My island was now peopled. I was the king, and all my subjects owed their lives to me, because I had saved them all from certain death. Although I had only three subjects, they were all of different religions. My man Friday was a Protestant, his father was a pagan and a cannibal, and the Spaniard was a Catholic. However, I allowed freedom of religion throughout my country.
I said to the Spaniard, ‘Do you think that the other white men who live in Friday’s nation would like to escape to a Christian country?’
‘Yes, they would,’ said he.
‘And would they swear loyalty to me and accept me as their leader?’ I asked.
‘They will be so glad to escape,’ said he. ‘that I am sure they will be faithful to you’.
I decided to send the Spaniard and Friday’s father back to the mainland to speak to the other white men there. The Spaniard said that we should wait until we had enough food for them all. My grain and my goats were enough for four, but they would not be enough for sixteen others.
We planted more barley and rice. I ordered Friday and his father to build a boat big enough for all of us. I told the Spaniard to supervise their work. We went out to catch wild goats each day. I made Friday and the Spaniard go out one day, and Friday and myself the next, for we took our turns. In this way we got twenty young kids to breed up with the rest.
When everything was ready, Friday’s father and the Spaniard took a canoe and two guns and set off for the mainland.
‘If you bring others back with you,’ said I, ‘they must first swear loyalty to me.’
Eight days later, Friday awoke me crying, ‘They are here! They are here!’
When I got to the shore, I saw the boat approaching us was not the one we expected. I told Friday to hide, because we did not know whether these people were friends or enemies. Then I went to get my perspective glass. I climbed to the top of the hill and looked out to sea. There I saw an English ship.
At first I thought an English ship must surely be friendly, then I had doubts. What was an English ship doing here, far from the English trading routes? I decided to be cautious. Now I am sure that those doubts were messages sent from God. If I had not been cautious, I would have been killed.
I saw the boat land on the beach. There were eleven men.
Three of them were bound with ropes. The three prisoners were crying out to the others, begging for mercy. Friday, who was by my side, said to me, ‘Oh. Master! You see? Englishmen eat prisoners too.’
‘No, Friday,’ said I. ‘They might murder them, but they will not eat them.’
At about two o’clock in the afternoon, the prisoners were left alone under a tree. The other men had gone into the woods to sleep. Friday and I took our guns and went down to show ourselves to the prisoners.
When I was very near to them but still hidden by the bushes, I cried out, ‘Who are you, gentlemen?’
They were frightened by my voice, but they were even more frightened when I stepped out into the open. I was wearing my goatskin jacket and my hat. A naked sword hung by my side. I carried two guns and two pistols. I thought they were going to run away from me, so I said, ‘Do not be afraid. I am your friend. How can I help you?’
One of them replied, ‘You must be sent from heaven.’
‘All help is from heaven, sir’ I said. ‘Now tell me what has happened.’
The poor man, with tears running down his face, said, ‘I was the captain of that ship, but my men have rebelled against me.
They wanted to kill me, but I persuaded them to leave me on this island, with my two friends here.’
‘Do your enemies have guns?’ I asked.
He said they had only one gun with them and another in the boat.
‘Well,’ said I, ‘it will be easy to kill them, because they are all asleep. But should we take them prisoner instead?’
He said that two of them were so evil that they must be killed, and then the others would probably obey.
‘If I save you, sir,’ said I, ‘you must promise to accept me as your leader and be faithful to me.’
He promised, and the other two did the same. Then I gave them each a loaded gun. They went into the woods towards the sleeping men. One awoke and cried out to the others. The captain’s two companions fired their guns. They killed the two rebel leaders and took two prisoners. The others then begged for mercy.
With these repentant men, the captain went in the boat to the ship. Since the rebel leaders were now dead, the men on the ship decided to obey him once more. He then returned to the island and said to me, ‘My good friend, there is your ship!’
These words affected me greatly, and I sat down upon the ground with tears in my eyes. I did not forget to give thanks to God for delivering me. We asked the two rebel prisoners if they wished to be left on the island or to return to England, where they would be punished. They said they wished to stay on the island. Therefore, I showed them my house, my goats, my grain plantation, and my goods. I gave them guns and powder and wished them good fortune.
And thus I left the island on the nineteenth of December 1686, having lived there for twenty-eight years, two months, and nineteen days. I was delivered on the same day of the same month that I escaped from slavery in Sal lee.
I took with me my goatskin hat, my umbrella, and a parrot. I also took the money that had been so useless to me. After a long voyage, I arrived in England on the eleventh of June 1687, having been away for thirty-five years.
We had many adventures afterwards, my man Friday and I. I married and had three children, but then my wife died. A friend came home from a successful voyage, and he persuaded me to go in his ship to the East Indies. Our adventures on this later voyage may perhaps be the subject of another story.
— THE END —