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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "The voice of Death"

The voice of Death

Once upon a time something happened. If it had not happened, it would not be told.

There was once a man who prayed daily to God to grant him riches. One day his numerous and frequent prayers found our Lord in the mood to listen to them. When the man had grown rich he did not want to die, so he resolved to go from country to country and settle wherever he heard that the people lived forever. He prepared for his journey, told his wife his plan, and set off.

In every country he reached he asked whether people ever died there, and went on at once if he was told that they did. At last he arrived in a land where the inhabitants said they did not know what dying meant. The traveler, full of joy, asked:

"But are there not immense crowds of people here, if none of you die?"

"No, there are no immense crowds," was the reply, "for you see, every now and then somebody comes and calls one after another, and whoever follows him, never returns."

"And do people see the person who calls them?" asked the traveler.

"Why shouldn't they see him?" he was answered.

The man could not wonder enough at the stupidity of those who followed the person that called them, though they knew that they would be obliged to stay where he took them. Returning home, he collected all his property, and with his wife and children, went to settle in the country where people did not die but were called by a certain person and never came back. He had therefore firmly resolved that neither he nor his family would ever follow any body who called them, no matter who it might be.

So, after he had established himself and arranged all his business affairs, he advised his wife and all his family on no account to follow any one who might call them, if, as he said, they did not want to die.

So they gave themselves up to pleasure, and in this way spent several years. One day, when they were all sitting comfortably in their house, his wife suddenly began to call:

"I'm coming, I'm coming!"

And she looked around the room for her fur jacket.

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