This story comes from my friend and colleague Brooke Deratany Goldfarb. Brooke has a law degree from Harvard but rather than use her degree in the traditional sense she has chosen to practice as a family mediator and collaborative lawyer in Indialantic, FL. You can learn more about Brooke and her unique practice – Peaceful Beach Mediation.
Cat, Rabbit, and Fox were living in a forest. Cat and Rabbit started fighting over a piece of delicious cheese they had found in the forest. Rabbit broke the cheese into two pieces. Cat grabbed the larger piece for himself, announcing, “This piece is mine.”
Rabbit, of course, had to disagree, “No it isn’t, it is mine!”
Just then, Cat saw Fox walk by and called to him, “Mr. Fox, we have two pieces of cheese and I want the bigger piece, shouldn’t it be mine?”
Rabbit interjected protesting, “That’s not fair, I want the bigger piece, it should be mine!”
“I will solve this problem,” said Fox, “I will bite the bigger piece so that both pieces will be the same, “ and with that, Fox took a bite out of the bigger piece of cheese.
“But now the other piece is bigger!” complained Cat.
“No worries,” said Fox, “I will now take a bite out of the other piece.”
“But now the first piece is bigger, no fair!” cried Rabbit.
“Never fear, I will solve this problem for you,” said Fox. This process continued as Cat or Rabbit each time complained about how much cheese should be his or hers and with Fox taking bite after bite until finally, all the cheese was safely in Fox’s tummy. “Mmmm, that sure was good cheese, too bad you two lost your chance to have some.”
Cat started to whine, “But all the cheese is gone now!”
Fox grinned, “So it is. But at least the pieces are the same size,” and with that Fox ran off.
“But which piece was mine?” asked Rabbit in a daze.
“I guess it doesn’t matter now,” said Cat wistfully, “they are both gone, and now we don’t have any cheese at all.”
Only then Cat and Rabbit realized, “I guess we should have solved our problem ourselves.”
Brooke witnessed the saga of Cat, Rabbit, and Fox as a short play in her daughter’s theater class. She sent it to me with a note explaining that the tale struck her as “an illustration of the fall out of the litigated divorce with the loss of cheese signifying the loss of, among other things, the dignity of the participants.”
Thank you, Brooke!!
This post was picked up from a blog post by Elinor Robin, Ph.D. – a wonderful woman who has dedicated her life to conflict resolution. Check her out here.