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Bidhi Chand used to be a thief before he met Guru Hargobind. The Emperor, Shah Jahan, had intercepted two beautiful horses named Dilbagh and Gulbagh that were going to be given to the Guru. Bidhi Chand used his skills one more time to steal the Guru's horses back from the emperor. The first horse Bidhi Chand recovered disguised as a hay-seller. He gained the Emperors trust and started taking care of the horses. One night he got all of the guards drunk and rode Dilbagh over the ledge into the river and ran away, bringing Dilbagh to Guru Hargobind. The second time Bidhi Chand came to the emperor disguised as a magician. He told the Emperor he could tell him where Dilbagh was. He convinced the palace to lock themselves up in their rooms and then he stole Gulbagh, and brought him back to his companion Dilbagh, and both horses were with the Guru.

Read the Full Story:

The Story of Biddhi Chand and the Guru’s Horses

Two Sikhs were once bringing two horses as presents for Guru Hargobind, from the far away city of Kabul, in the deserts of Afghanistan. These horses were named Dilbagh and Gulbagh. They were absolutely beautiful, intelligent, and fast as the wind. When they ran, no one could tell whether they put their legs on the ground or flew in the air. It was said that they could cross a river without getting their riders wet. On their way to find the Guru, the two Sikhs came to the city of Lahore. That day in Lahore, there was a great procession, a great parade. The Emperor himself, Shah Jahan, rode on a beautiful tall elephant, adorned with gold and silver. And there were so many soldiers, that they seemed to be huge clouds. The soldiers finding the horses extremely beautiful, took them away by force from the two Sikhs. The Emperor loved the horses so much that from that moment he would not let them out of his sight. When the two Sikhs finally arrived, they explained what happened to the Guru. The Guru was very calm, and He told them, “Oh Gursikhs, do not take it too hard. It doesn’t matter. God will take care of it. Let’s not worry about it.” 

But there was a Sikh of the Guru named Biddhi Chand. Before he became a Sikh, Biddhi Chand had been a thief. Guru Arjan once told Biddhi Chand, “Oh Biddhi Chand, stop stealing. Become an honest man, and you will be forgiven. Serve God’s Saints, and you will be blessed.”

Since then, Biddhi Chand had never stolen anything. But when he heard of the Guru’s stolen horses, he began to think of ways of getting them back. After all, they were the Guru’s horses.

But, he thought, “It will be very difficult. The Emperor will never sell them or give them back, and I know they must be kept in a castle which is impossible to get into.”

With a prayer, Biddhi Chand asked for forgiveness from Guru Arjan, and he left to try to get the horses back. When he arrived near the fort in Lahore, Biddhi Chand visited a carpenter friend of his named Jeevan Singh. Jeevan Singh described to him the high eight sided tower surrounded by water where the horses were kept. He also told them there were hundreds of soldiers guarding them. "It is impossible for any human being to get in there, much less to get the horses. But if anyone can do it, it is you Biddhi Chand.", said the carpenter. I will now tell you the scheme that Biddhi Chand used to get into the castle. He walked to the bank of the river, and began cutting beautiful grass to take to the two horses. He then made a bundle out of it, and pretended to try to sell it in the market. As he did so, he moved closer and closer and closer to the castle. In the evening, he finally met the King’s stable keeper who was in charge of the horses.

Biddhi Chand spoke very sweetly and enchantingly. He offered to give this very beautiful grass at a very low price. And so he was taken to the fort to feed the horses. The horses loved the grass. When Biddhi Chand entered the fort, he saw it would be indeed very difficult to remove the horses from the tower. But for six or seven days, he continued to feed the horses in this manner. Everyone believed him to be very reliable. The stable keeper even hired him as a grass cutter. He worked very hard cutting grass,  and he also washed and brushed the horses, always trying to take care of them. He did so much work that after sometime, he was placed in charge of grooming the horses. Whenever he drawed grass for them, he also brought a large stone hidden in it. At midnight, he would throw the stone into the river. People began to think that large stones must be falling from the walls, or else that very, very large fish were jumping into the water.  Biddhi Chand was preparing them for the noise he would one day make when he’d jump with the horses into the river.

During the daytime, he gave all the money away which was given to him, so that people would like him. And he was finally made Chief Groom in the Emperor’s stable. Everyone loved him. But he needed a saddle, a saddle on which he could ride the horses, and so one day he convinced the stable keeper to show him the King’s saddles. They were extremely beautiful, precious, studded with diamonds and pearls, and worth great sums of money. Biddhi Chand took note of where the key was placed so that he could come back later.

He thought to himself, “I must find a way to put everyone to sleep in the castle so they will not hear me when I saddle the horses before I jump over the wall into the river.” The opportunity came...

