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5/28/2004


Johann Wyss - The Swiss Family Robinson

I began to read this story dynamically to my two boys last night. You should have seen the look in their eyes. The Swiss Family Robinson was written by Johann David Wyss for his four boys in the early 1800's. Johann David was a priest by profession, and desired to create a story that would instruct them in how to conduct their lives. After reading the first two pages of the story, it’s not hard to understand why it was so widely received back then as it is today. It is still good for instruction.

Here are the first two pages of "The Swiss Family Robinson" By Johann Wyss.

    For many days we had been tempest-tossed. Six times had the darkness closed over a wild and terrible scene, and the light of dawn as often brought but renewed distress, for the raging storm increased in fury until on the seventh day all hope was lost.

    We were driven completely off our course; no conjecture could be formed as to our whereabouts. The crew had lost heart, and were utterly exhausted by incessant labor.

    The cracked masts had gone by the board, leaks had been sprung in every direction, and the water, which rushed in, gained upon us rapidly.

    Instead of reckless oaths, the seamen now uttered frantic cries to God for mercy, mingled with strange and often ludicrous vows, to be performed should deliverance be granted.

    Every man on board alternately commended his soul to his Creator, and strove to bethink himself of some means of saving his life.

    My heart sank as I looked round upon my family in the midst of these horrors. Our four young sons were overpowered by terror. "Our dear children," said I, "if the Lord will, he can save us even from this fearful peril; if not, let us calmly yield our lives into his hand, and think of the joy and blessedness of finding ourselves forever and ever united in that happy home above."

    At these words my weeping wife looked bravely up, and, as the boys clustered round her, she began to cheer and encourage them with calm and loving words. I rejoiced to see her fortitude, though my heart was ready to break as I gazed on my dear ones.

    We knelt down together, one after another praying with deep earnestness and emotion. Fritz, in particular, besought help and deliverance for his dear parents and brothers, as though quite forgetting himself.

    Our hearts were soothed by the never-failing comfort of childlike, confiding prayer, and the horror of our situation seemed less overwhelming. "Ah," thought I, "the Lord will hear our prayer! He will help us."

    Amid the roar of the thundering waves I suddenly heard the cry of "Land, and!" while at the same instant the ship struck with a frightful shock, which threw everyone to the deck and seemed to threaten her immediate destruction.

    Dreadful sounds betokened the breaking up of the ship, and the roaring waters poured in on all sides. Then the voice of the captain was heard above the tumult, shouting, "Lower away the boats! We are lost!"

posted by: Brian Scott


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