Stay within Your Limits



Stay within Your Limits :



Many courtiers in Akbar’s court were senior to Birbal. Yet, when King Akbar showed his preference for Birbal, they felt very jealous indeed. One day all of them went to King Akbar’s palace to talk about the matter.

One of them said, “Your Majesty, we love and respect you as much as Birbal does and we have known you for many more years than he has. Why do you turn towards him for solving your problems? Why do you never let us get a chance to win your favour?”

King Akbar smiled thoughtfully.

Then he said, “All right…today I will see to your complaint. I will pose you a challenge. If you are able to win it, then you will be given the place of honour that Birbal has.”

The courtiers agreed. King Akbar ordered his guards to get a shawl of about two metres in length. Then King Akbar sent for a cot.

He lay down on it and said, “Take this shawl. Each of you will get a chance to cover me with this shawl. The shawl must cover me in such a way that no part of my body stays uncovered.”

King Akbar was a tall man. The courtiers tried hard to cover him with the two metres long shawl but no one got success. Some left the King's shoulder and arms uncovered while others left the legs exposed.

As this was going on, Birbal came there.

On enquiring, King Akbar said, “Birbal, I’m here on the cot. I want them all to cover me with this shawl in such a way that no part of my body stays exposed.”

Birbal approached the cot and said, “Your Majesty, I request you to bend your knees and curl up a bit.”

As King Akbar did so, Birbal covered his curled up body with the shawl. King Akbar was completely covered with the shawl.

Then Birbal said, “There is an old saying, friends! It says….Stretch your legs as long as the shawl is. This means that one must stay within one's means or limits. If the shawl is small, you can bend a little to fit in. If your earnings are less, you can let go off luxuries and unnecessary things.”

King Akbar got up from the cot. The courtiers had understood what Birbal had hinted at. They understood it that if they were not fit for the position, Birbal held, they would not get it.

King Akbar said, “Now you know that it is Birbal’s wit and intelligence that has earned him this place and not my preference for him.”

Stay within Your Limits



Moral Stories

Akbar and Birbal Stories

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