We all want to be wise. Here's a story from Akbar-Birbal about a king who tried a shortcut to wisdom.
Emperor Akbar's court was in session when a messenger arrived from the neighbouring country with a message for the Emperor. The message was as puzzling as it was it simple.
"To Emperor Akbar,
We have been informed that your court is a treasure trove of wisdom. As your neighbour we would like you to share your wisdom with us. Please send one Fruit of Wisdom to us, so that we can grow our own from the sample.
Inability to send us a Fruit of Wisdom from your side will be regarded as an act of hostility and will be reciprocated in kind from our side."
"Fruit of Wisdom?", the Emperor was perplexed, "Who starts these rumours?"
Nobody had an answer to that. It was learnt later that the neighbour king had heard the legend of Birbal's wit and had concocted this plan in his jealousy to show up Birbal or find an excuse to attack Akbar's kingdom.
After a period of idle speculation and fruitless (no pun intended) discussion, all eyes finally turned to Birbal who was sitting silently.
"Birbal", Akbar asked, "You are the only one who has not offered any comments on this situation. Do you have an answer to give to this messenger?"
Birbal said, "Yes, Your Majesty.", he turned to the messenger, "Tell your king that we are all out of Fruits of Wisdom at the moment and it will take 6 weeks to grow a fresh one. Once the Fruit is ready, you can come and collect it. In 6 weeks' time."
The messenger departed without further comment and as soon as he was out of earshot, Akbar could contain his puzzlement no longer.
"Birbal, have you gone mad? Grow what? In 6 weeks? There is NO such thing as a Fruit of Wisdom. Why did you tell him 6 weeks. What will we give him when the messenger comes back in 6 weeks?"
Birbal smiled his knowing smile that used to drive the Empror insane because he could not guess what he was thinking, "Your Majesty, please leave this small matter in my hands. When the messenger returns in 6 weeks he will be given the Fruit of Wisdom and rest assured that it will satisfy our neighbour king."
Next morning, Birbal sowed some seeds of pumpkin in his garden at home. He kept a careful eye on their progress every day. When the Emperor asked him in court about the matter of the Fruit, he would reply complacently, "The Fruit is being grown, Your Majesty!"
When the pumpkins were 2 weeks old, Birbal covered 2 of them with earthen pitchers (ghade) and made supports for them so that they would still get sunlight while growing completely inside the ghade.
When the pumpkins grew big enough that they filled the earthen pitchers completely without breaking them, Birbal plucked them off.
Two days later the messenger arrived as expected. When he walked into the Emperor's court and demanded delivery of the Fruit of Wisdom, Birbal stood up and handed him the earthen pitchers filled with the fully grown pumpkins.
He addressed the messenger, "In view of our cordial relations with your kingdom we have prepared two Fruits of Wisdom instead of one to be delivered to your king. But please tell the king that special care must be taken when extracting the Fruits. If you cut the Fruit with a knife or break the special container, the Fruit will be entirely spoilt."
The messenger looked at Birbal's face, then looked at the Fruits of Wisdom and retreated in silence.
Moral of the story: Your mind is a wonderful tool, the only way to sharpen it is to use it.