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Story 1 - How Akbar Met Birbal

Akbar loved hunting and used to escape to go for hunting even from
his studies. Well, later he became a better rider and hunter than any
one of his courtiers. One day when Akbar went for hunting, he and his
some of the courtiers went so fast that they left the others behind. As
the evening fell, everybody got very hungry and thirsty, they found
that they had lost their way and now did not know where to go.

At last they came to a junction of three roads. King was very happy to
see the roads that now he could go reach his capital through one of
these roads, but which road was to go to his capital - Agra. They were
all thinking about it and could not decide it. In the mean time they saw
a young boy coming along one road. The boy was summoned and
Akbar asked him, "Hey young boy! Which road goes to Agra?" The boy
smiled and spoke, "Huzoor! everybody knows that road cannot move
so how these roads can go to Agra or anywhere else?" and laughed at
his own joke.

Everybody was silent, didn't say a word. The boy said again, "People
travel, not the roads. Do they?" Emperor laughed at this and said,
"No, you are right." The Emperor asked again, "What is your name,
young boy?" "Mahesh Das" The boy replied and asked the Emperor,
"And who are you Huzoor? What is your name?" The Emperor took out
his Ring and gave it to the boy. "You are talking to Emperor Akbar -
the King of Hindustan (India). We need feerless people like you. You
come to the court, with this Ring I will recognize you immediately.
Now tell me the way to get to Agra. We have to reach there soon?"

Mahesh Das bowing lowly pointed towards the road going to Agra, and
the King headed on that road.

That is how the Emperor Akbar met the future Birbal.

Story 2 - Mahesh Das Goes to Seek His Fortune .... OR Birbal

is Born

There was a boy named Mahesh Das. When he grew up as a fine

young man, he took all his savings, along with the Ring of Seal of the
Emperor Akbar, which he received from the Emperor himself some
time ago, bade his mother farewell, and set out to the new capital of
India - Fatehpur Sikri.
He was very much enchanted with the pomp and show of the new
capital. He escaped the crowd and headed towards the red walls of the
palace. The palace gate was very richly ornamented - a very beautiful
gate as he had never seen before. Mahesh wanted to enter the gate,
but the guard slashed the air with his spear and stopped him from
entering the gate.

"Where do you think, you are going?" asked the guard. Said Mahesh
politely, "Sir, I have come to see the King." "Oh! yeah, the King must
be waiting for you, as when you would come?" the guard said
sarcastically. Mahesh smiled at this comment and spoke "Yes, Sir, and
now I am here." Mahesh told further, “I am sure you must have fought
wonderfully well on the Emperor's frontiers, but do not risk your life by
stopping me from entering the palace."

The guard kept quiet for a moment, then said courageously, "Why do
you think so? I will chop off your head, if you do not stop talking
nonsense." Mahesh was not going to accept his defeat. He showed
Akbar's Ring of Seal to the guard.

Now who was the person who did not recognize Akbar's Ring of Seal.
Having seen the seal, the guard couldn't say a word. He had to admit
him, although he was not willing to do it. So the guard thought and
thought, then he said to Mahesh, "You can go in on one condition."
"What?", Mahesh asked. The guard said, "Whatever you will get from
the Emperor, you will share with me half of that. "Agreed," Mahesh
smiled and the guard let him go inside.

He went on and on, finally he could see the golden throne on which a
man of simple elegance was sitting. He quickly recognized him as the
Emperor Akbar. Pushing everyone aside, Mahesh went further and
prostrated himself before the Emperor Akbar, and said, "May your
shadow always grow, O Full Moon."

Akbar smiled and asked him, "What do you want. O young man?"
Mahesh rose to his feet and spoke, "Sir, I have come here at your
command." And he handed over the Ring of Seal, which was given to
him by the King so many years before.

"That's a good boy, now what do you want? What is your heart's
desire? Tell me, I will try my best to fulfill it." Mahesh remembered his
promise with the guard, so he asked the Emperor to punish him with
one hundred slashes. The King was surprised to hear that, "But how
can I do this to you, you have done nothing wrong." Mahesh said
politely, "Sir, please do not go back from your promise of fulfilling my
heart's desire."

So with great reluctance and perplexed mind, Akbar ordered one

hundred lashes on Mahesh's back. To the surprise of all, Mahesh
endured every stroke without uttering a word.

After the fiftieth whip, he suddenly shouted, "Stop now." Akbar asked,
"Why? What happened?" Mahesh said, "Sir when I was coming here,
your guard did not allow me to come inside the palace, unless I
promised him to give half of my share of whatever I will get from you.
I have taken half of my share, now it is your guard's turn to take his
share of half." Everybody burst into the laughter.

