King Akbar, a great emperor of India, was famous his wisdom and justice. Birbal was the most trusted and wise man amongst his courtiers.
One day Akbar and Birbal were traveling around in the city. The weather was very cold. On coming across a pond Akbar remarked, ``It is so cold. I am sure that nobody would be willing to spend the night in the water of this pond.’’
Know for his wisdom and quick wit, Birbal said, ``There are so many poor people your country. Any one would be willing to take the risk for money.’’
Akbar said, ``I will give hundred gold coins to the one who spends the entire night in this pond of cold water, If he is unable to do so he will be punished.’’
The announcement was made and poor hungry man offered to do the task. He stood waist deep in the water with several guards watching him.
Akbar was very sure that he would not able to spend the entire night in that water.
Next morning the poor man came to the palace and demanded money. Surprised Akbar asked his guards, ``who confirmed that the poor man did stand in the cold water entire night.’’
Akbar asked, ``did not you feel cold?’’ the poor man said, ``I was numb with cold and then I saw a lighted lamp somewhere. I imagined that I was near that lamp. That‘s how I spent the entire night in the pond’’.
The emperor exclaimed, ``so that is what it is! You took the help of the lamp. You will be imprisoned, you cheat!’’ And the poor man was sent to the prison.
On hearing this, Birbal was unhappy. His did not like the unfair behavior of the king. Next day, he did not go to the court. Since Akbar war very fond of Birbal, he sent messages, one after other, for Birbal to come to the court. Yet he did not.
The king then decided to go himself and visit Birbal. On reaching he saw Birbal sitting outside. Near him a fire was burning and pot was hung high up above the fire.
`Birbal, what are you doing?’’ Akbar asked him.
``My lord, I am making some porridge,’’ replied Birbal.
Hearing this Akbar laughed aloud and said, ``this is foolish! Your pot is so high up, the fire will not able to reach I, How will you make porridge?’’
Wise Birbal answered, ``If the poor man can get warmth from a lamp far away, my porridge will also get cooked.’’
Immediately, Akbar realized his mistake. He had been unjust to the poor man. He summoned him and rewarded him handsomely.
Through his wisdom Birbal conveyed that all men are equal and should be treated fairly.