Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Flowers For Akbar

One day Akbar was taking a walk in his Royal gardens with several courtiers. Many flowers were flowering at that time of season. A poet pointed out towards a beautiful flower and said, "Look Jahaanpanaah, how beautiful flower that is? No man can produce such a beautiful thing as this." Birbal was also there. He said, "I don't agree with this, sometimes man can make more beautiful things than this." Akbar said, "Oh no Birbal, you are talking nonsense. This flower is really very beautiful."
After a few days, Birbal presented Akbar a very skilled craftsman from Agra. He presented a beautiful carved marble bouquet of flowers. The Emperor was very happy to see it, and gave him one thousand gold coins.
Just then a boy came and presented the Emperor a beautiful bouquet of real flowers. The Emperor was very happy to see it too, so he gave a silver coin to the boy. Birbal said, "So the carving was more beautiful than the real thing."
Akbar understood that he had fallen in the hands of his witty minister once again.

Covering Head To Toe

Several courtiers were vying to be the Royal Advisor of Emperor Akbar. So one day, when they came to the court, they said to the Emperor, "We want to be your Royal Advisor." Akbar said, "No problem, but you will have to pass the test before you could be my Royal Advisor. And whoever would pass the test will be appointed my Advisor." They agreed.
The King unfastened his waist cloth and lay down on the floor, and asked the candidates to cover him with that cloth from head to toe. Now everybody tried to cover him, but in vain. If one wanted to cover the head, then feet remained uncovered, or if the feet were covered, then his head remained open.
Just then Birbal entered the court, the king asked Birbal also, if he could cover him with that cloth from head to toe. Birbal paused a moment, then asked the Emperor politely, "Huzoor, Could you pull up your knees a little bit?" The King did so, and Birbal could cover him from head to toe with that cloth.
Realizing that they failed the test, the courtiers left the court quietly and then they never thought about being the King's Advisor.

Birbal Visits Heaven

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.

The Chinese Silk And Tailor

Once the Empress got a rare silk cloth piece as a gift from her Chinese counterparts. She called the Birbal and expressed her desire to get a beautiful dress stitched from the cloth. The Empress said, “Birbal, I’ve heard that tailors always steal some cloth from the cloth piece given to them for stitching. I’m not worried that a part of my cloth piece would be stolen. However, I don’t want that anyone other than me should wear the dress made from this cloth. I want you to make some arrangements so that the tailor can not steal from the cloth.”
Hearing this, Birbal said, “Begum Sahiba, my experience says that irrespective of whatever you do, the tailor will mange to steal a part of the cloth piece.” The Empress replied, “No, no! I don’t believe it. You call the royal tailor here and ask him to stitch my dress in the palace itself. Depute guards around his work place and then see how he manages to steal a sloth piece. I bet, he’ll not be able to do it.”
Birbal smiled and said,”Begum Sahiba, the tailors are very smart. Whatever you do, they are bound to steal a part of your cloth piece.” The Empress did not agree with him and took it as a challenge. The royal tailor was called and was ordered to work in the palace. He was told not to leave the palace until the work was finished.
The tailor came with all his essentials to stay in the palace premises. His work place was tightly observed by the royal guards. The tailor was not allowed to go out, not even to his house. Like this, ten days passed. The whole day, the tailor works on the extraordinary dress of the Empress.
One day, the tailor’s daughter came to see him. She said, “Father, please visit home today. Mother is remembering you a lot.” As the girl was not allowed inside, she remained standing out of the guarded room.
The tailor expressed his inability to visit home. But the daughter remained adamant. She kept insisting her father. Irritated be her repeated insistence, the angry tailor lifted his shoe and flung it towards her. He said, “Silly Girl! So many times, I have told you that I can’t come. Why don’t you listen?”
Seeing her father so much irritated, the little girl giggled out of amusement. She picked up the shoe, which was flung at her and ran away from there. Finally, the dress was ready after fifteen days. The empress was very happy to see it. She gave good reward to the tailor. Before leaving the palace, the tailor was thoroughly checked by the guards.
The empress was elated that her dress would be rare in the whole kingdom. One day, the empress was passing through the market with her royal cavalcade. Suddenly she noticed a woman wearing a blouse, which was made of the cloth similar to her rare dress.
Astonished to see this, the Empress immediately asked her guards to call the woman to her palace. When the woman came, the Empress asked her who she was. After enquiry it was found out that she was the wife of the royal tailor.
The Empress was angry as well as surprised. She called the tailor. The tailor was very much frightened. He went to Birbal and requested him to come along with him. Birbal felt pity and agreed to accompany him.
The empress was very angry, but Birbal cooled her down. He said, “Begum Sahiba, it’s not the fault of the tailor. The tailors are like this only. Please forgive him.” The Empress thought for a while and then said to the tailor. “I’ll forgive you if you reveal how did you manage to take the piece of the cloth out from the palace.
The tailor said, “Huzoor, when my daughter came to call me, I pretended to be very angry and threw my shoe towards her. I had suffered a small piece of cloth in the shoe. Before coming here, I had already briefed my daughter about it. So, when I flung the shoe towards her, she picked it and ran away from there. This way, the piece of cloth was brought out the palace.”
The tailor’s head bent down. As per her promise, the Empress forgave him and sent him back. She then turned towards Birbal and said, “Birbal, you were absolutely right. It’s impossible to prevent this lot from stealing the cloth.” Birbal smiled and went away from there.

