Upon the whole, here was an undoubted testimony that there was scarce any condition
in the world so miserable but there was something negative or something positive
to be thankful for in it; and let this stand as a direction from the experience
of the most miserable of all conditions in this world: that we may always find in
it something to comfort ourselves from, and to set, in the description of good and
evil, on the credit side of the account.
Having now brought my mind a little to relish my condition, and given over looking
out to sea, to see if I could spy a ship - I say, giving over these things, I begun
to apply myself to arrange my way of living, and to make things as easy to me as
I have already described my habitation, which was a tent under the side of a
rock, surrounded with a strong pale of posts and cables: but I might now rather
call it a wall, for I raised a kind of wall up against it of turfs, about two feet
thick on the outside; and after some time (I think it was a year and a half) I raised
rafters from it, leaning to the rock, and thatched or covered it with boughs of
trees, and such things as I could get, to keep out the rain; which I found at some
times of the year very violent.
I have already observed how I brought all my goods into this pale, and into the
cave which I had made behind me. But I must observe, too, that at first this was
a confused heap of goods, which, as they lay in no order, so they took up all my
place; I had no room to turn myself: so I set myself to enlarge my cave, and work
farther into the earth; for it was a loose sandy rock, which yielded easily to the
labour I bestowed on it: and so when I found I was pretty safe as to beasts of prey,
I worked sideways, to the right hand, into the rock; and then, turning to the right
again, worked quite out, and made me a door to come out on the outside of my pale
or fortification. This gave me not only egress and regress, as it was a back way
to my tent and to my storehouse, but gave me room to store my goods.
And now I began to apply myself to make such necessary things as I found I most
wanted, particularly a chair and a table; for without these I was not able to enjoy
the few comforts I had in the world; I could not write or eat, or do several things,
with so much pleasure without a table: so I went to work. And here I must needs
observe, that as reason is the substance and origin of the mathematics, so by stating
and squaring everything by reason, and by making the most rational judgment of things,
every man may be, in time, master of every mechanic art. I had never handled a tool
in my life; and yet, in time, by labour, application, and contrivance, I found at
last that I wanted nothing but I could have made it, especially if I had had tools.
However, I made abundance of things, even without tools; and some with no more tools
than an adze and a hatchet, which perhaps were never made that way before, and that
with infinite labour. For example, if I wanted a board, I had no other way but to
cut down a tree, set it on an edge before me, and hew it flat on either side with
my axe, till I brought it to be thin as a plank, and then dub it smooth with my
adze. It is true, by this method I could make but one board out of a whole tree;
but this I had no remedy for but patience, any more than I had for the prodigious
deal of time and labour which it took me up to make a plank or board: but my time
or labour was little worth, and so it was as well employed one way as another.
However, I made me a table and a chair, as I observed above, in the first place;
and this I did out of the short pieces of boards that I brought on my raft from
the ship. But when I had wrought out some boards as above, I made large shelves,
of the breadth of a foot and a half, one over another all along one side of my cave,
to lay all my tools, nails and ironwork on; and, in a word, to separate everything
at large into their places, that I might come easily at them. I knocked pieces into
the wall of the rock to hang my guns and all things that would hang up; so that,
had my cave been to be seen, it looked like a general magazine of all necessary
things; and had everything so ready at my hand, that it was a great pleasure to
me to see all my goods in such order, and especially to find my stock of all necessaries
And now it was that I began to keep a journal of every day's employment; for,
indeed, at first I was in too much hurry, and not only hurry as to labour, but in
too much discomposure of mind; and my journal would have been full of many dull
things; for example, I must have said thus: "30TH. - After I had got to shore, and
escaped drowning, instead of being thankful to God for my deliverance, having first
vomited, with the great quantity of salt water which had got into my stomach, and
recovering myself a little, I ran about the shore wringing my hands and beating
my head and face, exclaiming at my misery, and crying out, 'I was undone, undone!'
till, tired and faint, I was forced to lie down on the ground to repose, but durst
not sleep for fear of being devoured."
