1 My first sea journey
Before I begin my story, I would like to tell you a little about myself.
I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York in the north of England. My father was German, but he came to live and work in England. Soon after that, he married my mother, who was English. Her family name was Robinson, so, when I was born, they called me Robinson, after her.
My father did well in his business and I went to a good school. He wanted me to get a good job and live a quiet, comfortable life. But I didn’t want that. I wanted adventure and an exciting life.
“I want to be a sailor and go to sea,” I told my mother and father. They were very unhappy about this.
“Please don’t go,” my father said. “You won’t be happy, you know. Sailors have a difficult and dangerous life.” And because I loved him, and he was unhappy, I tried to forget about the sea.
But I couldn’t forget, and about a year later, I saw a friend in town. His father had a ship, and my friend said to me, “We’re sailing to London tomorrow. Why don’t you come with us?”
And so, on September 1st, 1651,1 went to Hull, and the next day we sailed for London.
But, a few days later, there was a strong wind. The sea was rough and dangerous, and the ship went up and down, up and down. I was very ill, and very afraid.
“Oh, I don’t want to die!” I cried. “I want to live! If I live, I’ll go home and never go to sea again!”
The next day the wind dropped, and the sea was quiet and beautiful again.
“Well, Bob,” my friend laughed. “How do you feel now? The wind wasn’t too bad.”
“What!” I cried. “It was a terrible storm.”
“Oh, that wasn’t a storm,” my friend answered. “Just a little wind. Forget it. Come and have a drink.”
After a few drinks with my friend, I felt better. I forgot about the danger and decided not to go home. I didn’t want my friends and family to laugh at me!
I stayed in London for some time, but I still wanted to go to sea. So, when the captain of a ship asked me to go with him to Guinea in Africa, I agreed. And so I went to sea for the second time.
It was a good ship and everything went well at first, but I was very ill again. Then, when we were near the Canary Islands, a Turkish pirate ship came after us. They were famous thieves of the sea at that time. There was a long, hard fight, but when it finished, we and the ship were prisoners.
The Turkish captain and his men took us to Sallee in Morocco. They wanted to sell us as slaves in the markets there. But in the end the Turkish captain decided to keep me for himself, and took me home with him. This was a sudden and terrible change in my life. I was now a slave and this Turkish captain was my master.
2 Down the coast of Africa
For two long years I lived the life of a slave. I worked in the house and the garden, and every day I planned to escape, but it was never possible. I thought about it day and night. My master liked to go fishing in a little boat, and he always took me with him. A man called Molly, and a young boy also went with us.
One day my master said to us, “Some of my friends want to go fishing tomorrow. Get the boat ready”.
So we put a lot of food and drink on the boat, and the next morning, we waited for my master and his friends. But when my master arrived, he was alone.
“My friends don’t want to go fishing today”, he said to me. “But you go with Molly and the boy, and catch some fish for our supper tonight”.
“Yes, master” I answered quietly, but inside I was excited. “Perhaps now I can escape”, I said to myself.
My master went back to his friends and we took the boat out to sea. For a time we fished quietly, and then I moved carefully behind Molly and knocked him into the water. “Swim! I cried. “Swim to the shore!”
My master liked to shoot seabirds and so there were guns on the boat. Quickly, I took one of these guns. Molly was swimming after the boat and I shouted to him:
“Go back to the shore! You can swim there – it’s not too far. I won’t hurt you, but if you come near the boat, I’ll shoot you through the head!” So Molly turned, and swam bask to the shore as quickly as he could.
Then I said to the boy, “Xury, if you help me, I’ll be a good friend to you. If you don’t help me, I’ll push you into the sea too.”
But Xury was happy to help me. “I’ll go all over the world with you”, he cried.
I wanted to sail to the Canary Islands, but I was afraid to go too far from the shore. It was only a small boat. And so we sailed on south for some days. We had very little water, and it was dangerous country here, with many wild animals. We were afraid, but we often had to go on shore to get more water. Once I used a gun to soot a wild animal. I don’t know what animal it was, but it made a good meal.
