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Chapter 18: Cannibals
Two years after the discovery of the footprint, Crusoe wanders one day to a part of the island he has never been to before. Looking out at the sea, he thinks he sees a boat in the distance, but he is not sure. When he comes down the hill to the shore, he is horrified to see skulls, hands, feet, and other bones of human beings. There is a place where a fire has been made and a circle dug in the earth. It was there that the savages had sat down to enjoy their feast. Crusoe is grateful to God for having been cast on the side of the island where the savages never venture and where he had lived undetected for eighteen years. But his discovery makes him worried and fearful. For two years he keeps to his side of the island, until his uneasiness slowly wears off.
At first, Crusoe's mind runs wild with ideas of how to punish the savages for their cannibalistic ways. He constantly keeps watch from his side of the hill for two or three months. He then begins to wonder if he has any right to condemn the savages, who are not aware that they are committing a crime. He gives thanks to God that he has not taken justice into his own hands, committing murder. Still, to be safe, Crusoe takes his boat away and hides it in a little cave. Additionally, he rarely ventures out of his cave.
After two years of quiet, the action picks up again. Crusoe discovers that cannibals have visited his island. His initial reaction is to be horrified and sickened at the thought. His feelings of gratitude towards God for having kept him safely hidden all these years shows that Crusoe has progressed in his spiritual journey.
When he finds the remains from the cannibals, Crusoe goes back to his "castle," not in terror, but in a frame of thankfulness. Later, he is overcome by feelings of anger at the behavior of the savages and thinks of ways to punish them. Crusoe automatically assumes the role of an imperial agent whose purpose is to punish and correct the savages. As Crusoe thinks more about the savages, he reaches the conclusion that he has no right to assume the role of God and judge another man. After all, the savages do not know they are committing a crime. He also admits that some white men, such as the Spaniards, have at times been crueler than any savage. With these new conclusions, Crusoe thanks God for keeping him from acting irrationally against the savages.