
"See, my children," I said; "this is considered a great delicacy
by epicures; let us taste it." With these words I swallowed the
first oyster, not, certainly, without repugnance, which, however, I
concealed from the boys.
"Do you like it, papa?" they asked.
'" I have had enough for the present," I replied; "but I must
leave you to judge for yourselves."
The boys, after looking more closely at the glutinous object, ap-
peared reluctant to make the attempt, but they knew that they
must each eat one to obtain a shell for a spoon. Jack led the way,
performing the task heroically, and swallowing the oyster, as if it
A DESOLATE ISLAND. 23
were medicine, with all sorts of grimaces, while his brothers followed
his example, yet with evident dislike.*
The empty shells, however, were at last obtained, and we hastened
to put our new fashioned spoons in use, yet not without burning
our fingers as we dipped them into the soup.
Then Ernest brought from his pocket the large mussel-shell which
he had concealed, and filling it with soup, drew himself on one side,
and, laughing at our burnt fingers, set it down to get cool.
"You take care of yourself, my boy, at all events," I said; "I
hope you will procure dishes for us similar to that by-and-bye."
"There are plenty more where that came from," he replied,
"I fear you are becoming selfish, Ernest," I said; "I think I
ought to punish you by giving that soup to the two dogs; you can
wait as well as they can."
With all his faults Ernest was amiable in temper; he rose at
once, and placed it before the hungry animals, who swallowed it in
the twinkling of an eye. But what was that to assuage their
Suddenly, while we were enjoying our soup, they spied the dead
agouti, and before we could prevent them they had devoured it.
Fritz started up in a rage, and seizing his gun, flew at the dogs
as if he would kill them, and when they rushed from him in terror
he threw stones after them, which caused them to howl with pain.
My angry voice recalled him to himself, and when his rage
calmed down, I talked to him seriously about this hasty temper
which so pained me, for it appeared to become worse instead of
better, as he grew older. I showed him that it had not only
caused him to utter rude and angry words before his younger
brothers, but had I not interfered he would have killed the two
faithful creatures who would no doubt be so useful to us. He
looked very much ashamed as I thus talked to him, and owned he
was wrong, and presently I observed him trying to make friends
with the dogs ; I hoped, therefore, that my words had done good.
As sunset approached, the poultry gathered round us and began
to pick up the crumbs, and then I discovered the valuable contents
of the bag which my wife had placed in the tub with little Frank.
She opened it now, and scattered oats, peas, and barley, which were
eagerly swallowed by pigeons and poultry. She showed me also a
quantity of wheat which she had brought in her bag, and while I
SThe Swiss must differ from the English in disliking an edible which the latter consider
24 SWISS FAMILY ROBIASON.
praised her thoughtfulness, I advised her to be economical with this
precious grain, which I hoped we might be able to sow if we had to
remain on the island. I promised also that, on my next trip to the
wreck, I would bring for the poultry the damaged biscuits. Our
pigeons after their supper took refuge in the clefts of the rocks, the
fowls perched themselves on the ridge of the tent, while the ducks
and geese went to roost among the rushes which grew on the brink
of the stream.
We also began to think about retiring to rest, but I first took the
precaution to load our guns and place them within reach, in case of
alarm. We then knelt and offered our evening prayer, thanking
God for His care of us during the day, and after asking Him to
watch over us while we slept, we entered the tent.
My children were astonished to observe that night came on
almost suddenly after very little twilight. This made me feel
certain that we were near the equator, or at least in some island
situated within the tropics. In countries near the Line the light
changes to darkness with great rapidity. I left the tent once more
to assure myself that all was quiet around us, and on re-entering,
closed the opening after me, while the cock, awakened by the rising
moon, crowed his evening chant. The heat of the day was followed
by a cold night, which we felt more keenly on our beds of moss.
My wife and the boys, however, were soon asleep. We had agreed
to watch alternately during the night, but in spite of all my efforts
I could not keep awake. Unconsciously my eyelids closed softly,
slumber fell upon me, and this our first night on our land of safety
was passed calmly and without alarms.
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY.
A T early dawn we were aroused by the crowing of the cocks,
and my wife and I consulted together on the best plan to
adopt in our proceedings during the day. She agreed with
me that not only was it necessary to search for some trace of our
fellow-passengers, but also to explore the country before we decided
upon our future resting-place. She understood readily that it
would be impossible for the whole family to venture on such an
expedition. She proposed, therefore, that I should take Fritz, as he
was the strongest and the most useful, and leave the younger boys
under her care. I was thankful to find her reconciled to this
arrangement, and begged her to prepare breakfast while I aroused
"We have not much left for breakfast," she said, "only the
remains of the soup."
But where is Jack's lobster ?" I cried, "what has he done with
"Go and ask him," she replied, "while I light a fire, and place on
the water to boil."
The boys were soon awake, even Ernest did not require much to
rouse him, and then I inquired of Jack what had become of the
He ran at once to fetch it from a crevice in the rock, where he
had hidden it for safety.
I was determined the dogs should not devour it, as they did he
agouti, papa," he said.
"Certainly you take care of what belongs to yourself, my boy,"
I said, "but they are happier who care for the wants of others. I
think also you ought to give up to Fritz the claws of the lobster
26 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
which I promised you, to provide him with a dinner on his journey
"A journey a journey !" they all cried; are we going ?" and
they began to jump and dance round me like young kids.
This time it is impossible," I said; "we know not what dangers
we may meet. Fritz and I have strength to struggle against them,
and to bear the fatigue of a long journey, which you could not.
You must stay here with your mother, in safety. We shall take
Turk with us, and leave Floss to guard you. Such a defender and
a loaded gun are not to be despised."
Jack generously offered the whole of his lobster for our use on
the journey, but Ernest remarked drily,
They will no doubt find plenty of cocoanuts, and that will be
far nicer than your lobster, Jack."
When I desired Fritz to take his gun and an axe, with a game-
bag, he blushed, and asked my permission to choose another instead
of his own.
To this I readily agreed, although I would not notice the blush.
I knew that he had injured his gun in trying to strike the dogs on
the previous evening, and I felt pleased to see that he still remem-
bered his outburst of temper with shame.
I told him, however, to place two small pistols in his belt, while
I loaded the game-bag with powder and shot, some biscuits and a
bottle of water.
By this time breakfast was ready; it consisted of the lobster and
some biscuits. The flesh, however, of the fish was so hard, and of
such an unpleasant flavour, that no one regretted its loss when
Fritz placed what remained in the game-bag.
"We ought to start soon, papa," he said, "before the heat of the
day comes on."
"Quite right, my boy," I replied; "but we have forgotten some-
thiing of great importance."
"What is it ?" he asked; to say farewell to mamma and the
I know," said Ernest,-" we have not had morning prayers yet."
Yes, my boy, that is it. We are apt to forget God too easily
while we are thinking of the nourishment of our bodies and other
requirements of this life, and yet we never wanted his succour and
protection more surely than we do now."
Jack, who was behind me, forgot himself in a love of fun; he
pretended to pull a rope, and shouted, "Bim bom, bim bom, bibi-
bom! To prayers! to prayers !" in imitation of the church bells.
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 27
I turned quickly, exclaiming, "Wicked child, to mix up jokes
and fun with sacred things; go away, I shall not allow you to
kneel with us."
Jack withdrew and knelt at a distance, and then, after beseech-
ing God in His mercy still to protect us, and especially to watch
over us while we were separated, I implored pardon for the little
one among us who had so thoughtlessly offended.
When I had finished, Jack came to me in tears, and expressing his
sorrow, asked me to forgive him, and promised never to commit such
a fault again. I readily pardoned him, and felt thankful as I reflected
that whatever might be the faults of my children, they were always
ready to acknowledge themselves wrong, and to seek forgiveness.
Before Fritz and I started, I called the younger boys round their
mother, and enjoined them to obey her in everything implicitly. I
reminded her also to be sure and keep a loaded gun close at hand,
and not to lose sight of our tub-boat, as in case of alarm it would
prove a place of refuge.
At last we separated, not without grief and hesitation, for we
knew not what might happen to us before we met again; Fritz and
I heard the sorrowful adieus of those we left behind till we reached
the banks of the stream which we intended to cross.
The ground here rose abruptly, and was so rocky and steep that
we were obliged to follow the current for a long time, to find a spot
at which to cross and get farther inland. I, however, rejoiced over
this proof that I had left my family safely protected by rocks as
lofty as I could desire for their defence.
After walking a long distance, the stream grew narrower, and at
length we reached its source, from which it tumbled over rocks and
stones down a precipice, forming a cascade in its descent.
Across the narrowest part we contrived to leap from stone to
stone, and after a struggle over broken rocks and tall withered
grass, we reached the opposite bank in safety; and by endeavouring
to descend towards the sea, I hoped we should meet fewer obstacles
to our progress.
We had not advanced a hundred steps, when we heard a strange
noise, and a rustling in the grass behind us. I stopped, and saw
Fritz fearlessly raise his gun and wait calmly for the unknown
enemy, which proved to be no other than our dog Turk. In our
trouble we had forgotten to call him, and he had been sent after
us. I overwhelmed the animal with caresses, and praised Fritz for
his steadiness and caution, for had he fired through fear he might
have killed the dog.
28 STVISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"You see, my son," I said, "how fatal our passions are if not
under control. Yesterday through your anger, and to-day from
fear, you might have destroyed our best and most useful friends."
While conversing thus we reached the sea-shore. Here we stood
still for awhile, looking in every direction across the ocean, in the
hope of discovering the boats containing our fellow-passengers;
but not even in the sand could we find any trace of the footsteps
"If I were to fire my gun from time to time, and they should
be on the land, they would perhaps hear it," said Fritz.
"Very likely," I replied; "but these signals might bring wild
beasts upon us, which would not be very agreeable."
Why should we trouble ourselves about those who forsook us
so cruelly ?" asked Fritz.
"For several reasons, my boy," I replied; "and first, because we
ought always to return good for evil, and therefore if they could
not be useful to us, we might help them greatly, for they carried
nothing away from the wreck."
Silently reflecting, we continued our walk inland, and at the end
of two hours arrived at the entrance of a wood, not far from the
sea. Here we halted, and seated ourselves in the cool shade by a
rippling brook which flowed under the trees. Around us fluttered
happy birds of various kinds, twittering and singing joyously; but
they were less remarkable for sweetness of song than for the bright-
ness of their plumage.
Presently Fritz fancied he saw an ape among the foliage, and
the uneasiness of Turk, who barked furiously, confirmed him in his
idea. He rose to assure himself that he was right, and, while
looking up, and regardless of his steps, he struck his foot violently
against something round which had fallen in his path.
He picked it up, and bringing it to me, he said, "What is this,
papa ? I think it must be the nest of some bird."
I smiled as I replied, "It is a nut, my boy, a cocoanut too."
"Some birds make round nests, I know," he persisted.
Certainly they do, but that is no reason that this should be a
nest. Do you not remember that the cocoanut has two shells, the
outer one thin and covered with fibres, and the inner one hard and
containing a milky fluid ? Break it, Fritz, and you will find the
inner nut or kernel inside."
He obeyed, but the nut was evidently an old one, for the inside
of the kernel was quite decayed and unfit to eat.
Fritz was disappointed: he had expected to find the sweet milk
I?-._~I~C~PI~~. Ib ~;
~ ,aa -
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 29
and the white lining to the inner shell, and asked me a number of
questions respecting the nut, which I answered carefully; and
after this lesson in natural history I proposed that we should go
farther into the wood, where no doubt grew other cocoanut-trees,
and perhaps meet with a fresher nut.
We succeeded at last in finding another, but even this was un-
pleasant in taste, and contained no milk.
A little farther on and the wood became so thick that we were
obliged to cut our way through with the hatchet. At last, when
the trees grew farther apart, we saw to our right, scattered here
and there, solitary trees of a peculiar species, which attracted the
notice of Fritz.
