A farmer disliked the wheat's bristly beard because the sharp bristles cut his hands.
He decided to pray to Demeter, the goddess of crops and fields, for help. "O Demeter," prayed the farmer, "I beg you: let the wheat grow with all the grain but without the bristles."
The goddess granted the farmer's request, and the wheat no longer had any protecting bristles.
As a result, the birds came and ate all the grain.
The farmer regretted his request.
"In exchange for a small comfort," he said, "I have given up a great gain."
Be careful what you pray for.
Inspired by: Mille Fabulae et Una, a collection of Latin fables that I've edited, free to read online. I am not translating the Latin here; instead, I am just telling a 100-word version of the fable.
Notes: This is fable 800 in the book, which is not in Perry's catalog; this is one of the fables of Abstemius. One word for these bristles in English is "awn" (also: "beard"), and you can see the awn bristles on a wild rye plant here: