The Attack Story | Short Story

The Attack Story | Short Story

We made preparations to collect and pack all we would need for the voyage all the provisions to Friday’s country. One day, while I was busy with these tasks Friday, came running to me. He had seen three canoes land on the beach.

We made preparations to collect and pack all we would need for the voyage all the provisions to Friday's country.

“They come for Friday,” he cried. “They cut him in pieces and eat him.”

“We will fight them together,” I tried to comfort him.

“I fight, I shoot, but they come many great numbers.”

“That does not matter, our guns will frighten them.”

We got our guns and pistols ready and then I climbed up the hill to see how many savages had come this time. I counted twenty-one savages and three prisoners in three canoes. They had landed just below the hills, near the thick wood at the edge of the land.

I decided to make my way down through the woods, to take them by surprise from behind. Friday followed me closely. We reached the edge of the forest and hid behind a large tree. We saw the savages seated around a fire, eating one of the prisoners, while another lay tied up on sand nearby.

“Look Master,” Friday whispered, pointing to the second prisoner. “He is a white man. He is one of the white men who come to my nation by boat.”

I looked through my telescope and found it was true. Filled with horror, I decided to attack immediately. When I saw two savages getting up to kill the prisoner with their clubs, I told Friday:

“Do exactly as I do.” I aimed with my gun and fired. Friday did the same. My shot killed one savage and wounded two. Friday’s aim was better. He killed two and wounded three more. The remaining savages began to run about in confusion. They could not tell where the shots had come from or which way to flee for safety. We fired again. But this time, we could kill only two. Shouting and screaming like mad men, the savages fled towards the sea and we ran out to get at them. Friday killed five more before they could reach their canoes.

While he saw to the savages, I pulled out my knife and cut the prisoner’s bonds. The man was too weak to speak at first but soon managed to tell me that he was a Spaniard. He tried to thank me, but I told him in a little Spanish that I knew we could talk later. For now, we had to fight. He asked me for a sword and a pistol and ran at the savages. Tired though he was, he fought bravely and cut two of them to pieces.

By the time the battle was over, we had killed seventeen savages between the three of us. The four who survived ran down to a canoe and paddled frantically out to sea. Friday fired after them but they were already out of the range of our guns. He asked me to take one of their canoes and go after them.

I agreed, worried in case the Indians brought two or three hundred back against us. So I jumped into a boat and told Friday to follow me. But in the boat, I found another poor man, tied hand and foot, and almost dead with fear. I cut the ropes, but he was too weak to stand.

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When Friday came, I told him to speak to the prisoner, and tell him he was safe.

“Here,” I said taking out my bottle, “give him a drink of rum.” The rum made him feel better, and the prisoner sat up.

When Friday saw him, he fell upon him and kissed him, with tears in his eyes. Then Friday danced and jumped about like a madman. For a long time, he could not say anything. At last, he managed to tell me that the prisoner was his father. Words cannot describe Friday’s happiness at finding his father.

But this excitement made it impossible to chase the Indians, for their boat was now out of sight. Later we were glad we had not followed them, for a storm blew up and would surely have killed us all.

Presently Friday and I gave the two men some bread and a few dried grapes. Then Friday went home for more food and water. This did them well, and I asked the Spaniard to let Friday help him to our house. Between us we got the two men to our wall, then wondered what to do next. The ropes had hurt the men’s legs, and they could not climb my ladders. With some old sails from the ship, and the branches of trees, Friday and I made an excellent tent between our outside fence and the trees.

After giving shelter to the two men, I ordered Friday to kill a young goat out of my head. We cooked it in a pot, with some corn, and set a table near the new tent. There we ate together. Friday translated between his father and me, and between the Spaniard and myself too, for the Spaniard under- stood the Indian language.

After we had eaten, I sent Friday back to the battlefield for our weapons. The next day we buried the bodies of the Indians and also what was left of the prisoner they had eaten.

I was worried that the escaped Indians might come back with others and we will have to put up an unnecessary fight again. But there were chances that they all drowned in the storm and no one would know what had happened.

The Spaniard told me that the other sixteen sailors were living on the island in peace with the natives. Their ship had wrecked on the way to Havana and they were short of everything.

I asked him if they would like to escape with me, but I wanted to be sure that they would not make me prisoner and sell me on the way back. He assured me that this sort of thing will not happen and that they all will be glad to escape with me.

Even Friday and his father said that they were ready to follow me to any part of the world. At first, I wanted to send him and Friday’s father to the Indian village with my message for the other Spaniards. Then the Spaniard put forward a very sensible argument.

“You have hardly enough corn for the four of us,” he said, “and certainly not enough to feed all my countrymen and fill a ship with supplies. We must dig the fresh ground, and plant more corn first.” We planted plenty of corn, knowing that in six months we would have a very good supply.

Meanwhile, I chose several trees, and together we cut them down and made them into planks for the new boat. I also caught twenty young goats to add to my herd. Above all, it was the season for gathering grapes. When dried, these filled several barrels.

It was harvest time soon and our crop was good. We had more than enough for our needs and to last us till the next harvest season. Now we had a full supply of food for all the guests I expected. So I gave the Spaniard leave to go over and bring them.

They took one of the canoes left behind by the savages and stocked it with enough food to last their trip to the mainland and back. I also gave them a gun each and ammunition for any emergency. On their return, the Spaniards were to fire a gun twice, as a signal. This was to let me know that it was friends and not savages, who were landing on my island.