The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, and Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe
by Daniel Defoe
The Story of Alexander Selkirk
by Samuel Griswold GoodrichThe iconic Robinson Crusoe and the real life events that inspired his story
Almost everyone has heard of the story of Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday, whether they have actually read Defoe’s book or not. Crusoe has been the subject of numerous films, television series and dramatisations. People might not, however, be aware that as a result of the success of the original book, Crusoe’s fictional life and adventures became a trilogy. All three books appear in this unique Leonaur edition and readers can expect a gratifying helping of dark deeds at sea, marooning, fights for survival, battles with cannibals and many other exciting escapades. The final Defoe text has been carefully edited by Leonaur to remove ligatures and other archaic characters to make the it more readable and enjoyable for modern readers. Many who know of Crusoe’s fictional adventures are aware that they were based on the real-life experiences of Alexander Selkirk. There have been several versions of his story published, but we have chosen the one we believe is the fullest and most accurate to include here to give readers an understanding of the reality that inspired Robinson Crusoe’s fame.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.
When I had thus prepared myself, I took my perspectiveglass, and went up to the side of the hill, to see what I could discover; and I found quickly by my glass, that there were one-and-twenty savages, three prisoners, and three canoes; and that their whole business seemed to be the triumphant banquet upon these three human bodies. I observed also, that they had landed, not where they had done when Friday made his escape, but nearer to my creek, where the shore was low, and where a thick wood came almost close down to the sea. This, with the abhorrence of the inhuman errand these wretches came about, filled me with such indignation that I came down again to Friday, and told him I was resolved to go down to them, and kill them all; and asked him if he would stand by me. He had now got over his fright, and his spirits being a little raised with the dram I had given him, he was very cheerful, and told me, as before, he would die when I bid die.<br>
In this fit of fury I divided the arms which I had charged, as before, between us; I gave Friday one pistol to stick in his girdle, and three guns upon his shoulder, and I took one pistol and the other three guns myself; and in this posture we marched out. I took a small bottle of rum in my pocket, and gave Friday a large bag with more powder and bullets; and as to orders, I charged him to keep close behind me, and not to stir, or shoot, or do anything till I bid him, and in the meantime not to speak a word. In this posture I fetched a compass to my right hand of near a mile, as well to get over the creek as to get into the wood, so that I could come within shot of them before I should be discovered, which I had seen by my glass it was easy to do.<br>
While I was making this march, my former thoughts returning, I began to abate my resolution: I do not mean that I entertained any fear of their number, for, as they were naked, unarmed wretches, it is certain I was superior to them—nay, though I had been alone. But it occurred to my thoughts, what occasion, much less what necessity, I was in to go and dip my hands in blood, to attack people who had neither done or intended me any wrongs, who, as to me, were innocent, and whose barbarous customs were their own disaster, being in them a token, indeed, of God’s having left them, with the other nations of that part of the world, to such stupidity, and to such inhuman courses, but did not call me to take upon me to be a judge of their actions, much less an executioner of His justice,—that whenever He thought fit He would take the cause into His own hands, and by national vengeance punish them as a people for national crimes, but that, in the meantime, it was none of my business,—that it was true Friday might justify it, because he was a declared enemy, and in a state of war with those very particular people, and it was lawful for him to attack them,—but I could not say the same with regard to myself. These things were so warmly pressed upon my thoughts all the way as I went, that I resolved I would only go and place myself near them that I might observe their barbarous feast, and that I would act then as God should direct; but that unless something offered that was more a call to me than yet I knew of, I would not meddle with them.<br>
With this resolution I entered the wood, and with all possible wariness, Friday following close at my heels. I marched till I came to the skirt of the wood on the side which was next to them, only that one corner of the wood lay between me and them. Here I called softly to Friday, and showing him a great tree which was just at the corner of the wood, I bade him go to the tree, and bring me word if he could see there plainly what they were doing. He did so, and came immediately back to me, and told me they might be plainly viewed there,—that they were all about their fire eating the flesh of one of their prisoners, and that another lay bound upon the sand a little from them, whom he said they would kill next, and this fired the very soul within me. He told me it was not one of their nation, but one of the bearded men he had told me of, that came to their country in the boat. I was filled with horror at the very naming of the white-bearded man; and going to the tree, I saw plainly by my glass a white man, who lay upon the beach of the sea with his hands and his feet tied, and that he was an European, and had clothes on.<br>
There was another tree, and a little thicket beyond it, about fifty yards nearer to them than the place where I was, which, by going a little way about, I saw I might come at undiscovered, and that then I should be within half a shot of them; so I withheld my passion, though I was indeed enraged to the highest degree: and going back about twenty paces, I got behind some bushes, which held all the way till I came to the other tree, and then came to a little rising ground, which gave me a full view of them at the distance of about eighty yards.