We have all heard of Raja Birbal who entertained Emperor Akbar with his wit and wisdom. He not only entertained the emperor but also solved the problems of many of his friends with his wisdom.The following is one such story.
One of Birbal’s friends by name Chamanlal had a problem. One of the Ivory showpieces in his house went suddenly missing. Chamanlal was very upset as the piece was a family heirloom and had been in the family’s possession for over two hundred years and also it was a very costly piece. In those days people were not aware of animal cruelty and used to display Ivory as a mark of their social status.
Chamanlal had seven servants and all of them looked innocent and denied a role in the missing ivory case. Chamanlal thought for a while and went out to take a stroll. At the end of the road he met Birbal who immediately sensed that there was something wrong. He coaxed Chamanlal to tell him and Chaman went on to tell him about the missing ivory piece and that there was no proof or evidence as to who had a hand in it. Birbal told Chaman not to worry. He told Chaman that he would visit him in the evening.
As promised, Raja Birbal came to Chamanlal’s house in the evening. He was carrying seven sticks of approximately one foot length each. He asked Chamanlal to call out the servants and there were all of them: Raju, Suresh, Mahesh, Ramesh, Lalloo, Changoo and Bittoo. Birbal handed them one stick each and told them, “These are magical sticks. Keep them with you and tomorrow when I come back, the stick of the person who has stolen the ivory would have become one inch longer. See you tomorrow”.And Birbal left.
The next day, as promised, Birbal came back to Chamanlal’s house and asked for the sticks. As each one handed over the stick, Birbal measured them. Just as Lalloo gave his stick, Birbal said, “Chaman, here is your thief!” Lalloo immediately cried confessing his guilt and fell at the feet of Chamanlal. He brought out the ivory show piece from where he had hidden it. Chamanlal dismissed Lalloo from his service and then asked Birbal “Raja Birbal, I never knew you know magic also. How did you get the magic sticks?” Birbal replied, “I do not know magic my dear friend, the sticks are normal sticks” Chaman said “But…but… how did the length….?” Birbal replied, “The length did not increase as I told them. Lalloo was afraid that the stick would grow one inch longer and had cut the stick in the night by one inch so that if it grew, it would still be of the same length. Ha ha ha…..”
Chamanlal and his family marvelled at Birbal’s intelligence and thanked Birbal wholeheartedly. Emperor Akbar too heard of the incident and praised him.