by L. H. Hall
When I awoke, it was raining and the dead man's tee shirt was
covering me. I felt much better. My leg was not nearly as swollen,
and I thought some of the redness was gone.
"I thought you were going to blister, so I put the shirt over you."
Sarah was beautiful when I entered the cave. She had braided
flowers into her hair. A multi-colored lei hung around her neck,
and flowers adorned each wrist.
"How long have I been asleep?"
"I don't know. Quite a while. When it began to rain, I started a
fire in here, so we wouldn't have to gag down raw clams for lunch."
"How long has it been raining?"
"It's been sprinkling for a while, but the hard rain started just
before you came in. That must be what woke you. How does your leg
"Much better. Maybe you won't have to cut it off after all."
"We probably ought to cut up that tee shirt and make bandages for
"Oh! No! We won't! We need that shirt for sunburns."
"We need you worse. What would happen to us if you get blood poison
and die? We'd all die! That's what!"
"I'm not going to die, and neither are the rest of you. Where are
"They went to the edge of the jungle to go to the bathroom. They
should be back soon. They're all right; we can hear them talking."
"Yeah. I guess so. What do you think that dog was doing down at
"I wondered about that, myself." Sarah looked toward exit to the
"Do you think she was guarding us?"
"I don't know. She brought us breakfast, and she never tries to
come too near us. Maybe she was," She admitted.
"We still need to watch out for her. I don't want any of us going
"That's why I sent Jamie with the girls. When they had to go potty,
I was trying to get the fire started. Should we tell them about the
"Not yet; it might scare them."
"They wouldn't be afraid of a dog."
"That could even be worse. She's a wild dog. If they get too
close, she might attack them."
"They're coming now." She dropped her voice.
"It's raining hard, now!" Julie ran into the cave. "We got all wet."
"You'll dry. Sit down by the fire," Sarah advised.
"It's too hot to sit by the fire." The little flower decked girl
"When's your birthday, Sarah?" I asked.
"July twenty-fifth. Why?
"That guy on the beach had a calendar in his wallet. If I could
find some paper, I could make a calendar. We need to track of
time. It was December twelfth when we had the plane crash.
Yesterday was the thirteenth, and today is the fourteenth. If we
don't keep track. We won't know when we have a birthday, or
Christmas, or even how old we are."
"You could draw one on the wall."
"I don't think we could see it on the wall, but I can try. Do you
know your sisters' birthdays?"
"Mine's October seventh," Debbie announced.
"And Julie's is January twentieth," Sarah continued.
"Let's see," I calculated. "Julie will be six, or will she only be
"I'm gonna be six!" Julie sounded like she had been offended at the
suggestion that she might only be five on her birthday.
"Okay, you're going to be six, January 20, 1951, so you were born in
1945. Debbie, you're seven. You were born, October 7, 1943; and,
Sarah, you were born in 1942. I was born, November 13, 1941; and,
Jamie, you'll be eight, so you were born, February 1, 1943. We'll
have to write those down so we won't forget. Maybe, when that guy's
New Testament dries out, we can write it in that."
"You said there were some books over in the corner where that
skeleton was," Sarah reminded me.
"Oh! yeah! I forgot all about that! Let's see what's over there." I
got up to go through the guy's stuff. "Here's a dictionary and--a
Bible! Thank God! We can write our birthdays in it. And here are
some Zane Gray books and Moby Dick and a notebook. It's got some
empty pages! I can make my calendars in this. What's this? It
looks like a bottle of ink. If it's still good, I can use that in
the fountain pen I found on the beach. I'm going to see if that pen
works. If it does, I'll put our names in the Bible right now." I
dropped everything but the Bible and got the pen. It was wet inside
when I took the cap off, but it looked all right. I wiped it off on
my ragged pants and made a mark on my hand. "It works!"
I lay down on the floor by the fire so I could write better, and
opened the Bible to the center, to the place for the family data.
It was blank. "We're Mom and Dad, Sarah, do you want us to be
She thought about it for a moment. "I don't care. I guess so.
We're s'posed to be married to have kids, aren't we?"
"Okay, it says, 'Father;' Timothy Allen Davis, born, November 13,
1941; 'Mother,' Sarah--What's your middle name?"
