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The Fable of the 18th Camel

The Consultant and the CamelOnce upon a time, a wealthy old man had three sons. When he died, he left his possessions to be divided among them, including his 17 prized camels. The first son was to receive half the camels, the second son a third of the camels, and the third son one-ninth of the camels. With such an odd number to grapple with, the sons were soon arguing with each other.

One day a wise woman rode by on her camel. Hearing their argument, she quickly set about dividing the herd according to the father’s wishes. She started by adding her camel to the lot for an even number of 18.

The first son received half of them, or 9. The second, one third, or 6. And the third son, one-ninth, or 2. Since 9 + 6 + 2 equals 17, the wise woman took her camel back and rode happily away.

Moral of the story: When confronted with what appears to be an impossible situation, especially at the end of life, we must be open-minded. The 18th camel reminds us that patient listening, education, support, and tools can unlock the seemingly unsolvable and bring about creative, life-changing solutions.

Ask Susan how the wisdom of the 18th camel can help you and your loved ones.


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