Monday, January 16, 2012

My dream companion, the savages, the prisoner

            ...There was between them and my castle the creek, which I mentioned often in the first part of my story, where I landed my cargoes out of the ship.  This I saw the poor wretch must swim over or he would be taken there.  When the escaping savage came thither, he made nothing of it, tho’ the tyde was then up.  Plunging in, he swam through in about thirty strokes, landed, and ran on with exceeding strength and swiftness.
            When the three persons came to the creek, I found two of them could swim, but the third would not.  Standing on the other side, he looked at the others, but went no farther, and soon after went back again, which, as it happened, was very well for him in the end.  I observ’d the two who swam, tho' clumsy apace, were yet more than twice as fast swimming over the creek as the fellow was that fled from them.  It came now upon my thoughts, and indeed irresistibly, that now was the time to get me a servant and perhaps a companion or assistant, and I was called plainly by Providence to save this poor creature's life.  I ran down the ladders with all possible expedition, fetched my two guns, and getting up again to the top of the hill I crossed towards the sea.  Having a very short cut, and all down hill, I placed myself in the way between the pursuers and the pursued, hallooing aloud to him that fled.  Looking back, he was at first perhaps as much frightened at me as at them.  I beckoned with my hand to him to come back.
            In the mean time, I advanced towards the two that followed.  Rushing at once upon the foremost, I knocked him down with the stock of my piece.  I was loth to fire because I would not have the rest hear, tho’ at that distance they would not have known what to make of it. Having  knock'd this fellow down, the other who pursued him stopped as if he had been frightened and I advanced apace towards him.  As I came nearer, I perceived he had a bow and arrow and was fitting it to shoot at me.  I was then necessitated to shoot at him first, which I did, and killed him at the first shot. 
            The poor savage who fled, tho’ he saw both his enemies fallen and killed, was so frightened with the fire and noise of my piece he stood stock-still and neither came forward nor went backward.  He seemed rather inclined still to fly.  I hallooed again to him and made signs to come forward, which he understood and came a little way.  Then stopped again.  And then a little farther, and stopped again.  I could then perceive he stood trembling, as if he had been taken prisoner just to be killed, as his two enemies were.  I beckoned to him again to come to me and gave him all the signs of encouragement I could think of.  He came nearer and nearer, kneeling down every ten or twelve steps in token of acknowledgment for saving his life.  I smiled at him and looked pleasantly and beckoned to him to come still nearer.  At length he came close to me. He kneeled down again, kissed the ground, and laid his head upon the ground, and taking me by the foot, set my foot upon his head.  This, it seems, was in token of swearing to be my slave for ever.  I took him up, and made much of him, and encouraged him all I could.
            But there was more work to do yet.  I perceived the savage whom I knocked down was not killed but stunned with the blow, and began to come to himself.  I pointed to him and showed my savage he was not dead.  Upon this he spoke some words to me, and tho’ I could not understand them, I thought they were pleasant to hear, for they were the first sound of a man's voice I had heard for above twenty-five years. 
            But there was no time for such reflections now.  The savage who was knocked down recovered himself so far as to sit up upon the ground and I perceived my savage, for so I call him now, began to be afraid.  When I saw that, I presented my other piece at the other man as if I would shoot him.  Upon this my savage made a motion to me and took up the other savage's great wooden sword, which had fallen when I struck him.  My savage no sooner had it but he ran to his enemy and, at one blow, cut off his head so cleverly no executioner in Germany could have done it sooner or better.  When he had done this, he came laughing to me in triumph and brought me the sword again and, with abundance of gestures which I did not understand, laid it down just before me with the head of the savage he had killed.
            I turned to go away, and beckoned him to follow me...

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