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Sacrificial Giving

In 1908, Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton headed an Antarctic expedition attempting to reach the South Pole. They came closer than any before but, 97 miles short of the pole, had to turn back.

In his diary Shackleton told of the time when their food supplies were exhausted save for one last ration of hardtack, a dried sort of biscuit, that was distributed to each man. Some of the men took snow, melted it, and made tea while consuming their biscuit. Others, however, stowed the hardtack in their food sacks, saving it for a last moment of hungry desperation.

The fire was built up, and weary, exhausted men climbed into their sleeping bags to face a restless sleep, tossing and turning. Shackleton said that he was almost asleep when out of the corner of his eye, he noticed one of his most trusted men sitting up in his bag and looking about to see if anyone was watching.

Shackleton's heart sank within him as this man began to reach toward the food sack of the man next to him. Shackleton watched as the man opened the food sack and took his own hardtack and put it in the other man's sack.

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