One day when the Sultan was in his palace of Damascus, a beautiful youth who was his favourite rushed into his presence, crying out in great agitation that he must flee at once to Baghdad and imploring leave to borrow His Majesty’s swiftest horse.
The Sultan asked why he was in such haste to go to Baghdad. “Because,” the youth answered, “as I passed through the garden of the palace just now, Death was standing there, and when he saw me he stretched out his arms as if to threaten me and I must lose no time in escaping from him.”
The young man was given leave to take the Sultan’s horse and and fly, and when he was gone the Sultan went down indignantly into the garden, and found Death still there. “How dare you make threatening gestures at my favourite?” he cried; but Death, astonished, answered: “I assure Your Majesty I did not threaten him. I only threw up my arms in surprise at seeing him here, because I have a tryst with him tonight in Baghdad.”
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