The Impossible Task

One day, the Emperor Akbar called Birbal to his palace.

"O Birbal, I want you to bring me a vessel of Ox's milk", he requested.

Birbal was startled by his unusual request, but he did not express it out.

"I shall get it for you, O Badshah! But I want a week's time", Birbal replied.

"All right", Akbar agreed and allowed Birbal to leave.

When it was evening, Birbal went home.

"The Emperor has asked for a vessel of Ox's milk and has given me a week's time. But it is an impossible task. What shall I do?" Birbal thought with dismay.

Birbal's wife noted her husband's worried look and asked him what was wrong.

"The Emperor has asked me to get him in a week a vessel of Ox's milk. I don't know what to do", Birbal told her.

To his great surprise, his wife began laughing loudly.

"What an easy task! I'll tell you what to do later. But first promise me not to leave the house for six days", she said.

"I promise!" Birbal agreed at once. He knew that his clever wife would help him out of the tricky situation somehow.

Five days passed by. On the sixth night, Birbal's wife left her home with a large bundle of clothes and went to the palace. She opened the bundle near the lake and began washing them one by one.

The Emperor was awakened by the noise.

"Who is washing clothes in the lake?" he wondered and went to the balcony for a look. He sent his sentries to fetch the person.

"Why are you washing clothes so late at night?" he asked Birbal's wife.

"O Badshah! six days ago my husband gave birth to a baby. Our maid-servant did not come for work. So I have to do all the work myself. I just finished the other works before washing the clothes" she replied.

"What are you saying!" Akbar exclaimed. "How can a man give birth to a baby?"

The woman smiled at the Emperor.

"It is not surprising at all! If you can ask for Ox's milk, why can't a man give birth to a baby?" she asked.

Akbar nodded his head as he understood the truth in her statement. A man could not give birth to a baby, just as an Ox could not give milk. He remembered the impossible task he had asked Birbal to perform.

The Emperor rewarded Birbal's wife with gifts and sent her home.


1) Startled (Adj): Excited by sudden surprise or alarm and making a quick involuntary movement.

Sen: Birbal was startled by his unusual request, but he did not express it out.

2) Dismay (N): The feeling of despair in the face of obstacles.

Sen: Birbal thought with dismay.

3) Sentry (N): A person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event.

Sen: He sent his sentries to fetch the person.
1 Response
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