It was peak winters and the ponds were frozen when Akbar asked Birbal if a man would be inside the frozen pond throughout the night, without any attire for money. Birbal agreed. The next day, Birbal came to the court along with a poor Brahmin whose family was starving. He agreed to be in the pond all night. The whole night he was inside the pond, shivering. He returned to the durbar the next day to receive his reward. The king asked how he managed to withstand the extreme temperature all through the night. He replied, ‘I could see a faintly glowing light a kilometer away and I withstood with that ray of light.’
Akbar wasn’t convinced and refused to give him any reward. The Brahmin went to Birbal asking for help. Thereafter, Birbal stopped coming to the durbar and sent a messenger to the king saying that he would come to the court only after cooking his khichdi. After a few days, the king himself went to Birbal’s house to see what he was doing. Birbal had lit the fire and kept the pot of uncooked khichdi one meter away from it. Akbar questioned him, ‘How will the khichdi get cooked with the fire one meter away?’
Birbal replied, ‘When it was possible for a person to receive warmth from a light that was a kilometer away, then it is possible for this khichdi, to get cooked too. Akbar understood his mistake and rewarded the Brahmin man with 2000 gold coins.
It’s possible to handle such situations without anger or frustration. If Birbal could make Akbar realise his mistake without making him feel embarrassed, so can you.