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.