A Drop of Perfume(Akbar & Birbal Story)

Emperor Akbar was very fond of Perfumes. He had a large collection of different perfumes from all over the country and abroad.

It was Akbar's birthday. A huge pundal was put up in the garden of his palace.Beautiful mattresses and cushions of silk were arranged neatly all over the pundal. The emperor, his courtiers and the guests were seated on the mattresses and cushions. The guests arrived one by one. They presented their gifts to Akbar and took their seats. One of Akbar's courtiers offered a paan and a cotton pellet dipped in perfume to all the guests. The courtier went to a guest who was sitting near Akbar. While he was giving the perfumed cotton pellet to the guest, a drop of perfume fell on the mattress. Akbar saw this. He immediately tried to pick it up with his finger. But it was in vain. The drop of perfume had seeped deep into the soft cotton of the mattress.

Birbal was watching all this. When Akbar realized this, his behaviour left him feeling rather abashed. Birbal started looking in the other direction and pretended as if he had seen nothing. But Akbar could not get over the incident. He was very upset. He kept wondering,"What will Birbal think of me? Oh God! What a silly man I am! What a foolish and embassing behaviour it was on my part! Only for a tiny drop of perfume! What will happen if Birbal spreads the story? What about my prestige? People will ridicule me saying "Look at the Emperor. How could he so stingy?" Now I will have to prove and convince Birbal that I do not care for perfumes. He should know that I am the least bothered even if the costliest perfumes spill out."

The following day, Akbar ordered his men to empty the pond in his palace and to pour all the bottles of perfume that he had into the pond. Then he issued a proclamation in the city, "All those who want perfume may collect it from the pond."

Soon,  a big crowd gathered at the pond to collect the perfume. After a while, Birbal arrived at the pond. Akbar looked at him and said proudly,"My dear Birbal, How do you do? Look, A large number of people are here to collect perfume."

Birbal said,"Your Majesty, but the prestige which was lost for a drop can never be regained through a pond. Akbar was very depressed. Birbal realized that his harsh words had hurt the Emperor's feelings. He lovingly embraced Akbar. Akbar, too smiled and felt relieved.

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