For about ten or twelve days we sailed on south, down the coast of Africa. Then one day we saw some people on the shore – strange, wild people, who did not look friendly. By now we had very little food, and we really needed help. We were afraid, but we had to go on shore.
At first, they were afraid of us, too. Perhaps white people never visited this coast. We did not speak their language, of course, so we used our hands and faces to show what we were hungry. They came with food for us, but then they moved away quickly. We carried the food to out boat, and they watched us. I tried to thank them, but I had nothing to give them.
Just then two big wild cats came down to the shore from the mountains. I think they were leopards. The people were afraid of these wild cats, and the women cried out. Quickly, I took a gun, and shot one of the animals. The second wild cat ran back up into the mountains.
Guns were new to these African people, and they were afraid of the loud noise and the smoke. But they were happy about the dead wild cat. I gave them the meat of the dead animal, and they gave us more food and water.
We now had a lot of food and water, and we sailed on. Eleven days later we came near the Cape Verde Islands. We could see them, but we couldn’t get near because there was no wind. We waited.
Suddenly Xury called to me, “Look, a ship!”
He was right! We called and shouted and sailed our little boat as fast as we could.
But the ship did not see us.
Then I remembered the guns which made a lot of smoke. A few minutes later the ship saw and turned.
When we were on the ship, the Portuguese captain listened to my story. He was going to Brazil and agreed to help me, but he wanted nothing for his help. “No”, he said, when I tried to play him. “Perhaps, one day, sameone will help me when I need it”.
But he gave me money for my boat, and for Xury, too. At first, I did not want to sell Xury as a slave, after all our dangerous adventures together. But Xury was happy to go to the captain, and the captain was a good man. “In ten years time”, he said, “Xury can go free”.
When we arrived in Brazil three weeks later, I said goodbye to the captain and Xury, left the ship, and went to begin a new life.
3 The storm and the shipwreck
I stayed in Brazil and worked hard for some years. By then I was rich … but also bored. One day some friends came to me and said, “We’re going to Africa to do business. Why don’t you come with us? We’ll all be rich after this journey!”
How stupid I was! I had an easy, comfortable life in Brazil, but, of course, I agreed. And so, in 1659,1 went to sea again.
At first, all went well, but then there was a terrible storm. For twelve days the wind and the rain didn’t stop. We lost three men in the sea, and soon the ship had holes in its sides. “We’re all going to die this time,” I said to myself. Then one morning one of the sailors saw land, but the next minute our ship hit some sand just under the sea. The ship could not move and we were really in danger now. The sea was trying to break the ship into pieces, and we had very little time. Quickly, we put a boat into the sea and got off the ship. But the sea was very rough and our little boat could not live for long in that wild water.
Half an hour later the angry sea turned our boat over and we were all in the water. I looked round for my friends, but I could see nobody. I was alone.
That day I was lucky, and the sea carried me to the shore. I could not see the land, only mountains of water all around me. Then, suddenly, I felt the ground under my feet. Another mountain of water came, pushed me up the beach, and I fell on the wet sand.
At first I was very thankful to be alive. Slowly, I got to my feet and went higher up the shore. From there, I looked out to sea. I could see our ship, but it was wrecked and there was nobody near it. There was nobody in the water. All my friends were dead. I was alive, but in a strange wild country, with no food, no water, and no gun.
It was dark now and I was tired. I was afraid to sleep on the shore. Perhaps there were wild animals there. So I went up into a tree and I stayed there all night.
4 A new life on an island
When day came, the sea was quiet again. I looked for our ship and, to my surprise, it was still there and still in one piece. “I think I can swim to it,” I said to myself. So I walked down to the sea and before long, I was at the ship and was swimming round it. But how could I get on to it? In the end, I got in through a hole in the side, but it wasn’t easy.