The Pot Of Wisdom

Once the Empress pressurized the Emperor to appoint her brother Gulam Sheikh, as the ‘Wasir’. Succumbed to her pressure, the Emperor removed Birbal from the ‘Wasir’s’ post and appointed Gulam Sheikh in his place.
The king of Iran always envied the great Emperor Akbar, whose court was studded with wonderful gems. The king of Iran knew it very well that Birbal was unparallel to his brilliance. When the Iranish Emperor received the news of Birbal’s removal from the ‘Wasir’s’ post, he at once sent a messenger with a message. The messager was also carrying a few pots with him.
The messenger came to the court off Akbar and read the message, “I’ve heard a lot about your wise courtiers. I need few pots of wisdom for my own use. Please send the pots filled with wisdom. In case, it’s not there then you please send the empty pots to me”
The Emperor assigned the responsibility of solving the puzzle to Gulam Sheikh. Gulam Sheikh was totally perplexed with the message. He spend many sleepless nights but could not understand what he should do?
At last, Gulam Sheikh went to his sister, the Empress and said. “I’m tried of the Wasir’s responsibility. I don’t want this anymore.”
Gulam Sheikh accepted in front of his sister that he was unable to solve the puzzle, which went sent by the Iranish Emperor. The worried Empress asked herself, “What will happen, if the solution is not sent?”

Finally the Empress called Birbal and sought his help. After listening to the whole episode, Birbal took all the pots in his possession. He then called the royal gardener and asked him to sow few seeds of pumpkin in the garden. When the plants grew and small fruits came on the plants, Birbal gave the pots to the gardener and asked him to place a small fruit in each pot without plucking it from the plant. Birbal instructed the gardener to allow the pumpkin to grow inside the pots.
After a few months, the pumpkin grew into full size and ultimately filled the entire space of empty pots. Birbal then plucked the pumpkins from their plants. He called the royal messenger and asked him to take back the pots to the Iranian Emperor. He also sent a message with the pots, “As per your wish, we are sending a small amount of wisdom. Its filled in the pots. Please take it out with breaking the pots.”
The messenger reached Iran with the pots. He presented the pots to the Emperor and read the message. After listening to the message and looking at the pots, the Emperor murmured. “It seems, Birbal is reappointed as ‘Wazir’. It can’t be Gulam Sheikh’s wisdom.”
The messenger returned to the court of Akbar. He narrated the whole episode. When the Empress came to know about it, she at once told the Emperor to reappoint Birbal at ‘Wazir’s’ post.

The List of Fools

The Emperor was very fond of tall, handsome and agile horses. Once a merchant from Arabia came to sell his horses. He displayed a few very impressive horses to the king. The Emperor liked those horses and ordered for a good number of similar horses. He gave two lakh gold coins as an advance to the merchant.
The man was a fraud. He disappeared with the money and did not return for a long time. Time passed. One day a unique whim struck Akbar’s psyche. He said to Birbal affirmed and promised to bring the list after sometime.
After a week, Birbal called on the Emperor with a long list of fools and presented the paper to the Emperor. Akbar was happy that Birbal had accomplished his job in a very little time. However, when he gazed on the paper, he was raged to read his own name on the top of it. “What’s this Birbal?” the Emperor roared. “How dare you put my name in this category?”
“I beg your pardon. Huzoor! You’re a justice loving person. Please judge your act regarding giving the advance to a stranger and then tell me, shouldn’t I keep you in this list?” asked Birbal with folded hands. The Emperor calmed down little and argued, “Birbal, assume that the man comes with the horses. Then what will you do?”
“I will immediately remove your name and put his name at your place.” promptly replied Birbal, the wittiest of all!

The Richman's Portrait

One day Birbal saw the court’s artist quite worried. Birbal personally knew the artist. He was a humble gentleman. Birbal enquired with the artist. “You are looking gloomy. What’s the cause?”
The artist said, “Sir, I’m really worried. One big businessman is after ruining my reputation, which I have earned till now.” “What has happened?” enquired Birbal.
“Huzoor, one day I met the businessman in some party. There he was challenging that no artist could portray him perfectly. Hearing this, I accepted his challenge and fixed up the time with him for drawing his portrait. A few days latter when I finished the portrait, I visited the rich man’s house and showed the portrait to him. But seeing the portrait, he screamed – You have portrayed me in beard! I tried to convince him that at the time of portrait making, he was possessing beard. But he did not listen to me at all.”
The artist was in tears. Birbal consoled him and enquired further. The artist said, “Sir, then I humbly asked him to give me one more chance to prove my deftness. He agreed. After a few days I visited his house with a new portrait, I was quiet confident this time. But when I saw him he was cleaned shaved man. As I feared, he shouted – “this can’t be my picture. This picture is showing moustache, whereas I don’t possess it. It I tried to convince him that it was not my fault. However, he declared that I failed to fulfil my challenge. I asked for one more chance but he tricked me the next time too. Only after portraying him for five times, I could understand that his motive was evil and wanted to let me down.
The artist then showed Birbal all the five portraits. All the portraits were indeed nice ones. Birbal was kind hearted man, he decided to help the artist. He briefed the artist and accompanied him up to the rich man’s house. Birbal remained outside the house, whereas the artist entered inside.
As soon as the rich man saw the artist, he said mockingly, “O great artist! You are here again! It seems, you have come again with some of your rubbish item.” The artist humbly replied, “Sir, I’m sure, what I’ve brought today will surely match with your face.”
Saying so, he passed on a framed piece to him. The rich man held it in his hand and looked at it. But it was just a mirror.
He screamed angrily, “What a silly joke it is? You’ve brought just a mirror!” Then entered Birbal, who was standing outside and was listening to their conversation.
Birbal said, “Are you not happy with the mirror which is shoeing your exact picture? I think only mirror can depict your present face. You don’t need a portrait but a mirror, my friend.”
The rich man was very much ashamed to see and hear Birbal. He begged his pardon for his folly and paid the artist well.