The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

A story that made Daniel Defoe famous

Category: Short stories

Daniel Defoe, the great English writer, lived a full and interesting life. He travelled, tried many professions and wrote many books and pamphlets.

In 1712 Defoe met a sailor who told him a very interesting story. Alexander Zelkirk was the sailor’s name. He quarreled with his officer and was put ashore on an island off the coast of Chile. For more than four years he had lived quite alone on the island. He was saved by a ship putting in this island for water. When the sailor returned to London, his story became the talk of the town. Several stories about him were printed, read and then forgotten.

Daniel Defoe could not forget the story. The sailor’s experience produced a great impression on him and he started writing a story. He chose an island in a different part of the world, changed the name of the main character and created a very interesting book.

As Defoe was a journalist, he was able to make the story seem absolutely true.

His book about Robinson Crusoe was a great success not only in Great Britain but also in many countries of the world. Both children and grown-ups read it with great interest. But the true story of Alexander Zelkirk is practically unknown today.

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