Chapter 13 Summary

Upon returning to the ship the next day with his sons Jack and Fritz, the father is surprised when he comes across a package containing the components for making a "pinnace," a small sailboat, complete with a proper mast, a sail, and rigging. The package even contains a couple of small brass guns to be mounted on the boat when it is completed. The father exclaims that this is one of their greatest discoveries. When constructed, this boat will prove to be much safer than the rafts they have been using to travel between the island and the shipwreck. Jack is most excited, however, upon discovering three wheelbarrows, which he envisions will help the family transport potatoes and other wild foods from the fields back to their home.

The day is almost gone when the father and his sons make these discoveries on the ship, so they must hurry back to shore without being able to spend any time constructing the new sailboat. As they approach the shore on their return, they are greeted by a flock of penguins. It is the first time they have seen these flightless birds on the island. When they are close enough to them, Jack, who is always eager to gather food for the family, jumps off the raft and kills several of the penguins with his oar. His father reprimands him for being overly destructive, as Jack has killed more than the family needs to eat. Moreover, the father does not believe that penguins provide very tasty meat. He and the boys are fascinated by the birds, however, and capture several to add to the flock of animals they have already collected.

After they arrive at the house, Elizabeth announces that the garden she has been tending is producing healthy plants. Corn, melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers are already growing. She also has found manioc root, which impresses the father and leads him to tell the others that he thinks he can make a type of bread from it. He had found a grinder on the ship and quickly puts it to work, grinding the manioc into a fine powder. He warns his family, though, that juice from this root is poisonous, so he must carefully wash and then squeeze the powder to rid it of its toxicity. Once this is done, he toasts the powder and then creates a type of thick pancake from it. To make sure the little bread wafers are safe, he feeds some to the monkey and the pig. Then the family waits as they observe the health of the two animals. After some time, the animals do not react negatively, and the family enjoys their new bread.