Abigail’s Tale

Abigail’s Tale is a story that shows how people view the world from different perspectives, have different values and reach different conclusions out of the same information.

  1. Give them a printed version of the story or tell the story (maybe drawing the characters on a flipchart).
  2.  Give them 3′ to establish the guilty parties from the guiltiest to the less guilty.
  3. (Optional) Split them in pairs and give them 5′ to make the list (guiltiest to less guilty).
  4. Put them in groups of 5 with the same goal (a common list). (15-25′)
  5. Do a group discussion (15′).
  6. Debrief (15′).


  • Modify the story to have unisex names and ask at the end what would happen if that character was a woman (or a man); e.g.: Sinbad could be a woman and Abigail a boy. Or they could be gay.
  •  Modify the story to say “Abigail loved Tom” (instead of “they were in love”) and ask the question: “what would you say if Abigail was actually a stalker?” <– we don’t always have all the information and just reading some words on paper doesn’t mean we have the whole picture

Other things you can do/note:

  • Ask lateral thinking questions like “would you reorder your list if Abigail was 13? How?”
  • Sorting by Europe’s legal system we get: Bob beating Tom (no mitigating circumstances), Tom hitting Abigail (mitigating circumstances) and Sinbad (economic monopoly).
  • Fun fact: In Bulgaria one participant said Sinbad was the best business man ever. He found a need and offered fair services to fill the need. All demonstrated by the fact that Abigail accepted his offer.
  • When splitting them into pairs you can try pairs of different sex
  • In a training touching political subjects you can consider the story as a metaphor of how EU countries try to reach a common ground (though they have different values)
  • Different views/perspectives to be explored: culture, family ties, violence, friendship, loyalty, attitudes towards sexual activities
  • Some people will interpret the “Bob left with Abigail” part as if to mean that Abigail entered a relationship with Bob (but they could have just gone out for a drink). Interpretations vs facts.