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Jules Verne, the famous author of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", also wrote another book entitled "The Mysterious Island." The story is about five men who manage to escape from a Civil War prison camp by highjacking a hot-air balloon. Once aloft, they very quickly realize that the wind is carrying them in a direction that is going to lend to their demise if they do not do something about it. The problem is that they are carried out over the ocean.

Time passes exceedingly quickly and they notice land being left further behind. In addition, the balloon starts losing altitude. Since there is nothing to provide heat to give them altitude, they begin to throw things over the side of the basket. Shoes, coats, weapons are tossed overboard, and the balloon begins to rise again.

However, this is not enough. The balloon begins to sink again toward the waters and they begin to toss their food over the side. It is better to be hungry than to be dropped into the drink! But this does not last for long, and the balloon again starts to sink toward the ocean. This time one of the men suggests that they tie together the ropes that connect the balloon to the basket and sit on the ropes and cut away the basket. This is not exactly what they do, but it is enough of an idea that they decide to cut away the floor of the balloon that is tied in. With a quick untying of the ropes the floor of the balloon drops away and they are given another lift.

Shortly after this, land is spotted and as the balloon starts its final descent, they fall into the water and swim to an island. They would ultimately survive because they learned what they could live without.

(SOURCE: Philip Harrelson, "Trading the Superficial for the Substantial", 6/30/08, adapted from Get In The Ark, Steve Farrar, pp. 187-188)

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