Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Eight Cow Wife

Have you heard the story about the eight cow wife? I'll paraphrase it here for those who haven't.

Once upon a time there was a girl. She wasn't a beautiful girl. She wasn't even a pretty girl. At least, she didn't believe that she was. Her self view was reflected in the way she presented herself to the world. She slumped her shoulders when she walked and hung her head whenever she thought someone might be looking in her direction. There was, however, one young man who saw what she didn't. He loved her.

Now in the fishing village where they lived, brides were purchased with cows. Yes, I said cows. It seems ridiculous to me but that's probably because I don't like cows very much. Don't ask me why I don't like cows. Or why my dislike of cows apparently bothers me more than the fact that the fictional dads were selling their daughters... I've gotten far enough off track already. Ahem. So for whatever the reason, cows were the currency for wife shopping on this island. A pretty girl was generally worth two or three cows. An extraordinary girl could earn her father four or even five cows.

The young man in our story offered eight cows to the father of his beloved. EIGHT! It was unheard of! Especially for a girl that no one else in the village felt was worth more than one.

Later, a traveler visited the island and heard all about the foolish transaction the young man had made. It turned out that the traveler had business with the same young man. While they discussed whatever business they had, the young man's wife came in to serve refreshments. The traveler was amazed. She couldn't be the same girl that he'd heard about in the village! The woman before him was striking. The grace and poise that she carried herself radiated accomplishment and dignity. When he questioned the young man about it, the groom replied that he paid eight cows because he wanted an eight cow wife.

The story implies that the respect that you show someone will, in turn, help that person gain self respect. I believe that to be true. Not always of course. There are some people who suck in every ounce of respect you offer and still continue to wallow in shallowness. But this isn't about them. This is about a young man who helped put a broken girl back together.

My self esteem had bottomed out by the time I met my husband, but even so he was able to see something in me that I couldn't. Over time, his love and patience has helped me become the person I am today - someone who knows with every fiber of her being that she is loved. As a father, he has taught our children, by example, that relationships should be based on mutual respect. He has shown that a husband and wife should value each other. He has given them a stable home life that they are able to grow, learn and thrive in.

So on this Father's Day I want to say Thank You to my wonderful husband!


  1. That is a great story. I have never heard of that. I'm going to go home right now and tell my wife I would easily give 8 cows for her!

  2. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  3. This is a powerful reminder and a special tribute. Glad you're writing.