June 27, 2017

In the wake of Robinson Crusoe (Part 2)


It took a long time before the man regained consciousness and was able to tell the story of their extraordinary adventures. His name was Alexander Selkirk. He was born in 1676 in the small Scottish town of Largo, his father was a poor shoemaker John Selkreg. At nineteen years old, due to constant conflicts with his family, he changed his surname to Selkirk and left home. Once presented itself, he served as a sailor is on one, then on another vessel belonging to the British navy. One day he heard, as if the famous pirate royal feast dam wall began to recruit sailors for his team. Recruited him, Selkrik, however, was not to the Dampier, and the team captain of the other ship – Pickering.

In September 1703 pirate ships set off. In those days, it was typical predatory pirate voyage. One after another, the squadron captured off the coast of Peru, full of gold and other valuables Spanish ships bound for Europe. Sometime later, Pickering died, and was succeeded by Stredling, who did not get along with Dampier, separated from him. Savvy Selkirk had already been second assistant captain Stredlinga. However, in May 1704 the ship pretty patted the storm, and the team had become anchored near the island of Mas a Tierra. The ship was in need of major repairs, which make the captain did not want to, and because of that, there was a conflict between him and his assistant. As a result, in obedience to the orders of Stredlinga, Selkirk was landed on a deserted island. Selkirk left bare necessities – a rifle with a slight margin of gunpowder and bullets, a knife, an ax, a telescope, a little tobacco and a blanket.

First, Selkirk had a hard time. Some time he spent in despair, completely indifferent to everything. Nevertheless, knowing that desperation is a sure way to ruin, he forced himself to do the work. “If I have something saved, – he said later – so it is work.” In the first place, to grow roots Selkirk began with construction of huts. Nevertheless, what he was eating? Wandering on the island, he found a variety of delicious and nutritious cereals, roots and even fruits that have been planted at the time of Juan Fernandez. Over time, Selkirk managed to tame the wild goats and learn to hunt for sea turtles and fish.

It turned out that the island lives a lot of cats and rats. Selkirk cats fed goat, and soon they were accustomed to his presence and began to come to his hut perhaps hundreds, thereby driving away rodents. Selkirk had to make fire by friction, and sew clothes from goatskins, what helped him the nails, which replaced sewing needles. During his stay on the island of Selkirk made a calendar and many other useful things.

Once I landed on the island group of Spanish sailors, but at that time, England was at war with Spain, and fearing for his life, Selkirk hid them in a large hollow. Therefore, all alone, he spent on the island for almost five years, until the accident did not meet with the British sailors. It turned the ship Stredlinga after Selkirk was landed on the island, caught in a storm and sank, and the surviving crew members were captured by the Spaniards.

During the time spent on the island, Selkirk has not lost his skills, so Rogers made him his assistant, and he returned to the pirate fishing.

In 1712 Selkirk finally returned home. In the same year was born the book of Woods Rogers called “The fishing voyage around the world”, which was briefly told about the adventures of an English sailor. After a while, there was one more book: “The intervention of Providence, or the description of an extraordinary adventures of Alexander Selkirk”, written by himself.

However, Selkirk did not have writing talent, so the book was not a success among his contemporaries. Only Daniel Defoe’s novel, which appeared in 1917, brought the sailor real glory, making him truly immortal. The name of the new book was very long, “Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a sailor from York, who spent twenty-eight years on a deserted island.” Despite the fact that the novel was told about the adventures of a Robinson, a period of his stay on the island has been increased several times in the book immediately recognizable Alexander Selkirk. Especially because in the preface to the very first edition of the book the author has explicitly stated: “Even to this day there are people among us whose life served as a canvas for this book.”

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