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