"Lee. Sarah Lee Jennings."
"Lee Jennings," I wrote, "born, July 25, 1942; Married, December
13, 1950. That's when we started being Mom and Dad."
"'Children:' James Edward Davis, born, February 1, 1943."
"What's Debbie's real name? Debra . . .? How do you spell that?"
"D-e-b-o-r-a-h, Sue, S-u-e."
"Deborah Sue Jennings, born, October 7, 1943."
"Julie's name is Julia Marie," Debbie offered.
"Julia Marie Jennings, born, January 20, 1945. Now, that's done.
We won't ever forget." On the next lines I wrote, "Sarah Jennings
and I adopted the above children, December 13, 1950, because we're
all orphans, and Sarah and I are the oldest." Then I signed it,
"Timothy Allen Davis."
"I'm hungry, Sarah, can we have dinner?" Julie asked.
"Yes, Julie." Sarah said. "Timmy, shall we eat the clams or some of
"Do you think the clams will still be good for supper?"
"I don't know. It's awful hot."
"Maybe we had better eat the clams."
"How are we going to cook them?"
"We can roast them, like marshmallows, but let's try just putting
some, shells and all, into the coals and see what happens."
"That would sure be better than eating them raw. Yuk! That was
"I'll go get some sticks." I managed to get to my feet. Do you want
to help me, Jamie?"
"Can I go too, Timmy?" Julie asked.
"Me too," Debbie got up to go.
"I would like for you girls to stay and help Sarah this time. I
don't ever want anybody to be all alone, until we know what's on
this island." I started to leave. "Maybe you can help break the
"I think we're supposed to open them with a knife," Debbie pouted.
"Go ahead and try it, if you can, but don't cut yourself. Use that
The rain had stopped, and the sun was shining again, but the brush
was still dripping. It did not take us long to get five green
Sarah had only managed to get three clams shelled while we were
gone, so I took them out to the table rock and used the side of the
machete as a hammer to crack the shells. "We need to keep some of
the shells that don't break." I set a couple aside. "They might be
useful." It was not long until we were roasting clams. Sarah was
right. They are much better roasted than they are raw. The few we
had put into the coals, were even more delicious, and it was no
problem opening the shells after they were roasted.
I had not intended to leave the cave again that day, but after I had
used a sheet of notebook paper to make a calendar for the rest of
1950, and 1951, it got boring. Sarah wanted to go see if we could
find something edible besides K-Rations and clams, so we took a
little excursion into the jungle east of the patio. It was rough
going after we passed the toilet area. I had to cut a path with the
machete for quite a distance, before we broke out into a little
clearing, and it was easier going. Two or three times I noticed
Ring in the brush near us. I was sure that she was there to protect
us. I was beginning to trust her.
"Look; don't those look like oranges?" Sarah ran to the tree and
picked one. "They are! They're oranges!"
"There ought to be some papayas and mangoes around too, but I don't
see any--Ouch!" I had tripped over a large ripe pineapple hiding in
the high brush.
"Oh, These are sweet. Try one." Sarah tasted the orange. The
others were already peeling theirs.
I cut the pineapple off at its base, and sliced an orange in two, to
suck the juice from it. "They are sweet. We'll have to remember
where this tree is. I'll bet there's some more pineapples around
"There's some more oranges over there." Debbie pointed to some
"It looks like we'll have all the oranges we need for a while." I
spit out some seeds.
"Let's go on." Sarah moved farther into the clearing to the right of
the trail. "Maybe we can find something else"
We roamed around for more than an hour without finding anything else
but some young bamboo shoots. Bamboo was everywhere. I harvested a
few tender shoots. "We better go on back, before we get lost," I
advised. "I don't feel like having to walk all the way around this
island to find the cave again."
"How do you know it's an island? How do you know there isn't a
village up the beach a couple of miles?" Sarah asked.
"I don't, but I know there are a lot of islands in this part of the
world; so, I think this is an island. If there is a village, I
would be afraid to go into it."
"They have a lot of unfriendly natives on some of these islands,
maybe, even cannibals."
"What's a cannibal, Timmy?" Julie queried.
"They're real bad people. They don't like strangers."
"We're not strangers. We're kids," Julie contended.
