SEPARATING SOIL AND SUGAR
     When Emperor Akbar was holding the court one day, a man entered the court with a bowl in his hand. Looking at him, Emperor Akbar asked, “What is in the bowl that’s there in your hand?” Bowing low to the emperor, the man said, “My Lord! It is said that your minister, Birbal is an intelligent man with excellent presence of mind. I request him to prove his ability. This bowl contains both sugar and soil and the task is to separate sugar from the soil.”
     Akbar turned to Birbal and said, “Birbal! It’s up to prove your skills. Please do the needful.” “Your Majesty! It is not at all a tough job.” Said Birbal, took the bowl in to his hands and swiftly walked towards the garden.
     In the garden, he went to a Sapodilla (Sapota) tree full of fruits and emptied the contents of the bowl, on the ground around the tree. Confused with his act, one of the courtiers asked, “Birbal! Why did you empty the bowl there?”
     “You would know the answer tomorrow.” Said Birbal and walked away from there. Next morning, everyone gathered anxiously around the tree but by the time they reached, the ants have taken most of the sugar cubes away and a few ants were still in the process of carrying the remaining cubes.
     The man who wanted to test Birbal turned to him and asked, “Sir! I can find only soil here, but what about the sugar? Where is it?” Birbal coolly answered, “Why? Have you not seen? It had been separated from the soil.”
     When the man seemed confused, Birbal laughed aloud and said, “Sir! If you still do not believe me, then please follow the ants and you would find the sugar in their anthill.” Every one who was present there broke in to peels of laughter on hearing Birbal and praised him for his wit.

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