The Queen's Victory
Once, Akbar was chatting with his queen. He remarked., “Birbal is the most prized jewel of my court. He is unchallenged in wit and intelligence.”
The queen laughed and said, “In wit, I can defeat Birbal any day.” So Akbar asked her to prove it.
Birbal was summoned. The queen called the maid and asked for sherbat and sweets to be brought in. Then, she counted till ten and said, “Now, the sherbat and the sweets are ready, Here they come.”
Just as she said this, the maid entered with the dishes. The queen said to Birbal, “Did you notice that just as I finished counting, the refreshments arrived? We will come to your house for lunch tomorrow.”
The next day, at Birbal’s house, the queen said, “Surely, lunch is ready, Birbal. Now count and tell me exactly when the dishes will come, just as I did yesterday.”
Smiling Birbal said, “Your Majesty, I ask you to count and lunch will arrive.”
The queen agreed. When she stopped counting, the servants entered with the dishes just as they had been told by Birbal.
The queen admitted Birbal’s victory. But Birbal said to the queen, “You have won, your Highness, for the lunch arrived when you stopped counting!”
“How clever, Birbal!” said the quen, “you made me win even when I lost,” Akbar had a heavy laugh.