A servant buying provisions in a local Bagdad market was suddenly jostled by someone behind him. Turning to confront the person he was terrified to see it was Death, with a surprised expression, staring back at him. In a panicked run he returned to his master, describing the encounter and asking, in a fit of desperation, for the master's horse. The master obliged and the servant mounted and drove the horse in a full gallop to Samarra, in order to avoid his fate with Death.
His curiosity piqued, the merchant returned to the market and saw Death still standing amongst the crowd. He approached and asked him about the encounter, and about his look of surprise upon seeing the servant. Death replied: “Indeed, I was taken aback upon seeing the servant, as I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."