Chapter 6

 

After seeing the man swim away, I turned to the boy and asked him to swear that he would be faithful to me. He did as I asked. In the meantime, I steered the boat toward the continent pretending we were heading there. I wanted to persuade the man swimming away that we were going in that direction when in fact I had something else in mind. After I lost sight of him, I turned the boat toward the barbarian coast. This was dangerous because the natives could attack us, but at least the pirates wouldn’t think of following us there.

After it grew dark, I changed direction and tried to keep close to the shore. The wind was good, and I believed by the afternoon of the next day we were long gone from the land of the pirates. Still, I was so afraid of being captured by them again that I didn’t stop the boat or go ashore for five more days. On the sixth day the wind changed. I thought that even if they were following us, this must have made them change their minds; so I let the boat go close to the shore, and we anchored in the mouth of a little river.

I didn’t know where we were. All we wanted was some fresh water. We waited till it was completely dark, hoping to swim ashore unseen and get water, but as soon as night fell we started hearing horrible cries from the shore. The boy begged me not to go ashore. We remained on the boat, but we couldn’t sleep because some two or three hours later some creatures came to wash themselves in the water, making horrific noises I had never heard before.

The boy was extremely frightened, and so was I. We were even more terrified when we heard one of the creatures swimming toward us. The boy begged me to sail away, but I feared the creatures might follow us. Instead, I took one of the guns and shot at the beast, which made him turn around and go back to the shore. Hearing the gun fire, all the other creatures started crying and shouting so hideously that I was convinced they had never heard a gun before. We abandoned all hope of getting water during the night and stayed on the boat until the morning.