Once upon a time, King Akbar was walking around the palace garden with his favourite minister Birbal. Birbal was famous for being very clever and Akbar always kept testing him.
King Akbar thought, “I know that Birbal does not know how to paint. I will give him a challenge which he will struggle with.”
King Akbar said to Birbal, “Dear Birbal, I want you to make me a very imaginative painting. I want it within one week.”
Birbal said, “My king, I wish I could but I do not know how to paint. How can I make an imaginative painting for you when I do not know how to paint?”
King Akbar was surprised and amazed to hear the answer. He wanted to know how Birbal was giving him such a number without counting.
King Akbar pretended to be very angry. He said, “Are you dismissing my order. I am ordering you to make me an imaginative painting within 1 week. If you fail, you shall go to Jail!”
Birbal was confused but he understood that King Akbar was only testing him. One week later, Birbal brought to Akbar, a large painting wrapped in cloth.
Akbar said, “Birbal. As ordered, you have brought the painting to me in one week. Reveal the painting to me.”
Birbal removed the cloth and revealed the painting. There was a picture of the ground and the sky. There was nothing else on the painting.
King Akbar asked, “Birbal. I asked you to paint an imaginative painting. This painting has only some ground and sky. Where is the imagination in this painting?”
Birbal said, “Your Majesty. I used my imagination on this painting. It is a painting of a cow eating grass.”
Akbar said, “But there is no cow or grass in this painting. Where is the cow and the grass?”
Birbal said, “The cow has eaten all the grass and hence there is no grass left in the painting. Thus you can see only ground in the painting?”
Akbar asked, “The painting has no cow as well. Where is the cow?”
Birbal said, “My King, the cow has eaten all the grass and is still hungry. What would a cow do on a ground which has no grass? It has left searching for more grass.”
Akbar was very happy with the response and gave him 100 gold coins for his wit and intellect.
Moral: There is always a solution if one thinks creatively.