Presently his keen eyes espied two of such a singular appearance
that he stopped to examine them, and then cried, "Papa, only look
at those trees, with large bulbs growing on the trunks: do come
and examine them."
I drew nearer, and found to my great satisfaction a group of cala-
bash-trees, loaded with fruit. Fritz could not understand my pleasure.
"Whatever can those excrescences be ?" he asked.
We will soon discover the secret," I replied. "Gather one of
them, and let us examine the interior."
Immediately he placed in my hands a common gourd or pumpkin,
with a shell that seemed to me, however, unusually soft.
"This gourd, Fritz," I said, has in general a hard, dry shell, of
whici' cups, plates, and bottles can be made. The flexible stem of
the plant on which it grows winds itself round the trunks and
boughs of large and strong trees, from which the gourd is suspended;
and can you guess for what reason ?"
"Yes," replied Fritz; "without this support the weight of the
gourd would break the branches of the plant on which it grows."
"You have guessed rightly," I replied; "and it will prove to
you how wisely all things are arranged by God."
"And are gourds good to eat ?" he asked.
"They are eaten sometimes," I said, "although they are not
pleasant to the taste. The shell, however, is very useful to savage
nations: they make cifps, and plates, spoons, bottles, and even
cooking vessels of it."
"Vessels for cooking!" exclaimed Fritz; "why, that seems
impossible; the shell would burn if placed on the fire."
"Of course it would," I replied; "but they manage to cook
without doing so."
"That is a curious idea, to cook without fire."
30 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"My boy, you jump to conclusions too quickly. I did not say
they cooked their food without fire. I wish you would reflect
before you speak. Let me now explain. The natives, when they
use the gourd for cooking, divide the shell into two parts, and
fasten a handle on each. Into these they pour water, as we should
into a saucepan, and place in it portions of fish, crab, or anything
else that they wish to cook. Red hot stones are then thrown in,
which boil the water, and while the dinner is being quickly pre-
pared, the shell remains unhurt."
"Perhaps if I had reflected, I should have guessed how they
managed," said Fritz; "it is a very clever plan, certainly."
"And you are as clever as the friends of Columbus. After he
had discovered how to make an egg stand on its narrowest point,
they said anyone might have thought of cracking it gently to flatten
it, as he did."
"I suppose I am like the friends of Columbus," said Fritz,
laughing; "at all events, I shall be overjoyed at being able to pro-
vide my mother with spoons instead of oyster shells, as well as cups
Fritz took up a gourd as he spoke, and attempted to divide it
with his knife, but without success. The blade appeared unable to
penetrate the shell, and after notching his knife and spoiling the
gourd, he threw the latter away in a pet, wondering at the hardness
of a shell which seemed so soft.
"Do not be so hasty, my friend," I exclaimed; "the shell can be
opened in another way; look here, Fritz."
He watched me with surprise as I tied a piece of string tightly
round the gourd, which slightly opened the bark; I then drew it
tighter, and inserted the point of my knife in the opening; it
became at once an easy task to draw the string through the softer
part within, and so separate the shell into two unequal parts, each
forming a useful vase like a basin.
"What a pretty little saucepan!" exclaimed Fritz. "Papa, how
came you to think of such a clever way ?"
"From the accounts I have read of voyages and travels in savage
countries," I replied. "It proves the advantage of reading, for in
this way I learnt that the natives who do not possess knives always
open the gourds with a piece of string."
I then showed him how to form the shell into bottles, spoons,
and other articles, and as each appeared he expressed his joy at
the thought of the useful things he should be able to take to his
A GLORIOUS PROSPECT.
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 33
"They appear very fragile," he said at last.
"That is easily rectified," I replied; "fill them with sand, Fritz,
and bury them on the shore; the heat of the sun will soon harden
Fritz appeared greatly satisfied after performing this task, for he
had no inclination to carry on our exploring expedition such a load
as the spoons, cups, and basins we had buried in the sand. But
we marked the spot, that we might find it again on our road home.
As we continued our walk, Fritz employed himself in trying to
form a small spoon for little Frank, from a piece of the gourd he
had thrown away. I also endeavoured to fashion another from the
cocoanut-shell; but I must own that our productions were not
"We recognize the savages as our masters in this respect, Fritz.
Our spoons are very inferior to theirs."
"Never mind, papa; I shall keep them until we can get better."
And I quite approved of his intention.
While thus employed, we did not neglect to examine carefully
the country through which we passed; but its aspect was not
inviting. At length, after walking for nearly four hours, we
arrived at a kind of peninsula, which stretched far out into the sea,
and terminated in a small but steep hill, the summit of which
appeared a most convenient spot for taking a survey of the sea and
the surrounding country.
Up this we climbed with some difficulty; but when we reached
the top, a glorious prospect repaid us for our trouble. Before us
stretched the calm ocean sparkling in the sunlight. To our left
appeared a small bay, of which the encircling shore was lost in the
distant boundary of sea and sky; while almost to the water's edge
the rich verdure of the land, notwithstanding its want of cultiva-
tion, displayed treasures unknown in the continent of Europe.
After gazing with delight on this fertile spot, we turned towards
the sea, and examined with our glass its vast expanse, but no trace
of our companions could be discovered. The same result followed
our search through the glass over the inland prospect. No habita-
tions of man nor signs of his presence could be discovered.
The reflection that we were alone saddened me, even while the
appearance of nature in this fertile spot relieved us of all fear that
we might suffer from hunger. Yet this at last consoled me; and
I said, after some minutes of silence,
"Fritz, God has prepared for us another destiny to the one we
anticipated. He has chosen for us the life of colonists, and our
34 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
confidence in our heavenly Father has not been misplaced. He
orders all things for the best, and we will try to be as happy as
possible in our lonely island."
It matters very little to me," said Fritz. I would rather be
alone than have for our companions those who so cruelly left us
to our fate. We boys will soon grow strong enough to help you,
papa, and God will preserve us."
"True, my son. I am glad to hear you say this: it gives me
courage. However, we must not remain here any longer in this
burning sun. Let us find a shady spot in which we may rest
while we take some refreshment."
As we descended the hill we perceived at some little distance a
grove of palm-trees; but to reach it we had to cross a large space
of ground thickly overgrown with tall reeds, so interlaced with
each other that our progress was most difficult.
We advanced slowly and cautiously, for at every step we feared
that we should tread upon venomous snakes. I therefore sent
Turk on before, that he might give us warning ; and, as a further
means of defence, I cut from the reeds, which were tall and thick,
one of the strongest I could find, and carried it in my hand.
Very soon, to my astonishment, a glutinous liquid ran between
my fingers. I touched it with my lips, and its sweet taste proved
to me at once that we had discovered a wild overgrowth of sugar-
canes. I tasted it again, and my certainty was confirmed, especially
as I found the juice very refreshing.
Presently I told Fritz, who was a little in advance of me, to cut
a reed as a protection, but I said nothing of the sugar. I left to
him the pleasure of finding it out for himself.
He obeyed at once, seized the cane, and commenced brandish-
ing it over his head and striking the reeds right and left, to frighten
away the serpents. In so doing he broke it, and set free an
abundance of the juice, which streamed upon his hands.
Without a word he tasted it, and innmediately sucked his fingers,
laughing and jumping for joy as he cried,
"Papa! ol, papa it is the sugar-cane! Only taste it! I am
sure it is sugar-cane. Ah, how delighted my dear mother and the
boys will be if I carry some home for them!"
While exclaiming in this way, he broke the cane in pieces, and
sucked it so eagerly, that I was obliged to check him, for fear he
should make himself ill.
We should take in moderation anything that pleases the palate,"
I said. or what we long for very much may become hurtful."
FRITZ RESTRAINED F"ROMI SHOOTING THE MONKEY.
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY. 37
"I can, however, cut down enough sugar-sticks to carry with us,
to refresh ourselves on our way home, and that mamma and my
brothers may share in the pleasure of our discovery."
I can have no objection, Fritz; but will it not be too heavy a
load to carry such a distance ?"
My advice fell powerless. Fritz cut down a dozen of the finest
and largest canes, and tied them in a bundle, which he took
under his arm. We then continued our way till the cane forest
came to an end, and we found ourselves in the grove of palm-
Seating ourselves beneath the pleasant shade, we were glad to
rest while partaking of our frugal repast. Presently a troop of
monkeys, alarmed at our appearance as well as at the furious
barking of Turk, sprang to the top of the trees with such rapidity,
that we could not follow their movements with our eyes.
As soon as they found themselves safe, they commenced jabber-
ing at us with all their might, grinding their teeth and uttering the
most horrible cries.
I had only just time to notice that these creatures had perched
themselves on the cocoanut-trees, and therefore that I could make
them useful, when I saw Fritz throw down his bundle of canes,
seize his gun, and point it at one of the monkeys.
My hasty cry arrested his hand.
"What are you about, Fritz ? What advantage will you gain by
destroying even one of those poor animals ?"
Why should they not be killed ?" he said, angrily. Just look
how they are showing their teeth at us. I believe they are spiteful,
"And do their menaces excite the anger of wise Fritz ?" I re-
plied. I am indeed astonished. If an animal does us no injury,
its death is useless, except for food. We ought never to kill them
for revenge; and I think I know a better way to make them useful
than if you were to kill a dozen. I am going to try, but take care
of your head. If my stratagem succeeds, they will give us a good
return for saving their skins."
I picked up some stones as I spoke, which I threw at the
monkeys, but not high enough to reach them. Their rage at this
increased to fury, and presently they plucked and poured down
upon us a perfect hail of cocoanuts. The nuts fell around us in
every direction, and we had to save ourselves as we best could in
the shelter of the trees, or by jumping aside to avoid them.
Fritz laughed so heartily, that he had scarcely strength left to
38 STWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
escape; but when the cocoanut shower ceased, he gathered up as
many as he could carry with eager satisfaction.
Then we sought for a spot on which to sit and enjoy our harvest
of nuts, the shells of which we broke with a hatchet; and by
minking a hole at one end of the kernel with a knife, and another
on the opposite side, we were able to suck the milk from it.* It
was not exactly to our taste, but after breaking the inner shell we
found a white part inside, which, being easily scraped off with the
new spoons, proved very agreeable eating. The juice from the
sugar-canes completed our delicious feast.
The remains of the crab, now despised, were given to Turk, with
a few biscuits, and as even then he did not appear satisfied, we
threw him some pieces of the sugar-cane and cocoanuts, which he
pounced upon eagerly, and crunched them between his teeth till
not a morsel remained.
After we had finished our repast, I selected a few of the cocoa-
nuts, the stalks of which still adhered; these I tied together, to en-
able me to carry them more easily. Fritz took up his bundle of
sugar-canes, and, thus laden, we started on our walk homeward to
rejoin our family.
SThe milky liquid is only found in the cocoanut while it is unripe. As the nut ripens
the milk congeals, and gradually grows firm and white. When over-ripe, this white sub-
stance is hard, and very unwholesome; but in its most perfect state, this lining of the
cocoanut shell is firm, soft, and sweet.
THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY.
IN a very short time I discovered that Fritz began to feel the
bundle of canes lie heavily on his shoulders. He shifted it
from one to the other continually, and at last, placing it under
his arm, with a sigh exclaimed,
Really, papa, I never could have supposed these reeds would
prove so heavy; and yet I do wish to carry them home, that
mamma and my brothers may taste them."
"Patience and courage, my boy," I replied. Do you not recall
the fable of iEsop, in which he speaks of a bread-basket, so heavy
at the commencement of a journey, and so light at the end of it ?
Your burden will diminish in the same manner, for we shall have
occasion often to refresh ourselves before we reach home. Give
me, therefore, at once a cane, which shall be to me a pilgrim's staff
as well as a cruise of honey; and I advise you to follow my ex-
ample. Besides, if you tie the rest tightly to the end of your gun,
and carry it across your shoulder, you will find the burden much
lighter. Necessity is the mother of invention, and we need our in-
ventive power more especially when our strength fails."
