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Emperor Akbar's court was famous for its witty question and answer sessions.
On one of these occasions, the Emperor asked Birbal if there was anything that the sun and the moon could not see. Birbal's reply was
'darkness'. Akbar was pleased.
Next, he asked what was the difference between a truth and a lie. To which Birbal replied that it was the distance between the ears and
the eyes because what you see with your eyes is true, but what you hear with your ears is generally false. Akbar was satisfied.
Lastly, Emperor Akbar drew a line on the floor and asked Birbal to shorten it without wiping out the ends.
Birbal drew a longer line below the line drawn by Akbar and remarked that though he had not rubbed off the original line he had
definitely succeeded in making it shorter.
|How many Crows in the Kingdom
One day Emperor Akbar and Birbal were taking a walk in the palace gardens. It was a nice summer morning and there were plenty of
crows happily playing around the pond. While watching the crows, a question came into Akbar's head. He wondered how many crows
were there in his kingdom.
Since Birbal was accompanying him, he asked Birbal this question. After a moment's thought, Birbal replied, "There are ninety-five
thousand four hundred and sixty-three crows in the Kingdom".
Amazed by his quick response, Akbar tried to test him again, "What if there are more crows than you answered?" Without hesitating
Birbal replied, "If there are more crows than my answer, then some crows are visiting from other neighboring kingdoms".
"And what if there are less crows", Akbar asked. "Then some crows from our kingdom have gone on holidays to other places".
On a cold winter day Akbar and Birbal took a walk along the lake. A thought came to Birbal that a man would do anything for money. He
expressed his feelings to Akbar. Akbar then put his finger into the lake and immediately removed it because he shivered with cold.
Akbar said "I don't think a man would spend an entire night in the cold water of this lake for money."
Birbal replied "I am sure I can find such a person."
Akbar then challenged Birbal into finding such a person and said that he would reward the person with a thousand gold coins.
Birbal searched far and wide until he found a poor man who was desperate enough to accept the challenge. The poor man entered the
lake and Akbar had guards posted near him to make sure that he really did as promised.
The next morning the guards took the poor man to Akbar. Akbar asked the poor man if he had indeed spent the night in the lake. The
poor man replied that he had. Akbar then asked the poor man how he managed to spend the night in the lake. The poor man replied
that there was a street lamp near by and he kept his attention affixed on the lamp and away from the cold. Akbar then said that there
would be no reward as the poor man had survived the night in the lake by the warmth of the street lamp. The poor man went to Birbal for
The next day, Birbal did not go to court. The king wondering where he was sent a messenger to his home. The messenger came back
saying that Birbal would come once his Khichri was cooked. The king waited hours but Birbal did not come. Finally the king decided to
go to Birbal's house and see what he was upto.
He found Birbal sitting on the floor near some burning twigs and a bowl filled with Khichri hanging five feet above the fire. The king and
his attendants couldn't help but laugh.
Akbar then said to Birbal "How can the Khichri be cooked if it so far away from the fire?"
Birbal answered "The same way the poor man received heat from a street lamp that was more than a furlong away."
The King understood his mistake and gave the poor man his reward. -
|On mules we find two legs behind
and two we find before.
We stand behind before we find,
what those behind be for.
|There once was a man from Great Britain
Who interrupted two girls at their knitting.
Said he with a sigh,
"That park bench, well I
Just painted it right where you're sitting.'
|There was a young person from Perth
Who was born on the day of his birth.
He was married, they say,
On his wife's wedding day,
And died when he quit the earth.
|There once was an old man of Esser,
Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser,
It at last grew so small
He knew nothing at all,
And now he's a college professor.
If one doctor doctors another doctor, does the doctor
who doctors the doctor doctor the doctor the way the doctor he is doctoring doctors?
Or does he doctor
the doctor the way the doctor who doctors doctors?
She sifted thistles through her thistle-sifter.
|While we were walking, we were watching window washers
wash Washington's windows with warm washing water.