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Death is a fickle thing.  Some people fear it, others worship it, and some welcome it.  Many have faith that there is an entire world waiting after death.  Others think that death is all she wrote.

Whatever you believe, I’ve always wondered if death and fate were intertwined.  Could I avoid my death longer if I made different choices?  Or did any path I chose lead directly to the same place, my ending? 

I heard this story years ago, and it has always stuck with me.  When you think you are outrunning death, you may be running directly into its arms.

"The Appointment in Samarra"
(as retold by W. Somerset Maugham [1933])

The speaker is Death

There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. 

The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop, he went.  Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said,

“Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”

That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

4/3/2013 16:05:08

good story, good post

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4/4/2013 06:56:31

Wow, that's a really good story.

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4/4/2013 07:13:02

Death is inevitable! I guess we'll all know eventually what's on the other side. Good post!

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