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It happened long time ago. There lived a man named Mandal. He had great many cows, goats deer and horses.

He loved pet animals but looking after so many animals was not one man’s job. He employed a boy named Pittoo to work as his helper in tending animals.

Within merely a few days all animals become Pittoo's pets. The boy loved the animals. He understood them so well as if he knew their language. And the pets seemed to talk back to him.

He knew which animal wanted fodder, which one wanted water and which one needed bathing. Pittoo took care of all their needs. For the animals the young boy Pittoo was like mother. One whistle of Pittoo could bring all the pets running to him.

Mandal was greatly relieved to see this. The boy took cows to a nearby pasture every morning and brought them back in the evening. He took care that no wild animal attacked the pets.

One day, Pittoo was grazing cows. The dacoits struck. It was all so unexpected. Pittoo hid inside a bush in panic. The dacoits were pleased to find so many fat and healthy cows. The chief said, ‘It's a nice catch. Fat cows…Herd them away."

The dacoits tried to drive the cows on way that led to their den. But the cows had turned dumb. They just stood and ignored the commands of the dacoits. The cows went on ruminating or grazing.

The dacoits were in a fix. They used sticks but the cows refused to respond.

The dacoit chief was getting angry. He ordered all the dacoits to rain sticks on cows. A dacoit suggested, ‘Chief.. I think these cows have a very friendly shepherd only whose command they obey. He must be somewhere here hiding. The cows won’t move without his signal.’

The chief agreed with it. He ordered, ‘Find out that shepherd. Comb the bushes."

Pittoo was listening to their talk. He was proud of the behaviour of his cows. At the same time he was very frightened.

The dacoits searched for Pittoo. He got a chance to leave the bush and stand inside the hollow of a tree.

The dacoits combed all the bushes. They looked into the tall grass. The horse of a dacoit stood in front of the tree in which Pittoo was hiding. The horse was swishing its tail being restless. A hair of horse tail by chance went into Pittoo’s nostnl and he sneezed.

That was a give away. The dacoit grabbed Pittoo and dragged him out of the tree hollow. He was taken to the dacoit chief. The chief growled, ‘Do you graze these cows?’

Frightened Pittoo nodded his head. The chief gave an order, 'Get this boy on horse with one of you. Ask him to signal cows to follow.'

Pittoo whistled and cows came together. A dacoit got the boy on his horse. The cows followed at Pittoo's signal. The horses trotted on and the cows kept following.

Inspire of getting tired the cows kept walking for the sake of Pittoo. At last the caravan reached the den of the dacoits. The cows were tithered to the trees.

The chief announced, ‘Milk the cows and enjoy the milk. We rarely get milk. Kill that fat black cow tomorrow and we shall have a feast. Feed her well.’

So it was done. The tired dacoits fell asleep. But there was no sleeping for Pittoo. He was worried sick. Tomorrow the black cow and then one by one all his cows will die. Pittoo wanted to get free.

Then, he decided to play a do or die game. For him saving his pet cows was most important. He quietly got up and untied all the cows. He gave a silent signal and walked away. Like intelligent animals cows followed him making little noise on moving. Pittoo kept walking in the direction of the lights of the town. Some distance away from the den Pittoo heaved a sigh of relief and walked faster. The cows clip-clopped behind him. By the day break they reached home.

Meanwhile, Mandal was a worried man. He had been waiting all night long for his cows to come back.

When he saw Pittoo coming followed by cows he ran to him and embraced the boy Pittoo then narrated to Mandal the dacoit story. He hugged Pittoo again and again. That day Mandal served fodder to the cows with his own hands while tears kept falling from his eyes.




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