The charmed ring
A merchant started his son in life with three hundred rupees, and bade him go to another country and try his luck in trade. The son took the money and departed. He had not gone far before he came across some herdsmen quarrelling over a dog, that some of them wished to kill. "Please do not kill the dog," pleaded the young and tender-hearted fellow; "I will give you one hundred rupees for it." Then and there, of course, the bargain was concluded, and the foolish fellow took the dog, and continued his journey. He next met with some people fighting about a cat. Some of them wanted to kill it, but others not. "Oh! please do not kill it," said he; "I will give you one hundred rupees for it." Of course they at once gave him the cat and took the money. He went on till he reached a village, where some folk were quarrelling over a snake that had just been caught. Some of them wished to kill it, but others did not. "Please do not kill the snake," said he; "I will give you one hundred rupees." Of course the people agreed, and were highly delighted.
What a fool the fellow was! What would he do now that all his money was gone? What could he do except return to his father? Accordingly he went home.
"You fool! You scamp!" exclaimed his father when he had heard how his son had wasted all the money that had been given to him. "Go and live in the stables and repent of your folly. You shall never again enter my house."
So the young man went and lived in the stables. His bed was the grass spread for the cattle, and his companions were the dog, the cat, and the snake, which he had purchased so dearly. These creatures got very fond of him, and would follow him about during the day, and sleep by him at night; the cat used to sleep at his feet, the dog at his head, and the snake over his body, with its head hanging on one side and its tail on the other.
One day the snake in course of conversation said to its master, "I am the son of Raja Indrasha. One day, when I had come out of the ground to drink the air, some people seized me, and would have slain me had you not most opportunely arrived to my rescue.