I thought about my situation a lot. The storm had blown the ship hundreds of miles away from the European trading routes. Therefore, I thought, it was God’s will that I should spend the rest of my life on this miserable island. I often asked myself why God chose to ruin his creatures. It seemed hardly rational to be thankful for such a life. Then one day, when I was walking on the beach with my gun, I thought, ‘Certainly you are miserable, but what happened to the others? You alone were fortunate enough to survive. Is it better to be on this island or at the bottom of the sea?’
Then I thought how well-equipped I was to survive on the island. What would have happened to me if the ship had not been blown closer to shore? That happy chance allowed me to take all these things from the ship. How would I have lived without guns and bullets, tools, and clothes?
I was afraid that I would forget what day it was. I might even forget the Sabbath. Therefore, I planted a great wooden cross on the beach, and on it I carved these words with my knife: ‘I came on shore here on the 30 of September 1659’. Upon the sides of the post I made a small cut with my knife every day, a longer cut every Sunday, and an even longer cut for the first day of every month.
I forgot to say before that among the things I took from the ship were some Catholic prayer books and three Bibles. There were also two cats and a dog on board the ship. I carried the cats back with me to the island. The dog jumped into the sea and swam after me.
I tried to comfort myself by listing the comforts I enjoyed beside the miseries I suffered like this:
I am stranded on an island, with no hope of being saved.
I have been singled out. I alone am chosen to lead this miserable life.
I am separated from mankind, without human society.
I have not clothes to cover me.
I have no means of defending myself against attack by man or beast.
But I am alive, not drowned as were the other men on the ship.
But I have also been singled out to survive, and He who saved me can deliver me from this condition.
But I am not starving. There is food on the island.
But the weather is hot, and I do not need clothes.
But I see no wild beasts on this island. What if I had been shipwrecked on the coast of Africa, where I saw the lion and the leopard?
But God sent the ship near enough to the shore that I have been able to supply myself with many things.
This showed me clearly that even in the most miserable conditions there are things for which to be thankful.
Robinson Crusoe’s Journal
September 30, 1659. I, poor miserable Robinson Crusoe, was shipwrecked near the shore of this unfortunate island, which I call the Island of Despair.
October 1 to October 24. I spent my time getting all I could out of the ship. It often rained during these days, this being the rainy season.
October 25. It rained all day and night. The bad weather broke the ship into pieces. I spent this day hiding my goods from the rain.
October 26 to October 30. I found a place in which to build my house and worked very hard carrying all my property to this place.
October 31. I went out with my gun to find food. I shot a she-goat.
November 1. I set up my tent and my hammock.
November 2. I set wooden boxes and boards to form a fence around my tent.
November 3. I went out with my gun and killed two birds, which were very good food. In the afternoon I began to make myself a table.
November 4. This morning I began to plan my time. Every morning after this I walked out with my gun for two or three hours if it did not rain. I worked until about eleven o’clock, then I ate. From twelve to two, when it was very hot, I slept. In the evening I worked again.
November 5. This day I went out with my gun and my dog. I killed a wild cat. Her skin was soft, but I could not eat the meat. I skinned every creature that I killed and kept the skin.
November 6. I finished my table but was not satisfied with it.
November 7. Now the weather began to be pleasant. From the seventh to the twelfth I worked at making myself a chair (except for the eleventh, which was a Sunday). I was not satisfied with the chair.
Note: I soon forgot which days were Sundays, having forgotten to make the longer cut on the post.
November 13. This day it rained, which cooled the earth and refreshed me. There was terrible thunder and lightning. I decided to separate my powder into many small boxes and to store them far from each other.
November 14, 15, and 16. I spent these three days making little boxes for my powder. On one of these days I killed a large bird that was good to eat, but I do not know its name.
November 17. This day I began to dig in the rock behind my tent to make a cave in which to store my goods. Note: I needed two things for this work — a pick-axe and a shovel. I stopped my work to make these tools. I made a pick-axe out of the pieces of iron I had taken from the ship, but I had no idea how to make a shovel.
November 18. In the woods I found an iron tree, so called because its wood is very hard. With great difficulty, I cut a piece of this wood, carried it home, and carved it into the form of a shovel. The making of these tools took me four days.
November 23. I began work on the cave again and worked for eighteen days. At the end of that time, the cave was large enough to hold all my goods.
December 10. Just when I had finished my cave, the roof fell in. This frightened me. If I had been inside at the time I would have been killed. I carried out all the fallen earth and built props to hold up the roof so that it would not fall down again.
December 17. From this day to the twenty-seventh, I built shelves.
December 20. I carried all my property into the cave and put everything in order.
December 24. It rained all day and night, so that I could not go out.
December 25. Rain all day.
December 26. No rain. The earth was much cooler than before.
December 27. I killed a young goat and shot another in the leg. I led the wounded goat home and took care of it. It lived and grew tame. It ate the grass around my house and would not go away. This gave me the idea of breeding the goats so that they would grow up tame and provide me with food when my gunpowder was finished.
January 3 to April 14. I built a fence around my house. I cut branches from trees and planted them deep in the ground. After a while, they began to grow, so that my fence looked like a natural thing.