THE sun was still two hours high. I was very tired after my day's work, but I could not rest. I wanted to know what sort of place I was in. I wondered whether I was on an island or on a continent.
About half a mile from the shore there was a large hill. It was steep and high and seemed to overlook all the country.
I thought that if I could get to the top of that hill I might see what kind of country I was in.
So I put one of the pistols in my belt, and one of the guns on my shoulder. I also hung the powder-horn from my neck and put a handful of small shot in my pocket.
Thus armed, I set out for the big hill.
There were but a few shrubs or trees in my way, and the walking was easy. In less than a quarter of an hour I was at my journey's end.
The sides of the hill were not rough, but they were quite steep.
Soon I was at the very top. What a grand lookout it was!
North, south, east, west, the land and the sea were spread out before me.
The sea did I say?
Yes, I was on an island, and the sea was all around.
No other land was in sight except two small islands and some great rocks that lifted themselves out of the water.
I saw that my island was not very large. Perhaps it was ten miles broad; perhaps it was twenty. I had no good idea of distances.
There was no house nor sign of life anywhere. There might be wild beasts in the woods; but I was sure that no men lived there.
The thought of being alone on a desert island made me feel very sad.
I should have been glad at that moment to see even the face of a savage.
But I dared not stay long on the hilltop. I hurried to get back to my raft before the sun should go down.
At the foot of the hill I saw a great bird sitting in a tree. I thought it to be some kind of a hawk and shot it.
The sound of the gun echoed strangely among the rocks and trees. Never before had such a sound been heard there.
I picked up the bird.
It was no hawk. It had no sharp claws nor hooked beak. Its flesh was unfit to eat, and I threw it away.
The sun had set and it was almost dark when I got back to the inlet where my raft was lying. I did not know where to go for the night, nor where to find a resting place.
But the day being gone, there was no time for thinking.
I made a kind of hut with the chests and the loose boards from the raft. Then I crept inside and lay down to rest.
For a little while I listened to every sound. At length I fell asleep and knew nothing more until broad daylight the next morning.