Birbal constantly asserted that everything happens for one’s own good. Emperor Akbar, who was young, was distrustful of Birbal’s wisdom and questioned the minister’s constant, optimistic assertion.

One day while handling a sword, the Emperor chopped off the tip of his little finger. Birbal immediately told the Emperor not to worry, everything that happens has a purpose behind it and that purpose is for good. The Emperor became exceedingly angry with Birbal and threw him in jail.

The Emperor bandaged the finger for a few days and then, as a diversion, went into the forest to hunt. He was later separated from his hunting party and eventually captured by a tribe of cannibals intending to make a human sacrifice. The Emperor was bound like a sacrificial lamb and taken before the temple. When the temple priest examined him, the priest announced that he could not be sacrificed because he was not a perfect specimen, since the front portion of one finger was missing. As he was not fit to be sacrificed, the Emperor was released.

On his return, the Emperor thanked God for injuring his finger and thereby sparing his life. He then immediately went to the prison to meet Birbal.

“O Birbal, please accept my apologies for imprisoning you. Now I understand how my injury was for the best. But tell me, why did God allow me to imprison you? How is it for the best that you have been confined here due to my anger?”

Birbal replied, “Your Majesty if I had not been in prison, you would surely have taken me with you when you went hunting, and when the forest cannibals rejected you but their sacrifice, they would surely have found me an excellent substitute!”


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