One day Emperor Akbar decides to give alms to all the visually challenged people in the kingdom. He orders his courtiers to make a list of all such people. The courtiers make the list ready and share it with the emperor.
Akbar takes a look at the list and says, “Very well. Take this list to Birbal. Make sure that these people get good alms tomorrow at the bazaar.”
Birbal looks at the list, goes to Akbar and remarks, “Your majesty, this list is incomplete.”
“What do you mean incomplete?” exclaims Akbar.
“Your majesty the list must be longer as we missed several such people. Give me a day’s time and I will prove it,” says Birbal.
Akbar agrees. The next day, Birbal takes a frame of an old cot, sits at the crossroads of the bazaar, and begins weaving the cot with a string. A servant stands next to Birbal with a pen and a scroll.
A courtier passing by the bazaar sees Birbal, asks, “Hey Birbal! What on earth are you doing?” Birbal does not reply but mumbles to his servant, who then scribbles something on the scroll.
Soon, a crowd gathers around Birbal. Each time someone enquires Birbal, he mumbles to his servant, who then writes on the scroll. The news of Birbal’s antics reaches the court and Akbar arrives at the bazaar.
“What are you doing Birbal??” he asks.
Without replying, Birbal continues to weave the cot, takes the scroll from the servant’s hand, and hands it over to Akbar.
“Here is the list of blinds your majesty.”
Akbar looks at it and is shocked to see his name at the very end of the list.
“What nonsense is this?! Why is my name on the list?” the irked emperor asks.
“Jahanpanah, you and all the others in the list asked me what I was doing despite it being evident that I was weaving my cot. So, don’t you all deserve a place on the list?”
Akbar understands his folly and bursts into laughter. “Well done Birbal. You just opened my eyes by proving me blind!” says the amused Akbar.