There was a poor old woman who had an only son. They lived a life of poverty always on the brink of starvation. The son would go early every morning to the forest to collect firewood that he tied into a bundle and carried it back to sell for money to buy bread.
The mother always advised her son to never hurt or kill anyone either an animal or man. One day this boy witnessed a few village youth had caught a cat that they were torturing for their amusement. The boy said, “Boys, let the cat go free, it’s a sin to torture the poor animal.”
“So, you are so merciful, give us some money and we’ll let the cat go free,” said the village boys.
The cat was in a sorry state. It began to bellow in a pleading voice that expressed its misery and fright. The boy’s heart was moved by the cat’s cries. He decided to hand over his day’s earnings to the village boys to free the cat from its misery. The cat followed him back to his mother’s house. That night the boy and his mother fasted because he spent all his day’s earnings to save the cat.
Everywhere the boy went, the cat followed him as his loyal sidekick. One day, the boy was able to collect extra dry wood in the forest. He sold the wood for almost twice as much as he ordinarily earned. He purchased the fresh goods for the evening dinner and made his way home. He saw a group of village boys beating a dog that they had tied to a post. The more the dog cried out in pain the more the boys ridiculed it and joked. The boy gave the remaining money in his pocket to free the dog from the cruel hands of the village youth. Now the dog joined the boy and his cat for the return to his mother’s house.
A few days later the boy accompanied by the cat and the dog went to the forest as usual to collect wood for sale. He was able to find a large number of dry wood. On his return to the village he was able to sell much more than other days. He purchased food for the evening and food for the two animals. Before reaching his house, he again saw a group of village youth who had caught a snake and were torturing it. The boy freed the snake by giving his last penny to the cruel youth. Now he had three companions, the cat, dog and the snake.
The next day the four of them went to the forest. The boy carried the snake in a sack.
His intention was to free the snake in the forest so that it could slither away into the wild.
In the deep forest, the boy opened the sack and let the snake go. To his surprise, the snake
stayed close to the three companions while the boy collected dry wood. At midday, the boy distributed some food to the cat and dog. He felt sorry for the snake who was lingering nearby so he broke a small piece of bread and left it near the reptile. What happened next is truly a miracle beyond any imagination. It was both unbelievable and miraculous. Give glory to God Almighty. The snake shed its skin, but to everyone’s amazement, a beautiful, young man appeared. The boy, the cat and dog could not believe their eyes. The young man began to speak.
“Please don’t be afraid. I am the son of this country’s king. An evil wizard, who is my father’s enemy, kidnapped me. The wizard pronounced a curse that transformed me into a snake with the following prophesy: ‘You will remain a snake until that day comes when a kind soul will feed you a morsel of bread.’ You freed me from the curse of the wizard. Now I want to repay your kindness with the following promise. As long as I live, I will always be loyal to you and endeavor in every way to help you with all the means at my disposal.” After saying these endearing words, the young prince returned to his grieving father, the king.
On reaching the king, the prince explained all that had happened and how he was saved by the poor woman’s son. The king immediately summoned the poor mother’s son and embraced him like his own son. He showered the boy with praise.
“You have delivered my son from his infernal curse. My son is the light of my eyes, my hope for a continued dynasty. Please tell me, whatever you heart desires and it will be given this very moment.”
“May the king have a long and prosperous life,” said the boy. I really do not need anything for myself. May you always live a healthy life.”
The king continued to implore the boy to ask for something. Finally, the boy said, “If you insist, please give me the royal ring that you wear.” The poor boy had learned about the king’s magical ring from his son. The king said,
“May the neck of the person that told you about my ring be severed!” He felt, however, impelled to honor his word. He took the ring off and gave it to the boy. “Give him a wagon of gold and one of silver,” added the king to help the boy and his mother out of their poverty.
With all the king’s blessings, the old mother and her son were now almost as wealthy as the king. The boy quickly reached manhood and was ready to get married. His mother said, “My dear son, I will go today to ask the hand of the king’s daughter for you to marry. What do you say?”
“You know what is best for me,” said her son. The mother paid a visitg to the king. She waited for him in his greeting hall. The king welcomed her warmly.
“What is your wish today, wise lady?”
“May the king have a long life,” said the old mother. “I have come today to the hand of your daughter for my son. Please satisfy my request.”
“I’ll do it!” said the king on condition that you satisfy my desire. I want you to promise to build a palace similar to mine and a connecting road lined with two rows of fruit trees and a royal carpet leading from my palace to yours lined with horsemen sitting on perfectly white royally saddled horses.”
“It will be done. It will be done,” said the old mother. “May your wish be true!”
The mother returned home and related everything to her son. Her son knew well the power of the royal ring which he had in his possession. He called forth the powers of the ring and immediately two geniis appeared before him. They addressed him, “Oh Lord and Master, tell us should we build or destruct!”
“Build,” said the old mother’s son, he ordered them to construct a palace according to the king’s wish. During that very night, the geniis finished the grand project. A royal wedding was organized by the king for his daughter and the old mother’s son. The princess was beautiful and graced with humility and a modest, faithful nature. The newly married couple blessed by providence entered their new palace with happy hearts and a bright destiny before them. They praised God everyday in the palace chapel for His bountiful mercy upon them. Their days of joy together in their holy marriage was a blessing of God.