The guard was hauled to receive his humiliating bribe. The King said,
"You are as brave as you were when you were a child. You have grown
into a cleverer young man. I was trying to weed out the corrupted
people from my court, but your little trick has done what I wouldn't
have done even after passing several laws. From now on, on the basis
of your wisdom, you shall be called "Birbal" and you will stay by my
side as my advisor."

That is how Birbal was born.

Story 3 - Question for Question

One day Akbar asked Birbal, "Birbal, can you tell me how many
bangles are on your wife's hand?" Birbal said, "No, Huzoor, I cannot."
"You cannot. Although everyday you see her hand, still you cannot tell
how many bangles are on her hand. How is that." said Akbar.

Birbal said, "Let's go to the garden, Your Majesty. And I will tell you
"How is that" and they both went to the garden. They both went down
a small staircase which led to the garden. After reaching in the garden
Birbal asked, "You daily climb up and down this small staircase, could
you tell how many steps it has?"

Akbar smiled and then changed the subject.

Story 4 - Who is the Donkey?

Once Akbar went to the river with his two sons and wise Minister
Birbal. On the bank of the river, Akbar and his two sons took off their
clothes and asked Birbal to take care of them while they took bath in
the river.

Birbal was waiting for them to come out of the river. All the clothes
were on his shoulder. Looking at Birbal standing like this, Akbar felt
like teasing him, so he said to him, "Birbal! you look like as if you are
carrying a washerman's donkey load."

Birbal quickly retorted, "Sir, Washerman's donkey carries only one

donkey's load, I am carrying three donkey's load." Akbar was

Story 5 - Why is camel's Neck Crooked?

Akbar was very impressed with Birbal's wit and wisdom. So one day
Akbar promised him for many gifts. But it so happened that several
days passed, but there was no sign of gift. Birbal was very
disappointed. He didn't know what to do? One day when Akbar was
taking a stroll at the bank of Yamunaa with his dear minister Birbal, he
happened to notice a camel. He asked Birbal, "Tell me Birbal, why the
camel's neck is crooked."

Birbal thought this is good time, so he thought for a moment and

spoke, "Your Majesty, it might be possible that the camel has
forgotten to honor his promise made to somebody that is why his neck
is crooked. Scriptures mention that whoever will forget their promises
will have crooked neck. So this might seem the reason of his crooked

Akbar soon realized that he promised to give some gifts to Birbal, but
has not yet done so. As soon as they arrived at the palace, the King
gave him his reward.

So Birbal was so wise that he got what he wanted without asking for it.

Story 6 - Birbal Goes 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

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.

Story 7 - 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 shorter 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. 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,

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 shorter by two inches by morning."

Story 8 - 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 patach 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 agin listened to this and they went on.

After a while the king remebered 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."

Another Version of This Story

Its another version goes like this. One day Akbar and Birbal were
roaming around the Royal Gardens. Akbar was in a good mood. So he
said to Birbal, "Birbal, eggplant is such a good vegetable that I have
never tasted such a delicious vegetable till today." Birbal said, "Yes
Huzoor, it is. It is very tasty and delicious, that is why God has put a
crown on its head." Akbar was very pleased to hear this that his
appreciated vegetable has been crowned by God.

After a few weeks again Akbar and Birbal were in the Royal Gardens.
Akbar remembered something and spoke to Birbal, "Look Birbal, this
eggplant is such a nasty vegetable, that I have never tasted such a
tasteless vegetable till today." Birbal said, "Yes Huzoor, it is tasteless.
You said it right. That is why its name is "Baygun" (Eggplant's name in
India's local language Hindi is "Bengan". Birbal twisted the name which
means "without any godd nutrients").

Now Akbar got very angry. He said to Birbal, "What is this? Whatever I
say, you say the same thing. How is it possible that both the
statements are right about eggplant." Birbal bowed a little and said
politely, "Huzoor, I am loyal to you, not to eggplant. It cannot do me
any favor, you can." Akbar was very pleased to hear this bold, witty
and honest response.
Story 9 - 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.

Story 10 - Birbal Solves the Problem

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.

Story 11 - 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.

Story 12 - Birbal's Sweet Reply

Akbar used to ask many odd questions from his courtiers and amused
himself. One day he entered the Royal Court, settled in his Royal chair,
and asked his courtiers: "What punishment should be given to a
person who pulls my mustache?"

One said, "He should be beheaded."

Another said, "He should be flogged."
Yet another said, "He should be hanged."

