In the 16th century, the Mogul Emperor of India, Akbar, ordered the construction in his royal gardens of a vast marble pond for his recently acquired rare white Himalayan swans. Akbar wished to inaugurate their entry into his new pond by filling it with a sea of milk. A proclamation was read throughout the capital inviting each citizen to come to the royal gardens during the hours of darkness and pour one cup of milk into the new pond before departing.
The next morning Akbar awoke to a pond filled with water.
No one in his court could or dared explain why this had happened except Birbal, Akbar’s giggling court jester. “The problem, Great Lord, is that you don’t understand human nature,” said Birbal, adding, “May I suggest that in order to find out what happened, you command your guards to go into the capital and collar a cross-section of citizens from every caste and station. I promise you that all of them, be they high or lowly born, will essentially give you the same excuse.”