Chapter 53

 

I went to them with Friday following closely behind me. I must have scared them with my sudden appearance, for they were ready to run away when they saw me. I addressed them in Spanish, asking who they were. They did not reply, so I assured them in English that I was a friend and perhaps had come to free them, if they only told me who they were and what had brought them here.

After the initial astonishment was over, one of them answered my questions. He had been the captain of the ship, whose sailors had started a mutiny. He, his assistant and a passenger had been taken prisoners. The other sailors were going to leave them on this island to starve to death.

The captain told me that there were only two dangerous sailors who had taken control over the others in this group. If the leaders were captured, the rest would return under the command of the captain. I asked his opinion on the best way of attacking them, and he informed me that they only had two guns, one of which was left in the boat.

We decided to return to the forest taking the three prisoners with us. That way the sailors would not see us and we could prepare for the attack. I was willing to help them if they fulfilled two conditions: to obey my orders on this island and to not go against me if I give them weapons, and if we succeed in capturing the ship, to take me and Friday to England for free. The captain and the other two prisoners willingly agreed to keep those conditions and to give me full command over the ship and over their lives.

Now I gave them weapons and gunpowder and we started devising the attack. I suggested all of us shooting at the same time so as to frighten them and take them by surprise.

In the middle of our discussion we noticed that two of the sleeping sailors had woken up and were now standing. It turned out they were not the leaders of the mutiny, but they heard us and shouted to the others. At that very moment, the two prisoners shot them down, while the captain was saving his bullets. Three more men were around. The captain made all of them swear that they would obey his orders and help him recover the ship. They agreed and we tied them and left them on the beach.