A young man named Aditya helped a tiger, a snake and a goldsmith who were stuck in a well. The tiger was grateful and gave Aditya jewelry. Aditya brought the jewelry to his friend, the goldsmith. The goldsmith recognised the jewelry — it belonged to the King’s younger brother who had gone missing. In order to win a reward, the goldsmith falsely accused Aditya of harming the King’s younger brother. The King put Aditya in jail.

As Aditya sat sadly inside the jail cell, he remembered the snake’s promise. He called out the snake’s name. Moments later, the snake slithered into the jail. “How are you my friend?” asked the snake, “And why are you in jail?”

Aditya told the snake the whole story. “Don’t worry, Aditya. I have a plan.” The snake whispered a plan in Aditya’s ears.

The next day news spread across the palace that the queen had been bitten by a snake. The best doctors in the kingdom were called to treat her. But the queen remained unconscious. The king announced a reward for anyone who could treat the queen.

Aditya told the soldier outside his cell that he could save the queen. The king immediately sent for him.

“I need to enter the queen’s room all alone. No one should be present in the room. Otherwise the cure won’t work.”

The king left strict instructions with the guards that no one except Aditya be allowed to the enter the room.

The room was quiet when Aditya entered. He whispered the snake’s name once again. The snake smiled at Aditya and drew the poison out from the queen’s body. Aditya thanked the snake before it disappeared.

A few minutes later, the queen opened her eyes. The king was overjoyed. “Young man, you may ask for any reward you want.”

“Your Majesty, I don’t want any wealth. I only ask that you listen to my story. I have not harmed your brother. I ask you to believe me.”

Aditya then narrated everything that had happened, including the three promises made by the tiger, the goldsmith and the snake.

The king cancelled Aditya’s jail term. He sent for the goldsmith and punished him instead. He then gave Aditya a bag of gold for his honesty.

Adapted from The Panchatantra.

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