In the town of Agra there lived a
rich businessman. But he was also quite a miser. Various people used to
flock outside his house everyday hoping for some kind of generosity, but
they always had to return home disappointed. He used to ward them off with
false promises and then never live up to his word.
Then one day, a poet named Raidas
arrived at his house and said that he wanted to read out his poems to the
rich man. As the rich man was very fond of poetry, he welcomed him in with
open arms. Raidas started to recite all his
poems one by one. The rich man was very pleased and especially so when
he heard the poem that Raidas had written on him, because he had been compared
with 'Kubera', the god of wealth. In those days it was a custom for rich
men and kings to show their appreciation through a reward or a gift, as
that was the only means of earning that a poor poet possessed. So the rich
man promised Raidas some gifts and asked him to come and collect them the
next day. Raidas was pleased.
The next morning when he arrived at the house, the rich man pretended that he had never laid eyes on him
before. When Raidas reminded him of his promise, he said that although
Raidas was a good poet he understood very little of human nature. And that
if rich businessman truly wanted to reward him, he would have done so the
very same night. Raidas had been offered a reward not because he
was really pleased or impressed, but to simply encourage him.
Raidas was extremely upset, but as
there was nothing that he could do, he quietly left the house. On his way
home he saw Birbal riding a horse. So he stopped him and asked for his
help after narrating the whole incident. Birbal took him to his own house
in order to come up with a plan. After giving it some thought he asked
Raidas to go to a friend's house with five gold coins and request the friend
to plan a dinner on the coming full moon night, where the rich man would
also be invited. Birbal then asked Raidas to relax and leave the rest to
Raidas had one trustworthy friend
whose name was Mayadas. So he went up to him and told him the plan. The
next day, Mayadas went to the rich man's house and invited him for dinner.
The dinner has been planned for the coming full moon night. He said that
he intended to serve his guests in vessels of gold, which the guests would
get to take home after the meal. The rich man was thrilled to hear this
and jumped at the offer.
After sunset on the full moon night,
the rich man arrived at Mayadas' house and was surprised to see no other
guests there but Raidas. Anyhow, they welcomed him in and started a polite
conversation. The rich man had come on an empty stomach and so was getting
hungrier by the minute. Raidas and Mayadas were quite full as they had
eaten just before the rich man's arrival.
Finally at midnight the rich man
could bear his hunger no longer and asked Mayadas to serve the food. Mayadas
sounded extremely surprised when he asked him what food was he talking
about. The rich man tried to remind him that he had been invited for dinner.
At this point Raidas asked him for proof of the invitation. The rich man
had no answer. Then Mayadas told him that he had just invited him to please
him and had not really meant it. He then went on to say that even though
they did not do anything good for other people they also would never try
to hurt another human being. He asked the rich man not to feel bad.
At that point Birbal walked into
the room and reminded the rich man of the same treatment that he had himself
meted out to Raidas. The rich man realised his mistake and begged for forgiveness.
He said that Raidas was a good poet and had not asked him for any reward.
He himself had promised to give him some gifts and then cheated him out of them. To make up for his mistake he took out the necklace that he was wearing and gifted it to Raidas. Then they all sat down to eat a happy meal.
Raidas was all praise for Birbal
and thanked him profusely. Emperor Akbar also invited him to his court
and honoured him, all thanks to Birbal.