"What do you think, Birbal?" the Emperor asked Birbal. Birbal kept
quiet for a moment, then said, "Jahaanpanaah, he should be given
sweets." "What, Birbal? Have you gone crazy? Do you know what are
you saying?" Birbal replied politely, "I am not crazy, Jahaanpanaah.
And I know what I am saying." "Then how can you talk like this?" the
King asked in anger. Birbal again replied politely, "Because,
Jahaanpanaah, the only person can dare to do this is your grandson."

So pleased was the King with this answer, that he gave his ring to
Birbal as a reward.

Story 13 - Birbal Identifies the Guest

Once Birbal was invited for dinner by a rich man. When Birbal reached
there, he found himself in a large crowd. The host greeted him warmly
and took him inside. Birbal said, "I did not know that there will be so
many guests in this gathering." The host replied politely, "They are not
guests, Sir. They are my employees except one who is the only other
guest here besides you. Could you tell who is that other one guest

"Maybe, I could. Tell them a joke, and I will observe them." The rich
man told the joke and everybody laughed uproariously. Perhaps this
was the worst joke Birbal had ever heard in his life. Now the rich man
asked Birbal, "I have told the joke, now you tell me who is the other
guest here?" Birbal pointed out towards a man and said, "He is that
other guest." The rich man was very surprised hearing this that how
could he recognize the other guest. He said to him, "You are right
Birbal, but how did you recognize him?"

Birbal said, "Because only employees can laugh on such a joke. He

was the only person who did not even smile on your joke, so I
immediately recognized him as the other guest."

Story 14 - Tit Bits?

Akbar's court was famous for the witty question answer


On one such occasion - Akbar asked his courtiers whether they

could tell the difference between the truth and the false within
three words. All courtiers got busy in finding out the three
words or less to tell the difference between the truth and the
false. But enough time passed and they could not tell.

"What about you, Birbal?" "His Majesty!" Birbal looked around

and replied, "Four fingers" The King got surprised and asked
him, "How, Birbal?" "Yes, Your Majesty, this is the difference
between truth and false. Because what your eyes see is truth,
and what your ears hear, more often than not, may be false."

"That is right, but then why do you say "four fingers"?" Akbar
said. Birbal bowed a little and said, "Because Your Majesty,
only four fingers is the distance between ear and eyes." Akbar
was very astonished to hear this reply.

On another occasion - Akbar drew a line on the floor and asked his
courtiers to shorten it without touching it. No courtier could do it. The
Birbal came forward and drew another longer line beside it. Now the
King's line was shorter than Birbal's line.

On another occasion, Akbar asked what is that thing which sun

and moon cannot see but others can see. As usual his courtiers
could not get a even a clue. Then Birbal said, "Darkness,

Story 15 - A Little Lesser and a Little More

One day Birbal's five-year old daughter accompanied him to the Royal
Court. When Akbar saw her, it just came to his mind that he should
test her wits whether she had the same type of wits as her father had.

He started talking to her. "Do you know Persian, O little girl?" "A little
lesser and a little more, Sir" The girl replied. Birbal smiled on her
reply, but Akbar could not understand it, so he asked Birbal to explain

Birbal said, "She knows Persian a little more than those who do not
know Persian, and knows a little lesser than those who know Persian

Akbar understood, that she had the same wits as her father.
Story 16 - Birbal's Beautiful Explanation

One day the Emperor Akbar saw a woman hugging and kissing a very
dark, ugly and unattractive child. He was very surprised to see that.
He thought and thought but could not think why? He asked Birbal that
why she was doing that to such an unattractive child. Birbal replied
innocently, "Huzoor, he must have been her own child. For every
mother her own child is the most beautiful child in the world."

The Emperor did not seem to be convinced with this explanation, and
Birbal had guessed this from the Emperor's face. Next day, in the
presence of the Emperor, Birbal ordered a Guard to present the most
beautiful child in the world in the court. Next day, the Guard brought a
more unattractive and ugly child with buck teeth and his hair stood like
a porcupine and presented to the Emperor. "This is the most beautiful
child in the world, Your majesty." the Guard stammered.

The Emperor asked, "How do you know that he is the most beautiful
child in the world?" "Your Majesty, I went home and posed my
problem to my wife. She told me to bring our child to the court." the
Guard replied meekly.

Story 17 - Mullaa's Flattering Answer

One day, the Mullaa Nasruddin was going back after having an
audience with the Emperor, that his one coin fell down from his
pocket. It was the only money he had at that time so he started
immediately looking for it. Muraad, who was his one of his bitterest
enemies at the court, said, "See Your Majesty, how miser he is? You
have bestowed so much money on him, still he is after a copper coin."

