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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