Johhny Lingo's 8 cow wife

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    This story was recomended by Tzippi in another thread, and she is right; it should be required reading for chassanim and married folks alike. (Posted below, l’toeles ha’rabim)


    condensed from Woman’s Day Patricia McGerr

    “Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want and let him do the bargaining,” advised Shenkin. “Johnny knows how to make a deal.”

    “Johnny Lingo! A boy seated nearby hooted the name and rocked with laughter.

    “What goes on?” I demanded. “everybody tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up. Let me in on the joke.”

    “Oh, the people like to laugh,” Shenkin said, shruggingly. “Johnny’s the brightest, the strongest young man in the islands, And for his age, the richest.”

    “Only one thing. Five months ago, at fall festival, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He paid her father eight cows!

    “Never been paid before.”

    “I said it would be kindness to call her plain. She was skinny. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow.”

    “But how?”


    “They speak of me on that island?”

    He smiled gently. “My wife is from Kiniwata.”

    “Yes, I know.”

    “They speak of her?”

    “A little.”

    “What do they say?”

    “Why, just…” The question caught me off balance. “They told me you were married at festival time.”

    “Nothing more?” The curve of his eyebrows told me he knew there had to be more.

    They also say the marriage settlement was eight cows.” I paused.

    “They wonder why.”

    “They ask that?” His eyes lightened with pleasure. “Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?”

    I nodded.

    “And in Nurabandi everyone knows it too.” His chest expanded with satisfaction. “Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita.”

    “You think eight cows were too many?” A smile slid over his lips. “No. But how can she be so different?”

    “Do you ever think,” he asked, “what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband has settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two?” This could not happen to my Sarita.”

    “Then you did this just to make your wife happy?”

    “I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. You say she is different This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands.” “Then you wanted -“

    “I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman.”

    “But,” he finished softly, “I wanted an eight-cow wife.”


    (sigh)and when i fiiiiinallly got my “get”i was advised to be moichel the kesubah….they knew i was so happy to get it i didn’t know or care…guess i was a “one cow”wife!


    Yes, this is why guys insist on many years of support. They want their wife to be able to have a million dollar husband.

    (I figured if nobody had a serious response, I’d get involved.)



    Any connection to the Parsha where Pharaoh dreamed about the 7 fat cows eating the 7 skinny cows?

    Seriously speaking, the value you put on a person greatly affects the way they value themselves. The story of Johnny Lingo shows how you can bring out the best or the worst in a person.

    However this story is not reality and is largely based on fantasy. Natural physical beauty is a gift from Hashem. Today, with the right cosmetics and dressing knowhow a girl who is even “plain” looking can put herself together and look attractive. Confidence and a strong self esteem can add to her beauty and make her personality attractive, but to think that if a girl has a strong self esteem she will become an instant beauty is ridiculous and foolish. I have met girls and married women who are accomplished and seem very confident who are not particularly attractive. Yes their confidence does add to their likability but it doesnt make a person a beauty.

    The message though is extremely important for every dating guy and girl to know. You want your spouse to shine, treat them like gold. You want your kids to shine treat them like gold.

    This is also true in the business world. You want your employees to shine treat them like gold. Its just a way of dealing with people and bringing out the best in them.


    WIY, I disagree with you totally. You see in a person what you choose to see in them. And the more you get to know someone the more you value them and therefore the more handsome or beautiful they become to you. Because beauty is not only on the surface and it is a smile, a twinkle in the eye a certain look that also makes a person attractive. So at first glance a person may not seem beautiful but the more you study them and get to know them, your first impressions change, and as you said as they build confidence in themselves and learn how to put on makeup the right way, or change their hairstyle, glasses or the way they dress or carry themselves, that will make a huge difference too.

    When my son introduced me to my future daughter-in-law, i didn’t get it. I didn’t see what he saw. Now when she walks through the door she takes my breath away, she is so beautiful. Did she really change so much over the years or was it me?


    BP Totty

    at first i thought it was a nice story. i tried to tell my wife she was an 8 cow lady, all she heard was she’s a cow!! then i got a rolling pin to the head.

    Now the cow, put the bread winner in the dog house, help!!


    WIY, Aries:

    Pashut a Gemorah that all Jewish girls have inner beauty which can be brought out with enough money 🙂


    eclipse -Don’t put yourself down. You need to work on your self-esteem.


    Very funny, Chesed!

    Eclipse – It only means that your 1st husband did not know the value of who he had. The next time around (I’H soon!) your true (self) worth will be taken into account.

    And lastly Aries, I think its a combination of both. She grew into the new role and you are now able to see her true potential that was just below the surface


    Health,my friends keep telling me that. I compliment others freely and sincerely(thus,the thread I started) but I do tend to make jokes at my OWN expense!

    Mods?I am hereby changing my username to “8cow wife”–wait,make that 20cows.joking.If I was thin that would be funny,but since I’m not—oops!there I go again!see how hard it is to break a habit?



    thin is relative, i would bet next to 8 cows, you’re a super star, a perfect 10! and super skinny 🙂


    BP Totty, Nope she is really gorgeous, either she got more beautiful as she aged or I was really blind.



    when was the last time you told her so?


    Ah, that’s what all F-I-L’s say! Not to worry; when my kids gets out of the freezer, I’m gonna be billing him as the BEST BOCHER in BMG (cause he is, after all..

    But seriously, don’t underestimate the power of a truly happy marriage. Your son had the good fortune to bring out her best. Oif alleh Yiddishe kinder gezookd!

    YW Moderator-42

    Popa_bar_abba, how many cows are you?


    The American equivalent is:

    1 cow: You can only afford to travel once a year out of town and it is on a bus.

    8 cows: The private jet is always ready.

    7 cows: You have time share on a PJ for about 10 round trips a year.

    6 cows: You have to use the scheduled airlines, but you always fly in first or business class.

    Bottom line: If you want a true American 8 cow wife, you better actually have the cows (a PJ fueled up and ready to fly).


    Its the Rambam. Respect her as much as yourself and love her more than yourself. and she has to know it!

    Shticky Guy

    Tzippi/bpt thanx for the cute story

    mod 42 thanx for ruminating and regurgitating this thread! ☺

    ps is anyone in touch with eclipse? Where is she up to? We’d love an update and even a hello from her. Can it be arranged?

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