The Royal Pleasure
A servant who used to make the Emperor’s bed in the royal bedroom, was one day tempted to lie on it for some time.
The servant then secretly lay on it. But then he quickly got up for the fear that someone might see him.
But, a guard had already seen him getting out of the bed. Unfortunately, the guard and the servant were not on good terms with each other. So the guard at once went to Emperor Akbar and told him what the servant had done. The Emperor became furious to hear this and ordered, “Give that servant a punishment of twenty lashes tomorrow morning.”
The servant was scared to know of such a punishment going to be inflicted on him. He immediately went to Birbal’s place. There, he told Birbal what had happened. Birbal listened to him and said, “Do as I say and don’t worry at all.” The servant was happy to hear this and returned to the palace.
At midnight, the whole palace woke up due to sudden commotion. Somebody was shouting and crying. Soon everyone came and stood around him. They were surprised to see that the person who was crying was none other than the servant whom the Emperor had given the punishment. He lifted his eyes to heaven, sighed deeply and said, “Oh! God, please have mercy on His Majesty.” The servant continued to gesticulate sadly towards the heavens. The other guards thought that perhaps he had been possessed by some evil spirit and they started sprinkling holy water upon him.
The Emperor and Empress too woke up by this commotion. They too came down to the servant’s quarter. Yet the servant didn’t stop crying. “Please forgive My Lord! Have mercy on the Emperor.”
Seeing the Emperor tears began rolling down from his eyes. He said weeping, “Huzoor, what a great punishment for you! As compared to your’s mine is nothing!”
The Emperor became surprised and asked, “What punishment! Don’t talk nonsense!”
The servant said, “Huzoor, I dreamt that the ‘Yamdoot’, the messenger of death had tied you with a pillar and was lashing you. I saw this and jumping between ‘Yamdoot’ and you I said, “My lord, please don’t lash my Emperor; instead, I am ready to take the lashes.”
But the ‘Yamdoot’ said, “No! this man must be inflicted with punishment. You slept on that bed only for a few seconds and were sentenced to twenty lashes, whereas this Emperor has been sleeping on this bed for many years. He must be lashed thousand times more.”
Saying this the servant began crying endlessly.
The Emperor kept quiet and withdrew his punishment orders. He was sure of Birbal’s involvement in the enactment of this drama.