Akbar was the Mughal Emperor of India, and Birbal was one of the wise advisors in his court. He was known for coming up with unique ways to answer questions and solve problems. So there’s quite a few stories about that, and they’re all meant to teach you to be calm and wise.
One day while Akbar and Birbal were out for a walk, Akbar noticed a group of crows sitting together under a tree. He wondered how many crows were there in his kingdom, in total. So he asked Birbal, “How many crows live in my kingdom?” Birbal paused and calmly said, “There are a total of eighty thousand two hundred and fifty four crows in your kingdom.” Akbar was amazed at how calm and precise Birbal was. So he asked Birbal, “What if I find more crows than what you claim in my kingdom?” Birbal said, “It means that crows from neighboring kingdoms have come to visit friends and family.” Akbar then asked, “And what if there is less crow?” Birbal said very calmly, “It means that some of our crows have gone on vacation to other kingdoms.”
JG is 59 years old and my mother. She grew up in India with a very religious Hindu family, before immigrating to the USA. She passed down this story to me, as well as many others with the same characters, when I was a child. She had heard these stories from her parents as well.
In many Indian cultures, calmness and problem-solving skills are valued very highly. My mom homeschooled me until 5th grade, and during this time she focused on making me think outside the box. The stories of Akbar and Birbal try to instill these qualities in children from a young age. They echo ancient Indian history, with the characters being an emperor and his advisor, showing how India’s days as a monarchy affect its culture today.