The legend connected with the festival is didactic, rather than explanatory, in nature. One day, a Brahmin, Kaundinya, and his wife, Sushila, were on their way home. They stopped by a river because Kaundinya wanted to take a bath.
While he was away, Sushila observed some women praying. When she enquired, they told her that they were observing the Anant Vrata. They told her that if they tied a consecrated string around their wrists and maintained the vrata for 14 years, they would get great material wealth.
Sushila too started observing the Anant Vrata, and soon, she and Kaundinya became wealthy. When Kaundinya noticed the string, he asked Sushila about it. She told him the story. But wealth had made Kaundinya haughty, and dismissing it as mere superstition, he broke the string and threw it away.
From then on, Kaundinya and Sushila started losing their wealth, and soon had nothing. Kaundinya was penitent, and went in search of Anant to get his glory back. But nobody he asked on the way knew who or where Anant was.
In the end, a desperate Kaundinya prepared to commit suicide. At that moment, an old man approached and took Kaundinya to a cave. Once inside the dark cave, the old man turned into Vishnu, and told Kaundinya that he would regain his lost happiness and wealth if he observed the Anant Vrata for 14 years.