There was a lot of water in the ship, but the sand under the sea was still holding the ship in one place. The back of the ship was high out of the water, and I was very thankful for this because all the ship’s food was there. I was very hungry so I began to eat something at once. Then I decided to take some of it back to the shore with me. But how could I get it there?
I looked around the ship, and after a few minutes, I found some long pieces of wood. I tied them together with rope. Then I got the things that I wanted from the ship. There was a big box of food – rice, and salted meat, and hard ship’s bread. I also took many strong knives and other tools, the ship’s sails and ropes, paper, pens, books, and seven guns. Now I needed a little sail from the ship, and then I was ready. Slowly and carefully, I went back to the shore. It was difficult to stop my things from falling into the sea, but in the end I got everything on to the shore.
Now I needed somewhere to keep my things.
There were some hills around me, so I decided to build myself a little house on one of them. I walked to the top of the highest hill and looked down. I was very unhappy, because I saw then that I was on an island. There were two smaller islands a few miles away, and after that, only the sea. Just the sea, for mile after mile after mile.
After a time, I found a little cave in the side of a hill. In front of it, there was a good place to make a home. So, I used the ship’s sails, rope, and pieces of wood, and after a lot of hard work I had a very fine tent. The cave at the back of my tent was a good place to keep my food, and so I called it my “kitchen”. That night, I went to sleep in my new home.
The next day I thought about the possible dangers on the island. Were there wild animals, and perhaps wild people too, on my island? I didn’t know, but I was very afraid. So I decided to build a very strong fence. I cut down young trees and put them in the ground, in a half-circle around the front of my tent. I used many of the ship’s ropes too, and in the end my fence was as strong as a stone wall. Nobody could get over it, through it, or round it.
Making tents and building fences is hard work. I needed many tools to help me. So I decided to go back to the ship again, and get some more things.
I went back twelve times, but soon after my twelfth visit there was another terrible storm. The next morning, when I looked out to sea, there was no ship.
When I saw that, I was very unhappy. “Why am I alive, and why are all my friends dead?” I asked myself. “What will happen to me now, alone on this island without friends? How can I ever escape from it?”
Then I told myself that I was lucky – lucky to be alive, lucky to have food and tools, lucky to be young and strong. But I knew that my island was somewhere off the coast of South America. Ships did not often come down this coast, and I said to myself, “I’m going to be on this island for a long time.” So, on a long piece of wood, I cut these words:
I CAME HERE ON 30TH SEPTEMBER 1659
After that, I decided to make a cut for each day.
5 Learning to live alone
I still needed a lot of things. “Well,” I said, “I’m going to have to make them.” So, every day, I worked.
First of all, I wanted to make my cave bigger. I carried out stone from the cave, and after many days’ hard work I had a large cave in the side of the hill. Then I needed a table and a chair, and that was my next job. I had to work on them for a long time. I also wanted to make places to put all my food, and all my tools and guns. But every time I wanted a piece of wood, I had to cut down a tree. It was long, slow, difficult work, and during the next months I learnt to be very clever with my tools. There was no hurry. I had all the time in the world.
I also went out every day, and I always had my gun with me. Sometimes I killed a wild animal, and then I had meat to eat.
But when it got dark, I had to go to bed because I had no light. I couldn’t read or write because I couldn’t see. For a long time, I didn’t know what to do. But in the end, I learnt how to use the fat of dead animals to make a light.
The weather on my island was usually very hot, and there were often storms and heavy rain. The next June, it rained all the time, and I couldn’t go out very often. I was also ill for some weeks, but slowly, I got better. When I was stronger, I began to go out again.
The first time I killed a wild animal, and the second time I caught a big turtle.
I was on the island for ten months before I visited other parts of it. During those months I worked hard on my cave and my house and my fence. Now I was ready to find out more about the rest of the island.
