During the journey back to his castle he caught a young parrot, which, after a long time, he taught to speak and to call him by his name. It was so long since he had heard any voice, that it was a comfort to listen even to a parrot talking.
Now, the sight which Robinson had had of the far distant land raised in him again the great longing to get away from this island where he had been so long alone, and he wished greatly for a boat. He went over to the remains of the boat in which he and the others had tried to come ashore when their ship struck on the sand-bank, and which had been flung far up on the beach by the sea, and he worked for weeks trying to repair her and to get her into the water. But it was all of no use; he could not move her.
Then, he thought, “I’ll cut down a tree, and make a new boat.” This he fancied would be easy, for he had heard how the Indians make canoes by felling a tree and burning out the inside. “If they can do it, then surely I can do it even better,” he thought. So he looked about, and chose a huge tree which stood about a hundred yards from the water, and with great labor in about three weeks he had cut it down.
Four months Robinson worked at this boat, thinking all the time of what he would do when he reached the far distant land, and much pleased with himself for the beautiful boat he was making. Day after day he trimmed and shaped it, and very proud he was when it was finished and lay there on the ground, big enough to carry twenty men.
Then he started to get her into the water. But that was quite another thing. By no means in his power could he move her an inch, try as he might. She was far too big. Then he began to dig a canal from the sea to the boat; but before he had got much of that work done, he saw clearly that there was so much earth to dig away, that, without some one to help him, it must take years and years before he could get the water to the boat. So he gave it up, and left her to lie and rot in the sun and the rain—a great grief to him.
ROBINSON BUILDS A SECOND BOAT, IN WHICH HE IS SWEPT OUT TO SEA
By the time that Robinson had been four years on the island, all his clothes had become very ragged, and he had hardly anything that could be called a hat. Clothes he must have, for he could not go naked without getting his skin blistered by the hot sun, and he was afraid of getting a sunstroke if he went about without a hat.
Now he had kept all the skins of the goats, and other animals, such as hares and foxes, that he had shot; and from these, after many failures, at last he made a hat and coat of goatskin, and a pair of short trousers, all with the hair outside, so as to shoot off the wet when it rained. The hat was very tall, and came to a sharp peak on top, and it had a flap which hung down the back of his neck. Robinson also, with much trouble, made of the skins an umbrella which he could open and shut; and if his clothes and his umbrella, and especially his hat, were not very good to look at, they were useful, and he could now go about in any weather.