Once a famous scholar came to Akbar’s court and wanted to test the intelligence of his courtiers. The scholar said that if he won, then he should be made as the chief courtier as he was smarter than the others.
Emperor Akbar was very proud of Birbal and his other highly learned courtiers. He was sure that they would be able to answer whatever the Scholar asked them. King Akbar granted the scholar’s wish and asked him to come tomorrow.
The next day, all the courtiers gathered in the court. The scholar arrived in the court with a large pot in his hand. The pot was covered with a cloth.
He put the covered pot in front of everyone and said, “If any one of you can tell me what this pot contains, I will accept my defeat.”
Everyone in the court became silent. The pot could contain anything: it could be water, it could be rice, it could be sand. Nobody knew how to tell the contents of the covered pot.
Birbal came forward and uncovered the pot, peeped inside and said, “There is nothing inside the pot. It is empty!”
The Scholar said, “You are cheating! You opened the pot.”
Birbal replied, “But my dear Scholar, you never said that I cannot open it. You only asked us to say what was inside the pot.”
The Scholar realized that the Birbal had outwitted him. He bowed to King Akbar and Birbal and left.