One fine day, when Akbar was busy in his court, his Begum called for him. He immediately stood up and got ready to leave the court. As Akbar was leaving, all the courtiers got up from their seats as a mark of respect for the Emperor.
Birbal, who was also present in the court at that time, saw this and thought, “The Emperor is highly respected by all the courtiers here. But he is helpless before his Begum.” Thinking thus, Birbal smiled.
Akbar noticed Birbal’s smile. He thought that Birbal was making fun of him. He stopped and said angrily, “Birbal! I order you to leave my kingdom at once. Henceforth, you dare not step on this soil.” Birbal did not offer any explanation to Akbar. Obeying the Emperor’s order, he left the city. But after a few days, when Akbar had calmed down, he remembered Birbal.
He sent for his men far and wide in search of Birbal. But they were unable to trace him. Akbar missed Birbal a lot. He was sad in Birbal’s absence. One day, Akbar was standing in the balcony of his palace. Suddenly, he saw a carriage passing by. He saw Birbal sitting in the carriage. Without a moment’s delay, Akbar sent his guards to stop the carriage. He came out of the palace and went to the carriage.
Birbal opened a bag and spread the soil from it on the ground. He got down from the carriage, stood on that soil and bowed to the Emperor. Akbar pretended to be angry and said, “Birbal! I had asked you not to step on my soil. How dare you disobey my order? Why are you still moving around in this city?”
Birbal said calmly, “Your Majesty, as soon as you sent me into exile, I went to Nepal. I brought some soil from there and spread it in this carriage. As you see, Your Majesty, I only step on the soil which is from Nepal. I never step on your soil. Right now also, I never step on your soil. Right now also, I am standing on Nepal soil.”
Akbar was glad to hear such a witty reply after a long time. He warmly embraced Birbal and said, “Birbal! My soil is yours, too. I now order you to step on our soil and start attending the court from tomorrow.”