Dark Skinned Birbal

Akbar Birbal Stories - Dark Skinned Birbal

Emperor Akbar many times felt himself proud that his skin was the fairest. But most of his people had dark complexioned skins. Most of us conceive in us vanity of birth, vanity of place, of beauty, of riches, etc., are all the vices that a man should eschew. However, they stick deep in a fool; and they are the last "Infirmities" of the noble minds. Fair in colour was, so to say, "the last weakness" of emperor Akbar.

One day, the court was discussing a general topic on the complexion that men have in their minds. Everyone in the court started singing in praise of Akbar and his fair complexion. Birbal was silent all through this discussion.

Emperor Akbar thought that he had a better edge to outwit Birbal this time. He opened his teasing dialogue:

"How is it, you are silent, Birbal? Don't you like this discussion on the colour of the skin people have and their mind?"

Birbal kept himself a low profile and answered falteringly,

"Yes.. Yes. I do my beloved lord."

"How is it that a wise person like you have a dark skin?" Quipped Akbar.

Birbal at first felt himself embarrassed. He also knew that Akbar in his vanity was not at all on the line of having any sort of verbal duel.

However, Birbal was to answer, lest that would annoy his master's ego. He had to make reply.

"Your highness! When god distributed qualities of men at birth, he asked all of us to choose fair complexion or dark complexion.

'But wait," said God,

'If you choose fair, you will be ignorant. If black, you will be witty.'

So I can't but choose the second option."

He ended his answer, and Akbar praised the way Birbal indirectly commented on the vanity of colour men have to them. After all, humility is the badge of wisdom in great people.

Activity For the Young Mind

  • Why do people have dreams?
  • Could you describe the last dream you had? Do you think it was important? Why?
  • Do you think dreams should be analysed?
  • Is there any other way you would have helped Birbal analyse Akbar's dream?
  • Do you know about the tooth fairy? If yes, write a small essay on a tooth fairy. If not, find out more about one.