As we continued our journey, Fritz remarked that I was sucking
the end of the cane he had given me, and appeared refreshed.
"How cleverly you manage, papa," he said; "I have tried with
all my efforts to obtain sugar from one of the canes, but I cannot
There is a cause for your failure," I replied; "reflect a little,
and perhaps you will find it out."
After a few minutes of silence, he exclaimed.
"Papa, I have discovered the reason: suction requires air to
assist it. I believe if I make a hole just above the first joint of
the cane, that the. juice will come."
40 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
While he thus spoke, he pierced a small opening with the point
of his penknife, and the sweet liquid passed freely into his mouth.
How wonderful it is, papa! he said, as he walked on, much
refreshed; but I cannot quite understand why it should require
"It is a natural law," I replied, that nature abhors a vacuum,
or empty space. Therefore, as by suction you draw out the air
from the hollow cane, the sugar juice rushes in to fill up the
vacuum. But, my boy, we must not be extravagant with our
refreshing liquid, or we shall have nothing left to carry to the tent
but dry sticks. Do not let that trouble you, however, for the heat
of the sun will most likely turn the sweet juice sour, after the
canes have been cut and exposed to the heat of the sun. At all
events, I hope we shall have enough left to show what a discovery
we have made to your mother and brothers."
And if not," said Fritz, I have some bottles full of cocoanut
milk in my game-bag, tightly corked down, that will be a treat for
"Don't make too sure, Fritz. You may find a bottle full of
vinegar instead of cocoanut milk when we reach home. When
taken out of its natural receptacle, it quickly spoils."
Shall we try one now ? lie asked. It would be unfortunate
to find nothing but vinegar to offer to mamma."
A bottle was taken from the bag; and as we endeavoured to
force the cork out with a penknife, it burst forth with an explosion
like gunpowder, and the contents flew into the air, frothing and
foaming like champagne.
"The movement in walking has caused it to ferment," I said
as I tasted the liquor,"and it is really very pleasant and refreshing."
Fritz followed my example so eagerly, that I was obliged to warn
him that drinking too much would intoxicate him, and give him a
bad headache next morning.
Mamma will like this," he said, as we continued our way.
I fear not," was my reply. "The heat will cause a repetition of
the fermentation, and the next stage produces vinegar."
While thus conversing, we arrived at the spot where we had left
our plates, basins, and spoons to harden in the sand. We found
them so dry and well preserved, that they could easily be carried
in the game bag without inconvenience.
We had scarcely entered the wood in which we had dined when
Turk rushed past us, barking furiously at a group of monkeys, who
were enjoying their gambols in perfect ignorance of our approach.
THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY. 41
Alarmed at the barking of the dog, they sprang into the trees
out of his way-all but a female monkey, who carried a little one
on her back, and could not escape.
Before we reached him, Turk had seized the poor animal, and
although Fritz rushed to the rescue, throwing off his hat and the
sugar-canes, he arrived too late to save her. The poor creature was.
dead, and Turk preparing to devour it.
With angry indignation Fritz tried to drive the dog away, but
as I reached the spot I advised him to desist. The unsatisfied
hunger of Turk had rendered him savage, and therefore dangerous.
The conduct of the baby monkey at this moment also diverted his
mind from the sad spectacle, and caused me great amusement.
It had fallen on the grass when Turk seized its mother, and was.
looking at the dog and making all sorts of grimaces. The instant
the little one caught sight of Fritz, with one spring he jumped on
his back and clung firmly to his hair. Neither cries nor blows on
the poor little creature could release Fritz of his burden; and
seeing there was no danger, the annoyance to Fritz and the
grimaces of the little monkey rendered it impossible for me to help.
I hastened, however, to remove the unwelcome guest; and, by
caresses and gentleness, I succeeded in relieving Fritz of his.
burden. I took it in my arms as I would an infant, and my pity
rose for its helplessness. It was not much larger than a kitten,
and evidently incapable of providing for itself.
"The little creature has lost its mother, and has taken you for
its adopted father, Fritz," I said, joking him. "I wonder what
resemblance he finds in you to his own family ? "
"The little rogue !" laughed Fritz. I suppose he discovered
that I am a good nature chap and kind to animals, so he placed
himself under my protection; but he has pulled my hair terribly."
What shall I do with it ?" I said. If we take it home, how
are we to feed it in our poverty ?"
"Father," said Fritz, do let me keep it and bring it up. We
can feed it with cocoanut milk ; or if we get the cow and the goat
from the ship, there will be milk to spare. And perhaps the in-
stinct of this little creature may help us to discover if the fruits
and vegetables we find are fit for food."
"I cannot object, my son," I replied; and I am pleased to find
you have no foolish resentment against the poor little beast. You
shall bring up your protye'; and, according to the manner in which
it is trained, its instinct will be useful or hurtful."
42 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
Meanwhile, the dreadful dog tranquilly finished his horrible
.meal. But we did not wait for him, although lie could scarcely be
blamed for his animal instincts; in fact, the dog was half starved.
Taking the bundle of sugar-canes and the game bag, I allowed
the little monkey to resume his place on the shoulders of Fritz,
and we continued our walk.
Presently we heard Turk trotting after us, and although we
overwhelmed him with reproaches for his cruel conduct, he did not
-trouble himself, but walked quietly behind Fritz.
The presence of the dog alarmed the monkey, and in his fright
he crept over the shoulder of Fritz and nestled iu his bosom for
protection, becoming at last very troublesome.
A sudden thought flashed across the youth's mind. He took a
piece of string from his pocket, tied it round Turk's neck, and
placed the little monkey on his back. He then put the end of
the string in the fore paw of the tiny cavalier, and addressed Turk
in these pathetic words:
"As you have killed the mother, it is but fair that you should
.carry the child yourself."
The dog at first objected to this arrangement, t, but, by coaxings
-and threats, we induced him to submit. The little monkey, who
.at first appeared to dislike his new seat, finished at last by making
This scheme of Fritz amused me greatly; and presently I said,
with a laugh,
We are approaching our home like two mountebanks going to
.a fair with a monkey and a performing dog. What a clamour of
1 i,;., ;n_ there will be when the boys see us I"
Still advancing on our way as we talked, we arrived near the
:stream which we had crossed at the falls in the morning, almost
before we were aware. The dog Floss, which had been left at the
tent, scented us from afar, and saluted our approach by barking
loudly. Turk barked in reply with all his might, and so alarmed
his little cavalier, that he sprang from the dog's back to the
*shoulders of Fritz, and nothing could induce him to descend.
Then Turk, finding himself free, set off to reconnoitre the country,
and crossed the river by swimming, that he might the more quickly
join his companion and announce our arrival.
Very soon the dear ones appeared, one after the other, on the
.opposite bank, to welcome our approach and to testify their joy at
-our happy return. We crossed the river at the same spot as in the
morning, and very soon found ourselves in the arms of each other.
THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY. 43
But the children scarcely gave themselves time to examine what
we had brought before they commenced jumping and shouting joy-
"Oh, a monkey Fritz, where did you find it ? Oh, what a
pretty little creature! I wish I knew what it could eat. But what
are those sticks for ? And look at those great things papa is
These questions and cries crossed each other so rapidly, that we
knew not which way to turn or how to reply.
When the first transports were over and they calmed down a
little, I said,
I am overjoyed to see you all once more, my dear ones. We
have returned in safety, thank God, and we have brought you all
sorts of good things; but we have not succeeded in finding any
trace of our fellow-travellers, nor indeed any signs of inhabitants
in this island."
"Let us praise God for uniting us once more in safety," said my
wife: and I thank Him that we can still be happy in our own
society and love. And first let us relieve you of your burdens."
Jack immediately took my gun, Ernest loaded himself with the
cocoanuts, Frank carried the spoons and plates made from the
gourds, and my wife the game bag. Fritz untied the sugar-canes
from his gun, and asked Ernest to carry them, while he again placed
the little monkey on Turk's back.
Ernest, although he carried the cocoanuts, could not refuse; but
he appeared so laden, that his mother, out of pity, took the nuts
"Ah," said Fritz, "if Ernest only knew what he had given up, he
would soon ask for them again. They are cocoanuts, Ernest, the
dear nuts that you are so fond of."
"Cocoanuts!" he exclaimed. "Ah, mamma, let me have them
again. I can carry them easily, gun and all."
"No, no, my child; I shall, perhaps, hear you complaining again
presently how the load fatigues you."
"I can throw away these sticks, then, and carry the gun in my
Throw away those sticks, will you ?" cried Fritz. Why, they
are sugar-canes. Come here, Ernest, and I will show you how to
get at the sugar."
"Sugar-canes sugar-canes was the general cry, as the boys all
clustered round Fritz, and begged him to relate how and where he
44 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
And so one thing after another was described and explained;
yet, after all, nothing gave more complete satisfaction than the
cups, plates, and spoons made out of the gourds from the calabash
When we reached the tent, I found a wonderful repast preparing
for us at the cooking place.
Upon a large fire burning on the stone hearth stood the iron pot
full of soup. From a piece of wood, which rested at each end on
two other pieces fixed in the ground, hung a goose roasting, the fat
falling into dried oyster shells underneath it.
Several kinds of fish were cooking on the hot stones ; and, best
of all, there stood at a little distance one of the chests I had saved
from the wreck. My wife and the boys had contrived to drag it
up from the river side and open it, and I could see it contained a
large number of Dutch cheeses wrapped in thin sheets of lead.
All this was very tempting to travellers whose hunger was far
from being satisfied.
It appears to me, my dear children, that you certainly have not
been idle during our absence; yet it was almost a pity so soon to
kill one of our geese. I wished so much to spare the denizens of
Do not be uneasy, dear husband," said my wife; "that is not
one of our geese, but a wild bird with a singular name which Ernest
killed, and he assures me it is very good eating."
"I believe it is a penguin, papa," said Ernest; "and I called it a
booby because it allowed me to kill it so easily with a stick. After
it was dead I felt sorry, for it appeared so tame."
What sort of feet and beak has this bird ? I asked.
"It has the feet of aquatic birds," replied Ernest, "for all the.
four toes are united by a membrane. The beak is long, slender,
and strong; a little curved at the extremity, and exactly like the
description of a penguin which I read in my Natural History at
home. I have saved the head and neck to show you, papa."
I do not doubt you are right, my boy; and it proves to you how
much may be learnt by reading attentively."
Come, now," said his mother, "let us drop discussion, do you
not observe how the eyes of Ernest are fixed on the cocoanuts while
he talks ? Let him have the pleasure of tasting as well as carrying
Willingly," I replied, but Fritz must show him how to obtain
the milk by suction ; and the poor little monkey must not be for-
THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY. 45
"But he won't take anything, papa," said Jack. I have tried
him with all I can think of."
We must try him presently with the milk of the cocoanut," I
said. No doubt he will drink that."
My wife summoned us to supper, and we all seated ourselves on
the ground, with the spoons, basins, and plates made from the
calabash tree, which we found most useful. I broke the outer
covering of two cocoanuts for them, and they quite enjoyed the
white lining of the inner shell after I had extracted the milk.
Some of this was saved for the monkey, and the boys, after
dipping the corners of their handkerchiefs in it, were delighted to
find that the little creature could suck them eagerly, for now there
was hope of rearing him to a full grown ape.
I promised to show the boys how to make spoons and cups from
the cocoanut shells, which they were very anxious to do; and the
mother was delighted to find she need not again serve out the soup
in oyster shells. We enjoyed our supper, although no one liked to
try the penguin till I set them the example. It had rather a taste
of train oil; however, we managed to eat some of it.
I forgot to mention, that while we were enjoying the fish, which
were very good, Fritz asked if his mother would not like to taste
the cocoanut champagne.
"Taste it first yourself, Fritz," I said, "so that you may know
what you are about to offer to your mother."
