Once upon a time, there lived four friends in a village who made plans for a trip. Three of them had enough money to make the trip, but the fourth one had no money, and had to be left behind. He wanted to go, so decided to go at any cost, even if that meant going alone. He took the only thing of value in his home, which was a large copper frying pan.
On the way to the trip, he saw a couple people beating a stray dog. He asked them to stop, but they said that it was a menace and wanted to get rid of it. The man was compassionate and offered to give the couple a quarter weight of his copper pan. The couple thought he was crazy, but accepted and let the dog go. Before it went away, the dog said to the man, “If you are ever in trouble, just remember me.”
The man went on his way and in the next village, he saw two people beating a cat. He asked them to stop by exchanging another quarter of his copper pan. Its life was saved and the cat too said, “Remember me if you are ever in trouble”, before it ran away.
In the next village, he saw a rat being beaten to death. He gave another quarter of the copper to save the rat once again. The rat assured the man that he could count on it in times of trouble. The man then proceeded in his journey with only a quarter of copper left. In the evening, he took a halt at a tree nearby, when he saw some people hitting a snake. The man then offered the remaining of his copper to the people and saved the snake’s life as well.
The snake was very pleased and said to the man, “Sir I have nothing to give to you at the moment, but I want to invite you to my home. I shall give you enough wealth to last a lifetime.” The man was surprised to the invite, but was hesitant and frightened. The snake, on seeing this, said that he was not an ordinary snake but was the son of King of Snakes, Nagadev.
The man then followed the snake through a small burrow and reached a beautiful underground place decorated with gems and jewels. When Nagadev heard how the man had saved his son’s life, he happily offered him a magic ring which made wealth follow him when he wore it. The man happily returned home wearing the ring.
His mother was very happy to see her son return with a huge amount of wealth. She was curious how her son had amassed such a fortune in such a short time he was away. He told his mother everything and how he was able to get the ring. His mother on the other hand told everyone how her son had gotten rich because of the magic ring. From there, the story of the magic ring spread all over the country.
The king of a neighboring country heard the story and wanted to possess the ring. He sent a cunning and clever goldsmith to acquire the ring for him. The goldsmith visited the man’s mother one evening and told her that he was the private goldsmith to the neighboring country’s king, and wanted to copy the famous ring. He added that the king would cut off his head if he couldn’t copy the ring. She gave the ring to the goldsmith to copy. He quickly exchanged the rings and gave her the imitation copy of the ring, and left the country as soon as he could.
Once the ring was gone, all of the man’s treasure and big house disappeared like magic. He was again very poor. He remembered the three animals who asked him to remember them in time of need. As he did so, the three animals appeared in front of him and asked how they could help. He told them the complete story. The dog assured him, “Don’t worry. With my power of smell, I will follow the road the thief took and catch him.” The cat promised, “I’ll find out the exact place where he hid the ring.” The rat then said, “And I’ll break anything he used to hide the ring.”
The dog led the cat and rat to the neighboring King’s palace. The cat found out the treasure room and the exact box the ring was hidden. The rat then broke open the box and stole back the ring. Then they brought back the ring to the man. The man regained his wealth once again by the help of the animals to whom he had shown compassion and generosity even when he was poor. He rewarded his animal friends with a big feast and remained their friend forever.