Son of a middle-class Englishman, Robinson Crusoe takes to the sea to find adventure. And find it he does when on one of his voyages he is shipwrecked on a deserted South American island for thirty-five years. After scavenging his broken ship for useful items, he had only his skills and ingenuity to keep him alive as there was to be no one else on the island for the next twenty-four years. In the middle of that twenty-fourth year he rescued a native about to be eaten by cannibals who were using his island for a place of feasting. Crusoe named this man Friday. Friday became his faithful servant and friend, even returning with him to England after their deliverance by an English ship. Listeners will enjoy Crusoe’s determination for survival against all odds and admire the spirituality that gave him the strength to survive. A hero through the ages, he richly deserves the admiration that has endured over three centuries.
(I just did some investigating because the summary bears shocking resemblances to another shipwrecked bunch of Robinson’s. This was written first, making the beloved movie of my childhood a knock-off. Tragic.)
Robison is tired of ordinary. He has lived his entire life in an ordinary home, in an ordinary town, raised by ordinary parents. So the day after he graduates secondary school, Robby and his faithful dog Spot boards a sailboat and sets off to become a cowboy in Australia.
Unfortunately, fate has no intentions of letting Robby become the next Lone Ranger, and halfway to Australia a terrible storm splits his ship in half. He manages to strap together some boards into a makeshift raft, grab armfuls of provisions, and a few days of sun soaked bobbing later finds himself on the beaches of a tiny island. Somehow, Spot has also swam to the island, and helps Robby find a stream where he catches Typhoid Fever as he gulps down the water.
But Robby has not gone this far to be defeated by disease. Through the process of illumination he finds out which streams are safe, which berries are edible, and begins to think that he will be able to survive living on this island after all.
It is, of course a deserted island.
But Robby is a crafty young man, and using the limited supplies he managed to gather soon has constructed himself a cozy jungle cabin, and, more importantly, a bow and arrows to hunt with. He finds all sorts of animals throughout his island, even capturing a parrot that he keeps as a pet.
Of course life on his island can be difficult. There are those intense tropical storms, leopards, heat, poisonous berries, and the small cannibal problem.
The cannibals don’t actually live on the island, but once a year they come paddling in on their canoes, and have a party. Where they eat people. For twenty-three years Robbie is too scared to do anything about it, but as the cannibals enter the bay for the twenty-fourth time, he springs to action.
Arrows fly, and within a few minutes the lone surviving sacrificial victim is expressing what Robbie thinks is eternal thanks (the man doesn’t appear to speak English). He also refuses to leave on one of the now vacant canoes, so Robbie names him Friday after a song that’s been stuck in his head for the past few years, and slowly teaches him English.
With his newfound friend, Robbie truly makes the island his home. They create a roadway throughout the island, connecting their homes to the newly built swimming pool, fruit orchards, and petting zoo. They capture leopards once every year and let them loose on the beach just as the cannibals reach shore. While the cannibals are running from the tigers, Friday and Robbie would carry the trussed up victims back into the canoes, and wait until the leopard left. Within a few years the island had a thriving community.
Then one day there’s smoke on the horizon, and a steamers approaches. The crewmember in the crows nest see the community competing in their monthly beach volleyball tournament, and the ship comes to investigate. They meet Robbie, and offer to take him home. He decides that this may be his only chance to leave, and decides to take it. Friday, having spent the last ten years being told of the wonders of the Civilized World, decides to come along with him. Robbie, Friday, Spot, and the parrot bid goodbye to their town, and sail off into the sunset.