Chapter 8 Summary
In preparation for their trip to the other side of the river, the father makes sure his sons realize the potential dangers. They have not been on the island long enough to be aware of all the animals living there. There may be more than jackals to attack them. As they start across the river with their supplies and livestock, he admonishes them to stay close and be constantly on the lookout.
After placing the youngest child on the one donkey they saved from the ship, Elizabeth is free to assist in rounding up the chickens, ducks, geese, and pigeons. Her sons had attempted this the wrong way, by chasing after the birds. Elizabeth reminds them they have more intelligent brains than the fowl and should use them. She demonstrates how to use feed to attract them. She throws seed into the family tent, and the birds quickly enter; then she ties the door flaps down and easily gathers the birds into the roughly made cages she has made for them. She straps these to the sides of the cow, which graciously and silently accepts the burden.
Elizabeth then joins her son on the donkey while Jack conducts the goats across the bridge. The baby monkey sits on a goat, one which has been supplying the little monkey with milk directly from her udder. The goat has become the monkey's surrogate mother, although reluctantly; she has lost her patience with the monkey's constant frolicking.
On their way to the tree Elizabeth has chosen, the dogs encounter a porcupine and are about to attack it when Jack senses the danger of its quills. So he shoots the animal and suggests the family eat the meat for dinner and save the quills to reinforce the dogs' collars. His father praises Jack for his bravery and ingenuity. Later the father bores holes in one end of some of the quills and makes sewing needles for his wife.
When they reach the grove of trees, the father takes his time selecting the proper tree that will eventually hold their house. After selecting one, he and his sons attempt to throw a rope across one of the lowest branches to begin the construction of a rope ladder. However, the branch is at least thirty feet off the ground and their attempts fail. He will have to devise a better plan.