First, I walked along the side of a little river. There, I found open ground without trees. Later, I came to more trees with many different fruits. I decided to take a lot of the fruit, and to put it to dry in the sun for a time. Then I could keep it for many months.
That night I went to sleep in a tree for the second time, and the next day I went on with my journey. Soon I came to an opening in the hills. In front of me, everything was green, and there were flowers everywhere. There were also a lot of different birds and animals. I saw that my house was on the worst side of the island. But I didn’t want to move from there. It was my home now. I stayed away for three days, and then I came home. But I often went back to the other, greener side of the island.
And so my life went on. Every month I learnt to do or to make something new. But I had troubles and accidents too. Once there was a terrible storm with very heavy rain. The roof of my cave fell in, and nearly killed me! I had to build it up again with many pieces of wood.
I had a lot of food now. I cooked it over a fire or dried it in the sun. So I always had meat during the rainy months when I could not go out with a gun. I learnt to make pots to keep my food in. But I wanted very much to make a harder, stronger pot – a pot that would not break in a fire. I tried many times, but I could not do it. Then one day I was lucky. I made some new pots and put them in a very hot fire. They changed colour, but did not break. I left them there for many hours, and when they were cold again, I found that they were hard and strong. That night I was very happy. I had hot water for the first time on the island.
By then, I also had my own bread. That was luck, too. One day I found a little bag. We used it on the ship, to keep the chickens’ food in.
There was still some of the food in the bag, and I dropped some of it onto the ground. A month later I saw something bright green there, and after six months I had a very small field of corn. I was very excited. Perhaps now I could make my own bread!
It was easy to say, but not so easy to do. It is a lot of work to make bread from corn. Many people eat bread, but how many people can take corn from a field and make bread out of it without help? I had to learn and to make many new things, and it was a year before I cooked and ate my first bread.
During all this time I never stopped thinking about escape. When I travelled across to the other side of the island, I could see the other islands, and I said to myself, “Perhaps I can get there with a boat. Perhaps I can get back to England one day.”
So I decided to make myself a boat. I cut down a big tree, and then began to make a long hole in it. It was hard work, but about six months later, I had a very fine canoe.
Next, I had to get it down to the sea. How stupid I was! Why didn’t I think before I began work? Of course, the canoe was too heavy. I couldn’t move it! I pulled and pushed and tried everything, but it didn’t move. I was very unhappy for a long time after that.
That happened in my fourth year on the island. In my sixth year I did make myself a smaller canoe, but I did not try to escape in it. The boat was too small for a long journey, and I did not want to die at sea. The island was my home now, not my prison, and I was just happy to be alive. A year or two later, I made myself a second canoe on the other side of the island. I also built myself a second house there, and so I had two homes.
My life was still busy from morning to night. There were always things to do or to make. I learnt to make new clothes for myself from the skins of dead animals. They looked very strange, it is true, but they kept me dry in the rain.
I kept food and tools at both my houses, and also wild goats. There were many goats on the island, and I made fields with high fences to keep them in. They learnt to take food from me, and soon I had goat’s milk to drink every day. I also worked hard in my cornfields. And so many years went by.
6 A footprint
Then, one year, something strange and terrible happened. I often walked along the shore, and one day I saw something in the sand. I went over to look at it more carefully, and stopped in sudden surprise.
It was a footprint – the footprint of a man!
Who could this be? Afraid, I looked around me. I listened. I waited. Nothing. I was more and more afraid. Perhaps this man was one of those wild people who killed and ate other men! I looked everywhere, but there was nobody, and no other footprint. I turned and hurried home. “There’s someone on my island,” I said to myself. “Perhaps he knows about me … Perhaps he’s watching me now from behind a tree … Perhaps he wants to kill me.”
That night I couldn’t sleep. The next day I got all my guns ready and I put more wood and young trees around my house. Nobody could see me now. But, after fifteen years alone on the island, I was afraid, and I did not leave my cave for three days.
