We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world,
and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson


Robert Balfour Louis Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, short story writer, poet and musician. Born in 1850 in Edinburgh, he suffered from poor health all his life and rarely went to school as a child. He was taught at home by private tutors and wrote many stories throughout his childhood. His father was proud of this talent and paid for the printing of his first publication at sixteen. Although Stevenson studied to be a lawyer, he knew he wanted to become a writer.

His ill health forced him to travel the world in order to find a better climate. He travelled throughout France but then, further away, to the USA and the Pacific Islands. In fact these journeys inspired him to write not only his famous adventure novels like Treasure Island and Kidnapped but also travel reports and political commentaries. In 1890 he moved to an island in Samoa where he became involved in local life. He used the native name Tusitala, which means ‘storyteller’. He died and was buried there at the age of 44 in 1894. Stevenson was a successful and famous writer during his lifetime and is now the 26th most translated author in the world.


Illustration by ​Giovanni Manna, taken from Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, Reading and Training, Step 2 (B1.1)