"Ho !" he exclaimed presently, with a wry face, "it is vinegar !"
"As I expected, my boy; but never mind, vinegar is very good
with fish;" and as I spoke I poured some into my gourd basin,
and the rest followed my example.
Then, while we had for dessert, cheese, cocoanuts, and sugar-cane
juice, each related his exploits, and explained how the fish, the
penguin, the cocoanuts, the sugar-canes, and so on, were found.
It was near sunset by the time we had finished, and necessary,
therefore, to prepare our beds for the night. My wife and the boys
had provided a large quantity of dry moss and grass to spread on
the floor of our tent, and we expected, in consequence, to find our
beds softer than on the preceding night.
The poultry were already gone to roost on the ridge of the tent,
and the geese and ducks had betaken themselves to their night
quarters. And after offering our evening prayer, we entered the
tent. The baby ape entered with us, and Fritz and Jack took the
little motherless creature to sleep between them, to protect him
from the cold.
46 SIVISS FAMILY ROBINSO'.
My wife and the boys lay down to rest, and after I had closed
the entrance to the tent, I followed their example, and, overcome
with the fatigues of the day, soon slept as soundly as they did.
We had not been asleep long, however, when I was aroused by
the restless movements of the fowls and the barking and yelping
of the dogs. Seizing my gun, I rushed out quickly, followed by
my wife and Fritz, who were also armed.
K -- ........-- ...... .....- .. -. --- ._^ -.- -
and our brave dogs. Already they had settled three or four of their
assailants, and those who remained surrounded them, hoping to
take them at a disadvantage; but the two courageous animals kept
them at bay, and would not allow them to approach. We were
just in time to save them from being overpowered. Fritz and I
THE HOMEWARD JOURNEY. 47
fired together, two of the jackals fell dead on the sand; and our
second volley wounded others, while the rest took to flight.
The dogs quickly dispatched the wounded, and, after waiting a
few minutes to see if any returned, we were about to re-enter the
tent, when Fritz asked permission to bring the jackal he had killed
away from the dogs, who were proving their brotherhood to the
wild animals of their species by devouring their remains. He
wished to preserve it, to show to his brothers in the morning as a
proof of his prowess, and his mother readily gave him permission.
Not without great efforts, however, could he drag the dead body of
the animal to the tent, for it was unusually large. He succeeded
at last in hiding it among the rocks behind our tent, and then we
returned to the sleepers, who had not been disturbed by the un-
We fell asleep again almost immediately, and did not wake till
the crowing of the cocks announced the return of the sun.
":---ti~m..[ l-" .h -
r.-r- ,;-', ,- -, -,. .- -
:,f. I- -_ ;'. '
A SUCCESSFUL VOYAGE.
M Y first thoughts, on waking, made me anxious. So many
duties pressed upon me, that I at once began to consult
my wife, and seek her advice.
"What shall I undertake first to-day, dear wife ?" I said. I
know a voyage to the ship is absolutely necessary, if we wish to
save the animals from starving; and there are so many things on
the wreck that would be useful to us. On the other hand, we
have much to do here, and above all, to construct a new dwelling
Do not be uneasy, dear husband," she replied; "with patience,
order, and persevering diligence, all will be accomplished in time;
and most certainly a voyage to the wreck is first necessary, for
should a storm arise, everything on board would be lost. 'Take
no thought for to-morrow, for the morrow will take thought for
the things of itself,' said the great Friend of mankind, and
we must not anticipate evil, but trust in Him to guide us in
all we do."
This advice so agreed with my own wishes, that I determined to
follow it; and, after arranging that the younger boys should
remain on shore with their mother, and Fritz accompany me, I
roused the sleepers.
"Up! up! children!" I cried. "It is bright daylight, and we
have so much to perform to-day. 'The morning hour carries gold
in its mouth.'"
But the younger boys found it no easy matter to rouse them-
selves so quickly; they yawned, stretched, and twisted about, to
drive sleep from their eyelids, for a long time before they could
feel quite awake.
Fritz, who had an object in view, was ready quickly, and rushed
A SUCCESSFUL VOYAGE. 49
out of the tent to find the dead jackal, which he had concealed
among the rocks. The cold night air had stiffened it, so that he
could easily stand it on its legs at the entrance of the tent, like a
sentry. Then he waited impatiently for his brothers to appear,
and wondered what they would say.
But Fritz had forgotten the dogs. No sooner did they catch
sight of one of their enemies on his legs, than they rushed forward
to attack it, barking and yelping furiously; and it was only with
great difficulty that he kept them from destroying the animal,
which they supposed to be alive.
Meanwhile those in the tent were wondering what could be the
matter with the dogs. But they were still more surprised as they
came out, one by one, at the appearance of the strange animal
keeping watch at the entrance. The little monkey peeped out,
with a look of fear ; but no sooner did he perceive the jackal than
he rushed into the farthest corner of the tent, and buried himself
in one of the beds of moss so completely, that he entirely disap-
peared from our sight, excepting the tip of his nose.
Many opinions were offered by the boys about the strange animal.
Ernest said it was a fox, Jack a wolf, and Frank called it a yellow
"Ho, ho !" cried Fritz; "my learned Doctor Ernest, you recog-
nized the agouti, but you are mistaken now. A fox, indeed!"
"I intended to say a golden fox," said Ernest.
You might just as well talk of a golden wolf," replied Fritz,
with an irritating laugh.
"How teasing you are, Fritz," said Ernest, in a fretful voice,
"because I am mistaken for once: you would not have known
what it was yourself, if papa had not told you, I dare say."
Come, come, my children, do not quarrel about the animal,"
I said; "Ernest, my boy, you must not be so sensitive when you
make mistakes ; and, Fritz, your jokes are not always kind. Besides
your brothers were all right in one respect. The jackal is said
by naturalists to belong to the same family as the fox, the wolf,
and the dog."
My words produced peace, and then eager inquiries were made
about what had occurred in the night; and the boys listened to
our account of the battle between the dogs and the jackals with
great interest. Then we assembled once more for our morning
prayer, and asked God to guide and protect us during the day.
At breakfast we were obliged to content ourselves with biscuits,
which were so hard, that our teeth could scarcely break them. In
50 SWVISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
this extremity, Fritz asked for cheese, and went behind the tent to
procure some from the cask. Ernest followed him, and presently
returned with a bright face, and exclaimed,
011, papa, if we could only open that other cask! "
What cask, and why ? "
"Well, there is a large cask just outside, and through a little
crack some grease runs out; and I am sure it looks exactly like
"If what you say is true, my boy," I exclaimed, "you shall have
the first slice of bread and butter, as a reward for your discovery."
We all sallied out to examine this wonderful cask, and very
quickly proved that the boy was right. Another difficulty arose,
how should we contrive to obtain the butter ? Fritz wanted at
once to take off the first hoop, and open one end of the cask; but
I told him that the staves would become loosened and separate, and
the heat very soon melt the butter.
I resolved at length to make an opening, large enough to admit
a little wooden spade, and with this take out as much as we re-
quired at a time. My plan succeeded, and in a few minutes we
obtained a cocoanut cup full of beautiful salt butter. We softened
the biscuits easily now, by covering them with butter and holding
them to the fire till it melted, so that, after all, we had a delicious
breakfast. During our meal, the dogs lay quietly by our side, and
did not seem at all anxious for their share of our breakfast. Pre-
sently it occurred to me, that they could not possibly have escaped,
in such a battle as theirs during the night, with a whole skin. I
examined the poor animals, and found that they had been bitten
and wounded in several places, especially about the neck. My wife
was touched with compassion at the sight, and she proposed to rub
the places with butter, as a salve. I spoke of the salt, but she
quickly overcame that difficulty y washing the butter : then giving
it to Jack, she desired him to take the dogs under his care, and
carefully anoint their wounds with the butter.
This plan proved successful: the animals very shortly com-
menced licking their wounds, and in a few days they were com-
"If we c :uld find some spiked collars on the ship," said Fritz,
while Jack entered upon his task, "it would be a protection to our
brave dogs; for the jackals, having once discovered traces of our
whereabouts, will be sure to pay us another visit."
Oh!" cried Jack, I can make some spiked collars, and good
ones too, if mamma will help me."
A SUGC'ESS'FUL VOYAGE. 51
SI can promise you that, little boaster," replied his mother; "and
we shall see what powers of invention you possess."
"That's right, my little man," I said, exercise the inventive
faculty, and if you produce something useful, all the honour will
be yours. But it is time for us to commence our work. Get ready,
Fritz; your mother and I have decided that you shall accompany
me to the vessel, to assist in bringing away what still remains, and
you, my dears, must stay with your mother. Be obedient to her,
my children, and pray to God to bring us back to you again in
While Fritz prepared our little barque for the trip, I planted
upon a rock on the shore a pole, with a piece of sail cloth attached
to it, to serve as a signal, to us on the wreck, from those on the
shore. It was agreed that, in case of danger, the flag should be
lowered, and a gun fired three or four times, to recall us.
I prepared my wife for the possibility that she would have to
remain with the boys alone all night, and begged her not to be
.alarmed, because our work on the wreck might detain us too late.
But her courage continued unshaken.
We took only our guns and ammunition with us, for we knew
that sufficient provisions could be found on the wreck. And as I
was about to step into our tub boat, Fritz appeared with the little
monkey on his shoulder, being anxious, as soon as possible, to
obtain for the poor creature fresh milk.
We left the banks of the river in sadness and silence, Fritz
rowing with all his strength, and I steering. When we reached
mid stream, we found that the river had two openings into the bay
and round a small island. The current in one being stronger than
the other, I endeavoured to steer the boat in that direction, and
This current carried us gently three-fourths of our way, with
very little exertion on our parts to maintain the boat in a right
direction, and by a far shorter route than we had taken when we
left the wreck.
We arrived safely at last, and moored our little boat alongside
the vessel, which we entered at the opening already made when we
No sooner had we reached the deck, than Fritz, with the little
monkey in his arms, ran towards the place in which we had left
the animals, which, by their bleating, lowing, and grunting, seemed
delighted to see us. Hunger could not have caused this evident
pleasure, for they had plenty of food and water.
52 i'7.i 'FAMILY ROBINSON.
-Without a word, Fritz placed the monkey near the goat, while I
looked on with amusement at his eager anxiety to obtain suitable
nourishment for the motherless animal. He had not to wait long.
The goat readily received it as her foster child, and in a very few
minutes Master Monkey, with many grimaces, was enjoying a
delicious feast of goat's milk.
After we had supplied the animals with fresh food and water, we
commenced a search for provisions for ourselves, to give us strength
to work, and quickly found all we needed.
Then followed the question, What shall be done first ? Fritz
proposed that we should have a sail for our little boat.
"That does not appear to me at all necessary," I said, "at least,
when we have other things of ten times more importance to attend
to; but what are your reasons, Fritz ?"
"Well," he said, while we crossed this morning, I noticed that
the wind blew strongly in my face, yet the current carried us on in
spite of it. When we return, the current will not help us, but the
wind would, if we had a sail. Besides, our boat will be heavy,
when we have on board so many things, and my single oar will be
of very little use."
This idea of Fritz about a sail appeared so excellent, that I de-
termined to take his advice. A sailyard was quickly found, of
which to make a mast, and another, thinner, by which I could
regulate the sail. While Fritz bored a hole with a chisel in one of
the tubs, I went to the sail room and cut off a piece of cloth, in the
form of a triangle, which I fitted with cords, pulleys, and rings, to
the mast, so that I could raise it and lower it at will. Then, with
the assistance of Fritz, I fixed it in our little boat, and fastened
ropes and cords to draw through the rings at the tops and sides;
and Fritz, when he saw it all completed, expressed his delight, and
declared that our little barque was now quite fitted for a long voyage.
He had taken a survey of the shore through his glass, and in-
formed me that all appeared safe among our dear ones on the land.
