Robinson Crusoe: Friday Rescued from the Man-eaters (5/6)

One morning I was surprised when I saw five canoes on my side of the island. The people from the canoes were all on land, but out of my sight. I didn’t know what to think of this and whether I should take measures because each boat could hold six men, so there could be thirty men on the island who wanted to attack me and I was alone. Therefore, I kept quiet and felt very uncomfortable. However, I did position myself well in case of an attack. I was ready for action at all times. After waiting for a long time to hear any sound, I eventually placed my guns at the foot of my ladder and climbed to the top of the hill, via my two staircases. I stood in such a way that my head did not show above the hill, so that they could not see me in any way. There, with the help of my perspective glass, I saw that they were thirty men, they had lit a fire, and they were roasting meat. I didn’t know how they had done that or what kind of meat it was, but there were many figures dancing around the fire in their own way.

As I watched, I saw that two men who were in miserable condition were pulled out of the boats, and then, as it seemed, were laid on the land to be killed. I noticed that one of them immediately fell to the ground and was hit with a club, which is the way they work. The other victim remained standing until it was his turn. At that very moment, when this poor man knew that his freedom was about to be taken away, nature inspired him. So he ran at incredible speed across the sand towards me, at least to that part of the coast where my abode was.

I have to admit that I was terribly afraid when I saw him running towards me, and especially when I thought he would be chased by the men. However, I remained in my position, and my spirit began to recover from the shock when I discovered that only three men were chasing him. I gained even more courage when I discovered that he could run much faster than they could. If he could keep it up for half an hour, he would gain ground and get reasonably far away from them.

There was a creek between them and my home. There, I unloaded my cargo from the ship that landed. I saw that it was imperative that he swim across the creek, or they would catch him. When the escaped savage man came to the creek, he dived in and swam through it in about thirty strokes. He climbed back on land and ran on with extraordinary strength and speed.

When the three pursuers arrived at the creek, I discovered that two of them could swim but the third could not. He looked on from the other side but did not continue and soon turned back. I saw that the two who could swim took more than twice as long to cross the creek as the man they were pursuing.

The irresistible thought that it was now time for me to have an assistant or companion came to me. It seemed that I was clearly called to save the life of this poor creature. I immediately ran down the ladders with all my equipment and grabbed my two guns, which were ready at the foot of the ladder. I hurried to the top of the hill, crossed to the sea, and placed myself in the path between the man and the pursuers by taking a very short route. I greeted the man who was fleeing, who, while looking back, was initially perhaps as afraid of me as he was of them.

I beckoned him to come back, and in the meantime, I walked slowly towards the two pursuers. Then I ran immediately to the front one and knocked him down with my weapon. I hated the idea of starting a fire and did not want the other men to hear it or see smoke and come after us. After I had knocked this man down, the other who was pursuing him stopped as if he was scared, and I walked towards him. But as I got closer, I soon realized that he had a bow and arrow and was going to shoot at me. Then I had no choice but to use my gun. I killed him with the first shot.

The poor man who was fleeing remained frozen, scared by the fire and sound of my weapon, even though his two enemies were dead on the ground. I greeted him again and made gestures for him to come forward, which he understood, and he came a bit closer. Then he stopped again, and then he came a bit closer again, and this went on for a while. I noticed that he was trembling, as if he had been captured and had just been sentenced to death.

I beckoned him again to come to me and gave him all the signs of encouragement I could think of. He came closer and knelt in front of me, as a sign of gratitude for saving his life. I smiled at him and looked kindly back. Then he kissed the ground, laid his head on the ground, and said that he would help me with anything.

But there was other work to be done first, as I noticed that one man whom I had knocked down was not dead. He was only stunned by the blow and was now starting to come around. I pointed out to the refugee that the man was not dead. He spoke a few words to me, and although I did not understand them, I still found them pleasant to hear. They were the first sounds of a man’s voice that I had heard, except for my own, in over twenty-five years.

The wild man who had been knocked down had recovered enough to sit on the ground. I noticed that my refugee was starting to become afraid. When I saw that, I pulled out my other weapon as if I was going to shoot him. My man made a gesture to borrow my sword, and I did. He took it and ran to his enemy and with one blow, killed him.

He took his bow and arrow and came back. I gestured for him to follow me. He then gestured that they had to be buried with sand so that they would not be seen by others. I signaled that it was okay. He immediately went to work and in no time he had dug a hole in the sand with his hands, big enough for both men. So they were both buried. Then he came with me to my cave on the other side of the island. Here, I gave him bread and raisins to eat, and a sip of water. I noticed that he was very thirsty from running. Then I gestured for him to lie down to sleep.

He was a strong man, not too tall, about twenty-six years old. He had a kind face and did not look wild and fierce like a savage. His hair was long and black, and he had lively, sharp eyes. His skin was the color of an olive, and his teeth were as white as ivory.

After he had slept for about half an hour, he woke up and came out of the cave to me. I was milking my goats at the fence. He expressed his gratitude again with a lot of gestures. I understood that he wanted to help me as long as he lived.

We went to the top of the hill to see if the enemies were gone. With my perspective glass, I could clearly see where they had been, but they were nowhere to be seen, and I couldn’t see their canoes either. They had left and had simply abandoned their two comrades.

We went back to our cave, and I got to work for “Friday”. First, I gave him some linen robes that fit him well with a small adjustment. Then I made him a goat-skin jacket and a hare-skin cap. He looked really fashionable! However, he was initially a bit awkward in these clothes and had to get used to them.

The next day, I began to consider where to house him. I wanted to make sure he was comfortable, but I also wanted to be at ease myself. So, I made a small tent for him in the empty space between my two settlements at the cave. I made a formal door frame with a door in the entrance of the cave so that “Friday” couldn’t just come to me anytime. Above the ladder hole, I placed a kind of hatch that would fall down with a lot of noise if someone tried to enter from the outside.

At night, I kept my weapons with me just in case, but I didn’t actually need any of these precautions. I had never seen a more loyal, loving, and honest person than “Friday”. He loved me like a child loves his father. I even dare to say that he would have sacrificed his life to save mine on any occasion. All the events up to this point dispelled all my doubts and quickly convinced me that I didn’t need to take any precautions for my own safety.

I was very happy with him and made it my task to teach him everything that was necessary, useful, and handy. But above all, I taught him to talk to me. He was the smartest student ever and was also diligent and cheerful. He was so happy when he could understand my words at a given moment. And for me, it was so nice to talk to him. Now my life was finally becoming so easy that I could say to myself that I didn’t care if I had to stay in this place forever.