One day the Emperor Akbar startled his courtiers with a strange question.
“If somebody pulled my whiskers what sort of punishment should be given to him?” he asked.
“He should be flogged!” said one courtier.
“He should be hanged!” said another.
“He should be beheaded!” said a third.
“And what about you, Birbal?” asked the emperor. “What do you think would be the right thing to do if somebody pulled my whiskers?”
“He should be given sweets,” said Birbal.
“Sweets?” gasped the other couriers.
“Yes”, said Birbal. “Sweets, because the only one who would dare pull His Majesty’s whiskers is his grandson.”
So pleased was the emperor with the answer that he pulled off his ring and gave it to Birbal as a reward.