Caleb set sail for the island in the middle of the river. Since he was a little boy, he had been warned not to get too close to the place when out sailing. “Keep at least five miles between you and the island,” his father had told him. “Any closer and you may create problems for yourself and everyone else.”
Even from a distance, he could see the beauty of the flora, and he just could not believe that anything so stunning could be bad. He thought that his father had not possessed the courage to go there and now he wanted to keep Caleb from outdoing him But Caleb had more education than his father, who was just a fisherman.
So, he was in his father’s old boat, a new college graduate, sitting in the captain’s chair and reading a book by the light of the frosted light bulb. He was just going to get close enough to see the flowers, for he loved new and exotic flowers.
When he thought that he was close enough to see but not too close to get in trouble, Caleb started to drop the anchor. But before he could get the anchor over the side, he felt a strange pulling on the boat, and fearfully realized that the boat was being drawn to the island. Despite his best efforts, he could not stop the forward motion of the craft.
As the boat scraped the sand of the island, Caleb felt the hairs on the back of his skin stand up. There were bones scattered everywhere. No wonder the flowers grew so vibrant! Suddenly, he wanted nothing more than to go home, but he was stuck on the island, unable to go backwards, no matter what he tried.
What Caleb did not know was that the island was covered in lodestones, naturally magnetized pieces of the mineral named magnetite. The lodestones were attracted to the iron in the boat. No one who had ever found themselves on the island had discovered a way to break the attraction.
With tears in his eyes, Caleb realized why his father had not wanted him to get too close to the island, and it had nothing to do with one-upmanship. He had wanted to keep Caleb from getting putting his life in jeopardy. Caleb learned the hard way that book knowledge cannot outdo common sense fueled by experience and wisdom.