A legend from the Middle East tells how a rich merchant’s servant in Baghdad came to his master one day in great consternation. “Master,” he cried, “someone bumped into me in the crowded marketplace this morning. When I turned around I saw it was Death. I caught his eye and he gave me such a strange and terrifying look that I am now in fear of my life. Master, please lend me your horse so that I may flee – with your help I can be far away in Samarra by nightfall.” The merchant was a generous man, and, lending the servant a fine horse, he sent him forthwith on his way. Later, the merchant himself went to the marketplace and saw Death standing in the crowd. “Why did you frighten my servant this morning, and give him such a threatening stare?” “I did not threaten him,” said Death. “It was a look of surprise. I was astounded to see a man this morning in Baghdad when I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.” Was the merchant’s servant fated to die that night, or could he have exercised his free will and remained in Baghdad? Perhaps Death would have changed his traveling arrangements and kept the appointment anyway. What would have happened if the servant had confronted Death instead of running away? Perhaps he could have negotiated a delay in the timing of the appointment, and enjoyed a longer life in return for a gift or a favor, or some sacrifice to satisfy the Grim Reaper... Fate or free will, what do you think?