Once there were ten young women who had come to a wedding party. According to the village custom, their part in the ceremony was to light lamps and go forth to meet the bridegroom when he came in the night with his friends to claim his bride. Then he would take her to his home to begin the wedding celebration. It would not be unusual for the bridegroom to be delayed because he would be engaged in a bargaining session with the bride’s parents about the dowry. Moreover, it would be considered a compliment to the bride if the bargaining went on for a long time. This would signify that a high value was being placed on the bride by her parents and the bridegroom, both. Five of the young women who were to take part in the ceremony were wise, and they prepared with extra oil for their lamps in case the bridegroom indeed was delayed. Five of the young women were foolish, and…
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