Birju was a poor shepherd. He grazed the cattle of other farmers all day long. He hardly made a living and often went hungry.
He had two children. They were very weak due to malnutrition. Birju was worried about it and wanted to increase his income.
One day, Birju sat in the pasture praying to God with his eyes closed. Suddenly he felt the presence of someone nearby. He opened his eyes and found God before him.
God spoke, "We are very happy with your honesty and hard work. Ask for any boon. Tell me your one wish."
Birju prayed, "I am very poor. If I get a cow it will be a great help.'
God granted him one cow. Now, every morning Birju would milk the cow, took her to graze with the other cattle into the pastures, prepared fodder for her in the evening and again milked at night.
In this way, Birju had to spend his whole day in tending the cow. His children were now getting the milk. His wife also helped in looking after the cow. Some days passed.
Birju began thinking that selling spare milk would add to their income. After family needs were taken care of, they were having some spare milk, though it was not much.
He started selling milk. The extra income encouraged them to spare more milk for sale. Now Birju wished for a buffalo instead of the cow. A buffalo would give more milk. There would be no shortage of it for his family and he would have enough milk left for a good income.
The thought troubled him. He yearned for buffalo. One day when he was lost in those thoughts, God appeared and asked, "What is the matter, son? You look troubled. '
Birju prayed, “My Lord' you blessed me with a cow as per my wish. Now I think that I would have been better off with a buffalo I didn't realise it then."
‘Don't worry, son I grant your wish.' Got disappeared
Birju got the buffalo. Nice, healthy, milch buffalo… It gave 15 litres of milk everyday. He sold most of it to the nearby dairy and earned good money. He was happy. His children were going to a good school and his wife had fine dresses and pretty jewellery to wear.
Then, one day an idea troubled him. One buffalo was not enough. He rued that he should have asked for at least five buffaloes instead of one.
He was cursing himself with his eyes closed one day. God appeared to him again and enquired, “What is the matter? You still look troubled. You asked for a cow which I granted you. Then you wanted a buffalo and you got it. Now, what is bugging you?"
‘Lord! It is true that I asked for a buffalo. But now I see that one buffalo is not enough to take care of my needs. I am very worried," Birju said.
God spoke, 'So what do you want? I will grant you one more wish. But it should be your last wish."
Birju thought that if it was going to be his last chance to get boon from God, he must go for more than five buffaloes. He must ask for ten buffaloes, he decided. So, after a thought he prayed. 'Lord' Please forgive me for my greed. Give me ten buffaloes and I will not ask anything more.’
God announced, ‘So be it' And God vanished Birju was very happy.
But he soon faced problems. Where to keep so many buffaloes? He needed a big plot to erect a shed for all those animals. The land was very costly.
He used his head. He sold two buffaloes and out of the sale money he bought a piece of land. He put a fence around the land and kept rest of his buffaloes in it
It was not easy tending all those buffaloes single handedly.
The buffaloes needed lot of fodder all the time. Then, there was cleaning work. The sheds always looked dungful. Milking buffaloes was another tiresome work.
He had to employ a few helpers. The helpers had their duties cut out. One prepared fodder. Another did dung cleaning. Yet another milked the buffaloes. Birju hired a couple of boys to supply milk to homes. Now he had a full fledged Birju Dairy.
The dairy business prospered. Birju had no shortage of money. The children had grown up and their demands were always increasing. The wife asked for more and more ornaments or jewellery.
The years went by. The mind of Birju was again becoming restless. He felt that dairy business was a dirty work. It was full of flies, buffalo dung and foul smell. It made him feel giddy.
He thought that he would be better off in a city. He could send his sons to English medium school. There were opportunities for better and clean business like running a general store or becoming a cloth merchant or owning a factory.
Birju again became a sad person He looked thoroughly bored. He remembered God and wished him to appear again. He cursed himself for the stupidity of asking for buffaloes and milk. He could have asked for something nice.
One day… he sat brooding and wishing for God to appear. Suddenly he found himself facing God. Birju fell at His feet and pleaded, 'Lord! I had been an utter fool. You granted me whatever I wished. I asked for buffalos out of sheer stupidity which I never needed. I didn't use my head. Just grant me one more wish and I will never again ask for
God spoke 'Son! I had told you last time that it would be your last wish to be granted. You asked for ten buffaloes after a careful thought. Now you feel that you never needed buffaloes. I am helpless. Your desires are endless. Every fulfilled desire gives birth to a new desire. You better be what you were before meeting me."
God disappeared Birju's business suffered losses. The buffaloes became sick and began dying. All the signs of prosperity disappeared one by one. The abject poverty returned. Birju again resumed his old life of making a living by grazing the cattle for others.