Birbal was very famous for his wit and intelligence. He was well known in Akbar’s kingdom and also in faraway lands. One day a famous scholar visited Akbar’s court. He wanted to challenge Birbal’s intelligence.
He said, “My dear King. I have travelled all over the world. There is no one who is as intelligent as me. I wish to challenge Bribal.”
Akbar was amused and said, “How would you like to challenge Birbal?”
The scholar said, “I will give him a choice. I shall ask him either 100 easy questions or one very difficult question.”
Akbar asked Birbal, “Do you accept this Scholar’s challenge? I shall award the victor 100 gold coins.”
Birbal said, “Yes my King. I will choose to answer the one difficult question.”
The scholar said, “Which came first, the egg or the chicken?”
Birbal immediately said, “The chicken came first.”
The scholar laughed and mocked Birbal, “How can you say so surely. No one can be sure of the answer as the question is impossible to answer.”
Birbal replied, “I promised to answer one difficult question and I have answered. You are now asking me a second question and therefore I will not reply.”
The King laughed and said, “That is correct Birbal. You have answered the scholar and he is breaking his challenge by asking you a second question. You are the smartest man in all the kingdoms.”
The king awarded Birbal 100 gold coins and the scholar left the kingdom sadly.
Moral: Presence of mind helps solve even the most difficult of problems.