Mullaa said quickly, "It is not because of the value of the coin, Your
Majesty, that I am looking for it. I am looking for it because one side
of that coin bears your resemblance, and I don't want people
trampling on it."

Akbar was so pleased to hear this reply that he pulled off his diamond
ring from his finger and gave it to the Mullaa.
Story 18 - The Mullaa Uses His Head

One time it happened so that the Mullaa Nasruddin displeasured the

Sultan, so the Sultan asked one of his men to slay him and bring him
his head.

The Mullaa was very upset with this. He went to Birbal and asked him
how to save himself. Birbal said, "It is a difficult situation but let me
try. Rest is your luck." And he told him how to act.

The Mullaa, however, could persuade the man to take him alive to the
court. Sultan was very furious seeing Mullaa alive in his court. He
asked the soldier, "Didn't I tell you to bring Mullaa's head to the Court,
not the Mullaa himself?" The Mullaa Nasruddin said politely, "It is not
his fault, Huzoor. I asked him to do so. You know whenever you want
anything done, I don't trust anybody else lest it is badly done. So I
thought let me do it myself. So I decided to bring my head myself on
my shoulder. My head is here, Huzoor."

Akbar was very pleased with this defense that he allowed Mullaa to
keep his head on his shoulder.

Story 19 - The Noblest Beggar

One day the Emperor asked Birbal, "Birbal, is it possible to be the

"noblest" and the "lowest" together?" Birbal said, "Yes,
Jahaanpanaah" "Then bring me such a person."

Birbal went and returned next day with a beggar and presenting him
to Akbar said, "This is the lowest among all of your subjects,
Jehanpanah" Akbar asked, "Good, that may be true, but I don't see
that how he can be the noblest?"

"He has been given the honor of having an audience with the Emperor,
that makes him the noblest among the beggars, Jahaanpanaah."

Story 22 - The Loyal Gardener

One day Akbar was stumbled on a rock in his garden while taking a
stroll. He was not in a good mood already, and then this fall. He got
very angry and ordered for the gardener's arrest and execution.

The next day, at the time of execution, the gardener was asked what
his last wish was. He requested for an audience with the Emperor. His
wish was granted and he was brought in the Court. When he came
near the throne, he loudly cleared the throat and spat at the feet of
the Emperor. The Emperor demanded to know why did he do such a
thing. The gardener did this on Birbal's advice, so Birbal stepped
forward in the gardener's defense.

He said, "There could be no person more loyal than this unfortunate

gardener. Fearing that you ordered him for hanging for a small reason,
he went out of his way to give you a genuine reason for ordering him
to be hanged."

The Emperor realized his mistake and set him free.

Story 23 - Birbal Betrays Himself

One day Birbal happened to pass a harmless comment on Akbar's

sense of humor. But Akbar was no fool. He got very angry and ordered
him to not only leave the court, but also the city of Agra, his capital.
Birbal was terribly hurt but could not do anything about it. So Birbal
left. But now Akbar was missing him. He wanted him back in the
Court. He could not do anything without him because he didn't know hi
whereabouts. Nobody else also knew where he was.

One day an intelligent Saadhu (saint) came to his court and told him
the way to search for him. Now Akbar did as the Saadhu said to him.
He announced that he will give one thousand gold coins whosoever will
come to his Court in half sun and in half shade.

Next day a villager came carrying a string cot over his head and
claimed the money. He said, "I am in half sun and in half shade."
Akbar understood that this man cannot do it himself. On interrogation
he confessed that Birbal suggested him this plan. Akbar was very
happy to hear this. Immediately he called Birbal and they had a happy
Story 24 - The Donkey's Relatives

One day Hodjaa loaded some vegetables on his donkey and set to
market. After a distance the donkey stopped going further and stayed
where it was. Now Hodjaa was in a hurry, first he coxed the donkey to
get moving but when it refused to walk further, then he started
beating it.

Seeing this people gathered around them. One man asked Hodjaa
"Why are you beating this poor creature?" Another man said, "You are
a merciless man who is beating a speechless animal." The third man
said, "Do not beat it, it will go its own."

Hodjaa was still in anger, he said to the donkey, "If I knew that you
had so many relatives around, I would never have beaten you. I can
see that you have a large family here."

Hearing this the people left and went away their way leaving Hodjaa
with his donkey.

Story 25 - Red Hot Test

One day, one man wanted to punish a man named Hasan. He accused
him of stealing his necklace, and reported this theft in the police. The
case was brought in the Judge's court. Judge knew Hasan very well,
and he also knew that he was not a thief.