One day, one of the grooms complained to Biddhi Chand, “I don’t care brother. You are the newer servant, you get the highest pay, yet you have never even offered us a single dinner.” “ I am at your service.”, said Biddhi Chand, “You know I am not stingy, I will even spend all the money I have on you. I have been keeping it to spend it for you. I will give you wine and food as much as you want, as much as you can drink and eat. And I will serve you myself. Be happy, enjoy life, life is so short.” Everyone was very, very happy, and Biddhi Chand decided that the next night would be a very dark night, with no moon and that it would be perfect for taking the first horse out of the fort. And so he talked to all the grooms. “Please,” he said, “Do not eat dinner tonight. I will go and get some wine, so you can drink it and enjoy it. Then you can eat as much as you want. Sleep here if you like, enjoy yourselves.” And so he bought a very powerful wine, guaranteed to make everyone who drank it, totally drunk and sleepy. When he came back to the castle, he began to serve the wine to all the grooms.

At first, he gave little by little, but when they started to become drunk, he gave them as much as they wanted, even the soldiers who were on guard joined the party. “Have no fear.”, said Biddhi Chand to them, “I will remain awake and guard for you tonight. Anyway, our Emperor is so great, who would dare to steal from him?”

After drinking wine for many hours, every single groom, servant, and solider was totally drunk and asleep, rolling under the table. Wine can make a person lose his senses, and turn him into an animal. Great kings have become weak by drinking too much, and even Holy men, clever men, great men, have become like obnoxious beasts by drinking wine. It makes men prisoners without chains. Seeing them all asleep, Biddhi Chand adjusted his turban, he tied on his kamarband, and he looked for the key to the saddle room. He opened the door, he brought out the saddle, and very quietly and carefully, he saddled Dilbagh, the first horse. He untied him, mounted him, and began to run him until the horse was at full speed. He then whipped him. Dilbagh had never been hit, not even with a flower, and so he doubled his speed.

When Biddhi Chand lifted the reins, he leaped over the high battlement of the fort, and plunged into the river with a great splash. All the people who heard the noise thought it was another stone falling from the walls, or maybe another large fish, and they paid no attention to it. As you remember, Biddhi Chand used to throw large stones into the river at midnight to get them used to the noise of the horse jumping into the river. And while the horse ran like the wind, Biddhi Chand sang happily to himself. “May the Guru and God be always with me. May the Guru and God be always with me. All remember, remember Him, Whoever protects you. Remember, remember Him, Whoever protects you.

In the morning, the head stable keeper discovered one of the Emperor’s favorite horses missing.
“Oh my goodness! The horse has been taken!”
The grooms and the guards and the servants all ran around like chickens, and they all lied saying that they had been awake all night. They did not understand, perhaps the ground had opened and the horse had fallen to the Hells. The Emperor Shah Jahan became extremely sad and angry at the loss of his favorite horse. Shah Jahan was the greatest King in India, all of the Kings, Princes, and people bowed to him. All feared him.
“What?! My horse has been stolen?!"

He sent trackers in all directions to find the horse, and he promised to cut off the head of the thief. But no one could find the horse or any trace of where he had gone.

Meanwhile, Biddhi Chand had brought the horse to the village where the Guru was staying, but rather than being happy, the horse would not eat and he looked very unhappy. The Sikhs realized that he was missing his brother Gulbagh. You see the two horses had been raised together and they had never been separated, and so he was longing for his brother. Biddhi Chand decided to capture the other horse from the fort in Lahore. He said to himself, “Even if hundreds of thousands of soldiers were guarding him, still I could deceive them and take the horse away from under their very eyes.” And he left for Lahore.
When Biddhi Chand arrived in Lahore, he heard the news.

“Here ye, here ye. Some treacherous contemptible thief has dared to steal Dilbagh, our great and triumphant Emperor’s favorite horse. The thief will be executed when he is found and so will everyone who helps him. Also, his Imperial Majesty offers any reward of his choice to anyone who finds the horse.” 

Biddhi Chand realized that he was in great danger if he got caught, but a new plan came to his mind. He went to a tailor, and he had the tailor make him a beautiful Hindustani costume. He ordered three coats of different lengths, a pajama with a beautiful kamarband, a long turban with embroidered ends, and shoes with curly toes. Biddhi Chand then bought a magician’s chain. The next morning he put on his new clothes, and he greased his long hair with coconut oil. He parted his beard in the middle and turned up his moustache. Then looking very impressive and respectable, he went walking into the streets. Curious people asked him, “Who are you? Where do you come from?”

Biddhi Chand said, “I am a professional man, and I know something about magic.” He then proudly walked away towards the gate of the fort, followed by a crowd. He sat on a platform and said, “I am tracker and an astrologer. I can trace and find anything, anything which has been lost!”

He then answered questions people asked him, with long words to make everyone think he was a great magician. He would also often pull out a mirror from his pocket to look at himself, fixing his beard and his mustache. A servant of the King’s stable happened to walk by. He told the magician of the Emperor’s lost horse and promised him he would be generously rewarded if he could help in finding the horse. “That is very easy!”, said Biddhi Chand, “Just by smelling the ground, I can tell you the secrets of  Heaven and the secrets of Hell. Now what happens on the planet Earth is very simple. It is barely worth my time. I can tell you not only where the horses are, I can tell you who stole the horse, and I can tell you exactly where the horse is. That is no problem for me.”