In the end, I had to go out to milk my goats. But for two years I was afraid. I stayed near my home and I never used my guns because I didn’t want to make a noise. I could not forget the footprint, but I saw and heard nothing more, and slowly I began to feel happier.
One day, a year later, I was over on the west side of the island. From there I could see the other islands, and I could also see a boat, far out to sea. “If you have a boat,” I thought, “it’s easy to sail across to this island. Perhaps that explains the footprint – it was a visitor from one of the other islands.”
I began to move more freely around the island again, and built myself a third house. It was a very secret place in a cave. “No wild man will ever find that,” I said to myself.
Then one year something happened which I can never forget. I was again on the west side of the island and was walking along the shore. Suddenly, I saw something which made me feel ill. There were heads, arms, feet, and other pieces of men’s bodies everywhere. For a minute, I couldn’t think, and then I understood. Sometimes there were fights between the wild men on the other islands. Then they came here to my island with their prisoners, to kill them, cook them, and eat them. Slowly, I went home, but I was very angry. How could men do this?
For many months I watched carefully for the smoke from fires, but I didn’t see anything. Somehow the wild men came and went, and I never saw them. I was angry and afraid. I wanted to shoot them all, but there were many of them and only one of me. “Perhaps I can shoot two or three,”I said to myself, “but then they will kill and eat me.”
Then, one morning in my twenty-third year on the island, I was out in my fields and I saw the smoke from a fire. Quickly, I went up the hill to watch.
There were nine men around the fire, and they were cooking their terrible food. Then these wild men danced round the fire, singing and shouting. This went on for about two hours, and then they got into their boats and sailed away. I went down to the shore and saw the blood of the dead men on the sand. “The next time they come, I’m going to kill them,” I said angrily.
7 Man Friday
For two years I never went anywhere without my gun. I felt lonely and afraid, and had many sleepless nights. One night there was a very bad storm, and I thought I heard the sound of guns out at sea. The next morning I looked out, and saw a ship. It was lying on its side not far from the shore. Quickly, I put my little boat in the water and sailed out to it.
There were two dead men on the ship, but no one alive. The bodies of the other sailors were lost in the sea. I took some clothes and tools, and also a box of Spanish gold and silver money. I was a rich man now, but what use was money to me? I could not buy anything with it.
I wanted people, a friend, somebody to talk to … somebody who could help me escape from my island. One morning I woke up and made a plan. “I’ll try to catch one of the prisoners of the wild men,” I said to myself. “He’ll be happy to be alive and perhaps he’ll help me to escape.” I watched day and night, but for a year and a half there were no boats.
Then one day five boats came. There were about thirty men and they had two prisoners. They made their fire on the sand and danced round it. Then they killed one of the prisoners and began to cook their terrible meal. The second prisoner waited under the trees, with two men to watch him. Suddenly, the prisoner turned and ran. The two men ran after him, but the other wild men were busy round the fire and did not see what was happening.
The prisoner ran like a wild goat, and soon I saw that he was coming near the bottom of my hill. As fast as I could, I ran down the hill and jumped out of the trees between the prisoner and the two wild men. I hit the first man with the wooden end of my gun and he fell down, but I had to shoot the second man. The poor prisoner did not move. He was afraid of the noise of my gun.
I called to him and tried to show him that I was friendly. Slowly, he moved nearer to me, but just then the first wild man began to get up from the ground. Then the prisoner spoke and I understood that he wanted my sword. How happy I was to hear words again! I gave him my sword, and at once he cut off the head of his enemy.
Hurriedly, we hid the dead bodies under some leaves, and then left quickly. I took my prisoner to my secret cave on the other side of the island and gave him food and drink. After that, he went to sleep.
He was a fine young man, about twenty-five years old, tall and well-built, with a kind face and a nice smile. He had a brown skin, black hair, bright eyes and strong white teeth. I decided to give him the name of “Man Friday”, because I first saw him on a Friday.
