APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA

There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to the 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 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 their 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 market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came up 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 the start of a surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

Somerset Maugham, Appointment in Samarra

2 thoughts on “APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA

  1. I saw the book “The End of Your Life Bookclub” on Goodreads.com and purchased the book at Elliott Bay Company Bookstore. I read the first chapeter at Goodfellow’s coffee shop next door and was blown away by this quote in the book’s first chapter. Most of my reading is nonfiction. I sometimes forget the power of real good fiction. On the drive home the impact of quote was reinforced by a fatality accident on the eastbound highway 16.

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