One day, while cleaning in Emperor Akbar’s bedroom, one of vase fell from hand of servant and broke. Servant got scared because it was Akbar’s favorite vase. Servant gathered all the pieces and secretly threw them.
When Akbar came to bedroom, he found his favorite vase missing. He called servant and asked about it. Out of fear servant lied, “I had taken that vase to home to clean it properly.”
Akbar ordered him to bring that vase back to his room immediately. After getting order, seeing that he can not hide truth anymore, he told Akbar everything and started apologizing with folded hands.
Akbar got angry, at servant for lying to him. So, he sentenced him to death. Servant kept pleading for forgiveness but Akbar didn’t listen to him.
Next day, Akbar made this topic a point of discussion in his court and asked his courtiers, “Has any of you ever lied?”
All courtier refused in one voice.
When Akbar asked Birbal, Birbal replied, “Your Majesty, Everyone lies sometimes. I have also spoken. I think there is not harm in telling a lie that doesn’t harm anyone.”
Akbar got angry after listening to this and expelled Birbal from his court. Birbal left but he was worried about servant’s death sentence. So, he started thinking of a way to save him.
After some thoughts, he went to a goldsmith’s shop and asked him to make a paddy of rice (threshed unmilled rice) out of gold.
Next morning, goldsmith gave Birbal a paddy made out of gold. After taking that gold paddy, Birbal went to Akbar’s court.
Akbar was angry seeing Birbal’s audacity to come to court even after being expelled from the court but still Birbal somehow convinced him to listen to him.
Showing gold paddy to Akbar, Birbal said, “Your Majesty, I wanted to tell you something important, that’s why i had come here today.
Yesterday evening, while going home, i met a Saint. He gave me this gold paddy of rice and told me to plant it in some fertile land. If we sow this, there will be gold crop in that field.
I have found a fertile land. I want all the courtiers and you to come too to that field to plant this gold paddy. Then we can see whether what Saint said was true or not.”
Akbar agreed and ordered all courtiers to reach the field, next day at fixed time.
Next day, when everyone reached field, Akbar asked Birbal to plant that gold paddy in the field.
But Birbal refused and said, “While giving this plant, Saint instructed me that field will yield gold only if it is planted by a person who had never told a lie. That’s why i can not plant this. Please order one of your courtiers to plant this.”
When Akbar asked courtiers to plant that paddy in the field, no one came forward.
Akbar understood that everyone had lied one or other time. When no one came forward, Birbal gave that paddy of rice in hands of Akbar and said, “No one is truthful here. That’s why you should plant this..”
But even Akbar hesitated to take that paddy and plant it in field and said, “I have also lied in childhood. That’s why i also can not plant this.”
After hearing this, Birbal smiled and said, “I got this gold paddy made by a goldsmith. My aim was just to make you understand that people in the world sometimes lie. A lie that doesn’t harm anyone is not a lie.”
Akbar understood Birbal words. He gave him his place back in court and pardoned the death sentence of servant.
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