At the same time lie brought me a little coloured silk kerchief,
which he asked me to fasten to the top of the mast, as a pennant.
I smiled to myself at this boyish vanity, in the midst of our pre-
carious position; but I did what he asked me, and presently the
little streamer was gaily waving in the wind.
"Papa," he said, after a few moments of silence, you have given
me a sail to save me the fatigue of rowing, and now you ought to
think of yourself. Can we not find some way to enable you to
steer with more case and safety ?"
A SUCCESSFUL VOYAGE. 53
"The idea is a good one," I said, "and I think it can be man-
aged ;" so I attached to each end of the boat two thick cords, to
one of which was adapted an oar, and I found I could work it my-
self with as much ease as the tiller, and thus make my steering
All this occupied a long time, and I quickly found that, unless
we returned with an empty boat, we could not possibly reach the
shore before night. We had arranged, as a signal of our intention
to remain on the wreck all night, to raise a flag, and we hastened
to do so while daylight continued, that it might be more easily dis-
The remainder of the day was employed in removing from our
boat the stones and other useless things we had thrown in as bal-
last, replacing them with articles of more importance. To obtain
these, we plundered the ship like Vandals, and accumulated a rich
Foreseeing that we might have to remain a long time in our soli-
tude, we stowed away in our tub boat a large supply of powder and
shot, to serve us in the chase, and as a defence against wild beasts.
All the tools which had been stored in reserve appeared to us of
54 SBVISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
inestimable value.* It was, indeed, difficult to choose, amidst so,
many useful articles. However, we supplied ourselves with those
most required in our present need. Knives, forks, spoons, and
cooking vessels, and some silver articles, which we found in the
captain's cabin, with a splendid telescope, several pewter plates and
dishes, and a case of wine, well filled; gridirons, a roasting jack,
saucepans, kettles, and frying pans,-all were carried to our boat
and placed in the tubs. Besides these, we provided ourselves with
a good supply of eatables,-two Westphalian hams, and several
bags of wheat, barley, oats, and other grain. In fact, I was anxious
to take as much as we could possibly carry, because the ship, being
so deep in the water, it was not unlikely that in the first storm she
would fall to pieces.
Fritz reminded me that our beds in the tent were hard and cold
at night. We therefore added to our cargo the contents of several
hammocks and a few woollen coverlids. Fritz, who seemed to
fancy we could never be sufficiently armed, carried to the boat a
gun, a sword, a sabre, a hunting knife, and a small barrel of
powder, while I discovered a flask of brimstone and a roll of sail-
cloth, which could not be left behind.
By this time our little boat was so deep in the water, that I
should have been obliged to lighten, it but for the smooth and
tranquil sea; yet, as we determined to sleep on board the boat, we
provided ourselves with swimming vests, to be able to escape more
easily in case of danger.
As may be supposed, the night came on before we had quite
finished our work. I was therefore delighted to see the blaze of a
large fire on the rocks, which our dear ones had lighted to prove
that all was well. In return we attached four ship's lanterns to
the wreck as a signal that we were safe, and the report of two guns
from the shore told us that it was recognized and understood.
After our evening prayer to Heaven for protection to them and
ourselves, we laid ourselves down to rest; and although our posi-
tion in the little tub-boat was not quite comfortable, we slept
soundly from fatigue till morning.
*From the large stores on boar,. it m:ght appear that the vessel was laden with articles
to establish a colony in one of the South Sea islands ; this is afterwards stated in the-
original Cerman as a fact, and accounts f r the quantity of needful things found in the
A LIVING FREIGHT.
E ARLY the next morning, before it was light enough to dis-
tinguish the opposite coast, I was up on the deck of the
wrecked vessel, and directing my telescope towards the tent
which sheltered my family.
Meanwhile Fritz prepared a good breakfast, and we placed our-
selves while partaking of it in a position to enable us to watch the
shore. Very soon I saw with joy my wife leave the tent and look
earnestly towards the ship. Instantly we hoisted a piece of white
linen in the air, and received in reply a triple salute from the flag
which we had placed on the shore. At this a great weight was
lifted from my heart, for I knew that all was well with those I had
left behind. As soon as we had finished breakfast, I said,
"Now, Fritz, I think we ought to lose no time in getting away
from the vessel; but as I am assured that those on shore are safe,
my compassion is awakened for the poor animals we are about to
leave on the wreck, and who are in danger every moment of
perishing with it. Willingly would I give up some of the things
with which we have loaded our boat, could we manage to get them
"If we constructed a raft, we might take them all," said Fritz.
"A raft is not so easy to make as you imagine, Fritz," I replied;
"especially without proper materials."
After a slight pause, Fritz exclaimed,
"Could we not fasten round the smaller animals the cork girdles
that we made for ourselves ? It would be great fun to see them
swimming like fishes."
56 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
It may be managed in some way, Fritz," I replied, eagerly.
' Let us make the attempt at once."
But these girdles with the tin water flasks were too weak to
support the larger animals, and another plan suggested itself.
Four empty casks were found, which we fastened together with
a piece of sail-cloth, not close to each other, but far enough apart
for the cloth to pass under the animal and support it, while the
casks hung on each side like panniers. These were placed under
the cow and the donkey, and the sail-cloth and the tubs fastened
by straps across their backs.*
Round the horns of the cow and the neck of the ass was placed
a cord, with a piece of wood at the end, so that we might guide
them in the water.
For the sheep and tile goat the cork girdles were found sufficient,
but the sow was very troublesome, and we hlad to tie her up before
we could bind the float around her. At last our task was com-
pleted. Each animal had a string attached by which we could
guide it; and then came the difficulty of launching our living
freight into the sea.
We led them to the lower part of the ship, and made the first
experiment by giving the donkey a push into the water. He fell
with great force, but recovered himself quickly, and began to swim
between his two casks with a grace and ease that made Fritz clap
his hands in delight.
The cow's turn came next, and as she was of far more value to
me than thle ass, I confess I felt very anxious; but I pushed her in
gently, and with equal success. Tile two casks supported her in
the water, and sihe commenced swinlning with the sangfrozd which
characterizes her species.
We managed the smaller animals easily, excepting the sow, who
resisted furiously; and when at last slhe was forced into the water,
she swam so quickly away from the boat, that to reach the guiding
string would have been impossible, so we were obliged to leave her
to her fate.
After this we did not lose a moment, but detached our cables,
jumped into our boat, and were very soon in the open sea, sur-
rounded by the animals. We united all the strings and fastened
them to the boat, and commenced our voyage towards the shore
with a favourable wind, which filled the little sail and carried us
forward pleasantly. In fact, we found the assistance of the wind of
* Just as the baskets in which little children ride are fastened on each side ot donkeys or
ponies in England.
A LIVING FREIGHT. 57
great service, for the animals weighed heavily upon our little skiff;
and without the sail, rowing would have been hard work.
All went on so favourably, that Fritz and I seated ourselves in
the tubs and took some refreshment.
While Fritz amused himself with his monkey, I again fixed my
telescope on the shore to observe my family. They had shown
themselves just before we started on our homeward voyage, but I
had seen no trace of them since.
-- .-- - -- -
_------* -: B S' B --- -
-B- -_ ---._ ., -, ,-_ .._^ ^^ -,-
But our exertions in saving the poor animals from the wreck
would have been useless if the sharp eyes of Fritz had not dis-
covered in time a threatened danger.
"Good Heavens!" he exclaimed, all at once, "we are lost i A
monster fish is coming towards us!"
"Lost How ?" I cried, half angry, half alarmed.
But as Fritz seized his gun and loaded it, I saw the creature
approaching, and followed his example.
"Be ready to fire," I said quickly, as the monster with lightning
speed drew nearer, as if about to seize the nearest sheep. At the
same instant Fritz, who is a good marksman, fired, and both balls
58 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
entered the head of the creature, which immediately plunged and
disappeared. Froln time to time he rose to the surface at a greater
distance from us, showing the shining scales on his body, while a
long track of blood on the water marked his course, and convinced
us that the shot had taken effect. However, I looked around me
very carefully in case the monster should appear again, intending,
this time, to give him a double dose.
"He has had enough of it," said Fritz.
SYou have been unusually successful, my boy," I replied; "for
these animals are not easily frightened, and it is very difficult to
wound them with firearms. From what I could see of it, the
monster is, I believe, a shark; and this voracious fish will return
only too willingly to a place where he knows that prey is to be
After this Fritz reloaded his gun and I redoubled my watchful-
ness, but the monster thought good to leave us at peace. I
therefore again seized the rudder, and as the wind blew favourably
towards the bay, I guided our little ship in that direction, and,
after a few turnings and winding, arrived at a spot from whence
the animals might be able to land easily. I set them free from the
ropes; and while I lowered the sail they scrambled on to the beach,
and presently our little boat lay alongside the old landing-place.
No one was there to welcome us, which made me feel anxious,
for night was approaching, and I knew not where to look for them.
But we had scarcely stepped on shore and relieved the animals
from the ropes that bound them to the boat, when sounds of joy
rang in our ears, and presently a little band came jumping and
dancing towards us, followed by their mother.
After the first transports of joy at this happy reunion had
passed and we became calm, I began to describe some of our
exploits and the success of our expedition. But to my wife the
greatest wonder appeared to be that we had managed to bring the
"Fritz suggested the plan of bringing them on floats," I said.
" I must give him the credit of that."
But you have carried it out famously," said my wife; "and I
must thank you both, for you have saved that which appears to me
in our position the most necessary and the most valuable."
Presently little Frank disturbed our conversation by crying out,
"What a pretty little red flag you have flying at the top of the
mast, Fritz See how it flutters in the wind "
Before Fritz could reply Ernest made his appearance. He
A LIVING FREIGHT. 59
jumped on board and admired the mast, the sail, and the little red
pennant, and anxiously inquired how we had contrived to make it
I interrupted the conversation by saying that we had our boat to
This was not the kind of work to please Jack, so lie made his
escape, and ran to see the cattle.
Fritz and I had only been able to release the cow from the casks,
therefore Jack found plenty of employment in taking off the
swimming-belts from the sheep and the goats. Presently, however,
he spied the donkey with his tub panniers. These he tried in vain
to remove; and finding it beyond his power, he jumped upon the
donkey's back in spite of the casks, and rode to meet us in grand
style, forcing the animal forward with his hands and heels.
It was impossible to help laughing at the singular spectacle; but
as I lifted the little man down I felt still more amused. He wore
a belt covered with hair, in which was stuck a pair of small pistols.
"Where on earth did you find that smuggler's costume ?" I
"I made it myself, papa," he replil. And look at the dogs."
I turned at the words, and saw to my surprise that each of them
wore a collar stuck full of nails with the points outward, and form-
ing an excellent shield against the attacks of wild beasts.
"Well," I said, "this is a clever invention, my boy. Is it all
your own ?"
"Yes, papa," said Jack. Mamma only helped me when there
was something to sew."
But where did you get the skin and the needle and thread ?"
"I brought needles and thread in my bag from the ship," said
his mother; "and the collars are made of the jackal's skin as well
as Jack's girdle."
Fritz felt rather annoyed at hearing that Jack had cut up the
jackal's skin, but he concealed his displeasure as well as he could.
While Jack stood near him, however, he exclaimed, suddenly,
"Oh, what an unpleasant smell Where does it come from ?"
"Perhaps it is my belt," said Jack. "No wonder it smells badly,
for you left the dead animal exposed to the sun to corrupt. My
belt will lose the odour when the skin is dry."
"Ah, well," I said, "till it is dry Jack must place himself to
At this the boys laughed, and exclaimed, "To leeward, Jack 1
to leeward, Jack!" But Jack did not trouble himself about sen-
i00 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
sitive noses. He strutted up and down, quite proud of his girdle,
and assumed a martial air which was most amusing
At last 1 said, Come, my boys, throw the dead jackal into the
sea ; Jack's girdle will lose all smell when it is dry."
