Once, Emperor Akbar was looking for a suitable candidate for the post of his royal advisor. Several courtiers coveted the prestigious post and requested the Emperor to give them a chance. The number of the contenders for the post was increasing day by day and thus, the Emperor decided to test them for their intellectual abilities and wit. He announced, “I want all those who wish to be my royal advisor to appear for a test. The one who would pass the test will be appointed my advisor.” They agreed.
Akbar unfastened his waist cloth and lay down on the floor, and asked the candidates to cover him with that cloth from head to toe. All the courtiers were perplexed by the Emperor’s strange test. They tried their best to cover the Emperor’s body with the waist cloth, but since it was very small in size, it could not cover the whole body. When the courtiers covered the Emperor’s head, his feet remained uncovered, and when they tried to cover his feet, then his head remained open.
Just then Birbal entered the court, the king asked Birbal also to try to cover him with that cloth from head to toe. Birbal took a moment, and then asked the Emperor politely, “Huzoor, Could you pull up your knees a little bit?” The Emperor curled his legs up, and Birbal easily covered him from head to toe with that cloth.
All the courtiers realized that they were not worth the appointment of the royal advisor and withdrew their claims.