A few happy years passed. The old mother spoke her last words to her dear son. She
offered her heartfelt blessings to her son and his wife and died. The son had the last rites performed with solemn reverence and laid his mother to rest.
The young husband began to engage himself in activities that kept him away from the palace for short periods. His faithful wife remained at home minding the maintenance of the household affairs.
Then fate took its course. One day a businessman who specialized in selling precious rings paid a visit to the wife. He had heard about the magical powers of the royal ring kept by the young couple. He showed his wares of rings, necklaces and earrings to the princess. She chose three rings in order to choose one for herself. The jewelry salesman remarked,
“I want to offer you those three rings as a present. “May evil never visit you. Your sweet demeanor is very enlivening. I have a request to make in return. You have a remarkable ring that I have heard can work miracle. I would like to see it so that I may understand its origin.”
The princess was unsuspecting of any mischief on the part of the salesman. She innocently fetched the miraculous ring to show him. He held the ring and rubbed it to invoke the geniis who appeared before him and said, “Our Lord and Master, should we build or destroy.”
The evil salesman said, “Take this palace with myself and the princess, to the island that is eight oceans distant from here.”
Later, when the princess’ husband returned, he did not see the palace nor his wife. His old house mysteriously reappeared instead of the palace. He was left by himself bereft of his deceased mother and his new bride. His mind became obsessed with finding his wife. He searched day and night in every direction to no avail.
When the dog and the cat heard about the tragedy that befell the husband, they decided to help their benefactor. They started to search every land and ocean far and wide to find and return the miraculous ring. They searched almost every corner of the world until they reached the kingdom of the rats.
The guardians of the border of the kingdom were so frightened by the dog and cat that they fled in fright and hid themselves. The approach of the cat especially became apparent to all the rats of the kingdom. The king of the rats called a general meeting during which he ordered his palace and surrounding areas fortified in preparation for the inevitable approach of the cat. He sent an urgent note to the king of the turtles to immediately send several thousand turtle soldiers to protect the ocean side of the kingdom from the advance of the cat. Then he sent a letter to the king of the giant lizards asking that he send several thousand of his soldiers. He offered the two kings the promise that if their soldiers were able to stop the marauding cat, the rat kingdom would pay them taxes for ten years.
While the negotiation between the rat king and the two other kings was still being discussed, the dog arrived at the castle of the rat king. The dog touched his check with his two front feet, offered his respects, bowed his head and said,“May your Excellency, the king of the rats, live long and prosper. I am the messenger of the invincible cat. If you desire that the powerful cat refrain from destroying your entire rat nation, then please command your largest and most powerful rats to take the cat and myself to the different islands of the ocean.”
The rat king detached eight powerful and brave rats to navigate the ocean for the cat and dog. He accompanied them with his son. The dog sat on the eight powerful rats that swam close to each other and the cat jumped on the dog’s back. The rats proceeded toward the islands of the ocean. They searched each island to no avail until they reached the eighth and last island. They espied the castle from afar.
The cat began to miaou. It’s hair stood on end and it spoke the following command.
“Rats, go quickly, enter the palace, find the jewelry salesman and take the ring off his finger. Come back quickly.”
The darkness blanketed the sky to the ground. It was so profound that a man could not even see his hand in front of his eyes. However, cats and rats have night vision that equals their day vision.
The rats bored holes in the castle wall and entered. They found the jeweler asleep. They carefully examined him, but they were unable to find the prized ring. The king of the rats, who was very experienced, had a hunch that the jeweler might be sleeping with the ring in his mouth for safe keeping.
The king said, “It may or may not be, but I think the jeweler is keeping the ring in his mouth while he sleeps. He ordered his son to quietly approach the jeweler. He said, “Stick the tip of your tail in his nose and tickle it.” His son hesitated. The king said, “Are you afraid of a man. The son of a king is never afraid. When I was a young man like you, I purposely tickled the ear of a sleeping man. Don’t be afraid, I am here to protect you.”
The prince rat carefully inserted his tail into the nostril of the jeweler who gasped slightly and then sneezed forcefully. The sneeze opened his mouth and the precious ring fell to the ground. The rats brought the ring back to the dog and cat and quickly returned them to dry land for their return journey. The cat honored the bravery of the rats and left without causing any harm to them.
The dog and cat returned to the anxious husband and gave him the valuable ring. He was elated with joy to see the magic ring. He immediately rubbed the ring and the two geniis appeared. They said, “Oh Lord and Master, should we build or destroy?”
The husband said, “Bring back the palace and establish it here as it was before with my wife. Make sure the jeweler comes with it in chains.. In no time, the palace was brought back by the two geniis and the princess was reunited with her husband. When the jeweler saw the husband glaring at him, he was so frightened that he had a heart attack and died.
The couple was grateful to the faithful dog and cat for outsmarting the evil jeweler and bringing justice to bear on him.
The couple achieved their most cherished wishes. May you also fulfill your wishes too.
Published onMarch 5, 2012
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