Hearing of this man, the Emperor had him brought to his palace.
“Bring him to the towers.”
Biddhi Chand went with great confidence. “Who are you? And where do you come from?”, said the Emperor.

“I dwell in the forest. People call me Tracker Ganak, and I learned everything that I know from an ancient and venerable wise man. I can read the stars and the planets. I can tell the future, and I can discover lost objects. If you like, I will help find the horse.”

“Ohhh! How nice!”, said the Emperor. And he gave him an expensive robe and a large sum of money. He promised him thousands of rupees if the horse were to be found. Biddhi Chand held his magician’s chain, put his hand on the ground, and raised it three times to his forehead. He then began to count the joints of his fingers, pretending to do magic. “Your Majesty, I know where your horse is, but I want to see the place from where the horse was stolen. And I will find it by the morning. After that, you can decide how to get the horse back. I will simply tell you where it is. To find it, that is your job, that is not my job. I will then go home. I will just find the horse.” The Emperor promised him four hundred thousand rupees,  the highest office in the Court, and power over all his enemies when the horse was found. Biddhi Chand had the King ride down and sign his promise. He said, “I think it will very much help if everyone could pray that the two horses will meet again.” And so everyone in the Emperor’s Court began to pray.
Then Biddhi Chand said, “That is good. Now let us go to the place from where it was stolen. I will cast my chain, and I will look at numbers, stars, and omens. And I swear by my Guru, that I will tell you truly where the horse is and the name of the thief.”
“Oh, that’s extraordinary”, said the Emperor.
When they got to the stables, he asked, “Was the horse saddled when it was stolen?”
“Yes it was.”
“Aha! Then in order for my calculations to be exact, you must saddle the other horse. Otherwise, it will take more time.
“Oh no!”
“Well in this case, I will not sleep tonight, so that I can find the horse by the morning.”
“Oh I cannot wait till morning! Can’t you do it now?”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no! I can only find the facts in the place where the horse was stolen and at the exact time when it was stolen. And I must be left absolutely alone to do my work. It will be very quiet. Have everyone close their doors and go to sleep. Furthermore, shut all the gates. I do not want anybody to come in and out of the fort to disturb me. And I want to be very quietly alone.”
“So be it.”, said the King.
Everyone went to rest, and Biddhi Chand untied the horse. The Emperor heard the noise.
“What’s going on?”
“Do not worry your Majesty. Your divine imperial beautiful Majesty. I have just discovered where the horse is. And I will now tell you the name of the thief.” Biddhi Chand then locked the door that led to the Emperor’s apartment, and he yelled at “Listen oh Emperor, you unjustly stole two horses belonging to the beloved Guru Hargobind, who's fame is like that of the Sun. I have taken one horse back by my cleverness. My name is Biddhi Chand. I am the Guru’s servant. It was I who took Dilbagh home, but he was so sad from being separated from his brother that I have come back to take his companion home. I am the thief! The true King Guru Hargobind is my Master. You have even saddled Gulbagh for me. I see now that you and your Court are very foolish. I will now fulfill my promise and tell you where the other horse is. It is in the village called Biroopa. Know that Dilbagh is standing there, and now, Gulbagh shall go to join him.”
The Emperor called for help. “Help! Help! Help!”
But everyone was either locked in or locked out.

“Why are you angry?", said Biddhi Chand. “Remember the money you promised me? My wage as a grass cutter, the thousand rupees present, the four hundred thousand rupees as my tracker’s fee, and the hundred fifty thousand you promised me to do the job right away. You have not given me anything oh King. I feel I have well paid for the horses and their saddles in the bargain. Now if you try to stop me, I think that you are deceitful, cheating King. Also, I have the key to the fort here, and I will throw it into the deep, deep river. You have to find the key before you can catch me.”

He then prayed to God and asked for help. And he finally said to the Emperor, “Oh Emperor, you cannot say that I did not fulfill my promise. You now know where the first horse is and the name of the thief.” He then took the key and said, “Going, going, gone!” And he threw it into the river. He then whipped the horse, who leaped over the battlement into the deep river. Biddhi Chand galloped to the village where Dilbagh, the first horse, was waiting. When the two horses met, they made each other welcome and rubbed noses.
The Emperor then sent an army to get the horses back from Guru Hargobind, but the brave armies of the Guru, though they were much smaller, were victorious over the Emperor’s soldiers. Everyone was happy that at last the two horses were with the Guru, their rightful owner.

Vaheguru jee ka khalsa, Vaheguru jee kee fateh!  

Storyteller:  Guruliv Singh
Age ranges:  1 - 6, 7 - 12