"I know, Julie, but since they don't know us, they would think we
"Isn't that a breadfruit tree, Timmy?" Jamie interrupted.
"Yes. It is. It's got some fruit on it too. Can you climb up and
get some? We only need a couple for now. We can get more later."
"Sure, I'll throw some down. Look out." He was already half way up
"That's enough!" I called when the third one hit the ground, but
two more came tumbling down.
"Next time we need to bring something to carry them in." Sarah
picked up a couple. "I thought about it this time, but I didn't
know if we would find anything."
"Look what else I found. Potatoes!" Jamie swung down out of the
tree on a vine that had, what looked like, potatoes on it.
"They're not potatoes. Potatoes grow under the ground, but they
look like potatoes. Let's take some and see what they taste like."
"Are you sure they aren't poison?"
"I don't know, Sarah, but Dad says that poisonous plants almost
always taste bad. Besides we'll ask God to bless it, and He'll let
us know if its poison before we eat enough to hurt us. The Bible
says, '...If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.'
I figure that also means that if we accidentally eat something
poisonous, we can trust Jesus to protect us."
"I hope so."
"I can carry two breadfruit and the pineapple. The rest of you can
each carry two or three oranges and two potatoes. That'll be enough
for tonight." I took the big fruit from Sarah.
I was looking forward to soaking my leg again when we got back to
the cave, but there was a surprise waiting for me. As we approached
the patio, we saw a young black and tan deer lying there, waiting to
be dressed. "That's a funny looking deer, but we've got meat for
supper." I examined it. "We won't go hungry for a while."
"We'll be lucky to eat it all before it spoils." Sarah took her
fruit to the table rock.
"I'm going to keep the skin this time. We might be able to sew them
together and sleep on them, or cover with them, if it ever gets
cold." I put the breadfruit onto the fire rock and covered them
with coals before I added wood to the fire, and turned to dress the
"Thank you, Lord for taking care of us. We couldn't make it without
you." I dragged the warm, limp animal to the edge of the patio so
there would not be such a mess. I was sure the dog could not eat
all the refuse from this animal in one setting.
"Where did this come from?" Jamie asked.
"The Lord sent it to us."
"How do you explain it then? I prayed that God would help us, and
we come back to camp and this freshly killed deer is lying on our
patio. You know I haven't been hunting."
"Do you think somebody knows we're here?"
"Sure. God does."
"I mean somebody else." He helped me hang the animal.
"No, I don't think so."
"So where did the deer come from."
"The same place the meat came from this morning."
"Where did that come from?"
"Like I said, the Lord sent it. That's all I'll tell you for now.
The rest is a secret between me and Sarah and God."
"Come on. I won't tell the girls."
"No! Now drop it! I'm not going to tell you anymore. The real
truth is that God provided it, and that's all you need to know."
"I'll go ask Sarah."
"She won't tell you any more than I have."
"I'll ask her anyway." Jamie ran to the cave where the girls were.
"Well, did she tell you?" I asked when he returned sulking.
"She said to ask you. I told her you wouldn't tell, and she said,
'Neither will I.'"
"I told you she wouldn't tell you."
"It ain't fair."
"Help me carry this over to the table. I'll cut the meat off the
bones over there."
"What are we going to do with all this meat?" Jamie picked up one
end of the carcass.
"We'll eat what we can, and throw the rest down the shaft or out in
the jungle. I imagine there are enough animals around that would
like what we can't eat."
When I had stripped most of the meat off the bones, I carried the
skeleton back to the edge of the jungle where I had skinned it, and
covered it up with some brush. I knew it would not stay there very
long. If Ring did not get it, some of her friends would. There had
to be other dogs on the island if she had a litter.
"Sarah," I called, "what are we going to do with all this meat? We
gotta put it someplace, where the animals won't get it."
"What we don't eat tonight, can go in that big pot, and we can put
it in the stream to keep it cool."
"You can boil some of it with the air potatoes and bamboo shoots,
and make soup," I suggested.
"I don't know how to boil anything."
"You're going to have to learn. Just put it in the water and let it
bubble 'til it's tender. Then, let it cool until we can eat it."
"How do I know when it's tender?"
"When the knife sticks into it easy, it's tender."
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.