One day the Emperor Akbar stumbled on a rock in his garden. He was in a foul mood that day and the accident made him so angry that he ordered the gardener’s arrest and execution.
The next day when the gardener was asked what his last wish was before he was hanged, he requested an audience with the emperor.
This wish was granted, but when the man neared the throne he loudly cleared his throat and spat at the emperor’s feet.
The emperor was taken aback and demanded to know why he had done such a thing. The gardener had acted on Birbal’s advice and now Birbal stepped forward in the man’s defence.
“Your Majesty,” he said, “there could be no person more loyal to you than this unfortunate man. Fearing that people would say you hanged him for a trifle, he has gone out of his way to give you a genuine reason for hanging him.”
The emperor, realizing that he had been about to do a great injustice, set the man free.