The Lowly Brinjal
As we know, Birbal enjoyed the privilege of meeting the emperor whenever he wanted. Apart from meeting at Royal court hall, Birbal frequented himself many times at the emperor's breakfast table.
Once Akbar was sitting for a breakfast along with a few delegates. Seeing the Brinjal vegetable dish served on the table, Akbar praised the Brinjal to cheer the company:
"Oh, what a delicious and nutritious vegetable it is!"
Birbal, sitting by the emperor, echoed his master's voice. He went further in his eulogy of Brinjal and its efficacy as a vegetable dish in a poem ending each stanza with a refrain.
"Brinjal is all in all".
This surprised even Akbar.
On another occasion, Akbar started railing his servant on his serving the curry made from the vegetable Brinjal. He called it most stale, insipid, brownish nonsense. Our Birbal happened to be there. He followed his master in cursing Brinjal:
"Nauseating brinjal full of seeds, lacking proper nutrition".
Thereby, Akbar reminded Birbal of his earlier praise on Brinjal:
"Only a few days ago, you composed lines in praise of the brinjal, and what happened to you that you prove to be so disloyal to it".
Then Birbal coolly answered:
"No, my sovereign! My loyalty has always been with you, but none else. Of course, I had praised the brinjal, because my emperor praised it then. I am now a bitter critic of the brinjal because my emperor is criticizing it."
"What do you mean?" retorted Akbar.
Thereby, Birbal released the shaft of wit in the following words:
"I mean, my sovereign, I am loyal to you and not to the Brinjal. It can't make me a minister however much I praise it."