It so happened that once, Emperor Akbar misplaced his ring somewhere. When Birbal arrived in the court, Akbar told him, “I have lost my ring. It was very dear to me as my father had given it to me as a gift. Please help me find it!”
Birbal said, “You need not worry, Jahanpanah! I will find your ring right away.”
He further added, “Your Majesty, the ring is here in this court itself. It is with one of our courtiers. The courtier who has a straw in his beard has your ring.” The courtier who had filched the Emperor’s ring was shocked and immediately moved his hand over his beard. Birbal was waiting for this reaction from one of the courtiers. He immediately pointed towards that particular courtier and ordered the royal guards to search him. The guards frisked the courtier and found the Emperor’s ring lying in the pocket of his achkan.
Akbar was pleasantly surprised at another wonderful example of Birbal’s wit and asked him “Birbal, tell me how were you able to find the culprit?” Birbal then told the Emperor, “Your Majesty, I just shot an arrow in the dark. As they rightly say that a guilty person is always scared, the real culprit revealed himself by moving his hand over his beard.”
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