The legend of Solomon and the Angel of Death
From: Freya Stark, a winter in Arabia
A man, walking in the streets ofJerusalem, saw the Angel of Death staring at him in what he thought a significant way. He went to King Solomon for advice about this, and then decided to quit the vicinity, claiming that wherever that Angel was, he wanted to be as far away as possible; and he departed for distantIndia that very day. Now, the Angel himself used to come every now and then to visit the king, and when next he stopped by they spoke of this and that, and Solomon remarked:
"I would be obliged if, when you walk about in the streets of my city, you would take a little care to hide your face. My people are apt to recognize you, and your expression frightens them." And he told the Angel of the man who had been afraid.
"Indeed," said the Angel of Death, "I will remember and take more care. But as for that man, I was looking at him in surprise, astonished to see him here inJerusalem--for I have been ordered to fetch him fromIndia in three weeks' time."