So today I was just hanging out
contemplating my mortality
and I was like man
it sure would be cool if I could cheat death
I wonder if there are any stories about that.
It turns out there are
there are a ton of stories about that
but this one is better so here it is:
One time in Baghdad
like, before it was shitty
there was this merchant with loads of dough
(I am using dough here to refer to money
although maybe he traded in actual dough too
I’m a storyteller, not an economist)
and one day he is feeling pretty chill
so he tells his servant to go out to the market and get some brews.
The servant goes to the market alright
but he comes back WOEFULLY UN-BREWED
plus he is flipping the hell out
he is like “BOSS
I just saw DEATH.
Like, the actual personification of death was walking through the market.
I ran into her
and she turned and saw me
and she was like ‘WHOA!
which is NOT A THING YOU WANT TO HEAR DEATH SAY
in fact I am pretty sure there is NOTHING I WANT TO HEAR DEATH SAY
I would MUCH PREFER if death was too far away for me to hear.
lemme borrow one of your horses
I am gonna ride all night to Samarra
which is really far away
so death will totally not find me.”
Now, this is a pretty bullshitty story
plus the servant’s endgame here isn’t clear
like, is he gonna come back to Baghdad once he’s no longer worried about death?
is he gonna hole up in a little cottage with “NO DETH ALLOWED” scrawled on a sign out front?
but the merchant is an economist, not a sorcerer
he doesn’t think about these obvious problems.
Instead he’s just like “Sure dude, I have a ton of horses
borrow one, I don’t care.
You’ve got some saved up PTO anyway.
Technically this might even count as medical leave.
and the servant is like “WAY AHEAD OF YOU”
and then he grabs a horse and rides as fast as he can to Samarra.
So once his servant is gone
along with his fastest horse
it finally occurs to the merchant that maybe he should check out the servant’s story
so he goes down to the marketplace
just kind of searching for somebody who looks like death
and what do you know, death’s still hanging out in the marketplace
having a burger
and the merchant is like “yo, death
what the fuck
why’d you threaten my employee?”
and death is like “lol
You mean that dude from earlier?
I didn’t threaten him
I was just surprised to see him
BECAUSE I’M SUPPOSED TO MEET UP WITH HIM TONIGHT IN SAMARRA.”
and the merchant is like “Oh DAAAAAAAAAMN.”
and then he never gets his horse back.
The moral of the story is don’t lend your horses to people
horses are valuable and people are idiots.
Yeah, horse dude, me too.
There was a parody of this story in the first of the Discworld books.
Classic and unbeatble, I love that story.
Thank you! I’ve been trying to remember how this one went for ages.