Chapter 7

 

As soon as it was light again, the boy offered to go ashore but I decided it would be safer if we both went. We had some bread for breakfast. Then, carrying only our guns and two jars for the water, we made for the beach. Once we were on shore, I didn’t want to lose sight of the boat, so the boy went alone a bit farther inland to get some fresh water. I saw him running on his return, and I thought some of the creatures were chasing him. I was wrong.

He was hurrying to show me he had killed an animal that looked like a rabbit. We were both very glad because the meat was good and we had found fresh water. Most of all, we were glad we had neither run into the scary creatures nor seen any human footprints.

I knew we must have been close to the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands, but I had no instruments for navigation which could help me locate them. I was hoping we would meet an English ship by moving along the coast. I was guessing we were in a land where no people lived because we did not see any people by day and only heard wild beasts roaring by night.

One morning when we were going to get water, the boy showed me a great beast sleeping in the shade near us. It was an enormous lion. The boy was too afraid to go shoot it, so I loaded three guns and aimed at the sleeping animal. The first bullet hit his leg, and the lion woke up and gave the most terrible roar I have ever heard in my life. The second bullet hit him in the head and left him struggling for life. At this point the boy jumped ashore, went to the lion, and finished him with one last shot in the head. He cut off one of the lion’s paws and brought it to the boat as a trophy. Although we couldn’t eat the meat, I wanted the skin of the beast, as it was very big. We put it on top of the boat, and soon it was dry.