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LWML > Resources > Quarterly Magazine

Lutheran Woman's Quarterly Magazine

The Ten Cow Bride

LuJuana shares a beautiful illustration of how love changes
lives, as told by a friend’s South African nanny …

“In a village in the heart of Africa lived a very wealthy king with six lovely daughters and one very plain — some would say ugly — daughter. Now, this wise king knew the value of daughters. When it was time for them to be married — according to their tradition — a labolla, or wedding gift, was to be presented to the king before any marriage proposal.

“Now the pretty daughters were chosen and were married as soon as they came of age. The plain daughter matured, and when it was her turn to be married, there was no suitor in sight. The villagers were not kind as they snickered about who might be the unfortunate candidate to have to marry the most homely of the king’s daughters. But the king was a kind father. He decided to seek a husband for his daughter because he was concerned about her unhappiness and despair. He approached the prince of a neighboring village and tried to strike a compromise by saying that the lowest of labolla would be most acceptable.

Cows“Unfortunately, the prince turned the king down. Distressed, the king offered a lower compromise, and still he was refused. Then the king offered no labolla, convinced that at least this would be accepted. And yet the prince refused. The astonished king then asked if he was expected to pay to have this prince marry his daughter.

“The prince looked at the unhappy king, paused, and then asked the strangest of questions. ‘How much was the highest labolla paid for one of your daughters?’ Sputtering, the king replied, ‘Five cows!’

“The prince again paused, quietly looked into the eyes of the king, and said, ‘I will pay ten cows for the honor of marrying your daughter.’

“The shocked king was hardly able to comprehend his good fortune but quickly accepted and closed the deal. Hurrying
back to his village, he happily spread the news of this most prosperous of events. The villagers were astounded.

“The wedding celebration was a long and happy event. The prince and his bride left to go to their new home.

“Several months later, all the daughters gathered for a celebration. As the plain daughter approached the gathering,
everyone gasped. She had transformed into a glowing and beautiful woman! Throughout the celebration, she recounted how the prince had secretly been in love with her for years and was shocked when her father came to him first. He had been willing to pay the highest of labolla to show how much he valued and treasured her. He continued expressing his love for her and she began to realize how precious she was to him. Gradually, she allowed his love to shine through her.

“The beauty that everyone could now see was a reflection
of his love.”

Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly

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