A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

Tag: land

Birbal Again!

Birbal, as we all know was a master in the art of using the right words/ sentences at the right time. This combined with his sharp intelligence and brilliant wit earned him the adulation of the Emperor and all others and of course he also got what he wanted. We shall see two such instances.

Emperor Akbar, on an occasion when Birbal had pleased him announced that he would give him a piece of land in a posh area of the city. However it was never granted. The Emperor had not forgotten about it, but every time when Birbal broached the subject, he pretended not to hear and turned his neck as if to observe what was going on, on the other side. After a few months Birbal stopped talking about the plot of land, but was waiting for the right moment when he could get it from the Emperor.

Now, one day, the Emperor was going for a stroll in disguise, along with Birbal. Both were walking through the country side. They spotted a group of camels there as camels were very much used in carrying goods and passengers in those days. One of the camels in the group had a crooked neck and appeared to be turning its neck and looking away.

Akbar was curious. “Birbal”, said he, “look at that camel. Why is it turning its neck and looking on the other side?”
Pat came the reply from Birbal. “Huzoor”, he said in a very polite voice, “May be the camel has also promised land to somebody and does not want to give it now”

Akbar was amused and also surprised at the clever way in which Birbal had got his point through. The very next day, Birbal got his piece of land!

On another instance, the Emperor got a talking parrot as a gift from another king. The parrot was an intelligent bird, for not only it could repeat what anyone said, but it could give replies to questions too. It was very charming and beautiful too and the Emperor instantly took a liking to it.

“Arrange a golden cage for the parrot!” he ordered his men. “He should be fed with the best fruits and food and taken care of extremely well”

“Yes, your highness!” said the courtiers to whom the order was given. “We will do everything as you wish”

“And” said Akbar, “once again I am telling you, he should be given the best care and…If any one of you comes and tells me that the parrot is dead, I will not hesitate to execute you!”

When Akbar was angry, he would really do what he said and the courtiers knew it and so off they went and arranged a beautiful big golden cage for the bird They fed it with exotic fruits and food and gave it sweet water and were always guarding it.

Despite all the good care given to it, unfortunately, the parrot died one night. The courtiers panicked. Not because the parrot died but one of them had to go and report it to Akbar! And their head would go next!!

The courtiers discussed among themselves and instead of going to Akbar, ran to Birbal. Birbal was surprised on seeing two courtiers coming puffing and panting at such a late time in the night.

He asked them in and told them to have a seat. “Now, may I know what brought you here at this time of the night?” he asked.

“Sire…. Sire…” they hesitated.

“Tell me. Fear nobody. What is the matter?”

Both the courtiers fell at his feet pleading. “Save our lives Sire” they said. “You can only grant us the gift of life”
Birbal knew that these were the two who were in charge of the parrot. “What happened” he asked. “Is all well?”

“The parrot died Sire…..” the first man broke down.

“In spite of taking so much care, the parrot is gone” continued the other, “but Sire if we go and tell the Emperor that the parrot has died, we will be hanged”. He started sobbing and narrated what the Emperor had told them.

Birbal knew that the King loved the parrot so much and may do what he had said. “I will take care” he said. “Both of you go home and rest. Go… Go and do as I say. I will take care”

The men left hesitantly.

The next morning, Birbal, with a pensive look went to the Emperor. Akbar looked at him and asked, “What happened Birbal? Why is the worried look on your face?”

“Nothing, your majesty. A strange thing happened. Your parrot is neither eating anything, nor drinking anything. It is neither moving its wings nor moving its beak. It is neither sitting up nor seeing anything…”

“The parrot died?” asked a shocked Akbar.

“You said it your majesty. I did not say it with my mouth” said Birbal.

The Emperor was so amused at the clever way in which Birbal broke the news and forgave the courtiers and rewarded Birbal!

Power of the Mind

Long long ago, in a village in North India, there lived a well-to-do farmer named Balbir. He was a hard worker and was very sincere and so naturally, he earned a good amount of money. His wife was also a sweet-natured lady.
Unfortunately, his wife died during childbirth of their first child, a son, who was named Ganesh. Balbir married again, but the second wife Seetha was equally a good natured and kind woman. She treated Ganesh as her own child and Ganesh never got to know that his mother had died. In due course Balbir had two more sons, Umesh and Naresh and the couple brought up all the three sons equally well and even Naresh and Umesh did not know that Ganesh was their step brother.

The boys were also hard working and toiled with their father and Balbir had acquired considerable wealth in the form of lands. Balbir was also good in managing the lands productively. Balbir grew old and died one day. Ganesh took up his father’s place and showed that he was equally capable in managing the lands. Their wealth continued to grow.
There were a couple of jealous neighbours who were always looking for an opportunity to pull down Balbir’s growth and now that he was not around anymore, they got a chance. They casually mentioned to Naresh and Umesh that Ganesh was actually their step brother and it was he who was wielding the baton now and if left unchecked, he could any day drive away Naresh and Umesh.

