The Oyster and the Disputants

  • La Fontaine
Part of the Advances in Group Decision and Negotiation book series (AGDN, volume 1)


One day two travelers on the beach Found an oyster within their reach. They looked, they pouted, but they could not Decide who’d eat it on the spot, And when one stopped to pick it up The other said, “Before we sup, We must decide who gets the shell. It should be he who first saw it well.” “If that’s the way,” the first one said, “My sight is good; I’m way ahead.” But the other said, “I see well, too, I’m better on that count than you.” “Yes, but even before you saw I felt its presence: that’s the law.” Unable to make each other budge. They asked Dandin to be the judge. He gravely opened up the shell And ate the oyster. Their faces fell. He then sat back satisfied And in a heavy voice replied, “The verdict is that each shall get An equal phase,” and so he let Each have one shell and, saying grace, Bade each be at peace with his place.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

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  • La Fontaine

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