53. Protecting footmark

Once king Akbar had a great quarrel with Birbal so he left the place and went some 30-40 miles away in a village. There he started living hiding his identity. Now Birbal’s position (Deevaan or Minister) could not be kept empty so the king appointed his brother-in-law (wife’ brother) in Birbal’s place. Although Akbar didn’t like this but he had to do this to please his wife. Very soon the city got undisciplined and complaints started coming to the king. This was the time to test his brother-in-law’s intelligence. So he went out to a Peer’s Mazaar (the tomb of a saint). While returning from there he saw a footmark of an elephant. He asked his brother-in-law to protect that mark for three days. Baadshaah (king) went to his palace and his brother-in-law starting vigilance around it. The first day passed, the new Deevaan could not get any food; the second day also passed without any food. The third day he got very weak, but somehow survived. The fourth day he went to the king and told everything to him. Baadshaah thought “I have to call Birbal back, I can’t do with this Deevaan.” So he found a way to get him back. He announced that there is some quarrel over a government well so all Zameendaar (owner) of nearby villages should come to him with their wells, otherwise they will have to pay fine of 10,000 Rupees (Indian currency). This order was heard in that village also min which Birbal lived. Its Zameendaar abused the king that “That this king has gone mad. Has anybody ever heard moving wells to other places? But if I did not go then I will have to pay 10,000 Rupees fine which is a lot of money.” When Birbal heard this, he knew that it was a trick to find Birbal. He thought that now is the time to reveal his identity and keep king’s words. So he explained something to the Zameendaar and next day the Zameendaar along with Birbal and some of his servants arrived in Delhi. They did not enter the city, they stayed outside the city and sent a messenger to king – “Huzoor, According to your orders we are here with our wells, now you sent your wells to welcome them.” When Akbar heard this, he understood that Birbal was there. He asked the Zameendaar – “Who told this to tell me? Tell me the truth.” The Zameendaar said – “Some time ago, a stranger came to stay in our village, he has asked us to tell you this.” When asked about his form, it matched Birbal’s. Then he sent his people to welcome Birbal and he was brought into the city with a great pomp and show. Birbal was again appointed on his old position. This time the king asked Birbal to protect that footmark of elephant. Birbal said “Done”. He fixed an iron bar near the footmark and tied a 50-yard rope to it and told the villagers that whoever’s house will fall inside the circumference of that rope his house will be demolished to protect that footmark.” People requested him not to do so and gave him Rupees as bribery not to demolish their house. Thus he collected approximately 100,000 (1 Lakh) Rupees. He deposited that money in the royal treasury and told the king that the work is done and 100,000 Rupees have been deposited in his treasury. The king called his brother-in-law and said to him – “You were hungry for three days and gained nothing while protecting the footmark, but see, Birbal has earned 100,00 Rupees in one day only. That is why you can never be my Deevaan.” The brother-in-law went away from there hanging his head down.
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