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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