The brothers were shocked. They went to their mother and demanded to know the truth. The mother admitted that as for his being their step brother, what the neighbours told was true. “But sons,” said she, “Ganesh Bhaiyya is so affectionate to you. Why on the earth do you imagine that he would drive you away?” The brothers were unwilling to relent. Naresh said, “I am so angry that I want to murder him” Umesh added, “My blood boils to think that we have been sharing our wealth with a step brother. Hmmph..I want to get rid of him forever!” Seetha, a kind soul as she was felt very distressed to see their anger and wanted to teach them a lesson. “Okay sons,” she said, “You do not show your anger thus. I will get rid of him”. The sons were pacified.

A few days later, Naresh and Umesh had gone to see their cousin in the next village. That night, Ganesh and his mother were asleep. Suddenly Ganesh heard his mother scream loud “Snake! Snake!” Ganesh woke up with a start and took up the stick near his bed. “Where mother? Where is it?”, he asked looking around everywhere. Seetha, with a frightened look on her face said, “I… I saw it.. entering your mouth and it vanished…” Saying thus, she fainted.
Ganesh was shell-shocked as he had this habit of sleeping with his mouth open. He immediately sprinkled some water on his mother and she woke up. He comforted her saying that it must be a dream and she went back to sleep. But that night changed Ganesh totally. He became very worried and kept on thinking of the snake. He could not rest his mind.
Slowly over the days, he was not talking much and was always seen with a worried and depressed look. He did not eat much and did not do any physical work. He did not seem to be interested in any material thing. This took a toll on his health and within two weeks he became bed-ridden.

His younger brothers were feeling gleeful for without physically getting rid of him, he was now out of active life and now they had all the wealth to themselves to manage and they totally ignored Ganesh and started to take their own decisions. The jealous neighbours were waiting for this day. Slowly, they started interfering in the brothers’ decisions and imposing their will. One of them even occupied a chunk of land belonging to the brothers, by putting up a small house, on the pretext that it was to supervise the rice planting in his field which was nearby. The other neighbour also was planning a similar exercise on another portion of the land. Umesh and Naresh could physically work very hard no doubt, but they did not possess the assertiveness or shrewdness that their elder brother Ganesh had.

Slowly, Umesh and Naresh started to realise that they were being taken for a ride by the neighbours and in no time, the neighbours would usurp the whole of their wealth. For the first time, they felt very sore about their own attitude towards Ganesh. They felt that if Ganesh had been around, all this could have been averted. That night they spoke out their mind to their mother and told her that they realised how mean they were. “We thought of killing Bhaiyya,” said Naresh. “We are ashamed, mother, of how bad we have been” echoed Umesh. “Poor Bhaiyya, we have not been even talking to him for the past two months. After how well he has protected father’s property, we realise how good he is, and….mother, as you said, we feel Ganesh Bhaiyya would not have even dreamt of chasing us away”. He continued, “But, what is the use now, Bhaiyya is bed-ridden and looks miserable. I do not know whether we can save him even. I shall go to the town tomorrow and find out if the Vaid (doctor) can come home and see Bhaiyya”.

Seetha saw that the brothers had realised their folly. She told them, “ Naresh and Umesh, before you go to the doctor, go to the temple of the Goddess in the hills and stay a night there and offer prayers. Then you can come home and go to the doctor”. “As you say, mother said the brothers and started for the temple the very next morning.

That night, again, Ganesh heard his mother shriek in the middle of the night. “Snake” she cried, “Ganesh, a snake!!!” Ganesh was not able to get up. But Seetha got up and lit a lamp and happily said, Ganesh, I saw the same snake which entered your mouth, go out of your mouth. There… there, it slid out through the window.” Ganesh who was so weak and could not even sit up, slowly got up. His face had a relieved look. “Are you sure mother? “ he asked. “Yes” said Seetha. It was the same snake. It got out of your mouth and slid away”. That was enough. Ganesh was up early in the morning and was feeling hungry. Seetha gladly gave him breakfast. He ate well that day and chatted with his mother on the goings on in their lands. When he heard about the antics of the neighbours, he was furious and vowed to shoo them away from their land.

The next day when Naresh and Umesh returned, they were pleasantly surprised to see Ganesh sitting up in his bed and eating. They fell at his feet and asked for forgiveness for their rude behaviour. Ganesh had not a wee bit of hatred and he embraced them and told them, he would be up soon and would start working. Both the brothers were relieved and so was Seetha.

For, she knew the Power of the Mind!!

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