Chapter 6 Summary

The morning after her husband returns from the shipwreck, Elizabeth informs him that she wants the family to move to a safer place. Their current camp is not only exposed but also very dry and hot. She tells him that the previous day, she and her sons crossed the river and explored more pleasant, treed land on the other side. The trees' shade offered comfort, and if they built a house up in one of the large trees, they would be safe from jackals.

She describes a perfect tree for the project, one whose trunk is nearly forty feet in diameter. The limbs are very long and extend straight out from the trunk, making them perfect platforms for a structure. Surrounding the grove of trees are wide fields of tall grasses with many wild birds, which they could hunt for food. On the nearby beach, they had discovered turtle eggs to provide much needed protein.

Elizabeth says that the longer she and her sons stayed in the area, the more charming it appeared, even enchanted. If they could live there, she would feel "perfectly safe and happy."

While they were there, Jack asked her to help him make collars for their dogs. Jack had skinned one of the dead jackals and dried it in the sun so it would turn into leather. His idea was to make collars with embedded spikes poking out so that when the dogs wore them, jackals and other beasts could not tear at their throats. Jack had enough leather left to make belts to carry their guns, thus freeing their hands and arms to carry their foraged goods.

When Elizabeth and her sons went back to the beach, they found some large casks that must have floated away from the wrecked ship. These were too heavy to carry, so they dragged them out of the water and left them high on the beach to dry. They also saw the dogs devour crabs they caught on their own, relieving Elizabeth of worry about feeding them.

As she closes her story of her adventures, Elizabeth implores her husband to consider living on the other side of the river. Her husband thinks about the proposition and teases her about how much easier it would be to live in a tree if they all had wings.