Birbal’s Polenta (Akbar and Birbal story in English)

Birbal had earned a name for his intelligence and cleverness. King Akbar used to be amused by Birbal’s comments and jokes. Akbar was very pleased with Birbal’s intelligence and cleverness.

Once Akbar and Birbal were talking on the banks of the pond. A gust of cold air passes over them both. As the air rises, the weather gets colder.

Akbar puts his hands in the water of the pond and immediately takes it out. The water has become so cold that even a hand could not be placed on it, suddenly a thought comes in Akbar’s mind.

Akbar: – Birbal, do you think any man can do anything for money?

Birbal: –  Yes, a man can do anything for money, if he is in dire need of money.

Akbar thinks again about this.

Akbar: – I do not agree with you, I do not think that any person can stay in the cold water of this pond for the night, no matter how much money he needs.

Birbal: – But I can find a man who can stay all night in the water of this pond without any difficulty.

Akbar: – Ok Birbal.

Birbal: – I can bet you, if I can find someone who can stand all night in this water, will you give him 1000 gold pieces. I can get a week.

Akbar: – Well, I agree with this.

Saying this, both go to the palace. From the next day Birbal starts searching for that person and starts searching far and wide. Birbal sets out towards the village to find him and he finds a man sitting outside his hut sad. Birbal immediately visits him.

Birbal: – Why are you sitting so depressed like this?

The man raises his head and looks at Birbal.

Poor man: – I am in great trouble, can you help me. My daughter is getting married next week and I am in dire need of money, can you give me the money? I have neither land nor anyone is willing to pay me.

The poor man starts crying while saying this. Birbal is moved to see the man crying and realizes that the man he was looking for has found him.

Birbal: – I cannot give you money, but I can definitely help. If you accept a challenge, you can help yourself.

The man sees a silver lining.

Poor: – Well, I will.

Birbal: – You have to stand all night in a pond on the shore, in cold water and do not move even 1 minute from there, if you are able to do this, then the king will give you 1000 gold coins as a reward.

Poor: – Okay Huzoor, I accept. I promise you that I will stand overnight in the cold water of that pond.

Birbal takes the man with him to the palace and presents him to King Akbar.

Birbal: – Huzoor, this man accepts your challenge.

King Akbar watches the man closely.

King Akbar: – If it is ready, then this man should be given an opportunity to stand overnight in the cold water of that pond tonight.

That night the poor man stands alone in the cold water of the pond. Akbar asks some of his soldiers to stand around him so that the man cannot cheat for money.

That night the man is asked to stand in the middle of the pond and two soldiers are guarding him by the side of the pond. That night the man passes the whole night without moving from his place.

The next morning, as soon as the first rays of the sun are seen, the man is allowed to get out of the pond. The soldiers take him to King Akbar.

King Akbar: – Soldiers, did this man come out of the pond or not?

Soldier: No, Huzoor, this man did not come out of the cold water of that pond even for a moment.

Akbar goes to the Chowk and asks the man.

King Akbar: – How did you spend the whole night standing in that cold water.

Poor: – I had my eye fixed on a lantern near there which was on the bank of the pond. It caught my attention when the lantern moved. Seeing the lantern burning, I was able to stay overnight in the cold water of the pond and did not get out of the summit.

Akbar: – You took the heat through the lure in the cold water of the pond and could stay all night in that cold water, it is unfair. You have won the challenge in the wrong ways, now you will not get any reward.

Hearing this, the poor man goes to the Chowk and he immediately goes to Birbal for help.

The poor man reaches Birbal weeping and explains in detail all the things that have happened in Akbar’s court. Birbal is not happy with Akbar’s result. Birbal thinks for a while and asks the man to return to his house, he will soon find a solution and return the money to his prize.

The next day when Birbal does not come to Akbar’s court, Akbar practices his absence and wonders where Birbal will be right now.

Akbar asks one of his soldiers to go to Akbar’s house and find out. After some time, the soldier comes with the news.

Soldier: –  Maharaj, Birbal is busy making khichdi. Birbal has said that he will come only when his khichdi is ready.

King Akbar spends an entire day waiting for Birbal.

The next morning Birbal does not appear in the court, then King Akbar thinks that he himself should go to Birbal’s house to see what Birbal is doing till now.

When King Akbar arrives at Birbal’s house, he sees Birbal setting a fire in his courtyard and heating a pot 5 feet up. The pot is filled with rice, grains and water. Akbar and the soldiers laugh at Birbal.

Akbar: – You know Birbal, what are you doing?

Birbal: – Jahanpanah, I am making khichdi.

Akbar: – What’s wrong with you, Birbal, do you think that you will be able to make khichdi by hanging rice mat 5 feet above the fire.

Birbal: –  Yes, if a poor man can take heat from the flickering lantern burning away, I can also make khichdi by hanging matka 5 feet above the fire.

King Akbar realizes his mistake after listening to Birbal.

Akbar: – Birbal, I was delighted once again with your intelligence. You have helped once again to make a good decision.

King Akbar calls the poor man and gives 1000 gold coins as a reward.

The poor is very happy. The poor king thanks Akbar and Birbal and invites him to his daughter’s wedding.



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