King Akbar was very fond of Birbal. This made a certain courtier very jealous. One day Akbar praised Birbal in front of the courtier. This made the courtier very angry and he said that the king praised Birbal unjustly and if Birbal could answer three of his questions, he would accept the fact that Birbal was intelligent. Akbar always wanting to test Birbals wit readily agreed.
The three questions were
1. How many stars are there in the sky
2. Where is the center of the Earth
3. How many men and how many women are there in the world.
Immediately Akbar asked Birbal the three questions.
To answer the first question, Birbal brought a hairy sheep and said, “There are as many stars in the sky as there is hair on the sheep’s body. My friend the courtier is welcome to count them if he likes.”
To answer the second question, Birbal said, "Center of the earth is my home, the courtier may measure it himself if he has any doubts.”
In answer to the third question, Birbal said, “Counting the exact number of men and women in the world would not be possible as there are some specimens like our courtier friend here who cannot easily be classified as either. Therefore if all people like him are killed, then and only then can one count the exact number.”