So he asked the man, "Why do you think that Hasan has stolen your
necklace?" The man replied, "Your Honor, I have seen him stealing the
necklace." Hasan said, "I am innocent, Your Honor. I do not know
anything about his necklace."

The man then said, "All right, if he is innocent, let him prove his
innocence. let me bring the hot iron, and if he can hold it in his bare
hands, then I will agree that he has not stolen my necklace, and he is
speaking truth."

The man said, "It means that if I am speaking the truth, then I will not
burn my hands with that red hot iron?" "Yes, you are right. God will
protect you."
Now Hasan could not do anything but to hold red hot iron in his hands
to prove his innocence, and that he was speaking the truth. He asked
judge to give him one day to look for that necklace again. The judge
gave him permission. He went home.

He took advice from Birbal. He returned next day he came back and
said, "I am ready for that, Sir, if you think so. But the same thing
should apply to him too. If he is speaking the truth, then the red hot
iron should not burn his hands also. So let him bring that red hot iron
holding in his both hands, then I will hold that iron in my bare hands."

Now the man was speechless. He told the Judge that he would go and
search his necklace again in his house, maybe it was misplaced
somewhere there, bowed hastily and went away.

Story 26 - Hodjaa Outwits His Donkey

Hodjaa loved his donkey very much. At times he used to carry salt to
sell in the market. One day when he was carrying his salt on his
donkey, a river came on the way. The day was very hot, so donkey
thought if I make only one plunge in the water, I will feel cool and my
master will also not feel bad. So it just took a plunge in the water for a
couple of moments and started again on its journey.

Now with this activity, its some salt was dissolved. It felt lighter and so
it was happy. Next day, again it did the same thing, and the same
thing happened again. Some salt was dissolved and it felt lighter. Now
the donkey knew the trick. It started doing this daily.

Now Hodjaa was perplexed. What was happening to his salt. Why it
remained less after reaching in the market. One day he observed his
donkey. He understood now, why it was happening so. Next day he
tied the baskets full of cotton and set on his journey.

Donkey was very happy with its trick, so it played it again. This time
when it took the plunge into the water, it didn't get lighter, rather it
felt much heavier. Cotton had soaked the water so it became heavier.

The donkey had very rough time with this load, but could not
understand, where it made the mistake. So it stopped playing the
trick, and Hodjaa used to go to market safely .
Story 27 - Birbal Does Justice

Once a man sold his well to a farmer. Next day when farmer went to
draw the water from that well, the man did not allow him to draw the
water from it. He said, "I have sold you the well, not the water, so you
cannot draw the water from the well."

The farmer became very sad, and came to the Emperor's court. He
described everything to the Emperor, and asked for the justice.

The Emperor called Birbal and handed over this case to him. Birbal
called the man who sold the well to the farmer. Birbal asked, "Why
don't you let him use the water of the well. You have sold the well to
the farmer." The man replied, "Birbal, I have sold the well to the
farmer, not the water. He has no right to draw the water from the

Then Birbal smiled and said to him, "Good, but look, since you have
sold the well to this farmer, and you claim that water is yours, then
you have no right to keep your water in the farmer's well. Either you
pay rent to the farmer to keep your water in his well, or you take that
out of his well immediately."

The man understood, that his trick has failed. Birbal has outwitted

Story 28 - Just One Question

Once a scholar came to Akbar's Court and challenged Birbal to answer

his question. He wanted to test Birbal's wits, whether he was really
like that as he heard about him. Birbal accepted the challenge. Then
the scholar asked Birbal, "Whether you would like to answer one
hundred easy questions or one difficult question. Akbar and Birbal had
a very long day, they were in a hurry to go home, so Birbal agreed on
one difficult question.

The scholar asked, "Who came first? Chicken or egg?" Birbal answered
the question without giving any second thought, "The chicken" The
scholar was astonished to hear that, "How do you know?"
"We agreed up on only one question, so no second question." Birbal
said. And Akbar and Birbal left the Court without looking back at him.

Story 29 - Hodjaa's Prayers Answered

Hodjaa finished his prayers, as he used to do it daily, by asking Allah

to give him one hundred Deenaars (currency of that time). One day
his neighbor planned to play a prank on him. So when he finished his
prayers, the neighbor threw a bag full of Deenaars, not hundred but
ninety-nine, through his window where Hodjaa was praying.

Hodjaa was very happy to see that bag full of Deenaars. He counted
the money and put it in his box. Seeing this, his neighbor shouted, "O
Hodjaa, give my money back. This is my money." Hodjaa said, "No, it
is not yours. My Allah has answered my prayers and He has given me
this money."

