Once Akbar and Birbal were taking a stroll. Winter was at its peak at that time of season. A thought came to Birbal’s mind, and he expressed to the Emperor, “A man can do anything for money.” Emperor also thought something, and he just dipped his finger in the almost freezing water of a nearby pond. He drew his hand immediately, and replied Birbal, “I don’t think so. Do you think somebody can stand in this almost freezing water for the whole night for money?” Birbal said, “I think so.”
Birbal told that he can find such a man who can stand in this water for the whole night for money. Akbar couldn’t believe, so he accepted the challenge and said that he would give one thousand gold coins to that man.
Next day Birbal brought a man who was very poor and thin. He told the King that that man would stand in that water. “Good” the King said and sent him to that pond. Because he did not believe this, so he sent some guards too to see whether he was really standing in that almost freezing water for the whole night.
The man went away. Next day the man came back to claim his prize. Akbar asked his guards about the whole thing and they said, ” Yes Huzoor, he stood there the whole night.” Akbar asked that man, “Just tell me how did you stand in that cold water the whole night ? ” The man said, ” There was a lamp post at some distance. I just gazed at it for the whole night. Heat of that lamp was my only hope. “
Akbar refused to give him his prize saying that since he got the heat from that lamp, he was not in the cold water absolutely. Hearing this, the man got very disappointed and went away. When Birbal heard this, he didn’t like it. Next day he didn’t come in the court. Akbar got worried about him and send his men to bring him to the court.
The men went to his house and came back with the message that Birbal was cooking his breakfast and only after eating that he will come to the court. One hour passed, two hours passed, several hours passed. Evening fell, but there was no sign of Birbal. Now Akbar got impatient, and got ready to see him himself.
So he went to Birbal’s house. What he sees, that Birbal is sitting in a room, fire was burning and a pot was hung about 8-10 feet higher than the fire. The King asked, ” Birbal what are you doing? ” Birbal replied, “Huzoor I am cooking my khichri.” Hearing this King and his people laughed loudly. Akbar said to him, “Birbal you can’t cook your food in this way. It is not getting enough heat to be cooked.”
Birbal said, “If that man can get the heat from such a distance to keep him enough warm to stand in this cold water for the whole night, then why my food can’t be cooked in this way?”
King understood the point, and returned to his palace. Next day he called that man and gave his prize to him.