Having a few friends from Baghdad, especially one who is very spiritual and a dreamer, I enjoyed this folktale because I have always viewed Death as a feminine essence of the primordial Grandmothers, ever since I was a child, from her cave eras of earth long before any king of Persia or Baghdad was born. I still do, Phoenix
“There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his Servant to the market to buy provisions. The servant came back trembling, and said: “Master, just now when I was in the marketplace in Baghdad and I was jostled by a woman in the crowd. When I turned around I saw that she was Death. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture.”
“Lend me your horse, and I will ride away from Baghdad 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 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 Baghdad marketplace and saw Death standing in the crowd and he came up to Death and said:
“Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”
That was not a threatening gesture, Death said, he was only startled and surprised to see me. Death said she was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for she had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
The tale speaks loudly of major life changes. Regardless of how we run away from our fate and destiny in life, death and rebirth has a way of finding us anyway. Sources: Reference from Sherlock Holmes and the Folktale recorded by W. Somerset Maugham in 1933. I put this story into a simpler, more cognitive structure than Somerset.