One fine day, Emperor Akbar was discussing
the brinjal with Birbal. He told him what a delicious and nutritious vegetable
it was. Much to Akbar's surprise, Birbal thoroughly agreed with him and
even sang two songs in praise of the humble brinjal.
After a couple of days, the royal
chef cooked brinjal curry for lunch. Birbal was also eating at the palace
that day. When the brinjal curry was served to Akbar, he refused it saying
that it was a tasteless, stale vegetable, full of seeds and lacking proper
nutrition. He then asked that it be served to Birbal who loved brinjals.
But Birbal, too, refused it saying
that it was not good for health. So Akbar impatiently asked him why he
was saying such things when he sang the brinjals praise, not a few days
Birbal replied that he had praised
the brinjal only because his emperor had praised it and criticized it when
his majesty had criticized it, as he was loyal to his emperor and to not
the brinjal. He said that the brinjal could not make him a minister no
matter how much he praised it. He went on to say that he was his majesty's
obedient servant, and not that of the brinjal.
The emperor was pleased by his honest,
bold, and witty response.
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