Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson
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The Story
 

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island in 1881. It is set in the days of sailing ships and pirates and tells of the adventures of Jim Hawkins and his search for the buried treasure of an evil pirate, Captain Flint.

The story begins at 'The Admiral Benbow', the inn that belongs to Jim Hawkin's parents. A mysterious stranger called Billy Bones, who rents a room at the inn, warns Jim to keep a look out for a 'one legged man'. One day, Billy is visited by a beggar called 'Blind Pew' who gives him the 'black spot' which is the mark of imminent death among pirate crews. After Blind Pew leaves, Billy collapses and dies.

Jim finds a map in Billy's sea chest just before Blind Pew returns with a band of evil pirates. Jim and his mother quickly hide before the pirates ransack the Inn looking for the map. Suddenly soldiers arrive and the pirates escape, except for Blind Pew who is accidentally trampled to death by the soldiers' horses.

Jim takes the map to Squire Trelawney and Doctor Livesey who realise that it shows where Captain Flint, an evil and heartless pirate, has buried his stolen treasure. The Squire and the Doctor decide to go and find the treasure and invite Jim to come along. The Squire then buys a ship called the 'Hispaniola' and hires a crew led by the respected Captain Smollet. The ship's cook is a one legged man called Long John Silver whom everyone admires.

The ship sets sail and Captain Smollet immediately begins to doubt the trustworthiness of his crew. However, the night before they reach Treasure Island Jim overhears Silver and other members of the crew plotting to kill them all. He realises that Long John Silver and most of the crew are actually pirates and were once members of Captain Flint's crew.

Jim warns the Doctor, the Squire and the Captain about the crew's evil plans. The Captain sends most of the pirates ashore and Jim decides, at the last moment, to go ashore with them. Once there, he hides in the woods.

Whilst Jim is hiding he comes across Ben Gunn, an ex-pirate who had been marooned on the island three years ago, by his crewmates. Ben has given up piracy and promises to help Jim and his friends. Meanwhile the Captain and the others abandon the Hispaniola and take refuge in an old stockade on the Island.

The pirates quickly realise that their plans have been discovered and attack the Captain and the others to get the treasure map. However, for the time being the Captain and his crew are safe in the stockade.

Jim manages to sneak into the stockade and is reunited with his friends. They spend the night in the stockade and the next morning Silver approaches waving a flag of truce. Silver offers them their lives in exchange for the treasure map but the Captain refuses and soon another gunfight starts. The stockade is attacked by the pirates, who are fought off, though there are men killed on both sides. Captain Smollett is also injured.

Jim decides to escape from the stockade and goes off without telling the others. He finds a boat that Ben Gunn has told him he has hidden and then sails out to the Hispaniola and cuts its mooring ropes. He falls asleep in the boat exhausted.

In the morning he only just manages to escape from drowning as the sea has become very rough. Luckily he spots the drifting Hispaniola and manages to board her. There are only two pirates on board, one of whom has been killed in a drunken brawl by the other. After a terrifying fight, Jim kills the last pirate and manages to steer the ship into a small cove. He then heads back to the stockade to rejoin his friends.

The stockade is now in the hands of long John Silver and his mates. Jim is captured and is given the choice to join them. When he refuses the pirates want to kill him but Silver talks them out of it. Silver tells Jim that the Doctor has given him the map and also abandons the stockade in exchange for being allowed to go free.

Silver tells Jim that he is now on the side of the Doctor. At this point the pirates attempt to give Silver the black spot but withdraw it when he reveals that he has the map. They agree to go and find the treasure the next day.

The treasure hunt begins and Jim is dragged along. The weather is hot and sweaty and the pirates are edgy. When they finally reach the spot where the treasure should have been hidden they discover only an empty chest!

Silver immediately realises that there will be trouble and gives Jim a pistol with which to defend himself. The pirates turn angrily on Silver and are just about to attack him when there is a shot from the woods that kills one of them. The Doctor and Ben Gunn then appear and the pirates run off, heading for the remaining long boat left from the Hispaniola.

Jim and his friends get there first and demolish the boat. At this point Ben Gunn reveals that he had dug up the treasure several years ago and it is now in his cave. Jim takes everyone to the Hispaniola and they transport the treasure from Ben's cave to her hold. Silver still claims to be on the Doctor's side and helps them at every opportunity. Finally they set sail and leave Treasure Island and the last couple of pirates behind. They first sail the Hispaniola to America to get more crewman and moor there for one night.

In the morning they discover that Silver and some of the treasure have disappeared. Finally they return home, the Captain makes a full recovery, Ben Gunn becomes a respectable citizen and Jim swears never to go chasing treasure again. No one ever hears of Long John Silver again.

 
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