Chapter 34


Twenty-three years had passed since I set foot on this island. Now I was living comfortably and had many creatures to keep me company. Poll was repeating my name very pleasantly. I had two more parrots after Poll and I had taught all of them to pronounce my name.

My dog had died in the 16th year of our stay on the island, but the cats had multiplied. I was still keeping three of them as well as a few kids around me. I had caught and tamed some seabirds and they were also living in my fortification.

It was the last month of my 23rd year on the island when, as I was walking to my fields early one morning, I saw fire on the shore. It was on my side of the island, away from the place where I had found signs of savages before.
I immediately returned to my fortification and loaded all guns. Despite all this, I was impatient, so I took my telescope and went close to the beach. I hid myself and observed them. I saw 9 naked savages who had come with 2 canoes. It seemed that they were waiting for the tide to leave the island.

As soon as they left I went to the shore and found out that there had been 3 more canoes I had not seen. The beach was littered with flesh and bones again. This made me sick and angry and I resolved to kill as many of them as I could the next time I saw them. They did not return for another 15 months. In May the following year I saw them again and it was a good occasion to intervene and fight them.

Meanwhile something else happened that disturbed my routine. One evening I was startled out of my ordinary activities by the sound of a gunshot at sea. I had just got out of my house when I saw a flash coming from the sea. A second gunshot followed. It crossed my mind that this must all be coming from some ship in danger asking for help. I gathered all the dry wood I could find around and ran to the beach where I made a big fire. They saw me and fired again. I kept the fire until the morning but there was no sign of them.

As the day broke, I saw something far away at sea. I thought they must have anchored there, but when I looked again from the top of a hill I saw that there were only wrecks left of the ship. It had been destroyed on the rocks where the strong underwater currents ran.