I was reading my sisters blog about how people drift away from each other as time passes by and how especially amongst women, after marriage they tend to get engrossed in their new roles. It brought to mind an utterly unrelated story I had read a million years ago..okay not a million… It was published in Readers Digest magazine & it was one of the most poignant stories I have ever read. I still don’t recollect the name of the author or the title of the story or the exact sequence of events but the essence remained and I’d like to share it with everyone.
The story is narrated by an outsider who’s come visiting this beautiful place. In some cultures, the young man once he has decided whom he wants to marry, must take a ‘dowry’ to the girls’ father to prove to him how much his daughter is worth to the young man. In one such culture that worth is shown in terms of cows. For instance if you take 7-8 cows, the girl must be spectacular to look at…like Aishwarya Rai or Rachel Weisz(yep I do think both women are stunningly beautiful). And of course the less good looking or talented, etc the girl, the lesser the number of cows. Can you imagine old aunts and grandmothers sitting and discussing how they were married for 6 cows…oh look at that girl, she’s not worth the 5 cows he gave her father…or… wow, she’s better than the 8 cows he presented to her father..etc etc you get the idea! I think it’s a Hawaiian tradition, I’m not sure. So there was this sweet but plain looking young girl who was of marriageable age who was very skilled and talented but whilst all her friends were getting married for more than 6 cows, no one was coming to her father with any such offer. Then one day this nice young man shows up and offers her father 7 cows for her hand in marriage. Thats all he could give for her as he didn’t have any money left to get more he said. Of course the whole village was shocked & so was the girl for she never expected more than 4 cows!! And so amidst lots of celebration the wedding took place and the couple exchanged vows.
Whether the author left the village or the couple did, I’m not sure. The details are a bit hazy :-p There was a lot of speculation as to why the man offered so many cows but over time the chatter quieted itself. Sometime later the author went to visit the couple. When he got to the house, a very beautiful & stunning young lady opened the door. The author was baffled…he had all these thoughts running through his head about the identity of this lovely woman but it went away when the woman smiled at him in recognition. Could it be that this was the same woman…Oh yes it was… it was the same plain Jane… the same eyes. He was stunned. The husband realising that some explanation was due, invited the author for a conversation. And no, he wasn’t a plastic surgeon!!
The man said that he gave 7 cows for her because to him, she was worth that and much more. He would’ve given more if it had been possible. The author realised that this beautiful young lady had understood what she was worth. She realised that she was beautiful and that she was valued. It changed her from the inside and that change reflected on her exterior as well. She became more valuable than the dowry of 7 cows!
🙂 I don’t think I need to add an afterthought but I’m sure you’ll share your comments on this!
interesting.. what were u thinking about when you wrote about that story?
was thinking about relationship dynamics. about how we can influence each other to become better people or worse sometimes. this story keeps popping up in my head now & again. i wish i knew a way to find that story again. there are quite a few readers digest published stories that i'd like to read again.