• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 12
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Like Mother Like Daughter

He came before the old woman, asking for her daughter’s hand.
She passed him a bag, saying “Return in 10 years,
having filled this with that which my daughter most values.
Then I shall weigh your merits.”

As he dearly loved the daughter, he did as the woman required.
In 10 years he returned, his bag laden with jewelry, gold,
and degrees from the finest universities. Onto the old woman’s scale
went the man’s bag. The needle tipped greatly with its load.

“No,” said the woman, “this is as nothing. It will not do.
Return in 10 years, making sure this bag is filled with that which
my daughter most values.” Sadly he assented, traveling
from the village once again to do what was needed.

Ten years to the day, he returned, lugging the bag bulging with
expensive porcelains, ivory figurines, and miniature paintings
exquisitely detailed and colored. This time he himself hung the bag.
Its weight exceeded his previous effort. He beamed.

“No, no,” the woman said once more. “When will you learn?
Return in 10 years, this time making sure the bag contains
that which my daughter most values.” Sorely aggrieved, he trudged
once again over field and hill, wondering how to fulfill her bidding.


Like Mother Like Daughter

Ten years passed. He appeared before the woman, his bag limp.
Nonetheless, he hung it onto the scale and stepped aside that
she could see. “Now you return with an empty bag!”
said the woman. “Is this what you think of my daughter?”

“I’ve come to realize,” he said, “nothing could I give her, and she me,
as valuable as love. The bag is full. My love for your daughter is
light as a feather, yet more precious than gold.” The woman smiled.
“It is I. Mother is long dead. Now let us make up for lost time.”