I Make a Boat with My Experience

I Make a Boat with My Experience

My thoughts often turned to the land, which I had seen, from the other side of the island. I secretly wished I were on shore there. If people lived there, I felt sure that I would find some way of getting home.

My thoughts often turned to the land, which I had seen, from the other side of the island. I secretly wished I were on shore there.

However, I quite forgot the dangers of such a condition, and how I could fall into the hands of man-eating Indians, or be eaten by wild animals.

Now I wished, but in vain, for my boy Xrury and our boat with its sail. I decided to go and look at the ship’s boat. This was blown up on the shore when we were first shipwrecked. I found it lying in almost the same place, but not quite. The waves and winds had pushed it over against a sandbank, and there was now no water around it.

I wished I had ten strong seamen to move it. Then I might even have got back to Brazil. But moving it was no easier than moving the island. However, I put poles in the woods and brought them to the boat, to see what I could do.

I spent three or four weeks at this work. I found it impossible to move the boat and began digging away the sand from around it. Then I put pieces of wood to guide its fall to make sure it landed upright.

Even after this, I was still unable to move it or get under it, or get it toward the water. Though I was forced to give up hope of using the ship’s boat, my desire to sail to the mainland grew even stronger.

This made me wonder if I could make myself a boat from a hollowed-out tree, such as the people of those climates made. This I thought possible, even easy. In my pleasure at discovering a way of escape, I set to work, like a fool, upon my boat. When I began to wonder how to get it to the sea, I told myself, “Let’s make it first; I’m sure I shall find a way of getting it into the waves.”

It took me twenty days to cut down a great tree, and fourteen more to cut off all the branches. Then I spent a month shaping it and nearly three months more hollowing it out. At last, it was a finished fine boat, big enough for all my goods and me. I was very pleased with it indeed. Now I had to get it to the water. But all my attempts failed.

The boat lay only a hundred yards from the water, but it was uphill towards the river. So, I decided to dig into the earth to make it easier to reach the water. This cost

me a huge amount of work but who cares about work, if they have their escape in view? But when this was done, it was as hopeless as ever; the boat was no easier to move than the ship’s boat.

Then I decided to start digging a waterway to bring the river to the boat since I could not bring the boat to the water. When I worked out how deep and how wide would have to dig the waterway, I found an escape to become free.

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that it would take ten or twelve years. The shore lay high, and the upper end of the waterway would have to be very deep. So, I gave up my foolish attempt.

Now I saw, too late, the foolishness of beginning a job before I had thought it through to the end. In the middle of this work, I finished my fourth year on the island. As before I spent the day praying. Through my serious study of the Bible, I had come to look at things in a new way.

I was far from the world, with all its bad ways. There was no need for me to break God’s laws, for I had everything I needed, and was king over the whole island. There was no one to compete with. I could grow whole shiploads of corn, but having no use for that, I grew only as much as I needed.

I had hundreds of turtles, but I could only eat one at a time. I had enough wood to build hundreds of ships, and enough grapes to fill them with wine. But I could only use a small part of all I had. I had thought to eat and to supply my wants; what was all the rest to me? I killed more animals than I could eat, the dog must eat the meat or it would be wasted. I needed only a little corn or a little firewood; any extra would go waste too.

I had been here so long that many things which had been brought on shore were either finished or very nearly finished. My ink was finished, and the ship’s bread was finished, although I had allowed myself only one piece a day for over a year. My clothes were in shreds, except for the seamen’s shirt, which I had many. I began to consider making clothes from the skin of the animals I killed.

I hung them in the sun to dry, and from these, I made a big hat, with hair on the outside to keep out the rain. This was such a success that I then made a suit of clothes. Though they were really bad they kept me safe and dry. I had seen people making umbrellas in Brazil to use in the great heat. I tried this too and spoilt several before I made a good one. However, at last, I made one and covered it with skins, with the hair upwards to throw off the rain and keep the sun off. Now I could walk out in the hottest weather.

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