I Seldom Go from My Cell - I Call Him Friday Summary

Robinson was afraid the savages would return to the island and find him there. He had taken even further precautions, to hide all indications of his existence on the island, he hid his boat, not fired his gun, and made charcoal to cook with. The charcoal did not give off the smoke an actual fire did, which made it less likely to be seen by other people. He lived in a constant state of anxiety and was always on the lookout for others on the island.

He had found a cave to hide some of his provisions in and also to be used as a hiding place in case of invasion by savages. After 23 years on the island, he had gathered around him a family of animals. He had his parrot, Poll, and two other parrots, his dog, a couple of cats, and some tame goats, who all served to help keep him company. He especially liked Poll, because he had developed a large enough vocabulary to converse with Robinson.

One day, in December of his 23rd year on the island, he spotted some savages on the beach near his home. This was the first time he had seen savages and he had never found evidence of them on the beach near his home. He was frightened, but watched them until they left with the tide.

Robinson then traveled to the other side of the island and observed more savages there also. He surmised they only came to the island during the dry season, when the tide was favorable. This relaxed him a little, because it gave him a sort of time table, as to when they were most likely to appear.

In May of his 24th year on the island a great storm hit and Robinson heard gun fire. It was a ship in distress, firing its guns to gain the attention of the other ship it was sailing with. Unfortunately, the ship was wrecked by the storm and Robinson's attempts to command the attention of the sailors failed. He had started a fire on the shore in hopes the sailors would come to his rescue. The distressed ship lost all hands and the other ship anchored too far from shore to help Robinson. He went out to the shipwreck and saved a dog, along with salvaging some food, clothes, and other items he needed.

One night in the 25th year of his isolation on the island, Robinson had a dream in which he rescued a prisoner about to be eaten by the savages. This gave him the idea that he would make this dream come true. It would have allowed him to have someone to help him on the island and given him a companion to talk to. He had to wait a year and a half for the savages to return to the island, and they returned with not one, but two prisoners. Unfortunately, only one of the prisoners survived and, just as in the dream, the other prisoner began to run for his life. He ran straight towards Robinson's home as he was being chased by three of his captors. He managed to run as far as Robinson's house, when his captors caught up to him. By this time Robinson had gathered his courage and helped the unfortunate man. He knocked the first pursuer out and had to shoot the second, as he was about to shoot Robinson with a bow and arrow.

Robinson took the young man to the cave and gave him food and drink. The young man was very grateful to be spared from a certain death. Robinson was happy because at last he heard a human voice for the first time in 25 years. It did not matter to him the young man spoke a language he did not understand, all that mattered was he spoke to Robinson.

Robinson named his new companion and servant, Friday, because that was the day of the week he saved Friday's life. Friday was a very hard worker and very grateful to Robinson for saving his life. He did have one habit, which Robinson could not tolerate; he liked to eat human flesh. Robinson let him know through hand gestures he would kill Friday if he ate people. So he decided to let Friday taste goat meat to see if he would substitute it for human meat. Friday to Robinson's delight liked the taste of goat meat.

The other new idea Robinson brought to Friday was the idea of wearing clothes. Friday was not used to clothes, especially European clothing. Robinson gave Friday some of the clothes he salvaged from the last ship that wrecked off the shore of the island. It took a bit of adjusting and getting used to, but Friday eventually became as comfortable as he could in the clothes.

Friday also thought the pistols Robinson used were some kind of magic and he was afraid Robinson would use them to kill him. Robinson showed him how he only used them to kill for food, which calmed Friday down some, but he was not comfortable around the guns.

Robinson made up a sleeping quarter for Friday and made sure he could not get into Robinson's quarters without him knowing about it. He at first did not totally trust Friday, but as he got to know him, he came to trust him.

Robinson had his hopes dashed, because he saw ships close to the island, but they could not rescue him because they were caught in a storm. He did, however, help a runaway prisoner escape being eaten by savages. Even though the young man was also a savage, he and Robinson started to bond. Robinson named the young man Friday and made him his servant. The young man was so grateful to Robinson he gladly did as he commanded.

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