Akbar and Birbal

Emperor Akbar was very fond of hunting. As a little boy, he would leave his lessons and go for hunting. He grew up to be a better rider and a more fearless hunter than any of his courtiers.

One day. while chasing a tiger, Akbar and a few of his brave soldiers got lost. By sunset, they were far away from the royal capital of Agra. They were very tired and exhausted. They reached a place where three roads met.

“Which road should we take to go back to Agra?” wondered the emperor aloud. “Which road do you think leads to Agra?”

All the three roads looked the same to him. The emperor’s men were confused too. Just then, a young man came walking down one of the roads.

The emperor’s men were very relieved to see the young man. They asked him to come forward. He did so, while looking curiously at the well-dressed rojal visitors who stood before him.

Then Emperor Akbar asked him, “Young man, do you know which one of these roads goes to Agra?”

The young man smiled and said. “Sir, everybody knows that roads do not go to Agra or anywhere else.”

He started laughing at his own joke. “It is people who go from one place to another,” said the young man.

The emperor’s men thought, “How can this young man joke with the king?”

“No, they don’t, said the emperor laughing. His soldiers also joined bim

“What is your name?” Akbar asked the man.

“Mahesh Das, he replied

The emperor took off a huge emerald ring from his finger and gave it to the man. “You are speaking to Akbar, the emperor of Hindustan,” he said.

We need brave young men like you in our court. Bring this ring with you whenever you come to our capital and I shall recognise you immediately. Now, show us the road we must take in order to reach Agra,” said the ernperor.

Mahesh Das bowed before the king and pointed towards one of the roads. Then the emperor and his men galloped away into the distance, while Mahesh Das looked, on till he could no longer see them.