TWO years passed without any alarms, and I was beginning to think that nothing would ever again happen to disturb the quiet of my life.
One night in the rainy season of March I could not sleep. I lay for hours in my hammock and was not able to close my eyes.
I was thinking, thinking, thinking.
I thought of all that had ever happened to me both before and after my shipwreck.
I thought of my first happy years on the island.
I thought of the fear and care that I had lived in ever since I saw the first footprint in the sand.
Then I thought of my great desire to see my native land once more, and to have friends and companions with whom I could talk.
These thoughts brought to mind the savages of whom I had so great a dread, and I began to ask myself a thousand questions about them.
How far off was the coast from which they came?
Why did they come to my island from so great a distance?
What kind of boats did they have?
With such thoughts as these I lay awake until far in the night. My pulse beat fast, my breath came hard, my nerves were unstrung.
At last, worn out by my very restlessness, I fell asleep.
The same thoughts must have followed me into my dreams, but they took a different form.
I dreamed that I was sitting on the seashore with my gun on my lap and my umbrella by my side.
I was thinking, thinking, thinking. I had never been so sad and lonely.
I was thinking of the home I was never to see again, and of the friends who perhaps had forgotten me.
Suddenly, as I lifted my eyes, I thought I saw two canoes coming toward the island. I ran and hid myself in a grove by the shore.
There were eleven savages in the canoes, and they had with them another savage whom they were going to kill and eat.
But I thought in my sleep that this savage suddenly sprang up and ran for his life.
I thought that he came running to the little grove, to hide himself in it.
Seeing him alone, I arose and met him. I smiled kindly, and tried to make him know that I was his friend.
He threw himself on the ground at my feet. He seemed to be asking my help.
I showed him my ladder and made him go up over the wall.
Then I led him into my castle, and he became my servant.
I thought in my sleep, that I cried aloud for joy and said: "Now I shall escape from this place. For this savage will be my pilot. He will guide me to the mainland. He will tell where to go and what to do. He will help me find my own people."
This thought filled my mind with great joy and while I was still rejoicing I awoke.
What a disappointment it was to find that it was only a dream!
For several days I felt very sad. I was almost ready to give up hope.
Then I remembered my dream; and I said to myself: "If I could only get hold of a savage and teach him to love me, things might turn out just that way. He must be one of their prisoners and I must save him from being eaten; for then it will be easy to win his friendship."
This thought so fixed itself in my mind that I could not get rid of it. Waking or sleeping, I seemed to be always planning to get hold of a savage.
At last I set myself about it in earnest. Almost every day I went out with my gun to see if some of these wild men had not again landed on my island.