The Inner Child in Birbal | Akbar Birbal

The Inner Child in Birbal

Once, Emperor Akbar held a crucial meeting in his royal courtroom. All his courtiers came on time. Only one courtier was missing. It was Birbal. Akbar wanted Birbal to attend the meeting without fail.

So, Akbar asked, “Where is Birbal?” “He will be late for the meeting today, Your Majesty!” said a courtier. Everybody waited for some time. Finally, Birbal came. Akbar was angry at him. He asked, “Birbal! Why are you late today?”

Birbal said, “Your Majesty! My child was crying. I was trying to calm him down.”

Akbar was not pleased with his lame excuse. He said, “It does not take this long to calm a child down.” You don’t know anything about kids.”

Birbal humbly said, “Your Majesty! I request that you please teach me how to handle children.”

Akbar then asked Birbal to act like a child. Birbal, at once, started crying like a child. Akbar said, “Child! What do you want?” Birbal said in a child’s tone, “I want a cow, right now!”

Akbar ordered a cow. Then Birbal cried, “I am hungry. I want milk.” Akbar ordered for the cow to be milked. Birbal drank half a cup of milk and cried again. Akbar said, “What do you want now?”

Birbal screamed, “I want the milk to be put back into the cow right now!” Emperor Akbar understood that bringing up a child was not an easy job. He praised Birbal for his intelligence.

Then, he angrily asked everyone in the court, “If somebody pulls my mustache, how should I punish that person?” All the courtiers were surprised at such a sudden question. One of them said, “Your Majesty! Anyone who pulls your mustache should be put in jail.”

Another courtier declared, “No, Your Majesty! Such a person should be beaten with a whip.” A third courtier added, “Your Majesty! A person who is so indecent should be killed immediately.”

Then Akbar asked Birbal, “What do you have to say, Birbal?” Birbal smiled and said, “Your Majesty! A person who dares to pull your mustache should be given sweets.” Everybody was shocked at Birbal’s answer.

They disagreed with Birbal. “This answer from Birbal was not what we were expecting,” one of the courtiers said. Anyone who dares to pull the Emperor’s mustache should be severely punished!”

Emperor Akbar asked Birbal, “That person should be given sweets! What are you saying, Birbal?” Birbal nodded his head. He then said, “Yes, Your Majesty! Nobody will dare to pull your mustache.

The only person who can do it will be your grandson. You love him dearly. How can we punish the child whom you love so much? So, we should give sweets to your grandson!”

Everybody laughed at Birbal’s answer even Akbar was very happy with Birbal’s response. He removed his gold ring and gave it to Birbal. He said, “Birbal showed that one could spread happiness through positive thinking. I expected such an answer from you, Birbal. You understand children very well.”

Later, everybody enjoyed sweets in the royal courtroom. That evening, Birbal’s daughter, who had heard many stories about the royal courtroom, said to Birbal, “Father, I want to see the royal court. Will you take me with you?” Birbal agreed and escorted her to the court the following day.

Birbal’s seven-year-old daughter was considered to be as witty as her father. When Akbar saw Birbal’s daughter, he had an idea. He wanted to test if she was as bright as her father. Thus, Akbar started a conversation with her. He inquired, “I understand you speak several languages. Do you know the Persian language?”

Birbal’s daughter replied, “A little less and a little more, Your Majesty,”

Akbar could not understand her reply, but Birbal smiled. Akbar asked Birbal, “Birbal, I did not understand her answer. Can you explain what she means?” Birbal explained, “Your Majesty! She means that she knows Persian a little less than those who know it well and a little more than those who do not know the language.”

Akbar was impressed by the little girl’s answer. He congratulated Birbal and said, “It is often said that children have the same qualities as their parents. Birbal, you should be proud of her! The child indeed is as smart as you are!”

Then, Akbar and Birbal walked into the royal mango orchard. Suddenly, an arrow passed by Akbar’s head and fell to the ground.

Emperor Akbar angrily ordered his soldiers, “Go find the person who shot the arrow!” The soldiers quickly brought a young man in front of him. Akbar asked, “How dare man shoot an arrow at me? Why do you want me to kill me?” The man replied, “Your Majesty! I do not want to kill you. I was only trying to remove a mango from the tree, and my arrow crossed you by accident.”

Akbar was still furious at the young man and was not convinced by his explanation. He said to his soldiers, “Kill the man like he tried to kill me!”

The man begged forgiveness, but Akbar did not listen to his pleas. The soldiers tied the man to a mango tree.

Birbal thought, “The Emperor is furious and will not listen to anyone. I must make him understand in another innocent man’ way and save the poor.

The soldiers were about to shoot an arrow at him, but Birbal stopped them. “This is unfair!” he said to the Emperor. The young man has to be killed the same way he tried to kill you. The soldiers will have to aim for a mango. The arrow has to miss the mango and hit the man.”

Akbar understood what Birbal wanted to tell him. He now knew the young man was innocent. He realized that had the man tried to kill him; he would have aimed his arrow directly at him. Akbar, at once, pardoned the young man.

On another day, Akbar wanted to bring out the inner child of Birbal before his courtiers. He wanted to prove that innocence, positive thinking, and childlike confidence can go a long way in life.

He thought of a plan. So, the following day, Emperor Akbar gave an egg to all his courtiers before Birbal reached the court. When Birbal arrived, Akbar said, “Birbal, I have been recollecting the dream I had last night. According to the dream, I can find out all my honest courtiers.”

Birbal looked puzzled and asked Akbar, “How, Your Majesty?” Akbar declared, “If a courtier brings me an egg from the pond, which is in the middle of the palace garden, it will mean that he is honest.” Akbar ordered all his courtiers to go to the pond. One by one, all the courtiers returned with the egg that Akbar had given them earlier.

When Birbal’s turn came, he could not find any egg. Birbal immediately realized that Akbar was trying to fool him. Soon, Birbal returned to the court, crowing like a cock and making strange noises. Akbar asked Birbal to quieten down and show the egg.

Birbal smiled and replied, “You Majesty! I am a cock. I cannot produce eggs! Only a hen can produce eggs.” Everyone on the court burst out laughing.

The courtiers realized that Birbal was too smart to be fooled by anyone. Emperor Akbar praised Birbal’s childlike innocence and wisdom.

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