The neighbor said, "Then there should be hundred Deenaars in the

bag. There are only ninety-nine." Hodjaa said, "He has deducted one
Deenaar for the bag. I don't mind that." And the man had to lose
those Deenaars to Hodjaa.

Story 30 - Hodjaa Tells a Story

On one very cold day of winter, Hodjaa was coming back from a
neighboring town. He came to nearby inn which had a big fire burning
in its courtyard. He was very happy to see that. But when he came
nearby the fire, he found that there were many people around the fire,
so nobody else could come nearby the fire to get enough warmth. He
thought a plan.

"What a bad day today! I earned so much money but I lost it on the
way." Hodjaa said sadly. People gathered there asked him, "Why don't
you go now and search for it? It should be lying somewhere on the
way. It is a cold night, so nobody is going to pick that bag." Hodjaa
said, "That is what I am also thinking. Who is going to pick it up. Now
I am very tired. I will go in the morning to search for it."

In the meantime he saw several people moving quietly from there.

Now he could sit near the fire. A man said, "You should have gone only
now to get that bag. Anybody could find it and take it. You can see,
many people have already left for it." Hodjaa said, "No, I will go
tomorrow. Let me get some warmth now. Till then I will tell you
another fairy tale...

Story 32 - Birbal Helps an Astrologer

Once the King Akbar heard that a certain astrologer was boasting for
his accurate predictions. He called him for a test. When he came to the
Court, he asked him, "I have heard that you predict very accurately."
The astrologer was trembling with fear. "Tell me, when will you die?"

The astrologer said he will have to consult his charts to predict

correctly. The King gave him one hour time to do so. Instead of
consulting his charts, the astrologer went to Birbal and described the
whole thing. Birbal gave him advice as what he should say to the King.

The astrologer returned to the Court and told the king, "He would die
three days before the King." Akbar understood very well that he was
bluffing, but he did not want to take any chance, so he let him go.
Thus the astrologer saved his life.

Story 34 - Birbal Passes the Test

Once a Pandit came to Akbar's court and expressed his desire to test
the intelligence of his courtiers. Akbar granted the permission, so all
his courtiers gathered in the court at the appointed time. The Pandit
had a pot covered with a cloth. He asked the courtiers, "What is in the

Everybody was silent. Nobody knew how to tell the contents of a

covered pot. Then Birbal came forward, he uncovered the pot, peeped
inside, and said, "There is nothing inside the pot. It is empty."

The Pandit said, "But you opened it." Birbal said, "But you never said
not to open it." Pandit understood that he was at mistake. He bowed
to the Emperor and walked away.
Story 37 - Hunting and the Dowry

Akbar had a passion for hunting. One day Akbar was on his
hunting trip, that he heard two owls quarreling very fiercely.
Akbar asked Birbal, "Birbal, what are these owls saying? Why
are they quarreling so loudly?"

Birbal said, "Both of them are settling the dowry amount,

Huzoor. The first one who is groom's father, is saying that he
wants to take 40 jungles in the dowry, with no animals at all.
The other owl, who is bride's father is saying that he can
arrange only 20 jungles at the moment."

In the mean time one owl hooted once more very loudly. Akbar
asked Birbal, "Now what is he saying?" Birbal said, "Now he is
saying that if you wait for six months more, I can give you 40
jungles without animals."

Akbar understood what Birbal wanted to say. He gave up

hunting altogether.

Story to show how a person’s moral / conscience can be

addressed to make him/her realize the mistake and give up
bad habit.

Story 38 - Birbal and Akbar's Ring

Once Akbar went for hunting, and there his ring fell in a dry well. Now
how to take that ring out. They did not have any means to take it out.
Then Birbal said, "Huzoor, if you give me some time I can take your
ring out of this well. Akbar had no alternative.

Birbal went around and brought some fresh cow dung and threw it on
the ring. He then tied a stone on one end of a string, and holding the
other end in his hand threw the stone on the cow dung. He waited for
a long time - cow dung to be dried, and then pulled the string out of
the well. The string brought the stone, the stone was stuck into cow
dung and the cow dung had the Emperor's ring at its bottom.

Story 39 - Akbar's Dream

Once Akbar had a dream that his all teeth have fallen down except
one. In the morning he invited all the astrologers and asked them to
interpret this dream. All the astrologers sat to interpret that dream. At
last they all reached on this conclusion that it meant that - all of his
relatives will die before him. So they said to Akbar.

Hearing this Akbar felt very bad and got concerned about his relatives.
He sent all the astrologers away without giving anything. He got
restless. The whole day passed, but he could not find rest in his mind.
In the evening Birbal came. Akbar told his dream to Birbal too and
asked him to interpret it.