When he woke up in the morning, he ran out to me. I was milking my goats in the field, and he got down on the ground and put his head near my foot. I understood that he was thanking me, and I tried to show him that I was his friend.
I began to teach him to speak English, and soon he could say his name, “Master”, and “Yes” and “No”. How good it was to hear a man’s voice again!
Later that day we went back to my first house. We went carefully along the beach, but there were no boats and no wild men. Just blood and bones all over the sand. I felt ill, but Friday wanted to eat the pieces of men’s bodies which were still on the ground. I showed him that this was terrible for me, and he understood.
When we got to my house, I gave Man Friday some trousers, and I made him a coat and a hat. He liked his new clothes very much.
Then I made him a little tent to sleep in, but for a few weeks I always took my gun to bed with me. Perhaps Friday was still a wild man and would try to kill me in the night. At first, Friday was very afraid of my gun. Sometimes he talked to it, and asked it not to kill him.
Friday was a quick learner and his English got better day by day. He helped me with the goats and with the work in the cornfields, and soon we were good friends. I enjoyed teaching him and, most of all, having a friend to talk to. This was the happiest of all my years on the island.
Friday and I lived together happily for three years. I told him the story of my adventures and about life in England, and he told me about his country and his people. One day we were at the top of the highest hill on the island, and we were looking out to sea. It was a very clear day and we could see a long way. Suddenly, Friday began to jump up and down, very excited.
“What’s the matter?” I said.
“Look, Master, look!” Friday cried. “I can see my country. Look over there!”
I looked, and there to the north-west, between the sea and the sky, was a long thin piece of land. I learnt later that it was the island of Trinidad, and that my island was in the mouth of the River Orinoco on the north coast of South America.
I began to think again about escape. Perhaps Friday wanted to go home too. Perhaps together we could get to his country. But what then? Would Friday still be my friend, or would his people kill me and eat me?
I took Friday to the other side of the island and showed him my big canoe. It still lay under the trees. It was very old now, and there were holes in the wood.
“Could a boat like this sail to your country, Friday?” I asked him.
“Oh yes” he answered. “A boat like this can carry a lot of food and drink.”
“Then we’ll make another canoe like it, and you can go home in it,” I said.
But Friday looked very unhappy. “Why are you angry with me?” he asked. “What have I done? Why do you want to send me home?”
“But I thought you wanted to go home,” I said.
“Yes. But you must come with me. Kill me if you want, but don’t send me away from you!”
Then I saw that Friday was a true friend, and so I agreed to go with him. We began work on the canoe at once. Friday chose the tree himself – he understood wood better than I did – and we cut it down. We worked hard and in a month the boat was finished. Two weeks later it was in the sea, and we began to get ready for our long journey.
8 Escape from the island
I was now in my twenty-seventh year on the island, and I did not want to be there for another year. We worked hard to get the corn in, and to make a lot of bread. We had dried fruit and salted meat, and big pots to keep water in. One evening Friday went out to look for a turtle for meat and eggs. But in less than an hour he was back, and he looked very afraid.
“Master! Master!” he cried. “There’s a great ship near the island, and men are coming to the shore in a boat!”
I jumped up and ran with him down to the shore. To my great surprise, I saw that it was an English ship! But why was it here? English ships never came this way. Perhaps they were pirates! “Don’t let them see you, Friday!” I called. “We’ll hide in the trees and watch.”
There were eleven men in the boat, but three of them were prisoners. Their arms were tied with rope, but their legs were free and they could walk. The other sailors pushed the three prisoners up the beach, laughing and shouting and hitting them. Then some of them sat down on the sand and began to drink. Others walked away to look at the island, and two men stayed to watch the boat. The three prisoners walked slowly along the beach and sat down under a tree, not far from us. They looked very unhappy.
Very quietly, I came up behind them through the trees, and called out to them in English.
“Don’t be afraid,” I said. “I’m an Englishman. Perhaps I can help you.”
