Well, I happen to really love this story - because it's about holding someone high and placing value in who they are, rather than basing their value on what others think of them. I have referenced this story (I heard a different version when I was going through THE WORK) many times in my dealings with others and determined that the ultimate measure of a man (or woman) is how they treat you.
Here's the story:
The young chieftan wanted to start his own sub-villiage, so he approached the tribe’s king to get his blessing and advice. The king liked the young man, adding that several wives would be needed if he were to succeed in the venture. It would be important that he built many huts, a pen to keep livestock, and farm enough grain to support the people and animals.
The warrior knew this, and carefully laid out his plan for a village. He explained that there were other young men who wanted to join him, and he pointed to a site on a nearby hill where he planned to live. The king consented. ”When the times comes, may I purchase one of your daughters to start a family?” he asked. The buying of women was the way of that Africian tribes in that place and that time, and cattle was the primary means of barter.
The king had always liked the young man, and was glad about the news. “Absolutely,” the king responded enthusiastically. “Get your villiage built, raise some cattle, then come back to see me. I have many daughters, and I will give you a good value for your money.”
A year passed. The young chieftan arrived at the king’s hut with a small herd of cattle, indicating that he was ready to purchase a wife. “Take your pick; all of my daughters are over there, in that special maiden’s hut.
After a short while, the younger chief returned, bringing with him a young woman who stood in dirty clothes, bent over, and dirty. “This is the woman I want to purchase, Your Highness,” said the suitor. “I will offer you nine cows for her."
The king was taken aback. “Are you mad? Of all the daughters I have, this one is the most miserable and disagreeable. She is always frowning and moody; she does not sing nor does she dress well. She is certainly not worth nine cows! Two, three cows at best, but not nine cows.
“Sire,” said the chieftan, “I know what I am doing. I insist on giving you nine cows for her. She will be my queen.”
Reluctantly, the king accepted the offer, insisting that the younger man deliver the payment in increments of two or three cows at a time. “I do not want anyone to know that I charged you so much for such a miserable bride.” The young man made his payment, and took the woman, unimpressive as she was, back to his village.
He said, “She was always beautiful;
You saw her as worthless, and I saw her as a nine-cow woman.”
Several years passed. As was his custom, the king wandered among the subvillages, to see how things were progressing and to gather knowledge of his people. He happened upon the same young chieftian’s group of huts, and was immediately impressed with all the prosperity and upbeat mood there. He couldn’t help notice a beautiful woman walking head held high through the townspeople, smiling broadly. Her warmth and energy was clearly spreading to those around her. “I see you are doing well, son,” said the king. “And that woman — she’s absolutely beautiful. Who is she? Is that my daughter — the one you paid so much for?”
“I always saw her as worth much more, Sire,” said the younger man. “And when I treated her like she had greater value, she became a queen. She’s my nine-cow wife. She was never anything less, in my eyes.”
Thanks to Jim Cook, my LifeSpring instructor, who passed this story on to me many years ago. –RN. taken from http://knobstock.wordpress.com/2007/10/13/the-nine-cow-woman/