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Simulation Exercise, Exercise, Group Division, Group Building Activity

Abigail's Tale

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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.

Aims of the tool

When mixing with people from different cultures we should be aware that all their actions, values and attitudes are not necessarily defined by their culture. With this exercise you can show how similar people think differently, how they have different moral values and different ways of seeing reality.

Description of the tool

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.

Available downloads:


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SALTO cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.

Tool overview

Abigail's Tale

This tool addresses

Social Inclusion, Anti-Racism, Group Dynamics, Conflict Management, Gender issues

It is recommended for use in:

Youth Exchanges
Training and Networking

Materials needed:

Abigail's Tale (either a printed version of the story or you can draw it on a Flipchart while telling it). It's attached in the files section.



Behind the tool

The tool was created by

none, it's a story (though the variations were created by Bogdan Vaida)

The tool has been experimented in

Youth Exchanges, Seminars, Bootcamps, Trainings and others

The tool was published to the Toolbox by

Bogdan Vaida (on 26 November 2015)

and last modified

18 November 2015

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