Friday, March 5, 2010

Self Publicity

One day a Brahmin by the name of Sevaram asked Birbal for help. He said that his forefathers were great Sanskrit scholars and that people used to respectfully refer to them as Panditji. He said that he had no money nor need for wealth; he was content living a simple life. But he had just one wish. He wished people would refer to him as Panditji too. He asked Birbal how he could achieve this.

Birbal said that the task was fairly simple. If the Brahmin followed his advice word for word, this task could be achieved. Birbal advised the Brahmin to shout at anyone who called him Panditji from now on.

Now the children who lived in the same street as the Brahmin, did not like him since he scolded them often. They were just waiting for an opportunity to get back at him. Birbal told the children that the Brahmin would get really irritated if they started calling him Pandiji. So the children began to tease him by yelling,"Panditji" whenever he appeared and, as advised by Birbal, the Brahmin responded by shouting at them. The children spread the word to all the other children in the neighborhood that Sevaram hated being called Panditji, so they too joined in the chorus, calling him Panditji.

After a while, Sevaram got tired of scolding them but by now everyone was used to calling him Panditji. Hence the game was over but the name stuck!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Birbal's kichri

On a cold winter day, Akbar and Birbal took a walk along the lake. A thought came into Birbal's mind that a man would do anything for money. He expressed his feelings to Akbar. The Emperor then put his fingers into the lake and immediately removed it because he shivered with cold.
Akbar said," I don't think a man would spend an entire night in the cold water of this lake for money."
Birbal replied,"I am sure I can find such a person."
Akbar then challenged Birbal to find such a person and said he would reward that person with a thousand gold coins.
Birbal searched far and wide until he found a poor man who was desperate enough to accept the challenge. The poor man entered the lake and Akbar had guards posted near him to make sure that he really did as promised.
The next morning the guards took the poor man to Akbar. The Emperor asked the poor man if he had indeed spent the night in the lake. The poor man replied that he did. Akbar then asked the poor man how he managed to spend the night in the lake. The poor man replied that there was a street lamp nearby and he kept his attention there on the lamp and away from the cold. Akbar then said that there would be no reward as the poor man had spent the night in the lake by the warmth of the street lamp. The poor man went to Birbal for help.
The next day, Birbal did not go to Court. Wondering where he was, Akbar sent a messenger to his home. The messenger came back saying that Birbal would come to Court once his Khichri was cooked. The Emperor waited for hours but Birbal did not come. Finally, Akbar decided to go to Birbal's house and see what he was up to.
He found Birbal sitting on the floor near some burning twigs and a utensil filled with kichri hanging five feet above the fire. The Emperor and his attendants couldn't help but laugh
Akbar then asked Birbal, "How can the khichri be cooked if it is so far away from the fire?"
Birbal answered, "The same way the poor man received heat from a street lamp that was more than a furlong away."
The Emperor realised his mistake and gave the poor man his reward.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lost and Found

One day, when Akbar and Birbal were engaged in discussions, Birbal happened to pass a harmless comment about Akbar's sense of humour. But Emperor Akbar was in a foul mood and took great offence at this remark. He asked Birbal, his Court jester, friend and confidant, to not only leave the palace but also leave the precincts of the city of Agra. Birbal was terribly hurt at being banished.
A couple of days later, Akbar began to miss his best friend. He regretted his earlier decision of banishing him from the Court. He just could not do without Birbal and so sent out a search party to look for him. But Birbal had left town without letting anybody know of his destination. The soldiers searched high and low but were unable to find him anywhere.
Then one day a wise saint visited the palace accompanied by two of his disciples. The disciples claimed that their teacher was the wisest man to walk the earth. Since Akbar was missing Birbal terribly he thought it would be a good idea to have a wise man who could keep him company. But he decided that he would first ascertain the holy man's wisdom.
The saint had bright sparkling eyes, a thick beard and long hair. The next day, when they came to visit the Court, Akbar informed the holy man that since he was the wisest man on earth, he would like to test him. All his ministers would put forward a question and if his answers were satisfactory, he would be made a minister. But if he failed, he would be beheaded. The saint answered that he had never claimed to the wisest man on earth,even though other people seemed to think so. Nor was he eager to display his wisdom, but as he enjoyed answering questions, he was ready for the test.
One of the ministers, Raja Todar Mal, began the round of questioning. He asked, "Who is man's best friend on earth?" To which the wise saint replied,"His own good sense."
Next Faizi asked which was the most superior thing on earth? "Knowledge", answered the saint.
"Which is the deepest trench in the world?" asked Abul Fazl. And the saint answered, "A woman's heart."
"What is that which cannot be regained after it is lost?" questioned another courtier and the reply he received was: "Life".
"What is undying in music?" asked Court musician Tansen. The saint replied: "Notes". And then Tansen asked, " Which is the sweetest and most melodious voice at night-time?" and the answer received was:"The voice that prays to God."
Maharaja Mansingh of Jaipur - who was a guest at the palace - asked, "What travels more speedily than the wind?" The saint replied that it was "Man's thought." Mansingh then asked, "Which is the sweetest thing on the earth?" and the saint said that it was a "Baby's smile".
Emperor Akbar and all his courtiers were very impressed with his answers,but Akbar wanted to test the saint himself. First,he asked what were the necessary requirements to rule over a kingdom, for which he received the response "Cleverness". Then he asked what was the greatest enemy of a king. The saint replied it was "Selfishness".
The Emperor was pleased and offered the saint a seat of honour and asked him whether he could perform any miracle. The saint said that he could manifest any person the Emperor wished to meet.Akbar was thrilled and immediately asked to meet his minister and best friend Birbal.
The saint simply pulled off his artificial beard and hair much to the surprise of the courtiers. Akbar was stunned and could not believe his eyes. He stepped down to embrace the saint because he was none other than Birbal!
Akbar had tears in his eyes as he told Birbal that he has suspected it was him and had therefore asked whether  he could perform miracles. He showered Birbal with many valuable gifts to show him how happy he was at his return.

