Group Evaluation and Compromise Activity








There are five principal characters in the story below:

The ferryman
The merchant
The woodcutter

Working as a group, rank all five of these characters based on their moral behavior. (You may do so physically or in the
Moo). Put at the top of the list the name of the person whose actions are easiest to justify morally, and then put the other names below that name in the order of moral ranking. Explain your answers in an e-mail and send it to me - make sure that all th names of everyone in the group is on this e-mail! And the end of class we will present.

In a small coastal village, a girl named Abby once loved a man named Carl who was forced to leave her to care for his sick mother. Abby wanted to marry Carl but her parents refused to allow her to marry him, saying that she would have to wait until her older sister was married first. Her older sister would not be married for another two years.

Carl's parents lived on an island that could only be reached by a ferry. He promised to be faithful to Abby and that he would return to her in eight years. Abby loved Carl so much that she was determined to be reunited with him sooner than eight years. She went to the man who operated the only ferry that went to the island and asked him to take her. The ferryman said he would only make the trip to the island for a certain amount of gold. Abby was from a poor family and didn't have the amount of money the ferryman wanted. Abby begged the ferryman to take her to the island out of pity, but the ferryman refused. However, he did offer her second proposition. If she agreed to sleep with him one night, he would take her to the island the next day without charging her the gold.

Abby was outraged and walked away from the ferryman. There was a merchant in the village who occasionally used the ferry, and Abby went to him to tell him what the ferryman said to her. He listened to her story attentively but told her that he wouldn't loan her any money for the ferry because he didn't know enough about her or her family to be certain that she could repay the debt. Abby begged the merchant again to loan her the money out of pity, but he refused and told her to leave and not trouble him any further.

Abby still longed to be with Carl and felt that she had no other choice but to take the ferryman's second proposition. She spent one night with the ferryman, and he took her to the island the following day exactly as he agreed. Abby decided to say nothing to Carl about having spent the night with the ferryman.

Carl was delighted to see Abby and asked her to marry him so she could stay with him and he could still care for his sick mother. Abby agreed to marry him and they both decided to marry in a week. In the meantime, the merchant made a trip to the island for business and told someone on the island a story about a woman who begged him to loan her money so she wouldn't have to sleep with the ferryman. Eventually, Carl heard about the merchant's story and questioned Abby to find out if the story was true. Abby confessed that she had slept with the ferryman. She told Carl that she wanted to be with him so badly that she was willing to do almost anything to reunite with him. Carl grew angry and told her that he could not marry her because the marriage would bring shame to him and his family.

Abby left Carl in tears and wandered away into a grove on the island and thought about committing suicide. A man on the island who was a woodcutter found Abby in the grove and listened to her story and tried to find words to comfort her. She continued to weep and said that nothing could bring her happiness again because her lover had rejected her. The woodcutter was moved to anger by the story and went to Carl's family's house and beat Carl to a pulp.


Developed by Andrew Marotta


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