Seeing a chance of escape, the man made a dash for his life, running with tremendous speed along the sands straight for that part of the beach near Robinson’s castle.
Now this alarmed Robinson very much, for it seemed to him that the whole of the savages started after the prisoner. He could not help thinking it likely that, as in his dream, this man would take shelter in the thicket round the castle, in which case Robinson was likely soon to have more fighting than he would relish, for the whole body of the cannibals would be on him at once.
As he watched the poor man racing for life, however, he was relieved to see that he ran much faster than his pursuers, of whom only three continued to run after him. If he could hold out for another mile or two there was little doubt that he would escape. Between the castle and the runners was the creek up which Robinson used to run his rafts from the wreck, and when the escaped prisoner came to that, he plunged in, and though the tide was full, with less than thirty powerful strokes he reached the other side, and with long easy strides continued his run. Of the men in pursuit, two also plunged in and swam through, but less quickly than the man escaping, being more blown with running, because of what they had eaten before starting. The third man stopped altogether, and went back the way he came.
Seeing the turn things were taking, it seemed to Robinson that now had come his chance to get a servant, and he resolved to try to save the life of the man who was fleeing from the cannibals. At once he hurried down the ladder, snatched up his two guns, and running as fast as he could, got between the man and his pursuers, calling out to him at the same time to stop. The man looked back, and the sight of Robinson seemed to frighten him at first as much as did the men who were trying to catch him. But Robinson again spoke, and signed to him with his hand to come back, and in the meantime went slowly towards the other men, who were now coming near. Then, rushing at the foremost, he knocked him senseless with the butt of his gun, for it seemed to him safer not to fire, lest the noise should bring the other cannibals around.
The second man, seeing his comrade fall, hesitated, and stopped, but Robinson saw when nearer to him that the savage had in his hands a bow and arrow with which he was just about to shoot. There was then no choice but to fire first, which Robinson did, killing the man on the spot.
Thereupon the man who had been chased by the others was so terrified by the flash and noise of the gun, and at seeing his enemy fall dead, that he stood stock still, trembling, and it was with great difficulty that Robinson coaxed him to come near. This at last he did, stopping every few paces and kneeling down. At length, coming close to Robinson, he again knelt, kissed the ground, and taking hold of Robinson’s foot, set it on his head as it rested on the sand.