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A mighty Persian king went walking in his pleasure gardens one day and heard a great cry, and he was immediately set upon by a panicked servant.

"Mighty king," said the servant, "I have need of your aid! I was working in the garden and came upon Death here, who threatened me. I managed to escape from him, but I fear now for my life. Give me your fastest horse and I know I can make it to the city of Tehran by nightfall, and there I will get away from him."

The king considered for a moment, weighing the good servant's years of loyal help, and assented, providing him with the horse and silver. The king continued to walk in his gardens, and amid the sound of the horse and servant riding off together, the king himself came upon Death.

"Why have you threatened my servants?" the king asked.

Death shook his head. "A thousand apologies, sir, but I did not threaten the man. I merely expressed my surprise at finding him here in your gardens today."

"And why should my servant's presence here be a surprise to you?" the king asked.

And Death replied with a smile, "I was surprised to find him here, good king, because I know that we have an appointment to meet tonight in Tehran."

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