Once upon a time, King Akbar was walking to the temple with his ministers. He saw a blind man begging in the street. Akbar felt bad for the blind man.
Akbar said to his ministers, “I wish to give all the Blind people in the kingdom 10 gold coins each.”
All the ministers said, “That is an excellent idea, my King. You are so kind.”
Birbal said, “My King. Not all blind people are poor. Many poor people are not blind. Is it fair to give alms to only blind people?”
Akbar grew very angry. He said, “I have made up my mind. My ministers, I order you to prepare a list of all blind people in the kingdom by next week.”
The ministers prepared the list and showed it to Akbar. Akbar saw the list and it had a list of 800 people in the kingdom. He asked Birbal to review the list.
Birbal took a look at the list and said, “This list is incomplete. I can see that there are many people who are missed out. Please give me one more day and I shall complete the list.”
King Akbar said, “I will give you one day to complete the list.”
Birbal went to the market and sat down outside the market entrance. He took the frame of an old cot with him and started to weave the cot with string.
A courtier passed by and asked Birbal, “Hi Birbal, what are you doing in the market?”
Birbal did not reply to the minister but mumbled something to his servant who wrote something on a scroll. Many people recognized Birbal and went and asked him what he was doing. Birbal ignored all of them.
Soon Akbar found out that Birbal was in the market weaving a cot. He went to Birbal and said, “My dear Birbal, what are you doing?”
Birbal continued weaving the cot. He took the scroll from his servant’s hand and gave it to Akbar.
Birbal said, “Please find the complete list of all blind people in this Kingdom.”
Akbar went through the list and was shocked. His name was the last name in the list. Akbar grew very angry.
Akbar said, “Birbal. Why is my name on the list of blind people?”
Birbal said, “You and others on the list saw me weaving a cot. Even after seeing me, you asked me what I was doing. The blind people did not ask me anything and went on their own way.”
Akbar laughed and said, “Well done Birbal. You have opened my eyes and proved that I was indeed blind.”