, is a 25 minute video that was released in 1969 by Brigham Young University
. This story takes place in the South Pacific polynesian
islands and presents a moral dilemma of 'what you are is what you are worth to others'.
Mahahana is described by the islanders as the most homely girl and at an age 19 or 20 years would make her an 'old maid' according to island customs. She is extremely shy and ashamed of her self image. Mahahana's father is ashamed of his daughter who can see that she is 'ugly' and 'worthless' and belittles her on those facts and the village feels the same while treating her just as badly. No self respecting prospective husband would pay more than one cow to the father as a dowry for this bride. Johnny Lingo on the other hand is the shrewdest of traders among the islands, quite wealthy for his age, quite handsome and most of all an eligible bachelor.
When the day came that Johnny would be seeking a wife, he first went to the father of Mahahana. At the bargaining, the village gathered around since they wanted to know how many cows Johnny would pay for his bride. According to village customs 3 cows would buy a fair wife while 5 would buy a fine one. While the village wives discuss among themselves how many cows their husbands paid:
A: I was a 3 cow wife
B: Yeah, well my husband paid 4 cows for me!
Mahahana's father makes the first offer after consulting his adviser who is a village elder. "I will sell Mahahana for 3 cows." After a few seconds of thought, Johnny counters with "I will offer you 8 cows for Mahahana's hand in marriage." Mahahana's father in a halfhearted way agrees, obviously dumbfounded. The rest of the village is in utter shock. "EIGHT COWS!?" This is unheard of. Mr. Miller, the American owner of the village trading post personally believes that Johnny made the offer out of personal vanity, after receiving a rare shell as a payment for a gift for his new bride. This gift would take several months to arrive from the States. During the feast which accompanied the marriage the village children taunted Johnny and Mahahana immediately after which the two stole away from the celebration for their honeymoon to travel among the islands.
Several months pass and the two arrive back on the island, and after news got back to Mr. Miller he delivers the gift that he had ordered from the States. The shell it seems fetched a hefty price which was used to purchase a beautiful hand mirror with gold trim and flowers, as Johnny requested. After Mr. Miller gives the small crate to Johnny, he presents it to his wife, who comes out to personally thank Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller can hardly believe the transformation of a beautiful young woman that had a few months prior been the uglist girl in the village. Consulting Johnny to find out what had happened, he learns the story of Him and Mahahana. Johnny had loved Mahahana ever since they were children and by making the offer of 8 cows, wanted her to be an 8 cow wife, which she became.