Birbal and the Seed of a Tree
Birbal was the Emperor’s greatest favourite. He was consulted by the Emperor in each and every matter. However, some senior courtiers in the court took it as an insult to them; the royal favour extended to Birbal, had made them achingly jealous of him.
One day, when the Emperor entered the court, he noticed that all the courtiers were sitting silent and motionless. The Emperor sensed some air of uneasiness among them, but could not understand the reason behind their silence. Besides, Birbal was not present in the court.
Emperor Akbar tried to make the courtiers talk broaching several topics. But, it was of no use. At last he became desperate and asked them the reason behind their silence.
Then, an elderly courtier began saying politely, “Your Majesty, for several years we have been serving you loyally. But, still to our great disappointment, you always consult only Birbal for any matter whatsoever. Why is it so? We feel, it is an insult to all of us!”
The Emperor thought for a while and said, “Well, today Birbal has not attended the court. It is a good opportunity to prove your worth. I will ask you a question, “Where is the seed of a tree situated?”
All the courtiers were lost in thinking. But, not a single one was able to give a satisfying answer.
Then, the Emperor said, “You can see for yourselves that none of you is able to give the right answer. Now, it is necessary for me to seek the help of a clever and wise man like Birbal. Had you been capable enough, I wouldn’t have needed an adviser. Now, let’s see what answer does Birbal have to my question.”
The Emperor sent for Birbal. When Birbal arrived at the court, he was asked, “Where is the seed of a tree situated?”
At once, Birbal asked a servant to bring a tumbler of water. When the water was brought, Birbal sprinkled it on the ground and said, “There lies a seed at this place.”
The courtiers and the Emperor understood what Birbal meant, but even then the Emperor asked, “Birbal, your answer needs to be further elaborated.”
Birbal said, “Your Majesty, the seeds of a tree are situated in the earth itself. As soon as some drops of water fall on the earth, these seeds spring to life and grow. Only water is needed.”
All the courtiers were very much impressed and praised Birbal for his intelligent answer. They admitted their incapability and realized that they were really no match for Birbal.
The Emperor, pleased with Birbal’s answer, gave him a handsome reward.