WHEN the weather was fine I often went over to the other side of the island to look at my canoe.
Sometimes I spent several days at my summer house. Then, going over to where the canoe was kept, I took short sails along the shore. These little voyages gave me a great deal of pleasure.
One morning as I was going to the canoe a strange thing happened.
I was walking slowly along and looking down, and what do you think I saw?
I saw the print of a man's naked foot in the sand.
The sight made me cold all over.
I stood like one that had seen a ghost. I looked around. I listened. I trembled.
I went to the top of a little hill to look farther. Then I walked up the shore and down the shore. I saw no other tracks.
I went back to make sure that I was not dreaming. Yes, there in the sand was the print of man's foot. It showed the toes, the heel, and the sole of the foot. I was not dreaming.
My mind was filled with a thousand thoughts and questions. Where was the man who made that track? Who was he? How did he get there?
I was so frightened that I did not go to the canoe. I turned back and went to my castle as fast as I could.
Whether I went over by the ladder or through the hole in the rock, I do not know. But I shut myself up as quickly as I could and began to get ready to defend myself.
That night I could not sleep. I lay in my hammock, and thought and thought.
The track must have been made by an Indian or some other wild savage. This savage had come perhaps from the land that I had seen far across the sea.
Perhaps he had come to the island alone. Perhaps he had come with many others of his kind. But where was he now?
I was so much afraid that I did not stir out of my castle for three days and nights. I was almost starved, for I had only two or three barley cakes in my kitchen.
Little by little I became brave enough to go out again. I crept softly down to my fields to milk the goats. Poor things! They were glad enough to see me.
But every sound made me start and look around. I fancied that I saw a savage behind every tree. I lived for days like some hunted thing that trembles at its own shadow.
And all because I had seen the print of a foot in the sand!
Little by little I grew bolder, and I made up my mind to strengthen my castle. If savage Indians should indeed come and find me, I would be ready for them.
So I carried out earth and small stones, and piled them up against the castle wall till it was ten feet thick. I have already told you how strong it was at first, and how I had made a dense hedge of trees on the outside. It was now so strong that nothing could break through it.
Through the wall at certain places I made five holes large enough for a man's arm to reach in. In each of these holes I planted a gun; for you will remember that I brought several from the ship.
Each one of these guns was fitted in a frame that could be drawn back and forth. They worked so well in their places that I could shoot off all five of them in less than two minutes.
Many a weary month did I work before I had my wall to my notion. But at last it was finished.
The hedge that was before it grew up so thick and high that no man nor animal could see through it. If you had seen it, you would not have dreamed there was anything inside of it, much less a house.
For two years I lived in fear. All that I did was to make my home stronger and safer.
Far in the woods I built a large pen of logs and stakes. Around it I planted a hedge like that in front of the castle. Then I put a dozen young goats into it, to feed upon the grass and grow.
If savages should come, and if they should kill the other goats, they could not find these; for they were too well hidden in the deep woods.
All these things I did because I had seen the print of a man's foot in the sand.