One day, Akbar stumbled upon a rock sticking out of the soil in the garden. He felt very embarrassed about falling in front of the guards and courtiers. He ordered the arrest and execution of the gardener for his negligence.
Birbal came to know about the incident and visited the poor gardener in the prison. He said something into the ear of the gardener.
The next day, the gardener was asked his last wish before execution. He said he wanted to see the king. His wish was granted. When he reached Akbar’s court, he walked to Akbar and spat on his feet. The courtiers gasped.
“What nonsense is it?” thundered the angry Akbar.
“Jahanpanah”, interjected Birbal. “The loyal gardener felt sad that you had to use a silly reason to hang him, and your decision might be criticized by the people. Therefore, he decided to give you a grave reason to hang him.”
Akbar understood the intent and pardoned the gardener.