Short summary - The Mysterious Island - L'Île Mystérieuse - Jules Gabriel Verne

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - The Mysterious Island - L'Île Mystérieuse
Jules Gabriel Verne

March 1865 In the United States, during the Civil War, five brave northerners flee from Richmond, taken by the southerners, in a balloon. A terrible storm throws four of them onto the coast of an uninhabited island in the Southern Hemisphere. The fifth man and his dog are hiding in the sea near the shore. This fifth - a certain Cyrus Smith, a talented engineer and scientist, the soul and leader of a detachment of travelers - for several days unwittingly keeps his companions in suspense, who can nowhere find either himself or his loyal dog Top. The one who suffers most of all is the former slave and now Smith's devoted servant, the Negro Neb. Also in the balloon were a military journalist and Smith's friend, Gideon Spilett, a very energetic and decisive man with a seething mind; the sailor Pencroff, the good-natured and adventurous daredevil; fifteen-year-old Harbert Brown, son of the captain of the ship on which Pencroff sailed, left an orphan, and whom the sailor regards as his own son. After a tedious search, Nab finally finds his inexplicably escaped master a mile offshore. Each of the new settlers of the island has irreplaceable talents, and under the leadership of Cyres and Spilett, these brave people rally and become a single team. First, with the help of the simplest improvised means, then producing more and more complex objects of labor and everyday life in their own small factories, the settlers arrange their lives. They hunt, collect edible plants, oysters, then even breed domestic animals and engage in agriculture. They make their dwelling high in a rock, in a cave freed from water. Soon, thanks to their hard work and intelligence, the colonists no longer know the need for food, clothing, or warmth and comfort. They have everything except news of their homeland, about the fate of which they are very worried about.

Once, returning to their dwelling, which they called the Granite Palace, they see that monkeys are in charge inside. After a while, as if under the influence of insane fear, the monkeys begin to jump out of the windows, and someone's hand throws out a rope ladder to the travelers, which the monkeys lifted into the house. Inside, people find another monkey - an orangutan, which they keep and call Uncle Jupe. In the future, Jupe becomes a friend to people, a servant and an irreplaceable helper.

On another day, the settlers find a box in the sand with tools, firearms, various appliances, clothes, kitchen utensils and books in English. The settlers wonder where this box could have come from. On the map, which also appeared in the box, they discover that next to their island, which is not marked on the map, is the island of Tabor. Sailor Pencroff is eager to sail on it. With the help of his friends, he builds a bot. When the bot is ready, everyone goes on a test voyage around the island together. During it, they find a bottle with a note, which says that the shipwrecked man is waiting for salvation on the island of Tabor. This event reinforces Pencroff's confidence in the need to visit the neighboring island. Pencroff, journalist Gedeon Spilett and Harbert set sail. Arriving at Tabor, they discover a small shack, where, by all indications, no one has lived for a long time. They scatter around the island, not hoping to see a living person, and try to find at least his remains. Suddenly they hear Harbert's scream and rush to his aid. They see Harbert fighting a hairy monkey-like creature. However, the monkey turns out to be a feral man. Travelers tie him up and transport him to their island. They give him a separate room in the Granite Palace. Thanks to their attention and care, the savage soon turns into a civilized man again and tells them his story. It turns out that his name is Ayrton, he is a former criminal, he wanted to take possession of the sailing ship "Duncan" and with the help of the same as he was, the scum of society, turn it into a pirate ship. However, his plans were not destined to come true, and as a punishment twelve years ago he was left on the uninhabited island of Tabor so that he would realize his deed and atone for his sin. However, the owner of "Duncan" Edward Glenarvan said that someday he would return for Ayrton. The settlers see that Ayrton sincerely repents of his past sins, and he tries to be useful to them in every possible way. Therefore, they are not inclined to judge him for past transgressions and willingly accept him into their society. However, Ayrton needs time, and so he asks to be given the opportunity to live in the corral, which the settlers built for their domesticated animals at some distance from the Granite Palace.

When the bot was returning from the island of Tabor in a storm at night, it was saved by a fire, which, as those who sailed on it thought, were kindled by their friends. However, it turns out that they were not involved in this. It also turns out that Ayrton did not throw a bottle with a note into the sea. The settlers cannot explain these mysterious events. They are increasingly inclined to think that besides them, someone else lives on Lincoln Island, as they christened it, their mysterious benefactor, who often comes to their aid in the most difficult situations. They even undertake a search expedition in the hope of finding his place of residence. However, the search ends in vain.