Birbal thought for a minute and said, "This means Huzoor, that you will
live very long and much fufiled life than any of your relatives."
Hearing this Akbar got very pleased and he rewarded him heavily.

Story 40 - Birbal Helps a Pandit

Once a Braahman named Sevaaraam came to Birbal for his help. He

told him that his father was a very good pundit and all people use to
call him pundit ji. Since he cannot do all those things, nobody calls him
pundit ji. Although he was very much contented with his work, life,
income but he had this wish that all people should call him pundit ji.
Birbal said it was not difficult at all, but he had to follow his advice
word by word. Pundit agreed.

Birbal said, "Whenever somebody calls you Pandit Jee, you should be
very angry and shout at him loudly, that is all." Pundit agreed. Next
day Birbal went to the locality where that Pundit used to live. There he
talked to the children. He came to know that children didn't like him
because he used to scold them. So he told them if you call that man
"Pandit Jee, Pandit Jee" he will get irritated, and you could take your
revenge. Children were very happy.

From next day the children started calling him "Pandit Jee", "Pandit
Jee"; and the Braahman started to shout at them. After some time
Sevaaraam got tired of shouting but the children and other people
kept calling him Pandit Jee. So the game was over, and the name
Story 41 - Birbal's Khichdee*

Once Akbar and Birbal were taking a stroll. It was winter season.
Winter was at its peak at that time of season. A thought came to
Birbal's mind, and he expressed to the Emperor, "A man can do
anything for money." Emperor also thought something, and he just
dipped his finger in the almost freezing water of a nearby pond. He
drew his hand immediately, and replied Birbal, "I don't think so. Do
you think somebody can stand in this almost freezing water for the
whole night for money?" Birbal said, "I think so."

Birbal told that he can find such a man who can stand in this water for
the whole night for money. Akbar couldn't believe, so he accepted the
challenge and said that he would give one thousand gold coins to that

Next day Birbal brought a man who was very poor and thin. He told
the King that that man would stand in that water. "Good" the King
said and sent him to that pond. Because he did not believe this, so he
sent some guards too to see whether he was really standing in that
almost freezing water for the whole night.

The man went away. Next day the man came back to claim his prize.
Akbar asked his guards about the whole thing and they said, "Yes
Huzoor, he stood there the whole night." Akbar asked that man, "Just
tell me how did you stand in that cold water the whole water?" The
man said, "There was a lamp post at some distance. I just gazed at it
for the whole night. Heat of that lamp was my only hope."

Akbar refused to give him his prize saying that since he got the heat
from that lamp, he was not in the cold water absolutely. Hearing this,
the man got very disappointed and went away. When Birbal heard this,
he didn't like it. Next day he didn't come in the court. Akbar got
worried about him and send his men to bring him to the court.

The men went to his house and came back with the message that
Birbal was cooking his Khichdee and only after eating that he will come
to the court. One hour passed, two hours passed, several hours
passed. Evening fell, but there was no sign of Birbal. Now Akbar got
impatient, and got ready to see him himself.

So he went to Birbal's house. What he sees, that Birbal is sitting in a

room, fire was burning and a pot was hung about 8-10 feet higher
than the fire. The King asked, "Birbal what are you doing?" Birbal
replied, "Huzoor I am cooking my Khichdee." Hearing this King and
his people laughed loudly. Akbar said to him, "Birbal you can't cook
your Khichdee in this way. It is not getting enough heat to be cooked."

Birbal said, "If that man can get the heat from such a distance to keep
him enough warm to stand in this cold water for the whole night, then
why my Khichdee can't be cooked in this way?"

King understood, and returned to his palace. Next day he called that
man and gave his prize to him.

*Khichdee is an Indian dish, made of rice and split green beans mixed normally in
equal amount with some salt. Normally people eat it in lunch in dysentery. It is
supposed to be light food.

Story 42 - The Poet Raaydaas

There was a poet named Raaydaas in Akbar's times. He was a very

good poet. And there was a rich man also in Akbar's capital. But that
rich man was enough miser too. He used to make promises to give
something to somebody but never gave it to him. Raaydaas also heard
this about that rich man, but didn't believe it.

So one day he went to that rich man and said to him that he had
written many good poems and wanted to recite them before somebody
who could appreciate his poems. He could not find any other man
better than him.

The rich man got very happy, and asked him to recite his poems. The
poet recited his poems, some poems were written in the praise of this
rich man too. The rich man became very happy to hear those poems.
So he promised to give him some money and asked him to come back
next day.

