A king had three friends. But he was informed that they were not his friends. So he gave each of the three friends a royal dog. As well, he provided them access to the royal treasury so each could provide for the needs of his royal dog.

One friend splurged the funds to feed the royal dog in royal style.

The second friend said, “Why should I waste the king’s royal treasury on feeding a dog.” He used the budget to feed the dog only its most basic needs—just enough so that it would not die.

A third friend was wise and used the budget to create a crown for the king.

He, the king loved. The second friend, it seems the king put up with him. As for the first friend, the king turned the dog on him.

Here is the story’s meaning:

The measure of a mortal’s love for G‑d is the means by which he fulfills G‑d’s command to provide for his body and his inner animal. The provisions are all provided from the royal treasury—for the world and all it contains belongs to G‑d.

One person will spend his years exhausting all that is given to him to pamper his body and serve his every desire. In the end, his body and his inner animal destroy him.

Another will only provide the body its basic needs, refraining as much as possible from worldly pleasures. He has not fallen into the trap of the first, but what has he achieved?

The wise, thinking person takes all matters of this world and uses them to make a crown for his Creator. When he eats, it is to obtain the divine goodness of the food and use its energy for the service of his Maker. When he engages in marital affairs, he does so to create a divine union. All he does is for the sake of heaven, and in all his ways, he knows G‑d and crowns Him as king of His world.

His body and his inner animal are well fed and healthy, and His Creator is greatly pleased with this friend.

Keter Shem Tov, siman 73. The interpretation here follows that of the Chumash Heichal Habrachah (Komarna).