The Glutton

Here comes another witty interesting story for you children!!!!

Akbar had a real passion for food. In his royal kitchen were employed all kinds of master chefs, who made a variety of gourmet dishes. Often Akbar would throw a banquet for his courtiers to enjoy these meals in the palace gardens.

Once at one such banquet Birbal was seated next to Emperor Akbar. After the meal, bowls of pistachios were served to all. Both Birbal and Akbar went on eating the pistachios and they threw the shells under their chairs.

Soon there was heaps of  pistachio shells under their chairs. Akbar saw the heaps and thought of playing a trick on Birbal. He thought to himself, "For once let me outwit the clever Birbal."

Quitely, Akbar pushed his heap of shells under Birbal's chair with his foot. Birbal did not notice him do this. All of a sudden Akbar sprang from his chair and with a bewildered look he said aloud, "I don't believe this Birbal! How could you eat so many pistachios? You are really a glutton!"

All the courtiers heard this and looked at the big heap of pistachio shells under Birbal's chair. But Birbal was unperturbed; he knew that Akbar had played a trick on him. But the clever Birbal could not allow the Emperor and the courtier's to ridicule him.

Promptly, he said to Akbar, "Your Majesty, You are absolutely right, I am a glutton. It is true that I have eaten a lot of pistachios. But Your Majesty, you really surprised me! How could you eat the pistachios along with the shells?"

Birbal requested the courtiers to look under Akbar's chair. They did not see a single shell there and neither were there any shells in his bowls. The courtiers burst out laughing.

Akbar turned red in face. He had attempted to trick Birbal and in the end himself became the butt of ridicule!

Although truly embarrassed, he gently appreciated Birbal's wit and humor.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Theft of Jewels

A merchant in Akbar's kingdom felt hot and decided to have a bath. He bundled up all the jewels he was wearing let them in a corner of his room along with his clothes and went for a bath. When he came out from his bath, he discovered that his jewels had vanished. He questioned all his servants but was unable to discover who had stolen the jewels. He decided to go to Akbar to have his problem solved. Akbar assigned the case to Birbal. Birbal called the merchant and asked him to bring all his servants to the Court next day.

When they appeared before him, Birbal handed each of the servants a stick and told them: "I have given each of you a stick of the same length. But they are magic sticks. Whenever they are in the possession of a thief they grow exactly by one inch a day. If you have stolen Your Masters jewels, your stick will grow by one inch when you come back tomorrow. So take them home and bring them back here tomorrow, at the same time." He then dismissed the servants.

The next day when the Court had assembled and the merchant's servants arrived with their sticks, Birbal collected all the sticks placed them next to each other. One stick was shorter by one inch. Birbal told the merchant, "The servant who brought this stick is the one who stole the jewels. He cut the stick so it would not show that it grew by one inch and he would not be caught".

He then told servants, "These are not magic sticks, but because you believed that they were, the guilty servant cut an inch off his stick".

Immediately, the servant who had stolen the jewels confessed and returned them.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Call him at Once

Hello Children, I am back again with another interesting story of Birbal!!!!!

One morning Akbar woke up early. Rubbing his fingers over his stubble he called out, "Is anyone there? Quick! Call him at once!"

The guard outside his chamber was thoroughly confused. He thought to himself, "Whom is the Emperor calling, he didn't name anybody in particular. The guard was too frightened to ask the Emperor to repeat his order. 

The guard sought the help of another guard. That guard in turn spoke to a third. The third mentioned it to a fourth. Finally all the guards inside the palace knew of the Emperor's order. There was utter confusion, as nobody knew whom the Emperor had called for.

At that time Birbal happened to be taking a walk in the garden. Seeing the guards in total confusion, he guessed the Emperor must have made a strange request. He called one of the guards and asked him "What is the matter? Why are all the guards running around confused?"

