How many crows in the kingdom?
One day Akbar was strolling in his palace gardens with his dear minister Birbal. Many crows were flying around. The King enjoyed their flying. Just then he thought, that how many crows could be in his kingdom and immediately posed this question to Birbal.
Birbal thought a moment, then said, "They are ninety-five thousand, four hundred and sixty three (95, 463) crows in your kingdom, Huzoor." "How do you know that for sure?" the King asked. "You can get them counted, Huzoor." Birbal said.
The king again said, "If there will be less than that, then?" Birbal replied immediately, "That means that the rest of them have gone on vacation to some neighboring kingdoms." "Or if there were more than that, then?" "Then it means that other crows are visiting your kingdom, Huzoor."
Akbar was very pleased with this answer of his question.
I am your servant, Huzoor?
Once Akbar and Birbal passed through some farms while riding on their horses. They happened to pass through a cabbage patch. Looking at the patch, Akbar said to Birbal, "What a delightful vegetable the cabbage is. I like it very much." Birbal said, "Huzoor, cabbage is the king of the vegetables." Akbar did not reply to this, and they went on.
Another day, they were riding past the same cabbage patches again. This time Akbar made a face, and said, "This cabbage is such a tasteless vegetable. How people tolerate it." Birbal replied, " Yes Huzoor, really it is difficult to even look at such a tasteless vegetable." Akbar again listened to this and they went on.
After a while the king remembered something. He said to Birbal, "Birbal, I don't understand you. Last time when we passed through this patch, you told that the cabbage was the king of vegetable, and today you said that "It is even difficult to look at such a tasteless vegetable. What do you mean by that?"
Birbal said bowing, "Huzoor, I am your servant, not of cabbage."
Birbal visit to Heaven?
Because Birbal was very wise and witty, the Emperor's courtiers and other people used to be jealous with him and used to find some way to degrade him.
One day the court barber, who was very jealous with Birbal, plotted a plan against him. So when the King called him again to trim his beard, he went and started trimming his beard. He said, "Sir, last night I dreamed about your father." The King got interested, so he asked, "What did he say to you?"
"Sir, he said to me, that everything is good in paradise, but he feels a great absence of a good humorous man who can amuse him." The King thought and thought, but nobody else he could think of except Birbal who could perform this kind of duty very well. And, naturally, the only way to go to heaven was through death. For a moment, Akbar was very sad to lose such a good man, but thinking of his father, he made up his mind.
He summoned Birbal and said, "I think Birbal you love me very much and you can sacrifice anything for me." Birbal tried to understand his point but couldn't guess. He said, "You know Majesty, I do." "Then Birbal, please go to heaven to give company to my dear father." Birbal understood that this was a wicked plan of somebody to kill him. He said to Emperor politely, "I will do so, but I need a few days to prepare myself to go to heaven." The King said, "Certainly. You are giving me such a great favor, I allow you one week to prepare yourself."
Now Birbal was worried. He thought, somebody has planned very well and he could not escape from this plan. He thought and thought. And then he found a way. He dug a ditch near his house which would serve as his grave, and dug a tunnel too which would open in a room of his house. After doing this, he returned to the Imperial Court. He said, " I am ready, His Majesty, but there two conditions." Akbar was so happy to hear this that he forgot that Birbal could put some odd conditions to him. He asked, "What are those conditions? Tell me soon. I will try to fulfill them so that you can go to heaven to be with my dear father."
Birbal said, "His majesty, I wish to be buried near my house. And I want to be buried alive so that I can reach heaven alive to amuse your dear father." The King found this logical and agreed up on them immediately.
So Birbal was buried alive near his house. Of course he made his way to his house where he lived in confinement for six months. After six months, he came out of hiding with grown beard and shabby hair and asked the permission to appear in the Royal Court.
Looking at him Akbar cried, "Where have you been Birbal?" Birbal said, "Your Majesty, I was in Heaven with your dear father. I had a very good time there with your father. He was so happy with my services that he gave me special permission to return to Earth." Akbar was very anxious to know about his father, he asked, "Did he send any message for me?" Birbal said, "Yes Your Majesty, he said that very few barber can make it to go to Heaven, you can make out this from my grown beard and shabby hair, so he has asked to send your own barber to him immediately.
Akbar understood everything. He gave Birbal a big prize, and his barber the life sentence.
Birbal caught the Thief?
It so happened that once a rich merchant's house was robbed. The merchant suspected that the thief was one of his servants. So he went to Birbal and mentioned the incident. Birbal went to his house and assembled all of his servants and asked that who stole the merchant's things. Everybody denied.
Birbal thought for a moment, then gave a stick of equal length to all the servants of the merchant and said to them that the stick of the real thief will be longer by two inches tomorrow. All the servants should be present here again tomorrow with heir sticks.
All the servants went to their homes and gathered again at the same place the next day. Birbal asked them to show him their sticks. One of the servants had his stick shorter by two inches. Birbal said, "This is your thief, merchant."
Later the merchant asked Birbal, "How did you catch him?" Birbal said, "The thief had already cut his stick short by two inches in the night fearing that his stick will be longer by two inches by morning."
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13th December 2011 From India, Mumbai
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