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- Robinson Crusoe - 1/13 -





The production of a book which is adapted to the use of the youngest readers needs but few words of excuse or apology. The nature of the work seems to be sufficiently explained by the title itself, and the author's task has been chiefly to reduce the ordinary language into words of one syllable. But although, as far as the subject matter is concerned, the book can lay no claims to originality, it is believed that the idea and scope of its construction are entirely novel, for the One Syllable literature of the present day furnishes little more than a few short, unconnected sentences, and those chiefly in spelling books.

The deep interest which De Foe's story has never failed to arouse in the minds of the young, induces the author to hope that it may be acceptable in its present form.

It should be stated that exceptions to the rule of using words of one syllable exclusively have been made in the case of the proper names of the boy Xury and of the man Friday, and in the titles of the illustrations that accompany this work.



I was born at York on the first of March in the sixth year of the reign of King Charles the First. From the time when I was quite a young child, I had felt a great wish to spend my life at sea, and as I grew, so did this taste grow more and more strong; till at last I broke loose from my school and home, and found my way on foot to Hull, where I soon got a place on board a ship.

When we had set sail but a few days, a squall of wind came on, and on the fifth night we sprang a leak. All hands were sent to the pumps, but we felt the ship groan in all her planks, and her beams quake from stem to stern; so that it was soon quite clear there was no hope for her, and that all we could do was to save our lives.

The first thing was to fire off guns, to show that we were in need of help, and at length a ship, which lay not far from us, sent a boat to our aid. But the sea was too rough for it to lie near our ship's side, so we threw out a rope, which the men in the boat caught, and made fast, and by this means we all got in. Still in so wild a sea it was in vain to try to get on board the ship which had sent out the men, or to use our oars in the boat, and all we could do was to let it drive to shore.

In the space of half an hour our own ship struck on a rock and went down, and we saw her no more. We made but slow way to the land, which we caught sight of now and then when the boat rose to the top of some high wave, and there we saw men who ran in crowds, to and fro, all bent on one thing, and that was to save us.

At last to our great joy we got on shore, where we had the luck to meet with friends who gave us the means to get back to Hull; and if I had now had the good sense to go home, it would have been well for me.

The man whose ship had gone down said with a grave look, "Young lad, you ought to go to sea no more, it is not the kind, of life for you." "Why Sir, will you go to sea no more then?" "That is not the same kind of thing; I was bred to the sea, but you were not, and came on board my ship just to find out what a life at sea was like, and you may guess what you will come to if you do not go back to your home. God will not bless you, and it may be that you have brought all this woe on us."

I spoke not a word more to him; which way he went I knew not, nor did I care to know, for I was hurt at this rude speech. Shall I go home thought I, or shall I go to sea? Shame kept me from home, and I could not make up my mind what course of life to take.

As it has been my fate through life to choose for the worst, so I did now. I had gold in my purse, and good clothes on my back, and to sea I went once more.

But I had worse luck this time than the last, for when we were far out at sea, some Turks in a small ship came on our track in full chase. We set as much sail as our yards would bear, so as to get clear from them. But in spite of this, we saw our foes gain on us, and we felt sure that they would come up with our ship in a few hours' time.

At last they caught us, but we brought our guns to bear on them, which made them shear off for a time, yet they kept up a fire at us as long as they were in range. The next time the Turks came up, some of their men got on board our ship, and set to work to cut the sails, and do us all kinds of harm. So, as ten of our men lay dead, and most of the rest had wounds, we gave in.

The chief of the Turks took me as his prize to a port which was held by the Moors. He did not use me so ill as at first I thought he would have done, but he set me to work with the rest of his slaves. This was a change in my life which I did not think had been in store for me. How my heart sank with grief at the thought of those whom I had left at home, nay, to whom I had not had the grace so much as to say "Good bye" when I went to sea, nor to give a hint of what I meant to do!

Yet all that I went through at this time was but a taste of the toils and cares which it has since been my lot to bear.

I thought at first that the Turk might take me with him when next he went to sea, and so I should find some way to get free; but the hope did not last long, for at such times he left me on shore to see to his crops. This kind of life I led for two years, and as the Turk knew and saw more of me, he made me more and more free. He went out in his boat once or twice a week to catch a kind of flat fish, and now and then he took me and a boy with him, for we were quick at this kind of sport, and he grew quite fond of me.

One day the Turk sent me in the boat to catch some fish, with no one else but a man and a boy. While we were out so thick a fog came on that though we were out not half a mile from the shore, we quite lost sight of it for twelve hours; and when the sun rose the next day, our boat was at least ten miles out at sea. The wind blew fresh, and we were all much in want of food, but at last, with the help of our oars and sail, we got back safe to land.

When the Turk heard how we had lost our way, he said that the next time he went out, he would take a boat that would hold all we could want if we were kept out at sea. So he had quite a state room built in the long boat of his ship, as well as a room for us slaves. One day he sent me to trim the boat, as he had two friends who would go in it to fish with him. But when the time came they did not go, so he sent me with the man and the boy--whose name was Xury--to catch some fish for the guests that were to sup with him.

Now the thought struck me all at once that this would be a good chance to set off with the boat, and get free. So in the first place, I took all the food that I could lay my hands on, and I told the man that it would be too bold of us to eat of the bread that had been put in the boat for the Turk. He said he thought so too, and he brought down a small sack of rice and some rusks.

While the man was on shore I put up some wine, a large lump of wax, a saw, an axe, a spade, some rope, and all sorts of things that might be of use to us. I knew where the Turk's case of wine was, and I put that in the boat while the man was on shore. By one more trick I got all that I had need of. I said to the boy, "the Turk's guns are in the boat, but there is no shot. Do you think you could get some? You know where it is kept, and we may want to shoot a fowl or two." So he brought a case and a pouch which held all that we could want for the guns. These I put in the boat, and then set sail out of the port to fish.

The wind blew, from the North, or North West, which was a bad wind for me; for had it been South I could have made for the coast of Spain. But, blow which way it might, my mind was made up to get off, and to leave the rest to fate. I then let down my lines to fish, but I took care to have bad sport; and when the fish bit, I would not pull them up, for the Moor was not to see them. I said to him, "This will not do, we shall catch no fish here, we ought to sail on a bit." Well, the Moor thought there was no harm in this. He set the sails, and, as the helm was in my hands, I ran the boat out a mile or more, and then brought her to, as if I meant to fish.

Now, thought I, the time has come for me to get free! I gave the helm to the boy, and then took the Moor round the waist, and threw him out of the boat.

Down he went! but soon rose up, for he swam like a duck. He said he would go all round the world with me, if I would but take him in.

I had some fear lest he should climb up the boat's side, and force his way back; so I brought my gun to point at him, and said, "You can swim to land with ease if you choose, make haste then to get there; but if you come near the boat you shall have a shot through the head, for I mean to be a free man from this hour."

He then swam for the shore, and no doubt got safe there, as the sea was so calm.

At first I thought I would take the Moor with me, and let Xury

Robinson Crusoe - 1/13

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