The Jungle God
One day, the Emperor thought of making a fun of Birbal through one of his clever plans. He had a trap prepared by a carpenter. The trap was such that, it didn’t look like a trap at all from its outward appearance. Then, the Emperor placed a fine Kashmiri apple in the trap and secretly hid himself near the trap anxiously awaiting Birbal.
After some time, Birbal entered the court. He saw the apple and casually lifted it. At once, his hand was caught in the trap.
The Emperor immediately came out of his hiding and said, “Wow, it is you, Birbal! So many small things were being stolen from my palace and in order to get the thief, I had prepared this trap. But, how come you got trapped in it? However, I trust you. But, you must not do this again!”
Then, the Emperor smiled and released Birbal’s hand from the trap. Birbal said, “Your Majesty, I saw this fine juicy apple and quite naturally, I went ahead to pick it up to examine it. I did not really intend to steal it!”
The Emperor however asked Birbal to forget the matter altogether and not give any justification for his act. But Birbal was very much embarrassed. The incident had left an unpleasant memory in his mind. The Emperor took advantage of it and started teasing Birbal by asking “How was the apple of the cage, Birbal?”
Because of such sarcastic remarks, Birbal would get even more embarrassed. He wished he could somehow get out of the embarrassment. At last he hit upon an idea to counter the Emperor.
One day, the Emperor went to the jungle for a hunt. Birbal had purposely avoided going with him and so the Emperor had to go all alone.
While hunting, the Emperor reached a lonely spot. By now, it was evening. Suddenly he heard a loud voice saying. “Hey, who are you? Get down from your horse! Quick!”
The Emperor turned back to see who it was and found that a wild man dressed in a tiger skin was standing under a big tree with a large bamboo stick in his hand. The Emperor tried to avoid him and continued proceeding ahead. Suddenly, the wild man struck his bamboo hard on the ground and shouted, “Why don’t you get down from your horse? I am the God of this jungle. You must obey me!”
Now, the Emperor was scared. He dismounted from his horse and bowed before the God of the jungle. He said, “Oh Lord, I have come here for hunting because this jungle lies within the limits of my kingdom. But, now I will go back.” He was about to leave when the God of the jungle said, “Wait, you have trespassed on my land and so you must bear the punishment.”
The Emperor was more scared. He said, “Oh Lord, please forgive me. It has all happened quite unknowingly!”
“Well, in that case you must bear a light punishment. Do you see that tree over there? Run fast to that tree and while running, keep saying, “Like the God of the jungle!”
The Emperor obediently did as he was told to do. Then, he returned to his palace.
The next day, when Birbal came to the palace as usual, the Emperor asked, “Birbal, how was the apple?”
“Like the God of the jungle,” Birbal at once replied.
The Emperor was surprised. He wondered how Birbal had come to know about the previous evening’s incident. He said, “Birbal, how did you know about the God of the jungle?”
Birbal said, “Your Majesty, I had a dream last night. And, it is, in fact in the dream, that I came to know about the God of the jungle.”
In fact, Birbal himself in disguise of the wildman had made fun of Emperor Akbar.
From that day onwards, the Emperor stopped teasing and making fun of Birbal.