Death’s Desire–a myth

Tonight I return to the great throne room where Death holds his silent court. Death is seated in this throne. Beside him sits his three-headed dog, Cerberus. Death’s left hand rests gently on one of the heads. Another head growls, warning of my approach. The third head looks about unconcerned.

“So, mortal,” Death begins, “you have returned.”

“Yes,” I agree. “I have more to learn from you.”

“Indeed you do, but few ever come so willingly for I am a hard master.”

“Indeed you are, oh Death.”

“How will you pay me?” he demands.

I am bewildered by his challenge. After pausing a moment, I proceed. “With service perhaps?”

Death laughs. “And how will you serve me, little one?”

I have no answer.

Death shakes his head. “No,” he continues, “you cannot serve me. I accept only one form of payment–life.”

“You will have that soon enough anyway,” I reply. “Do you mean that you really desire nothing?”

Death laughs again. “Well said, little one. Truly you amuse me and that is payment enough.”

I pause to think for a moment. I am not sure that I trust him entirely. “I thought perhaps you desired fear.” I suggest.

Death seems genuinely surprised. “Fear?” he asks. “Certainly not.” He turns to his dog. “Did you hear that boy?” he asks the beast. “He thought I wanted fear from him.”

The dog howls in reply. With all three heads it howls; it is a terrible sound.

Death turns back to me. “No,” he says sadly, “I do not desire fear. What I truly desire is life, but not for myself. I want you to have and to experience every moment of your life. I want you to dwell in eternity. That is why I remain alone here. Do you understand?”

“Perhaps, just a little bit.”

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