The lowest and the noblest

Once upon a time, King Akbar and Birbal were walking around the palace garden.

King Akbar asked Birbal, “Who is the noblest man you have met?”

Birbal said, “My King, of course it is you. There is no doubt about it.”

King Akbar said, “But can you say that there is a man who is the lowest but also the noblest at the same time? Can you find me a man who is both?”

Birbal thought for a moment and said, “Yes sir. I know one person who is the lowest and also the noblest”

King Akbar was amused. He said, “Can I see that person?”

Birbal said, “Yes sir. You can invite him tomorrow to your home for dinner. I will introduce him to you and your family.”

The next day King Akbar and his family prepared a grand feast for their guest. Birbal came back with a man who looked very poor. His dress was dirty and he looked as if he had not had food in many days.

He fell at the feet of the King and thanked him for allowing him into the palace. King Akbar felt pity and asked his guards to give him a bath and also give him some fresh clothes. He returned some time later cleaner and fresher.

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When they were eating dinner, Akbar asked Birbal, “Now tell me how he is the lowest?”

Birbal said, “He is a beggar. He lives outside the temple. He has only one set of clothes and eats only on days when the temple gives him free food.”

King Akbar said, “Then I agree. He is indeed the lowest in the kingdom. But how is he the noblest.”

Birbal smiled and said, “He is a beggar who has been given a bath and a new set of clothes by the emperor himself. He is the only beggar to dine with the King and also his family. He is the only beggar whom the King and his family has spoken to. Thus, he is the noblest among all beggars.”

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