Some days after this, and after I had been on board the ship, and got all that
I could out of her, yet I could not forbear getting up to the top of a little mountain
and looking out to sea, in hopes of seeing a ship; then fancy at a vast distance
I spied a sail, please myself with the hopes of it, and then after looking steadily,
till I was almost blind, lose it quite, and sit down and weep like a child, and
thus increase my misery by my folly.
But having gotten over these things in some measure, and having settled my household
staff and habitation, made me a table and a chair, and all as handsome about me
as I could, I began to keep my journal; of which I shall here give you the copy
(though in it will be told all these particulars over again) as long as it lasted;
for having no more ink, I was forced to leave it off.
CHAPTER V - BUILDS A HOUSE - THE JOURNAL
SEPTEMBER 30, 1659. - I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, being shipwrecked during
a dreadful storm in the offing, came on shore on this dismal, unfortunate island,
which I called "The Island of Despair"; all the rest of the ship's company being
drowned, and myself almost dead.
All the rest of the day I spent in afflicting myself at the dismal circumstances
I was brought to - viz. I had neither food, house, clothes, weapon, nor place to
fly to; and in despair of any relief, saw nothing but death before me - either that
I should be devoured by wild beasts, murdered by savages, or starved to death for
want of food. At the approach of night I slept in a tree, for fear of wild creatures;
but slept soundly, though it rained all night.
OCTOBER 1. - In the morning I saw, to my great surprise, the ship had floated
with the high tide, and was driven on shore again much nearer the island; which,
as it was some comfort, on one hand - for, seeing her set upright, and not broken
to pieces, I hoped, if the wind abated, I might get on board, and get some food
and necessaries out of her for my relief - so, on the other hand, it renewed my
grief at the loss of my comrades, who, I imagined, if we had all stayed on board,
might have saved the ship, or, at least, that they would not have been all drowned
as they were; and that, had the men been saved, we might perhaps have built us a
boat out of the ruins of the ship to have carried us to some other part of the world.
I spent great part of this day in perplexing myself on these things; but at length,
seeing the ship almost dry, I went upon the sand as near as I could, and then swam
on board. This day also it continued raining, though with no wind at all.
FROM THE 1ST OF OCTOBER TO THE 24TH. - All these days entirely spent in many
several voyages to get all I could out of the ship, which I brought on shore every
tide of flood upon rafts. Much rain also in the days, though with some intervals
of fair weather; but it seems this was the rainy season.
OCT. 20. - I overset my raft, and all the goods I had got upon it; but, being
in shoal water, and the things being chiefly heavy, I recovered many of them when
the tide was out.
OCT. 25. - It rained all night and all day, with some gusts of wind; during which
time the ship broke in pieces, the wind blowing a little harder than before, and
was no more to be seen, except the wreck of her, and that only at low water. I spent
this day in covering and securing the goods which I had saved, that the rain might
not spoil them.
OCT. 26. - I walked about the shore almost all day, to find out a place to fix
my habitation, greatly concerned to secure myself from any attack in the night,
either from wild beasts or men. Towards night, I fixed upon a proper place, under
a rock, and marked out a semicircle for my encampment; which I resolved to strengthen
with a work, wall, or fortification, made of double piles, lined within with cables,
and without with turf.
From the 26th to the 30th I worked very hard in carrying all my goods to my new
habitation, though some part of the time it rained exceedingly hard.
The 31st, in the morning, I went out into the island with my gun, to seek for
some food, and discover the country; when I killed a she-goat, and her kid followed
me home, which I afterwards killed also, because it would not feed.
NOVEMBER 1. - I set up my tent under a rock, and lay there for the first night;
making it as large as I could, with stakes driven in to swing my hammock upon.
NOV. 2. - I set up all my chests and boards, and the pieces of timber which made
my rafts, and with them formed a fence round me, a little within the place I had
marked out for my fortification.
NOV. 3. - I went out with my gun, and killed two fowls like ducks, which were
very good food. In the afternoon went to work to make me a table.
