Chapter 4 of The Swiss Family Robinson is a very short chapter. It narrates the details of the second half of the family’s second day on the island. The family’s first day has been taken up by bringing supplies from the wrecked ship. In Chapter 3, Father and Fritz have gone out to look for useful things, to look for other survivors, and to see if there is a better place to camp.
At the beginning of Chapter 4, Fritz is carrying sugar cane back to the camp. He is trying to suck out the juice. As in many other places in this book, his father guides him and helps him learn how to get the juice out of the cane. His father also instructs him about how the “milk of the cocoa-nut” would have fermented in his canteen.
As they walk, their dog Turk kills a mother monkey. The baby monkey attaches itself to Fritz and they bring it back to camp. This is the first pet that they get on the island. Continuing to teach and instruct, the father tells Fritz not to scold Turk for killing the monkey because they want their dogs to be aggressive against strange animals so as to protect the family.
The family has dinner, and everyone tells what they did all day. We find that everyone has been helpful, with Ernest having killed a bird for dinner. (The father uses this opportunity, as well, to point “out to him the advantages of study.”) Jack and Francis have caught fish.
After they have gone to bed and been asleep awhile, they are awakened by a commotion. Some jackals have come to the camp and the dogs are fighting them. The father and mother and Fritz pick up guns, and “Fritz and I fired on them.” They kill two jackals with the guns and the dogs kill others. When the surviving jackals flee, the dogs eat some of the dead ones. The chapter ends with the family sleeping until morning.