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Æsop. (Sixth century B.C.)  Fables.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
The Old Man and Death
 
 
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!”  1
  As he spoke, Death, a grisly skeleton, appeared and said to him: “What wouldst thou, Mortal? I heard thee call me.”  2
  “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.”
  3
 

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