Chapter 59

 

When the feast was over and I had clean clothes again, the captain and I had to discuss what to do with the five prisoners we had left in the cave. Two of the prisoners he was particularly anxious about. He even feared taking them on board the ship in chains.

I suggested discussing the matter with them and seeing if, perhaps, they would choose to stay on the island instead of going back to England where they faced death for treason. We met the prisoners and explained the new situation to them. They had to choose between a death sentence in England and a solitary life on the island, and they went for the latter.

The captain was unhappy to leave them on the island, but I considered this the fair thing to do. I asked them to return to the cave and wait for more orders. Meanwhile I asked the captain to display the body of the mutiny leader on a prominent place where the prisoners would see it.

After that, I informed him that I needed another night to prepare for the journey. The captain went on the ship, while I returned to my fortification. I decided to take my parrot, my goatskin cap, and my umbrella as mementoes from the island. At the last minute, I remembered to take the money I had found in one of the shipwrecks around the island. The coins would finally be of use to me, after lying around useless all those years.

That same night I met with the prisoners one more time. I showed them my crops and my domestic animals and told them what I had discovered and what I had cultivated on the island. I showed them where I kept my guns and powder, which they were free to use once I had left the island.

I also told them about the Spaniards who were going to come there soon, and even left a letter for them. That way, when the Spaniards returned, the prisoners could meet them and tell them my story.