The Real Test
A blacksmith was skilled in making very strong and fine armour. One day, some courtiers of Emperor Akbar had an altercation with the blacksmith. The courtiers wanted to take revenge and therefore, they poisoned the ears of the Emperor against the blacksmith.
One day, the blacksmith came to the court with a newly made fine armour. The armour was undoubtedly superb. He showed it to the Emperor.
But, one of the courtiers suggested to the Emperor, “Hazoor, a test should first be made whether the armour is of good quality or not. We can test its quality by giving a hard blow with a sword.”
The Emperor agreed with the courtier. The courtier kept the armour on the floor, and hit it hard with his sword.
The armour broke into two pieces. The Emperor became furious to see the broken armour. He said to the blacksmith, “Get out of here! Next time, if you try to cheat me, you will be hanged.”
The blacksmith became worried and thought, “This incident has closed the doors of the royal court for me; no one will give me work. I will have to die of hunger!”
But, the blacksmith’s wife asked him not to worry and see Birbal. “Birbal is very kind. He will certainly help you,” she said.
The blacksmith immediately went to see Birbal. He narrated to him the entire incident. Birbal had already seen what had happened in the court. He said, “An armour, however strong it is, is sure to break when it is kept on the ground and hit with a sword. Don’t worry. Do what I say.”
Then, Birbal asked the blacksmith to act according to his advice.
The blacksmith made another strong armour and went to the court. He said, “Huzoor, this time, I have made a very strong and durable armour. You may test it!”
The Emperor asked him to bring the armour to him.
The blacksmith said again, “Maharaj, an armour should always be tested while on body. I have come wearing the armour. If it breaks with a blow of the sword, it will injure me also and I will surely die. What is the use of my living anyway, when I am not successful in my job?”
The Emperor was quick to understand that the idea of the blacksmith was not his own. Surely, it must be that of Birbal.
He looked at Birbal. Birbal was smiling. The Emperor then called the treasurer and asked him to give a reward of one hundred gold coins to the blacksmith. The courtiers had already hung their heads in shame.