The boys readily obeyed, and then I gave them another object of
interest. I perceived that my wife was making preparations for
supper, and I whispered to Fritz to fetch one of the Westphalia
hams which still lay in the tub. I saw by the looks of the boys
that they longed to ask questions ; but as Fritz in a few minutes
returned, there was a general cry,
Oh, what a treat A ham mamma, a ham How nice it looks i"
Al !" exclaimed my wife, you must restrain your longing till
to-morrow ; it will be so much nicer when it is cooked. Besides, I
have a dozen _--: for supper whicl we found on our travels to-
day, andl Ernest thinks they are the eggs of a turtle. I shall be
able to make a splendid omelette, for we have plenty of butter, and
you have brought a frying pan from the ship."
I am sure they are turtles' said Ernest; for they are
like a white ball, and soft to the touch, like parchment; besides,
we found them among the sand on the sea shore."
"You are quite right, my boy," I said; but how did you dis-
cover them ?"
Oilh said his mother, that belongs to the history of our day's
adventures, whiicl you shall hear at another time."
Very well," I said; cook the omelette, and while we are at
supper, we will listen to an account of your day's performances as
our dessert. As to the ham, I assure you it is very good even raw,
as Fritz and I found to-day by experience. However, I believe it
will be much better when cooked, so while you make your omelette
and fry a few slices of the ham for our supper, we will go and look
after the animals."
At these words I rose, and the boys all followed me gladly.
Jack had succeeded in setting them all free, excepting the sow,
who would let no one approach her. Ernest, however, called the
*dogs, and they quickly checked her movements by seizing her ears
-and holding her, while we removed the swimming girdle; then we
fetched a few knives, forks, spoons, and plates, from the boat, and
returned to the tent.
Our repast proved delicious. Fried ham, cheese, biscuits, and a
good omelette formed a splendid feast, and there was plenty to
spare for the dogs, the sheep and goats, the chickens and pigeons,
who quickly assembled near us, to gather up what remained.
A LIVING FREIGHT. G1
As to the ducks and geese, although they were close at hand,
they did not favour us with their society: they preferred the
delights of their own native element at a little distance, in which
they could enjoy themselves, and where they found a delicate feast
in tiny fresh water-crabs and worms.
After supper, I sent Fritz to the boat for a bottle of canary wine,
from the case we had found in the captain's cabin; and then I
asked my wife to relate the adventures and discoveries made by
herself and the boys during the day. So interesting was the
narrative, that no one seemed to care for the wine, until a pause
occurred in the conversation.
The narrative will appear in the next chapter.
AXOTIIER EXPLORING EXPEDITION.
N" OW," said my wife, "I think you will be pleased to hear
S my adventures. I have been ready to relate them all
the evening, but to get in a word in the midst of your
wonderful descriptions was impossible. However, there is an old
proverb that says, 'The longer the water is gathering, the fuller it
will flow,' and 'Better late than never.'
"I need not say much about the occurrences of the first day of
your absence, for, in truth, I was too uneasy to commence any
undertaking with the boys, or to leave our landing-place.
This morning, however, I was on the beach early, and noticed
your signal that all was safe, with great joy and a thankful heart,
and after replying to it, I sought for a shady place, that I might sit
alone and reflect before calling the boys.
"I found a quiet spot near our tent, and, sitting down, began to
think earnestly of our position. It is impossible, I said to myself,
that we can remain on this part of the island, even in our tent,
exposed during the day to the burning heat of the sun; for his
rays through the sail-cloth which covers it are doubly oppressive.
"All at once I thought, While my husband and son are working
on the ship, cannot I and the boys try and explore the country ?
We should gain courage and strength, and perhaps find a more
pleasant and shady spot on which to dwell, than this exposed and
rocky coast. I recalled your description of the beautiful fields and
meadows through which you had passed, and thought we could find
the way by crossing the brook at the falls, as you had done.
"Having decided on this undertaking, I returned to the tent,
and found the boys had risen, and Jack busy with the slAin of Fritz's
ANOTHER EXPLORING EXPEDITION. 63
jackal. He had cut several strips of it, about a hand's breadth
long, and from this he was scraping the flesh. I advised him to put
it aside till after breakfast, which he willingly did, after nailing it
to a tree to dry.
"After breakfast he again set to work diligently. On the
stretched strips of skin he placed pieces of sail-cloth, cut to the
same size, and of triple thickness. These it was necessary to sew,
and he therefore came to me, with a request that I would sew the
skins and the sail-cloth together for him. I thanked him for the
4 .', .'
THE SPIKED COLLARS FINISHED.
honour he proposed, but when lie tried to do it himself, I took
compassion on him, and consented to perform the task, which, as
you may suppose, was not at all agreeable. This done, he obtained
a sufficient number of nails, which he drove through with the
points outwards, and thus completed spiked collars for the two
dogs. But he was still unsatisfied; he required, he said, a belt for
himself, to hold two pistols, but I reminded him that the heat of
the sun would dry the skin and cause it to shrink, making it alto-
"Ernest, half in mockery, advised him to nail the belt and collars
64 SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
on a board, and expose them to the sun. Jack took the advice in
good part, and without deigning to notice the mocking tone, nailed
the articles to a board, as his brother -i,.. ....1.
"Then I told the boys of my proposed expedition, and they all
joyfully agreed to accompany me. Without delay we prepared for
our journey. The boys collected and prepared their guns, and
provided themselves with ammunition, a cutlass, and an axe. I
carried the provisions and water-flasks, as well as a light gun,
which I took from Ernest, giving him instead a fowling-piece, that
could be loaded with ball. Thus armed, we started on our journey,
accompanied by the two dogs, and hopeful of success. Turk, who
had been with you, appeared to consider himself our guide, and
marched on before us as if to lead the way, and in a very short
time we reached the spot at which you crossed the brook, and
succeeded, though not without trouble, in reaching the opposite
"As we proceeded, I could not help reflecting that our safety
rested in a great measure on two young boys, because they under-
stood the use of firearms; and I felt thankful, dear husband, that
you had allowed your sons to be accustomed to these weapons from
"After filling our water-bottles with water from the river, we
continued our march, and presently came upon a most beautiful
and fertile spot. The prospect on every side was glorious, and I
felt my heart open with hopeful delight. At a distance I could
discern what appeared to be a little wood, to which the way seemed
easy and straight before us; but we presently found ourselves in
the midst of tall grass, as high as the boys' heads, through which it
was impossible to pass. By turning to the left, near the river bank,
we managed to avoid it, and were able to proceed without further
obstacle. Here we recognized your footmarks, and followed them
gladly, till we reached the little wood, and came again upon the
high grass, which obliged us to turn to the right.
"Suddenly a strange noise frightened us all, and in a moment a
large bird rose from the grass at a little distance, and flew over our
heads. The boys hastily raised their guns, but before they could
fire the bird was far away.
"'Oh, what a pity !' cried Ernest: 'if I had only had my light
gun, or if the bird had not flown so quickly, I would soon have had
"'Ah, yes,' I said; 'but a good marksman is always ready at a
ANOTHER EXPLORING EXPEDITION. 65
"' What bird was it, I wonder?' said Jack.
"' An eagle, I think,' replied little Frank ; it was so large.'
"' As if all large birds were eagles !' remarked Ernest; but we
may as well examine the place from which the bird rose, and dis-
cover what he was doing there.'
"Jack ran quickly to the spot, when suddenly another and larger
bird rose, with rustling wings, almost in his face, startling the boy
with its unexpected appearance. He looked so completely struck
dumb, that I could not help laughing. However, he quickly
recovered himself, and we all went together to the place. Hero
we found a kind of large nest, made apparently of thick dry grass;
it was empty, excepting a few broken egg-shells, from which, no
doubt, the young birds had not long before escaped, and from the
agitation of the grass I had every reason to believe that the brood
were close at hand. But it would have been impossible to follow
them, for the movements soon ceased altogether.
"'Look here, Frank,' said Ernest, 'these birds cannot be eagles,
for they never build nests on the ground, but on high rocks; be-
sides, their little ones cannot run as soon as they are hatched, as
chickens can. I noticed, too, that they had white breasts, and red-
tipped wings, and feathers round the beak, so I think they must be
bustards, for that is the description I have read of the bustard.'
"'I am glad we did not shoot the birds, after all,' I said; for
what would the poor little ones have done without their parents ?'
"While talking, we reached the grove of trees to which we had
directed our steps. A crowd of unknown birds seemed to welcome
us with their song, or flew round us gaily. The boys followed them
with their eyes eagerly, and seemed inclined to point their guns,
but I prevented them from doing so.
"' You should never destroy God's creatures,' I said, 'excepting
for food, and then not cruelly; besides, it would be foolish to waste
powder and shot, as well as a pity to kill these pretty little song-
But what wonderful trees they were in this grovel I have
never in my life seen such tall trees, and, far front being a wood,
as I supposed, there were scarcely more than a dozen trees, but so
leafy at their summits, that at a distance they appeared like a forest.
What astonished me, also, was that the trunks seemed to be
supported by a kind of buttress. Enormous roots appeared to have
driven the thick stem out of the earth, and raised it to the skies.
However, it was firmly fixed in the ground, and where the roots
left it the thickness was immense.
C6 SVWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
Jack climbed up one of the outer roots, and measured the stem
with a piece of string. Its circumference was about eighteen feet;
the height of the tree, from the ground to the summit, might be
about sixty yards. The leaves were large and full, and the spread-
ing branches formed a delightful shade.
"The form of the leaf was like that of our nut-trees, but I could
discover no fruit. The grass growing round the roots is thick and
green, and there are no signs of thorns or underwood, so that alto-
gether this grove of trees forms a delightful resting-place. So
much did it please us, that we determined to stay there in the cool
shade, and rest in this palace of the greenwood, while we enjoyed
our midday meal.
The dogs, which we had left on the bank of the river, soon
found us out, and, to my astonishment, did not appear hungry, but
laid themselves down quietly at our feet, and were soon fast asleep.
"I could not contemplate the richness and beauty of this lovely
spot without the idea arising in my mind, that if we were able to
establish ourselves on one of these trees, we should be in perfect
safety. I had carefully examined the various scenes through which
we passed, but I could discover none so agreeable as this. I re-
solved, therefore, to return to the tent, and if the time permitted,
collect some more of the debris which the waves had cast on shore
from the wreck.
"On our way home, I discovered by what means the hunger of
the dogs had been appeased; they were catching crabs in the
shallow water near the shore, and separating the shells with their
paws, while they eagerly devoured their contents.
Presently, after turning from the river bank, we saw Floss
scratching out from the sand something round, and swallowing it
with avidity. Ernest, who was nearer to the dog, guessed what it
was in a moment.
"'It is the of a turtle,' lie exclaimed ; 'and I dare say there
"'Let us save what we can,' I cried, as we all ran to the spot;
'it will make a splendid supper for us.'
It cost some trouble, however, to drive away the animal from
her prey, but we succeeded at last in rescuing a dozen eggs, which
we placed carefully in our provision bag.
"At this moment I glanced towards the sea, and saw, to my
astonishment, a little boat with a sail rapidly approaching the
shore. I hardly knew what to think, although Ernest said it was
his father and Fritz in the boat.
ANOTIHIR EXPLORING EXPEDITION. (7
"Frank was afraid it would contain savages, who might land and
eat us up. At last I perceived that Ernest was right, and then we
all turned to run round the rocks hastily, and soon found ourselves
in each other's arms.
"You have now had a complete description of our adventures
yesterday," continued my wife ; and all I can say is, that a dwel-
ling in one of these trees would not only be delightful, but a place
of safety from the attacks of wild beasts, and I hope that to-morrow
morning you will go with us to examine the wonderful trees."
While listening to this recital night came on, and it was time for
us to seek repose in sleep, after the fatigues of the day.
We arranged ourselves once more in our places as usual, but
with much greater comfort, upon the mattresses, and under the
soft woollen coverlets, I had brought from the wreck.
