The King of Iran had heard that Birbal was one of the wisest men in the East and desirous of meeting him sent him an invitation to visit his country.

In due course, Birbal arrived in Iran.

When he entered the palace he was flabbergasted to find not one but six kings seated there.

All looked alike. All were dressed in kingly robes. Who was the real king?

The very next moment he got his answer. Confidently, he approached the king and bowed to him.

“But how did you identify me?” the king asked, puzzled.

Birbal smiled and explained: “The false kings were all looking at you, while you yourself looked straight ahead. Even in regal robes, the common people will always look to their king for support.”

Overjoyed, the king embraced Birbal and showered him with gifts.

A man who made spears and shields once came to Akbar’s court.

“Your Majesty, nobody can make shields and spears to equal mine,” he said. “My shields are so strong that nothing can pierce them and my spears are so sharp that there’s nothing they cannot pierce.”

“I can prove you wrong on one count certainly,” said Birbal suddenly.

“Impossible!” declared the man.

“Hold up one of your shields and I will pierce it with one of your spears,” said Birbal with a smile.

One day Akbar and Birbal were riding through the countryside and they happened to pass by a cabbage patch.

“Cabbages are such delightful vegetables!” said Akbar. “I just love cabbage.”

“The cabbage is king of vegetables!” said Birbal.

A few weeks later they were riding past the cabbage patch again.

This time however, the emperor made a face when he saw the vegetables. “I used to love cabbage but now I have no taste for it.” said Akbar.

“The cabbage is a tasteless vegetable” agreed Birbal.

The emperor was astonished.

“But the last time you said it was the king of vegetables!” he said.

“I did,” admitted Birbal. “But I am your servant Your Majesty, not the cabbage’s.”

Birbal arrived late for a function and the emperor was displeased.

“My child was crying and I had to placate him,” explained the courtier.

“Does it take so long to calm down a child?” asked the emperor. “It appears you know nothing about child rearing. Now you pretend to be a child and I shall act as your father and I will show you how you should have dealt with your child. Go on. Ask me for whatever he asked of you.”

“I want a cow,” said Birbal.

Akbar ordered a cow to be brought to the palace.

“I want its milk. I want its milk,” said Birbal, imitating the voice of a small child.

“Milk the cow and give to him,” said Akbar to his servants.

The cow was milked and the milk was offered to Birbal. He drank a little and then handed the bowl back to Akbar.

“Now put the rest of it back into the cow, put it back, put in back, put it back…” wailed Birbal.

The emperor was flabbergasted and quietly left the room.

One day the Emperor Akbar startled his courtiers with a strange question.

“If somebody pulled my whiskers what sort of punishment should be given to him?” he asked.

“He should be flogged!” said one courtier.

“He should be hanged!” said another.

“He should be beheaded!” said a third.

“And what about you, Birbal?” asked the emperor. “What do you think would be the right thing to do if somebody pulled my whiskers?”

“He should be given sweets,” said Birbal.

“Sweets?” gasped the other couriers.

“Yes”, said Birbal. “Sweets, because the only one who would dare pull His Majesty’s whiskers is his grandson.”

So pleased was the emperor with the answer that he pulled off his ring and gave it to Birbal as a reward.

The Emperor Akbar was traveling to a distant place along with some of his courtiers. It was a hot day and the emperor was tiring of the journey.

“Can’t anybody shorten this road for me?” he asked, querulously.

“I can,” said Birbal.

The other courtiers looked at one another, perplexed. All of them knew there was no other path through the hilly terrain.

The road they were traveling on was the only one that could take them to their destination.

“You can shorten the road?” said the emperor. “Well, do it.”

“I will,” said Birbal. “Listen first to this story I have to tell.”

And riding beside the emperor’s palanquin, he launched upon a long and intriguing tale that held Akbar and all those listening, spellbound. Before they knew it, they had reached the end of their journey.

“We’ve reached?” exclaimed Akbar. “So soon!”

“Well,” grinned Birbal, “you did say you wanted the road to be shortened.”

Birbal was in Persia at the invitation of the king of that country.

Parties were given in his honor and rich presents were heaped on him.

On the eve of his departure for home, a nobleman asked him how he would compare the king of Persia to his own king.

“Your king is a full moon,” said Birbal. “Whereas mine could be likened to the quarter moon.”

The Persians were very happy. But when Birbal got home he found that Emperor Akbar was furious with him.

“How could you belittle your own king!” demanded Akbar. “You are a traitor!”

“No, Your Majesty,” said Birbal. “I did not belittle you. The full moon diminishes and disappears whereas the quarter moon grows from strength to strength. What I, in fact, proclaimed to the world is that your power is growing from day to day whereas that of the king of Persia is about to go into decline.”

Akbar grunted in satisfaction and welcomed Birbal back with a warm embrace.

A farmer and his neighbor once went to Emperor Akbar’s court with a complaint.

“Your Majesty, I bought a well from him,” said the farmer pointing to his neighbor,” and now he wants me to pay for the water.”

“That’s right, your Majesty,” said the neighbor. “I sold him the well but not the water!”

The Emperor asked Birbal to settle the dispute.

“Didn’t you say that you sold your well to this farmer?” Birbal asked the neighbor. “So, the well belongs to him now, but you have kept your water in his well. Is that right? Well, in that case you will have to pay him a rent or take your water out at once.”

The neighbor realized that he was outwitted. He quickly apologized and gave up his claim.

One day Akbar asked his courtiers if they could tell him the difference between truth and falsehood in three words or less.

The courtiers looked at one another in bewilderment.

“What about you, Birbal?” asked the emperor. “I’m surprised that you too are silent.”

“I’m silent because I want to give others a chance to speak,” said Birbal.

“Nobody else has the answer,” said the emperor. “So go ahead and tell me what the difference between truth and falsehood is — in three words or less.”

“Four fingers” said Birbal

“Four fingers?” asked the emperor, perplexed.

“That’s the difference between truth and falsehood, your Majesty,” said Birbal. “That which you see with your own eyes is the truth. That which you have only heard about might not be true. More often than not, it’s likely to be false.”

“That is right,” said Akbar. “But what did you mean by saying the difference is four fingers?’

“The distance between one’s eyes and one’s ears is the width of four fingers, Your Majesty,” said Birbal, grinning.

One fine morning, a minister from Emperor Akbar’s court had gathered in the assembly hall.

He informed the Emperor that all his valuables had been stolen by a thief the previous night.

Akbar was shocked to hear this because the place where that minister lived was the safest place in the kingdom.

He invited Birbal to solve the mystery. Akbar said “It is definitely not possible for an outsider to enter into the minister’s house and steal the valuables. This blunder is definitely committed only by another minister of that court.” Saying so, he arranged for a donkey to be tied to a pillar. He ordered all the courtiers to lift the donkey’s tail and say “I have not stolen.”

Birbal added “Only then we can judge the culprit.” After everyone had finished, he asked the courtiers to show their palm to him. All the courtiers except Alim Khan had a black patch of paint on their palm. Birbal had actually painted the donkey’s tail with a black coat of paint. In the fright, the guilty minister did not touch the donkey’s tail at all. Thus Birbal once again proved his intelligence and was rewarded by the king with 1000 gold coins.