Something For The Weekend: The Alligator River Story!


Here is something for your weekend from our archives!

It has been used in many trainings, workshops and classrooms just to see how people’s opinions can be so different on the same topic and to understand the rationale behind people’s opinions. One of the most memorable days of my MBA course was the day we had group sessions on this story. We argued hard, each one with an opinion underlined by personal experiences, life values, religious perspectives etc. It was a lot fun though.

Here it is!

THE EXERCISE: After reading the story, rank the five (5) characters in the story beginning with the one whom you consider as the “most guilty” and end with the one whom you consider the “least guilty.” That is, the character who seems to be the most guilty for causing the whole troubleshould be the  first on the list , then the second most guilty, and so on, with the least guilty being the last on the list. Very briefly note why you rank them in the order that you do.


THE STORY: There lived a woman named Abigail who was in love with a man named Gregory. Gregory lived on the shore of a river. Abigail lived on the opposite shore of the same river. The river that separated the two lovers was teeming with dangerous alligators. Abigail wanted to cross the river to be with Gregory. Unfortunately, the bridge had been washed out by a heavy flood the previous week. So she went to ask Sinbad, a riverboat captain, to take her across. He said he would be glad to if she would consent to go to bed with him prior to the voyage. She promptly refused and went to a friend named Ivan to explain her plight. Ivan did not want to get involved at all in the situation. Abigail felt her only alternative was to accept Sinbad’s terms. Sinbad fulfilled his promise to Abigail and delivered her into the arms of Gregory. When Abigail told Gregory about her amorous escapade in order to cross the river, Gregory cast her aside with disdain. Heartsick and rejected, Abigail turned to Slug with her tale of woe. Slug, feeling compassion for Abigail, sought out Gregory and beat him brutally. Abigail was overjoyed at the sight of Gregory getting his due. As the sun set on the horizon, people heard Abigail laughing at Gregory.

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    March 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    i think they are guilty in this order

    abigail – why did she sleep with someone else, no matter the situation she should have.

    sinbad – he is a cunny man

    slug – who sent am message, he should mind his business

    gregory – his reaction was

    ivana – its her choice to advise or not


    omo'ba adeteju atanda-ajimotokan

    March 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    *Sinbad is the “most guilty”, he should have helped Abigail without demanding anything in return.
    *Gregory is the “second most guilty”, he should have understood that Abigail did all she did for the sake of love. He should have appreciated her for her sacrificial love instead of casting her aside with disdain.Also, he should appreciate her for being bold to confess her escapade, what if she never told Gregory all she had to do to cross the river???
    *Slug is the “third most guilty”, he should have simply begged Gregory to forgive Abigail instead of beating Gregory up.
    *Abigail is the “third most guilty”, she should have simply begged Gregory the more instead of reporting him to a third party who beat him up. All for love sake, Abigail should not have been laughing when Slug beat up Gregory.
    *Ivan is the “Least guilty” becaus he never got himself from the beginning.

    Those are my own thoughts from the story!!!


    Rita Agbor-Oduneye

    March 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    This is what I think:
    Sinbad- For making such proposal
    Abigail- For accepting to do so
    Ivan- is not a friend at all,she sud have advised her and probably she wud change her mind.
    Slug- for being a bad judge who cud have saved the matter.
    Greg- For not forgiving her(it is natural to feel d way he felt,but with d rite words he will change)



    March 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Abigal is the most guilty, what is she looking for sef, she should have stayed where they put her. if Gregory feels the same way she feels about him, he would cross the river jor!


    myne Whitman

    March 24, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Interesting comments, Yomi made me laugh. I think None of them is guilty, they are all human. To err…



    March 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    *Abigail – for loving foolishly; putting her pride on the line for a man who never went out of his way for her…note it was written that Abigail was in love with Gregory, same was not said for him as he eventually proved true.
    *Ivan – for not being a friend at all…if s/he had gotten involved for the sake of friendship, s/he would probably have been able to advice Abigail of the futility of the foolhardy venture
    *Gregory – for being a typical selfish guy, eager to receive without giving nothing back…happy he got served! lol
    *Slug – two wrongs dont make a right, enuff said.
    *Sinbad – he was the most forthright, no pretences…presented himself as he is, struck a deal and acted within the confines of the deal…abi Abigail cry rape? lolll



    March 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    To me, none is guilty , just too human like what Myne wrote. God hlep us all.


    umo anwana

    April 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    rilly?????????evry1 of them’s guilty of course but can u rilly blame them,we are all so human!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Bidemi Abdulai

    April 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Abigail – Why couldn’t she ask Gregory to come over, instead of going over herself; of course as a man he would have been able to find a way to cross the river. In fact, she presented herself as a desperado.

    Gregory – Since he claimed that he loved Abigail why would he leave the poor lady to herself to look for a way to come be with him. As the man, he should have taken the lead to go see Abigail and prove his love to her.

    Ivan – He’s supposed to be a friend; so he was in a position to advise Abigail against giving in to an opportunist istead he chosed not to have anything to do with the matter. What are friends for, anyway?

    Slug – Instead of going to beat Gregory up, he should have sat Abigail down and talked some sense into her against a future occurrence. Why would he beat Gregory? I think Gregory is just being a man; most men would have behaved same way. Or which man would be happy to hear the story of his partner’s escapade with another man, even if it had been before they started seeing?

    Sinbad – I actually don’t see Sinbad as being guilty, he’s just a stupid opportunist. But Abigail went to him;he didn’t rape her; he even gave her time to consider the condition.And she came back to offer herself. And of course he fulfiled his promise of carrying the lady across the river.


    oluwaseun ola

    April 11, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Abigail: u don’t get anything worthwhil by using cunningly-deviced under-handed methods even in d name of love
    Simbad: he took advantage of a person in a desperate state of mind willin to do any unreasonable thing even when very stupid
    Slug: who sent him? What’s his own? 2 wrongs don’t make 1/2 a right sef. Does he think She’ll then trip for a street (or river-side fighter)
    Gregory: feelin like a G abi? Cos she gave up her virtue to Sinbad to b with him. He shdnt have rejected her even if he didn’t feel d same kind of “gizh gizh feelings for her.
    Ivana: she chose to mind her business. well, ok,but she shd have at least offered a listenin ear/shoulder to lean on



    May 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    i go with @umo anwana they are all guilty and that is humans for you.



    June 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Starting from most Guilty: Abigail,for sleeping w someone other than her lover and then laughing at him.
    Sinbad:for using what he cld ve done freely to satisfy his disgustin lust for another mans woman
    Slug: for getting his hands dirty bcos of an adulterer.did he want a piece of d cake too?
    Ivon:for not trying to see if he cld help abigail in any way. And finally
    Gregory:he did what any full_blooded male would man wamts to share his woman,no matter d circumstances.



    June 3, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Sinbad is not to blame at all, he made a proposal, no matter how selfish it was, its left for her to say yes or no, or who amongst u all ever did anytin to gain nothing? No matter how small? Only jesus did dat (excuse me for saying dat) but all human are selfish, its only the degree and extent dat differs. Abigail is most guilty and stupid, u should never use ur body or sex as a wager unless if its a life and death situation. And slug is a stupid man, the type that everyman must pray never to be, gregory was being human but am sure time and sweet words would eventually sway his mind, saing he should av understand is like sld be a super man. I would have acted like ivana too, I would love to stay away from such web of complication. And abigail shows her real self by laughing at a man who chose to walk off the mess she created in d first place.

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