One fine day, Emperor Akbar was discussing the brinjal with Birbal. He told him what a delicious and nutritious vegetable it was. Much to Akbar’s surprise, Birbal thoroughly agreed with him and even sang two songs in praise of the humble brinjal.
After a couple of days, the royal chef cooked brinjal curry for lunch. Birbal was also eating at the palace that day. When the brinjal curry was served to Akbar, he refused it saying that it was a tasteless, stale vegetable, full of seeds and lacking proper nutrition. He then asked that it be served to Birbal who loved brinjals.
But Birbal, too, refused it saying that it was not good for health. So Akbar impatiently asked him why he was saying such things when he sang the brinjals praise, not a few days ago.
Birbal replied that he had praised the brinjal only because his emperor had praised it and criticized it when his majesty had criticized it, as he was loyal to his emperor and to not the brinjal. He said that the brinjal could not make him a minister no matter how much he praised it. He went on to say that he was his majesty’s obedient servant, and not that of the brinjal.
The emperor was pleased by his honest, bold, and witty response.