Monday, 4 August 2008
In the city of Delhi, there lived a miser. The man had earned good money after a lot of hard work. He and his family members led a very ordinary life. They lived in a small hut. He spent very less and saved most of his income.
The miser had bought a good number of diamonds and other precious stones from the money he saved. He had placed these valuables in an old dirty bag. No one could ever imagine that in an ordinary hut there could be so much of wealth hidden.
Unfortunately, one day the miser's hut caught fire. The miser shouted for help. People gathered around and tried to extinguish the fire. However, they could not succeed.
The miser started crying loudly. He was desperately approaching everyone with a request to extinguish the fire and save him from becoming a beggar. Surprised by his desperate cry, a jeweller who lived in his neighborhood enquired,
"Why are you making so many hue and cries for this hut and a few broken utensils?”
While crying, the miser replied, "It's not the hut and broken· utensils for which I'm crying. I'm crying for my hidden wealth."
"What! Wealth and in this weathered hut? Are you joking?" asked the jeweler quite amazed.
"I'm not joking. A good number of precious stones are hidden in this hut. Soon these stones will vanish beneath the ashes. Please do something immediately," said the miser sobbing badly.
"Alright, On one condition I am ready to help you. I'll give you whatever I like and the rest will be mine," the cunning jeweler threw the condition. Left with no choice, the miser agreed. He consoled himself that instead of getting nothing, he would get at least something.
The jeweler took the risk and went inside the hut looking for the bag containing the precious stones. He could locate the bag and then successfully took it out from the blazing hut. After coming out, the greedy jeweler removed all the precious stones and pearls from the bag. He then returned the old dirty bag to the miser as his share. Enraged with the jeweler’s dishonesty, the miser shouted, "How can you do like this? After all, the wealth is mine. You should at least give me half of it.
You have taken the risk, so you can keep the other half of the wealth."
But the greedy, cunning jeweler did not agree. He said, "Before taking the risk, I had put my condition and you had agreed for it.
Now you should accept whatever I give to you."
It was not at all acceptable to the miser who had lived like a beggar and saved the wealth. A quarrel followed between them. At last, they reached the court of Akbar to settle the matter. The Emperor asked his wise minister Birbal to solve the case.
After listening to the whole matter carefully, Birbal asked, "What was settled between you before taking out the bag?"
The jeweler replied, "Your Honor! Before taking out the bag from the flames, I put a condition that if I brought the bag out, I would give whatever I like and rest would remain with me." Birbal asked the miser, "Are his words true?" "Yes, Your Honor! But he is giving me only this dirty old bag," complained the miser.
Birbal then turned to the jeweler and asked, "What do you like, the precious stones or the bag?"
"Of course the precious stones, your honor!" replied the jeweler promptly.
'Then give the precious stones and pearls to this man and keep the bag with you," ruled Birbal.
Horrified by the ruling, the jeweler looked at Birbal with questioning eyes.
Birbal explained, "See, according to your condition you are supposed to give this man whatever you like. Am I right? Now, you like the precious stones and pearls. So give them to this man."
The greedy jeweler could not say anything. He had to return all the precious stones and pearls to the man. Afterpaying price for his greed the jeweler went back from the court empty-handed.
Emperor Akbar was fond of hunting. It was causing a great loss to the jungles of the kingdom. The number of animals in the forest began to drop down rapidly. Birbal was sad and disappointed over the development. He wanted to bring the thing to his attention.
One day, Akbar went to a forest with his cavalcade for hunting. Birbal was also there with the Emperor. He pretended as if he understood birds’ language.
On the way they saw a group of parrots twittering aloud. The Emperor asked, "Birbal! You understand the language of the birds. Can you tell me what the birds are talking about?"
Birbal pretended to hear them peacefully. Then he said, "My lord! This group of parrots is discussing about the marriage formalities. The groom's father wants five jungles,
which are totally without birds and animals, as dowry. The bride's father is happily assuring him that he will be giving not only five but ten empty jungles as dowry."
Akbar became curious to know the conversation further. So he asked, "Then what is the groom's father saying?"
Birbal replied, "My lord! Groom's father asked how he can get ten barren forests as there are not so many empty jungles."
Birbal said further, "The bride's father is assuring the groom's father that there will not be any problem in getting ten empty jungles because the Emperor of the 1kingdom likes hunting and his hobby will soon empty a few more forests from its animals and birds.”
The Emperor understood Birbal’s hidden message in his words. He became very sad to cause great harm to the forests. He immediately stopped going for hunting instead started to play chess with him during his leisure time.