The Appointment in Samarra, as retold by W. Somerset Maugham

The speaker is Death


There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to 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 and 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 the 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 marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning? 

That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

Writing Prompt: Missing

I know there’s a full moon out tonight, but I can’t see it through the mist and rain. One of my favourite things is to sit on the bench in my garden and watch the moon rise. I guess I’ll be deprived of that tonight, but I like the idea that it’s there, even without the clear view.

It makes me think of some of the other things in life that we depend on, even when you can’t see them. Love is that way, so is friendship. If it’s real, it doesn’t end, even when you can’t communicate. I’m missing some key people in my life right now; people I can’t see or speak to for various reasons, but find myself thinking about them a lot lately.

Is there someone you haven’t spoken to in a while that you miss? If you had a few minutes to say anything to them, what would it be?

Writing Prompt: Missing

Writing Prompt: Best Intentions

At the end of the day, we’re not judged by what we meant to do, but by what we did. I recently hurt a friend of mine, not intentionally, but regardless of intent, the result is the same. I sit and wait to see how far the extent of the damage in hope that whatever it is, it’s not too late to make amends.

Is there a scale embedded in a person’s heart that measures their wishes against their deeds? Have you ever caused an injury despite your best intentions?

I haven’t much more to say on the subject except that I wish with all my heart that I can salvage the situation.

Wish me luck.

Writing Prompt: Best Intentions

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