197. Birbal and the Crows
"Birbal has the answer to every question!" boasted Emperor Akbar.
This made the other courtiers jealous.
One courtier decided to challenge Birbal. "Dear Birbal," he said, "please tell us how many crows live here in Agra."
Birbal answered instantly. "Eighty-nine thousand three hundred and twelve."
The courtier scoffed. "Suppose I count and find out that's too high?"
Birbal smiled. "It just means some crows are visiting their relatives in other cities. Of course, if you find more, some of those crows are visiting here from other cities; they don't actually live here."
The emperor laughed, delighted with Birbal as always.
Inspired by: A Caravan from Hindustan: The Complete Birbal Tales by James Moseley
Notes: This story is titled "Birbal and the Crows" in the book. You can read more about Agra at Wikipedia.