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Akbar Birbal Chutkule

The Thief's Beard Has a Twig

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Akbar Birbal ChutkuleOne day, the Emperor thought of an idea to dupe Birbal. He gave his ring to one of the courtiers and asked him to keep quiet. When Birbal came to the court, the Emperor said to him, "Birbal, look, today I lost my ring! In the morning, it was with . me, but I removed it during my bath. When I came back, I saw that the ring· had disappeared! I am sure that one of the courtiers must have stolen it. I have heard that you are a good astrologer. Now, you must find out the thief. My ring is very precious and as my father had given it to me, it is of great value to me." Birbal said, "Where had you kept the ring before going for the bath?" The Emperor pointed towards a cupboard. Birbal went near the cupboard and placed his ear close to it as if he was hearing something. After some time, Birbal came to the Emperor and said, "The cupboard is saying that there is a small twig in the beard of the person who has stolen the ring." When the courtier with the ring heard Birbal, he touched his heard with fear to examine it. Birbal saw what he did and at once took him before the Emperor and said, "This is the thief!" The Emperor was very pleased with him and gave him a handsome reward.

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The Thief's Beard Has a Twig

Ghee Merchants of Delhi

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Akbar Birbal ChutkuleIn the city of Delhi there lived two ghee(clarified butter) merchants Dhannamal and Karodimal. Business was very good and they both had their shops close to each other. One day Dhannamal needed five hundred gold coins. He borrowed them from Karodimal promising him to repay it in a week.

A week passed, but Dhannamal did not repay the gold coins back. He was now avoiding Karodimal. Another week passed and one day Karodimal asked Dhannamal for his money back. “What money, I never borrowed any five hundred gold coins from anyone.” said Dhannamal. The two began to quarrel and finally Karodimal went to the court of Akbar for justice.

“Seth Dhannamal borrowed five hundred gold coins from me and refuses to pay me back.”said Karodimal. “This is not true, Jahanpanah (emperor). We are both ghee merchants and have shops close to each other. He is jealous of me and hence he is accusing me falsely.” Akbar was perplexed and handed the case to Birbal. Birbal asked them to come after ten days.

He took ten containers and poured ten saer (or sher – a measuring unit for weight in the olden days, 1 saer = 2 pounds) of ghee in each of them. Then he took 2 containers and removed a pound of ghee from each and put in a gold coin weighing a pound. He then gave each of the merchants five containers that included the containers with the gold coin. He asked them to test the ghee quality and decide on the price.

Both the merchants found the gold coin in one of the containers. Karodimal went to Birbal and returned the gold coin. Birbal thanked him and told him something in his ear. Dhannamal took the gold coin and gave it to his son.

On the fixed day, the two merchants brought their containers to the court. Birbal weighed each of the containers. He then asked Karodimal why one of the containers weighed less by a pound. Karodimal said exactly what Birbal had told him to say in his ear when he had returned the gold coin. “Maharaj, I used the amount to run some tests on the ghee to find its quality.” Birbal then asked Dhannamal why one of his containers weighed less by a pound. Dhannamal having heard Karodimal's explanation gave the same answer.

While this weighing was taking place, Birbal had sent one of his men to Dhannamal's house with a message for his son. The messenger went to the house and told the boy to go to the court immediately with gold coin his father had found in the ghee containers. Dhannamal's son rushed to the court. As soon as he entered the court, Birbal asked him, “Did you bring all the five gold coins that were in the tin?” “Five? There was only gold coin in the ghee containers not five. See this is the one that was in the ghee container.” said the boy showing the gold coin.

Birbal turned to Dhannamal, “You cheated me for one gold coin, how can you be honest about five hundred gold coins?” Dhannamal realized he had been caught and begged for forgiveness. He was made to pay seven hundred and fifty gold coins to Karodimal. Five hundred was the original principal and two hundred fifty for trying to cheat Karodimal.

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Ghee Merchants of Delhi

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