The next summer (since five months have passed since Ayrton appeared on their island, and until the moment he told them his story, and the summer is over, and in the cold season it is dangerous to sail) they decide to get to Tabor Islands to leave a note in the hut. In a note, they intend to warn Captain Glenarvan in case he returns that Ayrton and five other wrecked ones are awaiting help on a neighboring island.

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settlers have been living on their island for three years. Their life, their economy has reached prosperity. They are already harvesting rich crops of wheat grown from a single grain discovered three years ago in Harbert's pocket, built a mill, breed poultry, completely furnished their home, made new warm clothes and blankets from mouflon wool. However, their peaceful life is overshadowed by one incident that threatens them with death. One day, looking at the sea, they see in the distance a well-equipped ship, but a black flag flies over the ship. The ship is anchored off the coast. Beautiful long-range cannons are visible on it. Ayrton sneaks aboard the ship under cover of night to make reconnaissance. It turns out that there are fifty pirates on the ship. Miraculously eluding them, Ayrton returns to the shore and informs his friends that they need to prepare for battle. In the morning, two boats descend from the ship. On the first, the settlers shoot three, and she comes back, the second sticks to the shore, and the six pirates remaining on her are hiding in the forest. Cannons are firing from the ship, and it approaches the shore even closer. It seems that nothing can save a handful of settlers. Suddenly, a huge wave rises under the ship and it sinks. All pirates on it are killed. As it turns out later, the ship was blown up by a mine, and this event finally convinces the inhabitants of the island that they are not alone here.

At first, they are not going to exterminate pirates, wanting to give them the opportunity to lead a peaceful life. But it turns out that the robbers are not capable of this. They begin to plunder and burn the settlers' households. Ayrton goes to the corral to visit the animals. The pirates grab him and take him to a cave, where they torture him to get him to agree to go over to their side. Ayrton does not give up. His friends go to his aid, however, they are seriously injured in Harbert's coral, and the friends remain in it, unable to move back with the young man who is dying. A few days later, they still go to the Granite Palace. As a result of the transition, Harbert develops a malignant fever and is dying. Once again, Providence intervenes in their lives and the hand of their kind mysterious friend throws the necessary medicine on them. Harbert recovers completely. The settlers intend to deliver the final blow to the pirates. They go to the corral, where they expect to find them, but they find there the exhausted and barely alive Ayrton, and not far away - the corpses of the robbers. Ayrton says that he does not know how he ended up in the corral, who carried him from the cave and killed the pirates. However, he gives one sad news. A week ago, the bandits went out to sea, but, unable to control the bot, they smashed it on the coastal reefs. The trip to Tabor has to be postponed until a new vehicle is built. For the next seven months, the mysterious stranger remains silent. Meanwhile, a volcano wakes up on the island, which the colonists thought was already dead. They are building a new large ship that, if necessary, could take them to inhabited land.

One evening, already getting ready to go to bed, the inhabitants of the Granite Palace hear the bell. The telegraph goes off, which they took from the corral to their home. They are urgently summoned to the corral. There they find a note asking them to go along the additional wire. The cable leads them to a huge grotto, where, to their amazement, they see a submarine. In it, they get to know its owner and their patron, Captain Nemo, the Indian prince Dakkar, who fought all his life for the independence of his homeland. He, already a sixty-year old man who has buried all his comrades-in-arms, is dying. Nemo gives new friends a casket with jewels and warns that when a volcano erupts, the island (such is its structure) will explode. He dies, the settlers close the boat's hatches and lower it under the water, and they themselves tirelessly build a new ship all day long. However, they do not have time to finish it. All living things perish during the explosion of the island, from which only a small reef in the ocean remains. The settlers who spent the night in a tent on the shore are thrown into the sea by an air wave. All of them, with the exception of Jupe, survive. For more than ten days they sit on the reef, almost dying of hunger and no longer hoping for anything. Suddenly they see a ship. This is Duncan. He saves everyone. As it turns out later, Captain Nemo, when the bot was still intact, sailed on it to Tabor and left a note to the rescuers.

Returning to America, with the jewelry donated by Captain Nemo, the friends buy a large plot of land and live on it just like they lived on Lincoln Island.