Near the end of the emperor's reign, local folk tales began to emerge involving his interactions with Birbal, in which Birbal was characterised as extremely clever and witty. As the tales gained popularity in India, Birbal became even more of a legendary figure. He was portrayed as being younger than the emperor and religious while being surrounded by envious Muslim courtiers, involve him outsmarting them and sometimes even the emperor, using only his intelligence and cunning, often with giving witty and humorous responses and impressing the emperor. Some stories are told in versions containing a different set of characters from other Indian folklore. By the twentieth century onwards, plays, films and books based on these folk tales were made, some of these tales are in children's comics and textbooks.
No evidence is present that Birbal, like how he is shown in the folk tales, influenced the emperor mainly by his witticism including the emperor's beliefs, decisions and policies. It was Akbar's affection for him, his religious tolerance and social liberalism that was the cause of his success in the court and Birbal was a supporter of his religious policy.
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