Once upon a time, there was a rich man called Hasan who wanted to take revenge on an innocent man named Kasiraj. He wanted Kasiraj to get punished for a grudge that he held against him. Hasan accused Kasiraj of stealing his wife’s valuable necklace. He reported this theft to King Akbar.
Emperor Akbar asked Hasan, “Why do you think that Kasiraj stole the necklace?”
Hasan replied, “My King, I saw him stealing the necklace! I saw him steal it.”
Kasiraj said, “My King. I am innocent! I do not know who stole the necklace. Hasan is lying to you.”
Hasan smiled and said to the king, “My King, if he is innocent, ask him to prove his innocence by holding a hot iron rod in his hands. If he is able to do so and the rod does not hurt him, then I shall believe that he has not stolen the necklace. If the rod hurts him, he is lying and he stole the necklace.”
The rich man told the Emperor that if Kasiraj was telling the truth, then the Gods above would not harm him. It was the best way to test the innocence of Kasiraj.
The King agreed to the solution and ordered Kasiraj to come to court the next day. He also asked the rich man Hasan to come to court. Hasan was very happy on hearing this.
King Akbar asked Birbal to solve the problem. Stealing was a grave crime. Birbal knew from the start that Hasan was lying since he was not convincing at all. Birbal felt that Kasiraj was being honest but he needed proof that the man was telling the truth. Birbal suggested a clever idea to King Akbar.
Kasiraj and Hasan came to court the next day. Kasiraj was trembling and Hasan seemed very happy.
King Akbar said, “I can see that Kasiraj and Hasan are both ready for the test. If both are speaking the truth, then the red hot iron should not burn their hands. First let Hasan hold the hot iron rod in his hands. The test will be to see if he saw Kasiraj steal the necklace.”
The rich man was speechless! He requested the Emperor Akbar, “My King, I promise you, he stole the necklace. Let him hold the iron rod.”
King Akbar said, “If you are sure that he stole the necklace, then definitely the iron rod would not burn your hand. Why are you hesitant?”
The rich man knew that he was caught. He said, “Please let me go and search for the necklace again in my house. Maybe my wife has misplaced it somewhere in the house itself.”
King Akbar said, “You told yesterday that you saw him steal the necklace. You have lied to the court and also to your King. As a punishment, you shall receive 50 lashes with a whip. You shall also give the necklace to Kasiraj as a punishment.”
King Akbar then praised Raja Birbal for his clever idea.