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Escaping Death

My students have thought me obsessed with death over the years as I taught a short story unit including stories that had Death or Fate as characters and themes. My favorite was An Appointment in Samarra. I liked it because death was a woman and it was an easy way to teach irony. The students loved it because it was very short!

 
Appointment in Samarra by W. Somerset Maugham (abridged)
            A servant felt himself jostled in the marketplace. When he turned to see who had bumped him, he saw it was Death standing there giving him a threatening gesture. 
            Running to his master, he began to cry and beg for the master’s horse so he could ride to Baghdad to escape his fate. The master annoyed to lose his best horse, searched until he found Death standing in the crowd. He asked her, “Why did you threaten my servant?” Death surprised by the accusation responded, “It is I who was startled, Sir. I did not expect to see him here in Baghdad for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
 
As a child I often tried to think of ways to escape my fate by creating white lies or hiding out in the bathroom while others did the dishes. In the end, I usually had to face the music and accept my fate whether it was doing my chores, cleaning my room, or confessing to a creative answer that only slightly resembled the truth. 
 
As an adult, I keep this story in mind loving the fact that Death is a woman who is startled herself by the servant’s early appearance and that Fate, in this case, is something one cannot escape.