The guard  told Birbal about the Emperor's order. He said, "His Majesty has not mentioned anyone in particular. Whom should we call? We do not know what to do. If we do not get anyone, the Emperor will be very annoyed with us. What shall we do, Sir?"

"Hmmm! Tell me what the Emperor was doing when he gave the order" asked Birbal. The attendant pondered a while, "Nothing unusual Sir, he was just rubbing the stubble on his chin."

Birbal smiled, for he knew whom the Emperor wanted. He said to the guard, "Take the barber to the Emperor immediately".

The guard called the barber and took him immediately to the Emperor. The Emperor thought to himself, "How come the barber is here? I did not mention anyone in particular."

The Emperor asked the guard, "Tell me, was it your idea to call the barber or did someone help you?"

 "Your Majesty, it was Birbal's suggestion," said the guard.

Once again Akbar was impressed with Birbal's wisdom.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birbal's Journey to Paradise

The Akbar Court barber nursed his hatred for Birbal and plotted against him daily. One day he stuck upon a plan and so,when Emperor Akbar next called him to trim his beard,he said: "You know, Your Majesty,last night I dreamed about your Father".

The Great Mughal at once showed interest, "Tell me what he said to you".

"He said he is very happy in paradise,but he says that all the inhabitants of Heaven are terrible bores. He would like you to send someone who can talk to him and keep him amused".

Of course, no one possessed wit like Birbal and although Akbar prized him very much, to appear his poor father in Paradise, he would consent to give him up. Naturally, the only way of reaching Heaven is through Death.

When Birbal responded to the Emperor's summons, Akbar said : "I think you love me enough, Birbal, to make any sacrifice or my sake".

"You know I do Your Majesty" Birbal said.

"Then I would like you to go to Heaven and keep my dear Father company".

"Very Well", Birbal said, "but please give me few days to prepare".

"Certainly", said the Mughal, delighted, "You are doing me a great favour". "I will give you a week time".

Birbal went home and dug a deep pit,which would serve as his own grave.But he also excavated a secret tunnel that opened under the floor of his house,then he returned to the Emperial Court.

"Your Highness" he said, "in accordance with an old family tradition,I would like to be buried near my house and. if you don't mind,I would like to die by being buried alive. It is easier to get into Heaven that way, you know".

So, to the great happiness of the court barber, Birbal was buried alive. Ofcourse he made his way at once through the tunnel into his own house,were he stayed in concealment for over six months.

At the end of that time, with his hair and beard grown long and shaggy, he came out of hiding, and obtained an audience with the Great Mughal.

"Birbal" cried the Emperor. "Where have you come from?"

"From Paradise,Your Majesty. I spent such a lovely time with your Father that he gave me special permission to return to earth".

"Did he give you any message or his Son?"

"Just one,Your Highness, Do you see my whiskers and long hair? Well, it seems very few barbers make it to Heaven. Your Father asks you to send him yours at once".

Retriving the Ring

Once Akbar threw his gold ring into a dry well and asked his minister's to retrieve it without climbing down into the well.
The ministers scratched their heads and thought deeply but soon had to admit defeat. Birbal, however, could never resist a challenge.
"Your Majesty, you shall get back your ring by sundown", he declared.
Birbal took some fresh cow-dung from the ground and threw it on top of the ring. He tied a stone to one end of a long piece of string and retaining the other end, threw the stone on the dung. After a while, when he felt sure that the cow-dung had dried completely, he pulled the string up. To everyone's surprise the cow-dung came up and stuck at the bottom was Emperor's ring.

All for the Best

Birbal constantly asserted that everything happens for one's own good. Emperor Akbar, who was young, was distrustful of Birbal's wisdom and questioned the minister's constant, optimistic assertion.

One day while handling a sword, the Emperor chopped off the tip of his little finger. Birbal immediately told the Emperor not to worry, everything that happens has a purpose behind it and that purpose is for good. The Emperor became exceedingly angry with Birbal and threw him in jail.

The Emperor bandaged the little finger for few days and then as a diversion, went into the forest to hunt. He was later separated from his hunting party and eventually captured by a tribe of cannibals intending to make human sacrifice. The Emperor was bound like a sacrifice lamb and taken before the temple.When the temple priest examined him, the priest announced that he could not be sacrificed because he was not a perfect specimen,since the front portion of one finger was missing. As he was not fit to be sacrificed, the Emperor was released.

On his return, the Emperor thanked God for injuring his finger and thereby sparing his life then immediately went to the prison to meet Birbal.

"O, Birbal", please accept my apologies for imprisoning you. Now I understand how my injury was for the best. But tell me why did God allow me to imprison you? How is it for the best that you have been confines here due to my angry?

Birbal replied," Your Majesty, if I had not been in prison, you would surely have taken me with you when you went for hunting, and when the forest cannibals rejected you for their sacrifice, they would surely have found me an excellent substitute!"