Once, somebody informed Emperor Akbar that a certain astrologer in the city was bragging about his accurate predictions everywhere. Akbar summoned the astrologer to his court and thought of testing the accuracy of his predictions. When the astrologer presented himself in the durbar, he said, “I have heard that you predict very accurately.” The astrologer was filled with great fear and awe as he was standing in front of the mightiest of the kings. Not even a single word could come out of his mouth and he kept standing with folded hands. Akbar asked, “O’ Learned astrologer, you shall be handsomely rewarded if you are able to answer just a simple question of mine. Tell me, when will you die?”
The astrologer was shaking with fear and did not know what to say. He thought for a moment and then said that he will have to consult his charts to predict correctly. The Emperor gave him one hour’s time to do so. Instead of consulting his charts, the astrologer went running to Birbal for help and described the whole thing. Birbal thought of a brilliant answer and told the astrologer what to say in front of the Emperor.
The astrologer returned to the court and told the king, “I will die three days before you, Jahanpanah!” Akbar could make out that the astrologer was bluffing, but did not want to take a chance. Like every other human being, he did not want to know the time of his death, so he let him go. Thus the astrologer was able to save his life with the help of clever Birbal. That day onwards, he never bragged about anything.
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