Short summary - The Robinson Crusoe School
Jules Gabriel Verne
The young nephew and heir of a millionaire wants to fill his life with adventure and travel, and is not going to get married - as his uncle wants - without making a trip around the world. The millionaire, a resourceful and wise man, agrees to his nephew's idea, confident that he will return from the trip mature and calm.
Twenty-two-year-old Godfrey Morgan, romantically inclined, keen on reading adventure novels and passionately dreaming of being in the place of Robinson Crusoe, is the nephew of the wealthy American multimillionaire William Kolderup. He lives with his uncle after the death of his parents, and his beloved Fina is the adopted daughter of Mr. Kolderup.
The novel begins with the United States government deciding to put up for sale Spencener Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean 462 miles southwest of San Francisco. However, only two people decide to take part in the auction - Mr. Kolderup himself and his longtime competitor, Mr. Taskinar. Mr. Kolderup wins the auction, and Mr. Taskinar promises to take revenge on him.
Some time later, Mr. Kolderup proposes to his nephew to marry Fina. Godfrey agrees, but decides to travel before getting married, motivating his position by the fact that he is still young and has not seen so much in his lifetime, and marriage will completely take away his freedom.
Kolderup decides to sponsor Morgan's round-the-world trip in the hope that he will marry his adopted daughter after the end of the trip, and equips his personal yacht "Dream" for sailing. In addition to the ship's crew, Professor T. Artelet, Godfrey and Fina's tutor, joins Morgan.
The ship sets sail for adventure. During the voyage, a "hare" is found on board the ship - the Chinese Seng Wu, who has made his way on board to return to his homeland, China. Since the ship is on the high seas and the Chinese still have nowhere to go, Godfrey allows him to sail on the "Dream" to the Chinese coast.
A few days later, at night, the ship crashed. Godfrey and T. Artellet leave the ship, and the waves wash them on the shores with a view of a deserted island. Despite the fact that the island is deserted, one can somehow exist on it. Godfrey and the professor stay there like Robinsons.
They spend several months on the island. During this time, they manage to get used to a little. They take refuge in a large hollow of a sequoia tree, learn to make fire and get food, and tame wild goats and rams.
The same events happen to them that happened to Robinson Crusoe - one fine day they find a chest with the necessary things on the island, and some time later savage cannibals sail to the island and bring with them a bound captive - the same savage as they are intending to eat it. Godfrey and the professor manage to save him, and this event, as in Defoe's novel, takes place on Friday.
- Artelet suggests that Godfrey call the savage Friday, but he introduces himself as Carefinotu, and Godfrey decides to call him that. As in Defoe's novel, the savage becomes a faithful servant, assistant and comrade of Godfrey and the professor. He has skills for living in the wild, helping them find edible plants, tending to Godfrey when he is sick.
During his life on the island, Godfrey notices that he, the professor and Karefinotu are clearly not alone on it - several times they find traces of human presence in different parts of the island. Godfrey tries to find him, but he never succeeds. Godfrey also discovers predatory animals and reptiles on the island - lions, tigers, crocodiles, snakes, etc. This surprises him very much, since in the first months of life they were not on the island, and it is not clear where they could come from.
Five months after the shipwreck, the animals unexpectedly attack the dwelling of Godfrey, the professor, and Carefinota. They try to repel the attack, but the animals manage to break into the house. Its inhabitants are saved, but at the same time they are forced to leave the hearth unattended, a fire starts in the dwelling, and it burns to the ground.
At this moment, salvation suddenly comes, and from the most unexpected side - Mr. Kolderup sails to the island on a completely intact and intact "Dream". This is where everything becomes clear. Mr. Kolderup, knowing about his nephew's passion for adventure novels and his passionate dream of being in the place of Robinson Crusoe, was afraid that he would grow up as a dreamer, romantic and mystic, completely divorced from real life. Seeing the pamperedness and effeminacy of his nephew, the uncle decided to test him for courage, steadfastness and firmness of character, and for this he fulfilled his long-standing desire by playing this performance with Robinsonade.
In fact, everything was pre-arranged - the shipwreck was staged, the arrival of the "savage cannibals" on the island was only a performance, and the "savages" themselves were actors. The island on which Godfrey and the professor were thrown was exactly the same Spencener Island acquired by Mr. Kolderup at the beginning of the novel. Now, seeing that his nephew has completely changed in a few months of life on the island, Mr. Kolderup is calm for him. He was convinced that Godfrey had become a real man.
William Kolderup, together with his nephew and professor, returns home, where the last secrets of the island are revealed. The mysterious stranger hiding on the island was Seng Wu, who decided that the shipwreck was real, left the ship independently of Godfrey and the professor, and independently reached the island, where he lived all this time. As for wild animals, they were all brought to the island by Mr. Taskinar, who decided in this way to take revenge on Mr. Kolderup.
Shortly after returning, Godfrey marries Fina and they go on their honeymoon.