NOV. 4. - This morning I began to order my times of work, of going out with my
gun, time of sleep, and time of diversion - viz. every morning I walked out with
my gun for two or three hours, if it did not rain; then employed myself to work
till about eleven o'clock; then eat what I had to live on; and from twelve to two
I lay down to sleep, the weather being excessively hot; and then, in the evening,
to work again. The working part of this day and of the next were wholly employed
in making my table, for I was yet but a very sorry workman, though time and necessity
made me a complete natural mechanic soon after, as I believe they would do any one
NOV. 5. - This day went abroad with my gun and my dog, and killed a wild cat;
her skin pretty soft, but her flesh good for nothing; every creature that I killed
I took of the skins and preserved them. Coming back by the sea-shore, I saw many
sorts of sea-fowls, which I did not understand; but was surprised, and almost frightened,
with two or three seals, which, while I was gazing at, not well knowing what they
were, got into the sea, and escaped me for that time.
NOV. 6. - After my morning walk I went to work with my table again, and finished
it, though not to my liking; nor was it long before I learned to mend it.
NOV. 7. - Now it began to be settled fair weather. The 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and
part of the 12th (for the 11th was Sunday) I took wholly up to make me a chair,
and with much ado brought it to a tolerable shape, but never to please me; and even
in the making I pulled it in pieces several times.
NOTE. - I soon neglected my keeping Sundays; for, omitting my mark for them on
my post, I forgot which was which.
NOV. 13. - This day it rained, which refreshed me exceedingly, and cooled the
earth; but it was accompanied with terrible thunder and lightning, which frightened
me dreadfully, for fear of my powder. As soon as it was over, I resolved to separate
my stock of powder into as many little parcels as possible, that it might not be
NOV. 14, 15, 16. - These three days I spent in making little square chests, or
boxes, which might hold about a pound, or two pounds at most, of powder; and so,
putting the powder in, I stowed it in places as secure and remote from one another
as possible. On one of these three days I killed a large bird that was good to eat,
but I knew not what to call it.
NOV. 17. - This day I began to dig behind my tent into the rock, to make room
for my further conveniency.
NOTE. - Three things I wanted exceedingly for this work - viz. a pickaxe, a shovel,
and a wheelbarrow or basket; so I desisted from my work, and began to consider how
to supply that want, and make me some tools. As for the pickaxe, I made use of the
iron crows, which were proper enough, though heavy; but the next thing was a shovel
or spade; this was so absolutely necessary, that, indeed, I could do nothing effectually
without it; but what kind of one to make I knew not.
NOV. 18. - The next day, in searching the woods, I found a tree of that wood,
or like it, which in the Brazils they call the iron-tree, for its exceeding hardness.
Of this, with great labour, and almost spoiling my axe, I cut a piece, and brought
it home, too, with difficulty enough, for it was exceeding heavy. The excessive
hardness of the wood, and my having no other way, made me a long while upon this
machine, for I worked it effectually by little and little into the form of a shovel
or spade; the handle exactly shaped like ours in England, only that the board part
having no iron shod upon it at bottom, it would not last me so long; however, it
served well enough for the uses which I had occasion to put it to; but never was
a shovel, I believe, made after that fashion, or so long in making.
I was still deficient, for I wanted a basket or a wheelbarrow. A basket I could
not make by any means, having no such things as twigs that would bend to make wicker-ware
- at least, none yet found out; and as to a wheelbarrow, I fancied I could make
all but the wheel; but that I had no notion of; neither did I know how to go about
it; besides, I had no possible way to make the iron gudgeons for the spindle or
axis of the wheel to run in; so I gave it over, and so, for carrying away the earth
which I dug out of the cave, I made me a thing like a hod which the labourers carry
mortar in when they serve the bricklayers. This was not so difficult to me as the
making the shovel: and yet this and the shovel, and the attempt which I made in
vain to make a wheelbarrow, took me up no less than four days - I mean always excepting
my morning walk with my gun, which I seldom failed, and very seldom failed also
bringing home something fit to eat.