Next day Raaydaas came to the rich man's house to take his reward
but the rich man refused to recognize him. After some references, he
said, "I said it only to encourage you, not that I wanted to reward
you." Raaydaas got very disappointed and went away towards his

On the way he met Birbal, he told his story to Birbal. Birbal thought for
a moment, then took out five gold coins and gave them to Raaydaas,
and said, "Arrange a dinner for that rich man on next full moon
night." Raaydaas went away.

Raaydaas had a very good friend, Maayaadaas. He arranged the dinner

in his house. In this dinner, food was to be served in gold pots and the
guest was to take those pots to his house. Rich man was very happy
for this invitation.

The full moon night came. The rich man came for the dinner. Now
Raaydaas and Maayaadaas have already eaten their food first, so they
were not worried about it. They talked and talked a lot but did not talk
about the food. Midnight fell. The rich man was very hungry. When he
could bear no longer, then he reminded about the food. Raaydaas
said, "What food? We don't know anything about the food." Rich man
said, "You have invited me for the dinner." Raaydaas said, "That is
because we just wanted you to be here, not because that we wanted
to offer you any food."

At that time Birbal entered the house and reminded the rich man the
happening of Raaydaas. Now the rich man realized his mistake and
begged for forgiveness. He said that Raaydaas was a very good poet
and he will surely give his reward to him. He took out his necklace and
gave to Raaydaas. Then they all sat for a happy meal. Raaydaas was
also invited by Akbar and got reward from the Royal Court. Thanks to

Story 43 - The Three Questions

King Akbar was very fond of Birbal. This made many courtiers very
jealous. One day one of those courtiers who always wanted to be the
chief minister of the Emperor, got an idea. Since it was not possible as
long as Birbal filled that position.

One day Akbar praised Birbal in front of the courtier. This made this
courtier very angry and he said that the Emperor praised Birbal
unjustly and if Birbal could answer his three questions, he would
accept the fact that Birbal was intelligent. Akbar knew that Birbal will
win so he immediately agreed.

His three questions were

1. How many stars were there in the sky
2. Where was the center of the Earth and
3. How many men and how many women were there in the world.

Immediately Akbar asked Birbal these three questions and instructed

him that if he could not answer them, he would have to resign from
the chief minister's position.

To answer the first question, Birbal brought a sheep and said “There
are as many stars in the sky as there is hair on this sheep’s body. My
friend, the courtier, is welcome to count them if he likes.”

To answer the second question, Birbal drew a couple of lines on the

floor and bore an iron rod in it and said “this is the center of the Earth,
the courtier may measure it himself if he doubts.”

In answer to the third question, Birbal said “Counting the exact

number of men and women in the world would be a problem as there
are some specimens like our courtier friend here who cannot easily be
classified as either. Therefore if all people like him are killed, then and
only then can one count the exact number of men and women.”

Akbar became very happy as always, and that courtier went away
without saying a word.

During an International conference, three scientists, an American, a

German, and an Indian were talking and bragging about the
technological advances their respective countries have achieved in the
field of medicine.

The American said, - "In Washington, there was a baby boy born
without arms so we attached artificial arms on him. And now that he's
grown up and he has become a professional boxer and a gold medallist
in the Olympics!"

The German replied, - "That's nothing compared to what we have

achieved. Back in Berlin, there was a baby girl born without legs so we
attached a pair of artificial legs on her. Now she is a three-time
Olympics marathon gold medallist!"

The Indian interjected, - "Is that all you have achieved, just gold
medallists? In Patna, Bihar, we had a baby boy born without a HEAD!
We attached a COCONUT and called him Laloo and now that he has
grown up, he is the Chief Minister of Bihar!"

The Cock And The Hen

Since Birbal always outwitted Akbar, Akbar thought of a plan to make Birbal look like
a fool. He gave one egg to each of his ministers before Birbal reached the court one

So when Birbal arrived, the king narrated a dream he had had the previous night
saying that he would be able to judge the honesty of his ministers if they were able
to bring back an egg from the royal garden pond.

So, Akbar asked all his courtiers to go to the pond, one at a time and return with an
egg. So, one by one, all his ministers went to the pond and returned with the egg
which he had previously given them.

Then it was Birbal's turn. He jumped into the pond and could find no eggs. He finally
realized that the King was trying to play a trick on him. So he entered the court
crowing like a cock.

The Emperor asked him to stop making that irritating noise and then asked him for
the egg.

Birbal smiled and replied that only hens lay eggs, and as he was a cock, he could not
produce an egg.

Everyone laughed loudly and the King realized that Birbal could never be easily