- 5 years ago
- Wedding: February 2013
I have loved this story the first time I read it many years ago. I have dreamed and prayed for someone to love me and make me feel the same way and I’m just so happy with my dear husband that I remembered this story again.
Spreading Love to all the bees!! 🙂
The Eight-Cow Wife by Patricia McGerr
A long time ago there lived a young islander named Johnny Lingo. He lived on Nurabandi, not far from the island Kiniwata in the Pacific. Johnny was one of the brightest strongest and richest men in the islands, but people shook their heads and smiled about a business deal he had made with a man on Kiniwata. He had paid the unheard-of-price of eight cows for a wife, who was by any standards unattractive. As one fellow explained, “It would be kindness to call her plain. She was skinny. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow.”
The amazing fact was in those days, two or three cows could buy an average wife, and four or five a highly satisfactory one. Why would Johnny pay eight? Everyone figured Sarita’s father, Sam Karoo, had taken young Johnny for a ride, and that’s why they smiled whenever they discussed the deal.
The teller of the story finally met Johnny for herself and inquired about his eight-cow purchase of Sarita. She assumed he had done it for his own vanity and reputation—at least she thought that until she saw Sarita: “She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin, the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right.” Sarita was not the plain girl she had expected, and the explanation lay with Johnny Lingo.
“Do you ever think,” he asked, “what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two? This could not happen to my Sarita.”
“Then you did this just to make your wife happy?”
“I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands.”
“Then you wanted—“
“I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman.”
“But—she said, close to understanding.
“But,” he finished softly, “I wanted an eight-cow wife.”