A merchant in Akbar’s kingdom felt hot and decided to have a bath. He bundled up all the jewels he was wearing, left them in a corner of his room along with his clothes and went for a bath. When he came out from his bath, he discovered that his jewels had vanished. He questioned all his servants but was unable to discover who had stolen the jewels. He decided to go to Abhor to have his problem solved. Akbar assigned the case to Birbal. Birbal called the merchant and asked him to bring all his servants to the Court the next day.
When they appeared before him, Birbal handed each of the servants a stick and told them: “I have given each of pose stick of the same length. But they are magic sticks. Whenever they are in the possession of a thief they grow exactly by one inch a day. If you have stolen your master’s jewels, your stick will grow by one inch when you come back tomorrow. So take them home and bring them back Item tomorrow, at the same time.” He then dismissed the servants.
The next day when the Court had assembled and the merchant’s servants arrived with their sticks, Birbal collected all the slicks and placed them next to each other. One stick was shorter by one inch. Birbal told the merchant, “The servant who brought this stick is the one who stole the jewels. He cut the stick so it would not show that it grew by one inch and he would not be caught.”
He then told the servants, “These are not magic sticks but because you believed that they were, the guilty servant cut an inch off his stick.”
Immediately, the servant who had stolen the jewels confessed and returned them.
Theft of Jewels – Akbar Birbal Stories