The three men turned and looked at me. They did not answer at once; they were too surprised. Perhaps they thought I was a wild man myself, in my strange home-made clothes of animals’ skins, and with my long hair and beard. Then the oldest man spoke.
“I am the captain of that ship,” he said, “and these two men are my first and second officers. Last night there was a mutiny, and the seamen took the ship from me. Now they’re going to leave the three of us here, to die on this island.”
“Do these mutineers have guns?”
“Only two,” he answered, “and they’ve left those on the boat.”
“All right,” I said. “We’ll fight them, but if we get your ship back for you, you must take me back to England.”
The captain agreed immediately and thanked me very warmly for my help. Friday ran back to my house to get all the guns, and the captain and I made a plan.
The first part was easy because the seamen were not ready for a fight. We shot the two men at the boat, and the captain shot another man. This man, Tom Smith, was the worst of them all and he began the mutiny on the ship. Then the captain talked to the other five men, and they agreed to help him. They did not really want to be mutineers, but they were afraid of Tom Smith.
“Now,” I said to the captain, “we must get back your ship. How many men are on it?”
“Twenty-six,” the captain replied, “and they will fight hard because they won’t want to go home. It is death for all mutineers in England. But not all the men are bad. I’m sure that some of them will help me.”
Just then we saw another boat, which was coming from the ship to the shore. There were ten men in it, and they all had guns. We ran into the trees and waited.
It was a long hard fight, but by now it was dark and this helped us very much. We ran here and there in the trees, calling and shouting. The seamen could not see us and did not know how many men they were fighting. In the end the first officer shouted to them:
“Put down your guns and stop fighting! The captain has fifty island people to help him. We can kill you all!”
So the seamen stopped fighting and we took their guns. Three of the men agreed to come back to the captain, and we put the others in my cave. Friday and I stayed to watch the prisoners, while the captain and his men went back to fight for the ship.
All night we listened to the sound of guns and shouting, but in the morning, when the sun came up, the captain was master of his ship again. I went down to the shore to meet him.
“My dear friend,” he cried. “There’s your ship! I’ll take you to the ends of the world in it!”
I put my arms round him, and we laughed and cried together. How happy I was to leave the island!
My good friend Friday came with me, of course, but we left the mutineers on the island. We decided not to kill them; they could begin a new life on the island. I showed them my three houses, my cornfields and my goats, and all my tools. Their life would be easy because of all my hard work for so many years.
And so, on the nineteenth of December 1686 – after twenty-seven years, two months and nineteen days – I said goodbye to my island and sailed home to England.
9 Home in England
When I came back to England, I felt like a stranger in the country. Many things were different, and not many people remembered me. I went home to York, but my father and mother were dead, and also my two brothers. I did find the two sons of one of my brothers. They were happy to learn that I was alive, and f was pleased to find some family.
After some months I decided to go down to Lisbon in Portugal. I had friends there who could help me to sell my land in Brazil, and I needed the money. Friday came with me. He was always a good and true friend to me.
In Lisbon I found the Portuguese captain, who took me in his ship to Brazil, all those years ago. It was good to see him again, and he helped me with my business. Soon I was ready to go home again – by land. No more adventures and dangers by sea for me!
It was a long, hard journey. We had to cross the mountains between Spain and France in winter, and the snow was deep. Poor Friday was very afraid of the snow. In his country it was always hot, and he did not like cold weather.
Back in England I found a house and began to live a quiet life. My two nephews came to live with me. The younger one wanted to be a sailor, and so I found him a place on a ship. After a while I married, and had three children, two sons and a daughter. Then my wife died, and my nephew, who was now the captain of a ship, came home to see me. He knew that I did not really like a quiet life.
“I have a fine ship, uncle,” he said. “I’m going out to the East Indies – India, Malaya, the Philippines … Why don’t you come with me?”
And so, in 1694, I went to sea again, and had many more adventures. Perhaps one day I’ll write another book about them.