EXT morning my wife and I rose early, that we might talk
over the changes she appeared so anxious to make, before
the children were up.
In fact, I hesitated to decide, for to make a dwelling upon a high
tree in a grove seemed impossible.
If we were cocks and hens, now," I said, and could fly up and
roost on the branches, the case would be different."
Oil, do no!: make a jest of it," she replied; there is nothing
absurd in my idea. At all events, now we are not safe at night
from the visits of jackals, or other similar customers ; and I know
that in our Fatherland I once saw a linden tree, on which persons
could ascend by a staircase to a pretty little bower, with a suitable
floor between the branches. Why could not we have something of
the same sort, and make a sleeping place in the trees of the grove ?"
I did not answer my dear wife for some minutes, for her sugges-
tions made me reflect. At last I said,
"I begin to think you are right, dear wife, for it seems to me
Sat you have been conducted by Providence to the most con-
venient spot on this island, as much for our safety as for the
means of obtaining food. For if all that now remains of the wreck
should be lost by the destruction of the vessel, we might at least
have a convenient place to reside in, and fertile ground to cultivate.
The rocks which surround it will serve as a protection. But let us
have patience, and stay in our present position, at least till we have
brought from the wreck all the useful things we can."
I do not think it is necessary to wait for that," said my wife;
"we have already more than we want for the present, and you do
not know what we suffer here from the heat of the sun, while you
are on the sea. Set aside your voyage for to-day, and let us go to-
BRIDGE-B UILDI G. 69
gether to this shady grove, where the rich fruits of the earth and
the beauties of nature are ready to our hands."
"Your earnestness makes you eloquent, dear wife," I said, "and
your reasoning convinces me; but you forget that we cannot take
our cattle and our other possessions to the opposite shore, without
building a bridge."
Then we must wait for ever," she replied, if we wait for that.
I thought it would be easy for the ass and the cow to carry what
we most needed across the river, and bring the other things by
We should have to do this even with a bridge," I remarked;
" and besides, the river might overflow its bank, and render a pas-
sage by any other means impossible. I and the boys, however, will
commence at once to construct a wooden bridge across the nar-
rowest part, if you will prepare bags and packing-cases for our
"I must entreat you to leave the gunpowder behind in the
rocks," she remarked. "I always tremble when I think of the large
quantity we have so near us."
Certainly," I replied. Gunpowder is like fire, a good friend
when used with caution, but a fearful enemy to those who are care-
less. After we are settled in our new home, I will blow up a
portion of the rock, and bury the powder in the earth so carefully,
that not even a cat could scratch it up. And now all is arranged,
let us call the children."
The boys were quickly aroused, and on hearing the plan of bridge-
.,ii;.1;,.. were full of eager delight, and the idea of removing to the
pleasant region of the grove made the younger ones jump and dance
for joy, and name it at once their new home.
After our morning prayer we began to think (of breakfast, and
while his mother prepared it, Fritz took the little monkey to the
goat, for his morning feast. Jack slipped away to the cow, and
tried to milk her into his hat, but as lie could not succeed, he laid
himself under her, and she allowed him to draw from her a splendid
draught of warm fresh milk, as if he had been a young calf.
At last lie paused to take breath, and exclaimed,
"Frank, come, the milk is beautiful; will you have some ?"
These words attracted our attention to him, and his brothers
laughed heartily at his scheme; but his mother reproved him se-
riously for being greedy, and not waiting till the cow was milked.
She then took a vessel and commenced milking the cow, and, as
Jack saw how cleverly she succeeded, he said,
7O SWlISS FAMILY RUBINSSON.
"Al, if I had only known how to do it like that I for I did feel
ashamed of lying down like the monkey; but I mean to learn by-
and-bye, and then I can help nmamna."
When the cow was milked, the mother gave a cupful to each of
the children, and poured a part of what remained into a saucepan,
with some of the hard biscuits, to make milk soup for our break-
fast. The rest she placed on one side, in a tin can, to preserve it
Meanwhile I prepared our boat for a voyage to the ship, being
anxious to obtain as many planks and beams as possible for build-
ing the bridge. After breakfast, I went on board with Fritz and
Ernest, for as it was necessary to accomplish our task quickly,
double help was needed.
The boys exerted all their strength in rowing, that we might
reach the swift current, which had already carried us on former
trips so rapidly out into the bay. Scarcely, however, had we ar-
rived at the little island that lay at the entrance, when I noticed a
flock of sea-gulls and other birds, flying here and there, over a spot
hidden by a heap of sand, and uttering cries and noises so hideous,
that we were almost deafened.
Fritz would have fired amongst them, had I not prevented him:
I was anxious to discover tlhe cause of such a great assembly of
birds. I therefore directed our boat towards the sea, that we might
take the current, and hoisted the sail, to catch tlhe sea-breeze at
the same time, while Fritz rowed on quickly.
Ernest was charmed with our little sail, and the pennant that
waved from the top of the mast; but Fritz, whose eyes were fixed
on the island, suddenly exclaimed,
"Papa, I believe that those birds are feasting upon a large fish,
and have not had the politeness to invite us."
I approached nearer to the shore, and saw that he was right, and
presently mooring our boat in shallow water by means of an
enormous stone, I jumped on shore, followed by the boys.
There we discovered, extended partly in the water and partly on
the sand, tile dead body of a monster fish, on which the birds were
regaling themselves so eagerly, that they did not notice our
approach until we were within gunshot of them, and even then
only a few took to flight.
I felt astonished at tile voracious appetites of the feathered flock,
as well as at their indifference, for so greedy were they, that if we
had wished for a slice from the carcass ourselves, we could easily
have destroyed the intruders even with a stick.
BRIDGE-B BUILDING. 71
"Oh I" exclaimed Fritz, how could such an enormous body get
here ? who could have dragged it to the shore ? yesterday there was
no sign of such a creature to be seen !"
Why, Fritz," cried Ernest, I am sure this must be the shark
you settled so bravely yesterday; see, he has three great holes in
"I believe it is, Ernest, for my gun was loaded with three
I readily confirmed their suspicions, as I pointed out the
gigantic size of the frightful throat and jaws, from which we had
Why, the creature must be twenty feet long at least," I added.
"We must have a piece of the skin, which I think can be made
useful; but first let us get rid of these greedy birds."
Ernest immediately drew out the ramrod of his gun, and struck
at them right and left, and some were so voracious that they
remained on the prey, and were knocked down and killed, while
feasting, by Ernest. The rest flew away, leaving a space from
which Fritz could cut a few strips of shark's skin, as Jack had done
with the jackal. Then we returned to the boat with our booty.
On reaching the shore, I saw with joy that a number of planks
and beams had been loosened from the wreck, and cast on the
sands by the waves, which would spare me the trouble I anticipated
of seeking them on the vessel. I inunediately determined to
choose those most suitable for building our bridge, haul them in by
means of a'boat-hook, and attach them to our little skiff in the form
of a float by ropes.
We again put to sea with our floating cargo, and with the wind
in our favour.
While steering carefully homewards, however, I advised Fritz to
nail the strips of the shark's skin to the mast in the sun to dry.
IHe readily obeyed, while Ernest, after examining the birds he
had killed with his ramrod, exclaimed,
"Papa, what can we do with these birds ? are they good to
"Not very, my child: sea-gulls are birds that live chiefly on the
flesh of dead fish, and they have in consequence a fishy taste when
cooked. There are several species of these birds, and some of
them are so voracious, that in the whale fisheries flocks of them
will settle on pieces cut from the whale, with such avidity, that
they will allow themselves to be killed rather than quit their
72 SSWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"No wonder I killed them so easily just now with my ramrod,"
replied Ernest, "if they are so greedy and stupid."
"'apa," exclaimed Fritz, interrupting his brother, "why did you
tell me to nail the sha, k's skin on the mast ? it will dry quite
perhaps it may, Fritz," I replied; "but unless it is rendered
hard by drying, we cannot make it useful, and being curved will
not matter, for it will be as useful as if it were flat. When the
rough points are ground off, and the skin smoothed and polished, it
forms a beautiful material called shagreen."
"I thought," said Ernest, that shagreen was made of ass's
"Yes, Ernest, you are right. In Turkey, Persia, and Tartary,
the best shagreen is made from the skins of the wild ass. It is
harder and thicker than that of the shark, but they soften and
polish it by several processes, which gives it a beautiful surface, and
the colour is a bright green."
We were now approaching the shore; I lowered the sail, and
presently we lay alongside the old spot, having returned in less than
four hours from the time we started. We were not expected, there-
fore none of our dear ones were there to welcome us, and this time
I was not alarmed at their absence. However, we raised our voices
loudly in chorus, and the sound was echoed back from the rocks in
every direction. Very soon the mother and her two boys came
running towards us in surprise at our speedy return. They each
carried a large and well filled pocket handkerchief, and Frank
dragged after him a fishing net attached to a long wooden rod.
When they reached us, many questions were asked in wonder at
our returning so soon; but Jack, who could not restrain himself,
interrupted these inquiries by opening his handkerchief, and
allowing to fall on the ground before our eyes a number of magnifi-
cent fresh water crabs.
The mother and Frank followed his example, and there they lay
in a sprawling heap. Finding themselves free, however, they
waddled away, right and left, with all their might, and the boys had
enough to do to prevent them from escaping; but the leaping,
stooping, and laughing, created a merry outbreak of fun beyond
"Oh, papal exclaimed Jack, are we not rich ? There were
such a frightful lot, more than a thousand, I think, and we have
caught at least two hundred. Are they not large ? and what claws
they have "
BRIDGE-B BUILDING. 73
"But who discovered them ?" I asked; "Jack, I suppose it was
you ? "
"No, papa, it was our little Frank that performed this exploit.
I will tell you how it happened. While mamma was sewing, I took
the little monkey on my shoulder, and went with Frank to the
river, to try if I could find a good place for our bridge. Frank
amused himself by picking up pebbles and throwing them into the
water, but every now and then he would run to show me some
more prettily marked than others. All at once he came rushing
Back, exclaiming, Jack Jack! come and see, there is such a swarm
of crabs sticking to Fritz's jackal!' I followed him to the water,
and there I saw the dead jackal lying in a shallow spot, and a
whole legion of magnificent crabs feasting upon it. I ran to tell
mamma, and she brought a fishing net, but we took as many in our
hands as by the net, without any difficulty, and if you had not
called us we could have taken many more."
"There are quite enough, Jack," I replied, not only to make a
delicious supper, even if you throw the little ones back into the
water, which I should advise you to do, but also to provide us with
an unexpected store sufficient for several suppers. Let us thank
God that He has not only given us what is necessary, but enough
and to spare."
After relating our own adventures, Ernest showed his mother the
sea-gulls, and she proposed to prepare the mid-day meal, while I
and the elder boys went to the shore to bring away the floating
planks and beams. It proved a difficult task, for our united
strength was far from sufficient to draw these heavy beams even
out of the water.
I had given up all idea of making the ass or the cow help us,
when I suddenly remembered the plan adopted by the Laplanders
with the reindeer who draw the sledges, and I was determined to
try it. I placed a cord round the horns of the cow and the neck of
the ass, and then passed it between their legs, and fastened the end
to a beam firmly. In this way we not only brought piece after
piece on shore, but were able also to drag them to the spot chosen
by our little engineer as the most suitable for the bridge, and,
indeed, so it appeared.
The opposite banks approached each other closely; they were
firm and of equal height, and the trunks of old trees which stood
on each bank promised to form an excellent support on which to
rest the foundation of the bridge.
While examining the spot, a question suggested itself.
74 SWISS FAMILY ROB1NSON.
"Boys," I said, suppose our beams should not be long enough
to reach to the other side-the eye cannot measure the distance
exactly, and we have no mathematical instruments-what shall we
do ? "
"Mannuma has some packthread," said Ernest; "could we not tie
a stone to one end, and throw it across the river ? We could easily
measure the string when we drew it back, and that would give us
the exact width across."
