Riddle: There are two men celebrating a one-year anniversary of a shipwreck at a restaurant. One man (man #1) orders steak and the other man (man #2) orders abalone. The man that orders steak takes a bite and is satisfied. The other man that orders abalone takes a bite, runs outside, and shoots himself. Why?
Answer: There were three people on a ship: the two men and the wife of man #2. When the ship is wrecked, the wife of man #2 dies, and the two men swim to a nearby island. One night, while waiting to be rescued, the two men needed food, so man #1 secretly serves man #2 his dead wife, telling him that he is eating abalone. At the restaurant a year later, man #2 takes a bite of abalone noting that it tastes nothing like the abalone he had on the island. Upon realizing that man #1 lied to him and that he didnt eat abalone on the island, but rather he ate his wife, he went outside and shot himself.
Alex said he heard this riddle while he was at a summer camp called Outward Bound, located on the boundary waters of Minnesota. A fellow camper who was from upstate New York but was half-Japanese and half-French told it to him, but Alex does not know where the fellow camper learned it. They used it to pass the all the empty time they had. Alex says he still uses this riddle because it is fun and hard and nobody can ever get it. In order to make it a little tougher, sometimes he doesnt mention that they were
celebrating an anniversary of a shipwreck, but usually people need that hint otherwise the riddle could take days to solve.
I am not sure why the fish is abalone as opposed to any other kind of fish. I suppose that since man #1 didnt want man #2 knowing he was eating his own wife, he had to make up a really exotic fish name for man #2, a fish he has never eaten before so that he cant recognize the taste. It is interesting to note that Alex heard this from a person of Japanese and French descent, but I dont think this relates to the origins of the riddle. Abalone is found in many places throughout the world, so it is possible it came from Japan or France, but it is also very likely to have come from any number of places.
I have not heard this riddle other than from Alex. However, I use it in the same way as him. Whenever I am at a camp, or looking for a way to pass the time with friends, I give them this riddle and it usually keeps everyone entertained for an hour. This riddle is for all age groups and can be used anytime, not just with teenagers who are at camp looking to pass the time.