AN OLD labourer, bent double with age and toil, was gathering sticks in a forest. At last he grew so tired and hopeless that he threw down the bundle of sticks, and cried out: “I cannot bear this life any longer. Ah, I wish Death would only come and take me!”
As he spoke, Death, a grisly skeleton, appeared and said to him: “What wouldst thou, Mortal? I heard thee call me.”
“Please, sir,” replied the woodcutter, “would you kindly help me to lift this faggot of sticks on to my shoulder?”
We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.
Greek ÆEsop, ed. Halm, 90. Lôqman, 14. La Fontaine, i. 16. L'Estrange, 113. The similar fable of the Messengers of Death (on which cf. Dr. Morris in Folklore Journal) is certainly derived from India.
Old Man and Death, The
Fables of Aesop, The
Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Macmillan & Co.
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ATU 845: The Old Man and Death