"An excellent idea, Ernest," I replied; "run, Jack, and fetch the
Jack quickly returned, and by the contrivance i.i_:--t.-.-l by
Ernest, we soon discovered that the distance from one side of the
river to the other was eighteen feet.
It appeared, therefore, quite necessary that the beams should
have three additional feet resting on each shore, and this would
require the under one, at least, to measure twenty-four feet. Hap-
pily, we found more than one which exceeded this length, and fully
answered our expectations.
There remained now only one difficulty to overcome. The ques-
tion arose, How could we throw such long and heavy pieces of
wood across the water ?"
While considering the subject the dinner hour arrived, and find-
ing nothing more could be done, we returned to the tent.
Our good housekeeper had prepared for us a dish of crabs, which
was very tempting. But before we commenced dinner, she wished
to show me the needlework which had employed her the whole
She produced two immense bags, which she had made out of a
piece of sail-cloth, and sewn with packthread.
"I had no needle large enough to hold the thread," said the
mother, "so I contrived to sew with a nail, and by patience and
perseverance I have finished these travelling bags. They will hang
across the donkey's back like panniers, and contain a great quantity
of articles, when we change our home."
I expressed my pleasure, and praised my dear wife for her in-
genuity, and then we all seated ourselves to partake of the dinner
she liad prepared for us.
It was passed over as quickly as usual, for we had no time to
lose, and then I and the boys returned to work. As we approached
the spot, a plan -,,. -I1.1 itself which got us out of all our difii-
I first placed a beam behind the trunk of a tree, to which I
BRIDGE-B BUILDING. 75
fastened it at about four or five feet above the ground with a strong
cord; to the other end of the cord I tied a stone, and throwing it
across the river, I waded through the water after it. To a tree on
the opposite bank I adjusted a pulley, over which I threw the cord,
and returned with the end in my hand.
To this extreme end I tied the ropes which were still round the
necks of the cow and the ass, then passing the beam round to the
front of the tree, I led the animals away from the water. As they
moved slowly forward the beam rose gently, and then sank gradu-
ally, guided by the pulley, till the end rested on the opposite bank.
No sooner was this accomplished, than Fritz and Jack sprang
boldly on the beam, and danced lightly and rapidly across the new
bridge. I trembled as I saw them, but I refrained from uttering
a word of caution, lest they should fall from sudden fear.
Now the first beam was laid, the difficulties of the work were
greatly removed. The second and t'ird, and fourth soon followed,
and the foundation of our bridge lay ready before our eyes.
We then cut a number of plank;, of about eight or nine feet
long, to place across the breadth of the bridge, but I did not nail
them down firmly, as I wished to be able to remove them from the
bridge quickly in case of danger, to prevent the passage of enemies,
whether men or wild beasts.
It now seemed in every point perfect: the supports were firm,
and the passage across complete.
But the great exertion necessary had exhausted our strength, and
as evening approached, we were glad to return to the tent and seek
the refreshment and repose which we so greatly needed. Once
more we knelt to offer our evening prayer, and to thank Gcd for
His merciful care of us during the day.
~.: .- '. l < .f
TIE JOURNEY TO TIE WONDERFUL TREES.
O N waking the next morning my first thought was to warn my
children of the danger they would incur if they crossed the
bridge carelessly, as they had done on the preceding night.
And you must remember," I said, that we are now going into
a region unknown and less protected by nature than this. We
know not what kind of animals we may encounter, nor whether it
is inhabited. It is therefore necessary to be on our guard, and
keep close together in case of danger or attack."
After this caution we knelt and offered our morning prayer, and
then proceeded to breakfast, which was no sooner finished than I
and the boys commenced preparations for our journey.
Our first act was to load the ass and the cow with the travelling
bags containing our provisions, our tools, cooking utensils, and
other useful things, the case of bottled beer from the captain's
cabin, and a store of butter from the cask not being omitted. At
last I was about to add some hannnocks and bed coverings to the
donkey's load, when I was suddenly checked by my wife, who said,
"We must not leave the chickens and pigeons alone here all
night, or there will be an end of them. Besides, I hoped that you
would find room for little Frank on the donkey's back, and also for
my bag. We know not how soon we may need it."
It was rather annoying to have to unpack, but fortunately I had
left a space between the two sacks which the ass carried, and the
lied coverings would make a soft seat for little Frank. So I placed
him on the donkey with the bag, which already bore the name of
tlhe Magic Bag, placed behind for him to lean against, and he sat
as safely as if on a saddle, and without fear of danger, even shoiud
his steed take it into his head to gallop.
In the meantime the boys had been endeavouring to collect the
fowls and the pigeons by driving them into one spot. But all in
THE JOURNEY TO THE TVONDERFUL TREES. 77
vain. To catch them was impossible; and they presented them-
selves empty handed and looking very much discomfited.
"Leave them to me!" exclaimed the mother; "I will show you
what to do."
At these words she called the chickens to her in coaxing tones,
throwing from her apron a few grains of peas and crumbs of
biscuits. They all came round her quickly; and still scattering
peas and barley from the magic bag, she attracted them nearer the
tent. The rest of the corn she threw into the entrance; and as the
feathered tribe rushed in and pounced upon it with eagerness, it was
easy work to close the tent and make them prisoners.
Then Jack carefully crept in, and, catching them one by one,
passed them through an opening in the tent to us. Fritz and I tied
their legs together and placed them in panniers on the back of the
To protect them from the sun we arranged some sail-cloth over
the two halves of a cask-hoop, which formed an arch, and the
darkness also kept them quiet.
The packing being finished, we collected all the articles necessary
to leave behind, at least those that could be injured by the heat of
the sun or spoiled by rain, and placed them within the tent, closing
the entrance carefully.
To make it more secure we barricaded it with the full and empty
casks that remained, and left our store to the kind protection of
I then arranged our little party for the journey. We were all
well armed, young and old, and full of spirits.
Fritz marched at the head of our procession with his mother,
followed by the cow and the ass and his cavalier, little Frank. The
goats, led by Jack, formed the third detachment, the little monkey
looking droll on the back of his foster mother. Ernest followed
with the sheep, and I walked last as the rear guard. The dogs
rushed here and there as our adjutants.
As the procession moved on slowly, Ernest remarked,
Papa, I think this is a delightful way of travelling, and it is new
to us. Are there not people who always travel from place to place
in this manner?"
"Yes," I replied; "even now the people of Tartary, Arabia, and
other tribes follow this sort of life, and are called nomadic races.
They use horses and camels, however, which enable them to
advance more quickly than we can do with our crawling ass and
our loaded cow. The patriarchs of whom we read in the Bible
78 SIWISS FAMILY RODINSOY.
travelled or wandered froln place to place after this fashion. For
my part, I shall be glad when our wanderings are over."
"I hope," said my wife, "that our new abode may prove too
delightful for us to have any wish to leave it. At all events,
the fault shall not be mine if we are obliged to take another
Thus conversing, we arrived at the bridge, and at this point the
sow joined our procession. We had found it impossible to make
her follow the other animals from the tent; but when she dis-
covered that we had really left her behind, she hastened to over-
take us, and we all happily crossed the bridge together without
accident, the sow grunting her disapproval of the whole aflfir.
On the opposite shore a new difficulty presented itself. The
grass looked so fresh and tempting, that our troop could not resist
the temptation, but scattered themselves right and left to feast upon
it. We should have been quite unable to place them again in rank
and file but for the help of our dogs, who, barking and chasing,
brought them again into order.
To avoid a second interruption I told Fritz to turn to the left,
towards the shore, through a part of the country overgrown with
tall, rank grass not in the least tempting to the animals.
We had scarcely proceeded any distance when the dogs suddenly
started forward and disappeared in the thick grass ; and presently
their furious barking became nixed with howls of pain, as if they
were wounded and -i ._--1_ with some wild beast.
Fritz hastily advanced to the spot with his gun raised and his
finger on the t;.. r.; Jack followed him fearlessly, carrying his
pocket pistol in his hand; while Ernest, who was nervous and timid,
ran behind his mother, yet making ready to fire in case of danger.
For my own part, I felt .the necessity of being cautious, and fol-
lowed the boys anxiously with my gun in readiness, for it appeared
probable that the dogs had attacked a strong and furious beast,
which might overpower them. The boys, in their eagerness after
any novelty, reached the spot before me, and the next moment
Jack cried out,
Papa, come quick It is a large porcupine Such an enormous
beast! Make haste!"
I saw as I hastily approached that he was right, although his
description was a little exaggerated respecting tile size of the
.animal, which the dogs still continued to attack, yet retiring from
their attempts in useless rage at being wounded by the sharp
points which protruded from its skin. They could not approach it
THE JOURNEY TO THE WONDERFUL TREES. 73
without receiving a number of small wounds, which bled terribly.
Their howls, in consequence, were most horrible to hear.
Jack, without thought of consequences, at once drew his pocket
pistol from his belt, raised the trigger, and, going as near the
animal as lie dared, took aim at the head so correctly, that the
creature fell dead at our feet before we knew what the boy was about.
A shout of joy from the boys at this removal of their alarming
enemy followed Jack's exploit, although Fritz looked a little morti-
lied at his younger brother's success, and asked him why he was in
such a hurry rather indignantly; but Jack was not easily offended,
so lie turned off the inquiry with a joke; in fact, lie was so anxious
to secure his booty, that, after giving it two strokes with the butt
end of his gun to make sure it was dead, he attempted to draw
it from the spot with his usual carelessness.
The next moment he threw the dead animal from him in haste,
and stood with bleeding hands, looking terribly embarrassed. But
Jack was not one to be easily conquered; and in his anxiety to
show his prize to his mother he wiped his hands, and then, tying
his pocket handkerchief round the neck of the dead porcupine, lie
dragged it by the ends to his mother.
"Look, mamma I" he cried; isn't this a beautiful prize ? I
killed it myself with my pocket pistol; and it will be useful, for
papa says the flesh is good to eat."
Ernest approached coolly to examine the animal, and said at
"The creature has incisor teeth, and ears and feet something like
those of human beings."
"Ah, yes," said Jack; but did you not see how he rustled and
bristled his quills against the dogs ? He is a frightful creature."
Papa, did you notice the tuft of hair on his head ?" asked Jack.
" What is the use of it ?"
Only to give it the name of the tufted porcupine," I replied.
" But tell me, Jack, were you not afraid that the creature would
shoot his quills into you ? "
"I never thought about it," he replied; "or if I had, I should
have known that the superstition about porcupines shooting their
quills is fabulous."
His mother and I were seated on the ground while we talked,
drawing out the pointed quills from the muzzles of our brave dogs.
"Look here," I replied, holding up five or six quills which we
had extracted, "these were stuck in the dogs, Jack."
"I can quite believe that," he replied ; but they attacked him
80 SIVISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
closely, and of course the quills stuck to them and were dragged
out of his skin while they struggled."
You are right, my bravo. little man," I said. "The porcupine
has no power of shooting his quills like arrows. But now tell me
what we are to do with your game. Shall we take it with us, or
leave us behind ?"
Oh, we must take it with us, papa I" cried Jack. Besides, it
is good to eat, so please let us take it."
I could not resist these entreaties, I therefore unwound the hand-
kerchief from the animal's head, wrapped it in grass, stroked back
the quills, tied it up in some of our bed-clothes folded three times
doul;e, and fastening the bundle across the back of the ass behind
Frank and the mother's wonderful bag, thought all was safe.
After this we collected the animals and proceeded again on our
We had scarcely, however, advanced a hundred steps before the
ass began to bray, and presently to leap and bound in the most
comical manner, as if he were mad, causing us all to shout with
laughter, till he ended at last by dragging away the bridle by which
my wife led him, and started off at full gallop.
The danger to Frank now stopped our amusement. Making a
sign to the dogs, they started after the ass at once, and brought him
to a standstill before we could reach him.