• The Crows in The Kingdom

    On one fine sunny day, Akbar and Birbal were taking a leisurely walk in the palace gardens. Suddenly, Akbar thought of testing Birbal's wits by asking him a tricky question.

    Emperor asked Birbal, "How many crows are there in our kingdom?"

    Birbal could sense the amusement in the king's voice, and within a few minutes Birbal replied, "My king, there are eighty thousand nine hundred and seventy-one crows in our kingdom.""

    Surprised and amazed, Akbar further tested Birbal, "What if we have more crows?"

    Birbal replied, "Oh, then the crows from the other kingdoms must be visiting us."

    "What if there are lesser crows?" asked Akbar.

    "Well, then some of our crows must be visiting other kingdoms," replied Birbal with a grin on his face.

    Akbar smiled at Birbal's great sense of humour and wit.
  • Good Qualities

    One day, Birbal was talking of a dinner he had eaten the day before. In doing so, he described brinjal (baingan) as be -gun i.e. without any good qualities.

    Akbar, who at the very moment was passing by, overheard this and started praising the qualities of the brinjal as bahu-gun i.e one without myriad qualities.

    Birbal promptly agreed.

    Thereupon, Akbar remonstrated with Birbal and asked him how Birbal could contradict himself.

    Birbal, with his famous presence of mind, retorted, "But Your Highness, I am your servant and not of the brinjal!"
  • 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 longer 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 the next day. 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, merchant."

    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 longer 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 the next day. 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, merchant."

    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 longer by two inches by morning."
  • The Three Questions

    King Akbar was very fond of Birbal. This made a certain courtier very jealous. Now this courtier always wanted to be chief minister, but this was not possible as Birbal filled that position.

    One day Akbar praised Birbal in front of the courtier. This made the courtier very angry and he said that the king praised Birbal unjustly and if Birbal could answer three of his questions, he would accept the fact that Birbal was intelligent. Akbar always wanting to test Birbals wit readily agreed.

    The three questions were:
    1. How many stars are there in the sky?
    2. Where is the centre of the Earth?
    3. How many men and how many women are there in the world.

    Immediately Akbar asked Birbal the three questions and informed him that if he could not answer them, he would have to resign as chief minister.

    To answer the first question, Birbal brought a hairy sheep and said .There are as many stars in the sky as there is hair on the 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 centre of the Earth, the courtier may measure it himself if he has any 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.