Once a rich merchant was robbed of all his jewels at night. Only the servants were present in the house at that time. However, on being asked, everyone claimed innocence. Finally, the merchant reached out to Birbal for help. Birbal listened to the merchant and promised to find the thief.

The next day he reached the merchant’s house with a bunch of sticks of equal length. He gave one stick to each of the servants and asked them to sleep with the sticks overnight. He also announced loudly that these are magic sticks. The thief’s stick will grow by 2 inches overnight, while the others would remain in the same length.

Birbal left for the night. The next day, he was back in the merchant’s house in the early morning.

Birbal summoned all the merchants along with their sticks. As they all stood in a line, Birbal started inspecting each one’s stick. After some time, he announced to the merchant, “Here is your thief!” pointing to a servant.

On inspection, his stick was found to be shorter by two inches. Birbal explained to the merchant that these are not magic sticks, but ordinary ones. However, fearing that his stick will grow two inches, the thief had cut two inches from his stick, thus making it shorter.

The servant understood that he was caught red-handed and fell on the merchant’s feet asking forgiveness.

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