The Eight-Cow Wife

Today a coworker and I were discussing terms that relate to the value of something. The term that popped into my head was “ten-cow wife.” That’s a phrase I picked up from a short movie I’d watched in seventh grade. It was about a Polynesian trader who seemed to pay too many cows for his bride.

To my delight, I found the movie, Johnny Lingo, on YouTube. The version above has some strangely-worded pop-up notes, but it’s a timeless lesson about seeing someone’s potential, true worth, and inner beauty. The bride, it turns out, is an eight-cow wife; my middle school memory was two bovines off. 

How often do we judge someone’s appearance and not consider that there could be something extraordinarily beautiful and magical on the inside? Perhaps life’s difficulties, or pain, illness, or loneliness has worn them down. How often do we consider that if that person is treated with love and respect that their inner beauty and magic will start to radiate on the outside as well? Maybe they just need someone to love them and believe in them as God loves and believes in you.

I invite you to take 20-some minutes and watch this late ’60s classic, bad wigs, stereotypes, and all. As Feodor Dostoevsky said, to love someone means to see him as God intended him.


©2014 H. Hiatt/ All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/


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