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Birbal, whose real name was 'Maheshdas', was one of the 'nine gems' of court advisers of Akbar the Great. He composed poetry by another pen name 'Brahma'. He led a famous expedition into faraway Afghanistan and managed to subdue the turbulence there. Hearing the news of his death there, Akbar burst forth: "Birbal, you always gave the helpless whatever you had. I am helpless now and yet you have left nothing for me!" Birbal's name however does not rest on these achievements. He turned into a legend by the innumerable stories of his wit and wisdom, sense of justice and fair play, and above all, his uncanny skill in turning the tables on his detractors. Here is a sampling of four stories. In one story, some evil courtiers try to trick Akbar into executing Birbal so he can find out how Akbar’s ancestors are doing in heaven. Read how Birbal gets out of this and many other traps.