A Beautiful Short Story: The Appointment in Samarra

This is my favourite short story. It’s simple and it’s eerie – and death is personified as female

doakonsult

This story appeared as an epigraph for the novel, “Appointment in Samarra” by John O’Hara. It is W. Somerset Maugham’s retelling of an old story. First, here’s an interesting historical fact about the meaning of Samarra. Medieval Islamic writers believed that the name “Samarra” is derived from the Arabic phrase “Sarra man ra’a”, which translates to “A joy for all who see”. Later when the city declined the name changed to “Sa’a man ra’a”, which translates to “A sadness for all who see”. Eventually the two names merged to its current form Samarra. (credit : Wikipedia)

The Appointment in Samarra

“A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Shortly, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant’s horse, he flees…

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