Twenty Cows is a celebration of friendship and a lesson in self-worth.

A long time ago there was a widowed peasant farmer who was left to raise his daughter alone. He became a very bitter man, while his daughter became quiet and kind-hearted.
One day when the daughter was old enough to marry, a gentleman caller came to the farm and asked the farmer for his daughter's hand in marriage. The farmer was astounded and asked, "Why would you want to marry her?  She is homely, worthless and has no dowry."
The gentleman was adamant and said, "I would like more than anything in the world to have her as my bride." The farmer finally consented but only after requiring a price. "You must bring me a cow to cover my loss.  After all, she cleans my house, fixes my meals, and washes my clothes!" A cow, in those days, was considered a great sign of wealth and would be a more than generous compensation.
The gentleman agreed and said, "I will be back tomorrow for your daughter."
The farmer grunted in reply, not believing the gentleman's offer to be sincere. Yet the following day the gentleman returned with not one, but twenty cows trailing after him!
As the gentleman swept up his bride-to-be and took her away to be his wife, the farmer did not even notice. He was too overcome by his newfound wealth to be bothered with farewells. Without his daughter around to manage the household, his nicely kept home soon turned to squalor - and being the self-centered, greedy man that he was, he quickly squandered all of his wealth. 
Finally, unkempt, hungry and homeless, he decided to seek out his daughter in hopes that she would take him in. He knocked on the door of the house which he believed to be his son-in-law's home. When the door opened, a happy, glowing, gracious woman answered the door with a welcoming smile.
The farmer apologized, stammering, "I'm sorry mistress. I must have the wrong home. I was looking for my daughter ..." Just then his son-in-law approached from behind the woman and said, "Please come in.  My wife's father is always welcome in our home."  The woman quietly affirmed, "It is me, Father."
The farmer was mystified at the transformation of his daughter, "But you were so homely and worthless...", he stuttered. To which she gently replied, "If you believe you are worth twenty cows, then worth twenty cows you will become."
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This cleftAdvocate page was last updated March 25, 2014
Twenty Cows - The Fable
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