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Allama Muhammad Iqbal

(9 November 1877 - 21 April 1938 / Sialkot / British India)

A Cow and A Goat


There was a verdant pasture somewhere
Whose land was the very picture of beauty

How can the beauty of that elegance be described
Brooks of sparkling water were running on every side

Many were the pomegranate trees
And so were the shady peepul trees

Cool breeze flowed everywhere
Birds were singing everywhere

A goat arrived at a brook's bank from somewhere
It came browsing from somewhere in the nearby land

As she stopped and looked around
She noticed a cow standing by

The goat first presented her compliments to the cow
Then respectfully started this conversation

'How are you! Madam Cow'?
The cow replied, 'Not too well

'My life is a mere existence
My life is a complete agony

My life is in danger, what can I say?
My luck is bad, what can I say?

I am surprised at the state of affairs
I am cursing the evil people

The poor ones like us are powerless
Misfortunes surround the ones like us

None should nicely deal with Man
May God protect us from Man!

He murmurs if my milk declines
He sells me if my weight declines

He subdues us with cleverness!
Alluring, he always subjugates us!

I nurse his children with milk
I give them new life with milk

My goodness is repaid with evil
My prayer to God is for mercy! '

Having heard the cow's story like this
The goat replied, 'This complaint is unjust

Though truth is always bitter
I shall speak what is fair

This pasture, and this cool breeze
This green grass and this shade

Such comforts, were beyond our lot!
They were a far cry for us speechless poor!

We owe these pleasures to Man
We owe all our happiness to Man

We derive all our prosperity from him
What is better for us, freedom or bondage to him?

Hundreds of dangers lurk in the wilderness
May God protect us from the wilderness!

We are heavily indebted to him
Unjust is our complaint against him

If you appreciate the life's comforts
You would never complain against Man'

Hearing all this the cow felt embarrassed
She was sorry for complaining against Man

She mused over the good and the bad
And thoughtfully she said this

'Small though is the body of the goat
Convincing is the advice of the goat! '

Submitted: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Edited: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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