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Bulls Milk
by Minal Saran & G.F. Wear
A Birbal Story 

One day King Akbar became sick. He had a bad pain so he buy pain medicines. The doctor came immediately, examined the King, and then said: “I have a very good medicine here. It will quickly make you well again, but you must take it with bull’s milk.”

Then he took a small bottle from his box, and gave it to Akbar. The King was very surprised, for he had never heard of a bull that gave milk. “How is it possible?” he asked.

“Is there not some mistake?”

“No, sire. Order Birbal to get it for you. He is very clever; he can do anything.”

The doctor hated Birbal, who had put an end to some of the bad things the doctor did, and he thought this would be a way of making trouble for him.

After the doctor had gone, King Akbar sent for Birbal and told him what had happened. Birbal immediately understood that the doctor was trying to make trouble for him.

“But how can a bull give milk?” asked Birbal. Akbar became angry. “I don’t know,” he said, “but the doctor says that cow’s milk, or that of any other female animal, is of no use to me. Go and get some bull’s milk at once.”

Birbal knew that it was better not to say more. He bowed low and went away.

When he reached home, he ate his meal, and then sat thinking how to get the required bull’s milk. His daughter, seeing Birbal looking so serious , asked him what the matter was.
“Is all well at the court?” she said.

“The court is full of strange happenings,” was the short reply. “They need not concern you.”

But Birbal’s daughter knew that something was worrying her father, and at last she got the story from him. On hearing of the King’s strange request for bull’s milk she said: “Don’t worry father. I will help you.”

Next day she collected some old clothes, went to the bank of the river near the palace, and chose a spot immediately beneath the king’s bedroom window. In the middle of the night, when everyone was asleep, she started to do her washing. First she wet the clothes in the river, then beat them with a stick. With each stroke of the stick she shouted. “Thud, thud!” went the noise of the stick. “Hoish, hoish!” shouted the girl. The king was soon awake and was angry at the noise. He sent for a guard and ordered him to find out what was the matter.

The soldier came out to look for the person who had prevented the king from sleeping. He found a young girl on the bank of the river.

“What are you doing here?” he called.

“Can’t you see?” was the answer. “I am washing clothes.”

“This is not the time to wash clothes. Who are you?”

“I am a human being. If that is not enough, I am a girl.”

“Whose daughter?”

“My father’s” was the reply.

“Who is your father?”

“My mother’s husband.”

“So you are trying to be clever,” said the soldier. “Come with me to the king. We shall see what you have to say to him.”

He led her into the palace to King Akbar himself. He told the king what had happened. This made Akbar angry. Turning to the girl, he said severely, “Who are you? Why have you come to wash clothes outside my window?”

The girl pretended to be afraid. “Sire,” she said, “I had to wash clothes at night. This afternoon my father had a child – a lovely boy. I was busy all day because of that. Then I found there were no clean clothes for the baby, so I had to come and wash them at night. Excuse me, Sire.”

“ What!” cried Akbar. “Are you trying to make a fool of me? Or are you mad? Whoever heard of a man having a baby?”

“Sire, up till now I have not heard of such a thing, but recently strange things are happening in this city.”

“What do you mean?” asked Akbar.

“Well, Sire, if the king himself orders someone to get bull’s milk for him, why cannot a man have a baby?”

Akbar then understood, and, smiling at the girl, he asked if she was any relation to Birbal.

“Yes, Sire, I am his daughter.”

Akbar was a just and fair-minded king. He did not become angry, but was filled with wonder at the girl’s courage and cleverness.

“You may go and tell your father,” he said, “that Akbar has received the bull’s milk. It is to be fed to the baby that Birbal has had.”

“But, Sire, how will my father believe me?”

“I will write it out for you,” said the king, and, going to his writing-desk, he took a piece of clean paper and wrote: “The bull’s milk sent through your daughter has been received.” He then signed it, and gave the paper to the young girl.

The doctor was very surprised when Birbal showed him the paper. He was so surprised that he felt ill enough to leave the sick people he was attending, go to his room, and drink some of his own medicine.

A Birbal Story by Minal Saran and G.F. Wear 

Birbal Brings a Princess from Heaven 
Birbal Cooks Khichadi  
Birbal Enters Akbar's Court 
Birbal Makes a Journey to Heaven  
Bull's Milk
Gulbo The Tailor 
Pandit Ji 
The Ghee Merchants and the Gold Mohur 
The Old Woman's Money-Bag  
The Ten Foolish Men 
The Three Cases 

07-Jan-2007
 
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