The Master of Many Arts | Akbar Birbal

Master of Many Arts

Akbar was a great lover of art and music. So, one day, he decided to hold a music competition in his court. He invited the best musicians from all over the country to participate.

On the day of the competition, all the musicians had gathered in the court. Emperor Akbar announced the criteria for winning the competition. He said, “Dear participants, before you all commence your performance, I would like to mention the criteria for winning the performance.”

Akbar paused and continued, “In this competition, you should try and impress the bull instead of pleasing me. Whosoever can play the music that the bull shows interest in will be declared as the winner.” All the competitors were shocked to hear the criteria and wondered at each other. However, all of them played the best tunes they could, but none successfully attracted the bull’s attention. Finally, it was Birbal’s turn.

While everyone was expecting him to play the sweetest tune, Birbal played the droning of mosquitoes and mooing of cows on his instrument. Surprisingly, the bull lifted his head and moved its tail to Birbal’s music! Akbar declared Birbal the winner of the competition, as he had understood what his audience wanted to hear. He told Birbal, “Birbal! You can easily solve any problem! I am sure you are good at painting, too.”

Birbal was surprised, “Your Majesty! I do not even know how to hold a painting brush!” Akbar became angry. He shouted, “Birbal! You cannot say ‘no’ to me. I give you a week’s time. I want you to imagine and make a beautiful painting.” Alas! Birbal had no choice but to make a painting. However, he did not know where to begin!

Birbal returned to the court after a week. He carried a painting in his hands. But it was covered with a white cloth. Birbal removed the cloth, revealing the painting. Akbar’s face turned red with anger. The painting had a few patches of blue and white color on it.

Akbar said, “Birbal! What is this painting about?” Birbal politely replied, “Your Majesty! It is a painting of a cow eating grass.” Akbar was still angry, “Where are the cow and the grass?”Birbal said, “Your Majesty! You asked me to imagine. The cow ate the grass in this painting and returned to its shed.” Akbar laughed heartily. Then, Akbar asked Birbal, “Birbal! The world knows how wise you are. Let us see if you can answer this simple question.”

Birbal bowed and politely said, “Your Majesty! Please go ahead and ask your question.” Akbar asked, “Birbal, how many bangles does your wife wear?” Birbal was surprised by this question. He said, “Your Majesty! This is a simple question, but I don’t know its answer!”

Akbar laughed. “How come you don’t know the answer to this simple question? Your wife serves you food with her hands. You see her bangles every day.” Birbal said, “Your Majesty! I can explain it to you. But shall we go to the garden downstairs?”

Then Akbar and Birbal both climbed down the stairs and reached the garden. Akbar was curious to know why Birbal could not answer that simple question. Birbal then asked Akbar a question, “Your Majesty! We just climbed down the stairs. We use the same staircase every day. Can you tell me the number of stairs?” Akbar smiled and understood why Birbal did not answer the simple question. Birbal showed us how we should not ask questions to which we do not have answers.

One day, Akbar said, “Birbal! I want to take a break and relax. Come with me for a walk in the royal garden.” It was a cool spring day. All flowers were in full bloom. Akbar stopped near a large, beautiful lily and said, “Ah, Birbal! Look at this flower. Can anything be as beautiful as mother nature’s flowers?”

Birbal replied, “Why, yes, Your Majesty! Some artificial things can be better than mother nature’s beautiful flowers!” Akbar said, “That is impossible!” He walked away angrily. The next day, a sculptor visited Akbar’s court and presented him with a bouquet. The bouquet was made of marble.

The sculptor had carved roses, lilies, and tulips into it. Akbar was very happy. He praised the sculptor and said, “We are blessed to have such a brilliant sculptor among us!” Then, he rewarded him with a hundred gold coins. That evening, the royal gardener’s son visited Akbar and gave him a perfect rose from the royal garden. Akbar took the rose. He smiled at the boy and gave him a silver coin.

Birbal stood watching nearby. He said, “So, Your Majesty, the man-made marble bouquet was indeed prettier and worthier than mother nature’s rose! Sometimes, we may not realise how we value something until we see a new one!”

Akbar burst out laughing. He praised Birbal for his witty comment. Then, Akbar and Birbal went for their usual evening rounds around the capital. They came across a woman who was hugging and kissing her baby.

Akbar saw that the baby looked ugly and unhealthy. Yet, the woman sang songs to him and played with him. When the baby laughed, she lovingly smiled at him. Akbar said, “Birbal, I am very confused! How can this woman love very an ugly and unhealthy baby?”

Birbal replied, “Your Majesty, looks don’t matter to her! To her, her own child is the most beautiful child in the world!” However, Akbar said, “I would like to see the most beautiful baby in the world!”

The next day, Birbal said, “Your Majesty, I asked the guard to bring the most beautiful baby for you. He is here now.” The guard came forward and showed Akbar his baby.

Akbar asked, “How do you know this is the most beautiful baby in the world?” The guard replied, “Your Majesty, I asked my wife. She said that our baby is the most beautiful.” Akbar smiled. He blessed the baby and said, “Now I understand a mother’s heart. She would love her child unconditionally, no matter how he looks!”

He thanked Birbal and went back to the palace. One of Akbar’s courtiers came to the court the next day with a man. The courtier said to Akbar, “Your Majesty! Please solve his problem.”

The man said, “I am a merchant. I have two sons. My elder son, Abdullah, is lazy whereas my younger son, Jalal, is hard working. I am going away to trade. Whom shall I leave in charge of my business?” Akbar said to Birbal, “Birbal, this is a simple case, yet I can’t think of a solution.”

Birbal said, “Your Majesty, let me handle this, please. Merchant, leave Abdullah to run the shop and Jalal to take care of the warehouse.” Everyone was surprised. Akbar asked Birbal, “Birbal, Abdullah will ruin the business. Why should he not leave everything under Jalal’s care?”

Birbal smiled and said, “Your Majesty, if Jalal is in charge of the entire business, Abdullah may hurt him in jealousy. A ware house is the backbone of a shop. If kept in good order, one can use these goods in the future, even if the shop is looted. So, even if Abdullah does not maintain the shop well, Jalal’s good work in the warehouse will help.”

Akbar praised Birbal for his wisdom yet again. He said, “Birbal! Truly, you are a genius!”

Hey Kids, how much did you like the The Master of Many ArtsAkbar Birbal stories? Please share your view in the comment box. Also, share this story with your friends on social media so they can enjoy it too, and for more Akbar Birbal stories and other stories like this, please bookmark

Suggested Stories –