The Treasured Book

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Treasure Island, is without any doubt the book I most associate with my son, Harry’s boyhood. Not only did we read it together, we lived and re-lived it through tracing the map that Jim Hawkins and his mother found in the old sea chest that belonged to Billy Bones who died at their Admiral Benbow Inn.  

What made Treasure Island all the more special were the fireside conversations which I overheard between Harry and my  father on dark winter evenings. Such was the excitement in their voices, I used to think that Long John Silver, Israel Hands, Dr. Livesey, Captain Smollett … and, young Jim Hawkins, of course, were all sitting on apple barrels taking turns at stoking up the coals.

These conversations were always punctuated with a bawdy rendition from the my two pirates of:

Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
 

Robert Louis Stevenson died, on this day in 1894, aged only 44. It seems fitting that the great Scotsman, who brought such a sense of adventure to our lives,  died in a small village, Vailima, in Samoa.

While I’d known for the last few days that today was Robert Louis Stevenson’s anniversary, it was by sheer coincidence that one of Father’s  books of wit and wisdom which lives in my ‘study,’ fell open this morning on a page about the meaning of life and this quote from Robert Louis Stevenson was at the very top:

Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all life really means. 
(Robert Louis Stevenson)

 

In a weird kind of way, I’m not sure whether I’m hearing these words directly from Robert Louis Stevenson or through the crack in the sitting-room door where Father and Harry had so many of their long, animated chats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

12 thoughts on “The Treasured Book”

  1. I remember reading this book in High School and it intrigue me then as it still does today…Remember “Ben Gunn”..and the way that you were a marked person some colored spot…the motion picture is great too…In fact I knitted a pirate figure for our great grandson along with the parrot on his shoulder…

  2. I don’t think it was coincidence at all that the book feel open on this day, as memories flooded your thoughts. So glad you put all of it together into a post, it’s a great one!

    1. Hi Sheryl, Couldn’t agree more about Robert Louis Stevenson. As for Father and Harry, it was always difficult to know which of them was more enthusiastic about Treasure Island (and lot’s of other things as well!)

  3. Stevenson understood very well about writing a story that would capture the imagination of boys.

    “There comes a time in every rightly-constructed boy’s life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.”
    ~ Mark Twain, from “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”

    And in fairness, I must say girls also seek treasure. For it has been my experience to see them drawn to it.

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