Art of Fortune Telling | Akbar Birbal

Art of Fortune Telling

Once, Birbal cracked a joke about Emperor Akbar. However, that day, Akbar was in a foul mood and ordered Birbal to leave the capital city.

Birbal was hurt and left the city without telling anyone. Akbar soon started missing Birbal. One day, a wise saint visited the palace with his two disciples. The saint had sparkling eyes, a thick white beard and long hair. The disciples believed that the saint was the wisest person on earth.

Akbar wanted to test the saint. He asked all his courtiers to ask him questions. The saint answered all the questions wisely. Impressed with the saint’s wisdom, Akbar asked him to perform a miracle. The saint replied, “I can bring anyone you want to meet to the court.” Akbar wished to meet Birbal. At once, the saint took off his beard. It was Birbal! Akbar told all his courtiers, “From his wisdom, I knew it was none other than Birbal. Which is why I asked him to perform a miracle.” Akbar welcomed Birbal back with many gifts.

That night, Emperor Akbar dreamt of losing all his teeth except one. In the morning, Akbar woke up worried. He was curious to understand the meaning of his dream.

The next day, Akbar immediately called all the astrologers of the Kingdom to his court. He told them about his dream and asked them, “Great astrologers! Please interpret my dream for me.”

All the astrologers thought for a long time and discussed their theories.

Finally, the astrologers said to Akbar, “Your Majesty! Your dream means that all your relatives will die before you.” Akbar was upset as he did not like what the astrologers had told him. It was a sad thought to imagine that everyone he cared for would die before him. He sent them away without giving them any reward.

That day, when Birbal came to the court, Akbar told him about his dream. He also said he was unhappy with the astrologer’s dream interpretation. Birbal thought for a while and said to Akbar, “Your Majesty! Your dream means you will live much longer and happier lives than your relatives.” Akbar was impressed with Birbal’s way of interpreting his dream. He rewarded him with gold coin; just then, a guard appeared. He said, “A famous Pandit wants to meet you, Your Majesty.”

“Send him in!” said Akbar. As Akbar and the Pandit were talking, Akbar said, “It is said that the earth is round. That means a person can travel around the earth and reach the starting place again!” “What you are saying is correct, Sir. But it cannot be done in reality. It will take a man hundreds of years to travel around the earth!” said the Pandit.

Akbar said, “Surely, not that long! Courtiers, calculate the time it will take to travel around the earth!” After a long silence, “Ten years and four hours!” said a courtier. “Eight months and seventeen days!” said another.

“One day, Your Majesty,” said Birbal. “One day? How Birbal?” asked Akbar. “If a person travels at the speed of the sun, he would only take one day to travel around the earth! Does the sun not travel at night and return before us every morning? Some of the things we find very difficult are simple!” explained Birbal. Akbar laughed. The Pandit left the palace, upset at being upstaged by Birbal. Now, all the courtiers of Akbar’s court were very jealous of Birbal’s popularity and fame. They did not like Birbal, as he was Akbar’s favorite courtier.

So, they plotted against him and went to Emperor Akbar. One of them said, “Your Majesty, Birbal is not regular to court. He is busy learning magic tricks and ways to foretell the future.”

Akbar decided to test Birbal. He called Birbal and said, “I hear you have learned magic. Can you find my missing ring for me?” Birbal realized that the other courtiers were responsible for this. So, he said, “Your Majesty, I will do a magic trick, and the ring will reach your finger on its own.”

He started chanting some magic words and threw rice grains in the air. Akbar had given a ring to a courtier to hide in his pocket. The courtier was scared, so he put his hand in his pocket and held the ring tight. He thought it would fly!

Birbal noticed the courtier’s anxious behavior. He, at once, pointed at him and said, “Your Majesty, he has got the ring!” Birbal’s presence of mind was amazing. Thus, Akbar was pleased with Birbal and gave him a ring.

The next day, Akbar was in the court when a courtier brought news that a learned astrologer was visiting this capital city. Akbar was deeply interested in astrology. He summoned the astrologer to his court.

The astrologer was very nervous, meeting the Emperor for the first time.

Akbar asked, “So you make accurate predictions, I hear. Tell me, when will you die?” The astrologer said, “I shall answer. But will Your Majesty please grant me some time for the detailed and complicated calculations?” The astrologer was given an hour. He ran swiftly to Birbal. “Help me! What do I say to His Majesty? What will I do? I am indeed dead now!”

Birbal calmed him down and tutored him as to what to say. The astrologer returned, holding a long piece of paper with many figures. He bowed to Akbar. “As long as you live, I live. I will die only after you, Sir.”

Akbar knew that the astrologer did not know the answer. However, to hear the answer, Akbar must ask about his death. So, he let the matter rest and said, “You are a clever and good astrologer.”

He rewarded the astrologer handsomely and forgot about astrology for a while.

A few days later, a rich merchant came to meet Emperor Akbar. He said that his house was robbed. He was sure that one of his servants must be the thief. Akbar said, “Birbal, please go to the merchant’s house and investigate.” The next day, Birbal went to the merchant’s house and met his servants. He gave all the servants a stick each and told them, “The stick of the real thief will be longer by three inches tomorrow.”

Saying this, Birbal asked all the servants to meet him the next day with their sticks. At night, the servant who had stolen the things cut three inches from his stick when everyone was asleep. He smirked to himself, ‘I will outsmart Birbal this time!’

The next morning, all the servants assembled with their sticks. Birbal asked them to show him their sticks. He found that one of the servants had cut his stick by three inches. Birbal smiled to himself at the thief’s foolishness. Birbal pointed toward the thief and said to the merchant, “This servant is the thief. He had cut his stick short by three inches, fearing that his stick would be longer by three inches!”

The merchant thanked Birbal for his wisdom. Then, he punished the thief. “Birbal, you are quite an accurate astrologer, you should try your hand at fortune-telling!” Akbar laughed.

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