Sivut kuvina


There was one cause for anxiety that kept me constantly on the watch. From time to time I had seen savages land their canoes on my island, but thus far my habitation had not been discovered. I was surprised one morning early to see no less than five canoes, 5 all on shore together on my side of the island, and the people who belonged to them all landed, and out of my sight. The number of them broke all my plans; for seeing so many, and knowing that they always came four, or six, or sometimes more, in a boat, I 10 could not tell what to think of it, or how to attack twenty or thirty men single-handed; so I lay still in my castle. However, I made all the arrangements for an attack that I had formerly provided, and was ready for action. Having waited a good while, listen- 15 ing to hear if they made any noise, at length, being very impatient, I set my guns at the foot of my ladder, and clambered up to the top of the hill; standing so, however, that my head did not appear above the hill, so that they could not perceive me by any means. 20 Here I observed, by the help of my telescope, that they were no less than thirty in number, that they had a fire kindled, and that they had meat dressed. How

they had cooked it, I knew not, or what it was; but they were all dancing round the fire.

While I was thus looking on them, I perceived by my glass two miserable wretches dragged from the 5 boats. One of them immediately fell, being knocked down, I suppose, with a club or wooden sword, for that was their way, and two or three others were at work immediately, cutting him open for their cookery,

while the other victim was left standing by himself, 10 till they should be ready for him. In that very mo

ment, this poor wretch, seeing himself a little at liberty, started away from them, and ran swiftly along the sands directly towards me, I mean towards the part of the coast where my habitation was.

I was dreadfully frightened (that I must acknowledge) when I saw him run my way, and especially when, as I thought, I saw him pursued by the whole body. However, I kept my station, and my spirits

began to recover when I found that there were not 20 more than three men that followed him. And still

more was I encouraged when I found that he outstripped them in running, and gained ground on them, so that if he could but hold it for half an hour, I saw easily he would get away from them all.

There was between them and my castle the creek, which I mentioned in the first part of my story, when I landed my cargoes out of the ship; and I saw plainly



he must necessarily swim over, or the poor wretch would be taken there. But when the savage escaping came thither, he made nothing of it, though the tide was then up; but plunging in, swam through in about thirty strokes or thereabouts, landed, and ran on with 5 great strength and swiftness. When the three persons came to the creek, I found that two of them could swim, but the third could not, and that, standing on the other side, he looked at the others, but went no farther, and soon after went quietly back, which, as 10 it happened, was very well for him.

I observed that the two who swam were more than twice as long swimming over the creek as the fellow was that fled from them. It came now very warmly upon my thoughts, that now was my time to get me a 15 servant, and perhaps a companion or assistant, and that I was called plainly by Providence to save this poor creature's life. I immediately, with all possible haste, fetched my two guns, and getting up again to the very top of the hill, put myself in the way between 20 the pursuers and the pursued, hallooing aloud to him that fled, who, looking back, was at first perhaps as much frightened at me as at them. But I beckoned with my hand to him to come back; and, in the meantime, I slowly advanced toward the two that followed ; 25 then rushing at once upon the foremost, I knocked him down with the stock of my gun. Having knocked this

fellow down, the other who pursued with him stopped, as if he had been frightened, and I advanced towards him; but as I came nearer, I perceived presently he had a bow and arrow, and was fitting it to shoot at


5 me; so I was then forced to shoot him first, which I did, and killed him at the first shot.

The poor savage who fled, though he saw both his enemies fallen and killed, as he thought, yet was so frightened with the fire and noise that he stood stockstill. I hallooed again to him, and made signs for him to come forward, which he easily understood, and came a little way, then stopped again, and then a little farther, and stopped again; and I could then perceive that he stood trembling, as if he had been 5 taken prisoner, and had just been taken to be killed, as his two enemies were. I beckoned him again to come to me, and gave him all the signs of encouragement that I could think of; and he came nearer and nearer, kneeling down every ten or twelve steps, as 10 if thanking me for saving his life. I smiled at him, and looked pleasantly, and beckoned to him to come still nearer. At length he came close to me, and then he kneeled down again, kissed the ground, and laid his head upon the ground, and taking me by the foot, set 15 my foot upon his head. This, it seems, was to show that he would be my slave forever. I lifted him up, and encouraged him all I could. But there was more work to do yet; for I perceived the savage whom I knocked down was not killed, but stunned with the 20 blow, and began to come to himself; so I pointed to him.

Upon this my savage spoke some words to me; and though I could not understand them, yet I thought they were pleasant to hear; for they were the first 25 sound of man's voice that I had heard, except my own, for above twenty-five years.

But there was no time

« EdellinenJatka »