Archive-Akbar & Birbal Tales: Birbal's Khichadi (Episode 160)

Episode 156
6m | Jan 13, 2024

Akbar and Birbal folktales are very famous in India. These are a set of moral stories inspired by the interactions of Mughal Emperor Akbar and his wisest courtier Birbal and have been enjoyed by children for many many years. These stories were mostly passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth, till the print medium started. You know children, Birbal was an extremely witty courtier and. you will really enjoy listening to the witty, interesting, and sometimes funny, occurrences in the lives of Akbar and Birbal. These stories also help us to think smart just like Birbal.

Today's story: Birbal's Khichadi is a tale where Birbal helps a poor man get his much-deserved reward.

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On a cold winter day, emperor Akbar and Birbal took a walk along the lake. As they were discussing matters related to the empire, a thought came to Birbal that a man would do anything for money. He expressed his feelings to Akbar. Akbar put his finger into the lake and immediately removed it because it was freezing cold.

Akbar immediately said, “ I don’t think a man would spend an entire night in the cold water of this lake for money.”

Birbal replied confidently, “I am sure I can find such a person.” Akbar then challenged Birbal to find such a person and said that he would reward the person with a thousand gold coins.

Children, do you think Birbal would be successful in finding a person who would be ready to stand in freezing water for a whole night?

Let’s see.

Birbal searched far and wide until he found a poor man who was desperate enough to accept the challenge. This poor man was really in need of money.

The poor man entered the lake and Akbar had guards posted near him to make sure that he did as promised.

Children, what’s your guess, would the poor man would be able to stand in cold water.

Well, the poor man kept standing the whole night inside the pond, shivering badly. But he did not come out even once.

The next morning the guards took the poor man to Akbar.

The Emperor asked, “Tell me something, how could you stand in the freezing cold water all through the night?”

The innocent poor man replied, “Huzoor, I could see a faintly glowing light coming from your palace, a kilometre away. Looking at that light gave me imaginary warmth and strength to keep standing in the water.”

After listening to the poor man, Akbar declined to pay him his reward saying that he had got warmth from the light and this was cheating. The poor man went away disappointed and empty-handed.

Children, do you think Akbar did the right thing by not giving the reward to the poor man?

That’s correct, it wasn’t good on Akbar’s part not to give the poor man his well-deserved money.

Birbal tried to say something in the favour of the poor man but the Emperor refused to listen to him. Soon after, Birbal stopped coming to the durbar and sent a messenger to the king stating that he would come to the court only after he had cooked his khichdi.

One day passed, the second day passed, the third and fourth day too. When Birbal did not come to the court for five days, the Emperor himself went to Birbal’s house to see what he was doing.

Children, can you guess what Birbal was doing?

Listen ahead to find out.

Birbal had lit the fire and kept the pot of khichdi one metre away from it. Akbar asked him “How will the khichadi get cooked with the fire one metre away? Are you in your senses, Birbal?”

Birbal humbly replied, “O’ Jahapanah! If it is possible for a person to receive warmth from a light that was a kilometre away, then it is also possible for me to cook this khichdi a metre away from the fire.” Akbar understood his mistake. He called back the poor man and rewarded him with 1000 gold coins as promised.

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