There was once a very old man who needed some firewood for the coming winter. He went out into the forest and chopped himself some wood. He then bundled up the firewood and lifted the load up onto his back. "Oh, what a heavy load to carry!" the old man groaned.
He had walked part of the way back home when he realized that he was too tired to keep going. He put the load of firewood down onto the ground and then, in desperation, he called out loud to Death. "O Death," he cried, "I cannot bear my burden any longer. Please come and take me!"
Much to the man's surprise, Death appeared before him, carrying a scythe. The old man was terrified when he saw Death standing right in front of him. Now that he could see Death with his own eyes, he realized that he did not want to die!
"I have come," said Death, lifting his scythe in the air, ready to take the man's life. "Did I hear you say that you wanted to die?"
The old man stepped back and quickly said, "Oh no, Death, not at all. I called upon you because I need some help with my bundle of firewood. Would you be so kind as to help me lift up my load? Just place it here on my shoulders and then I will hurry on home."
Death was impressed by this brave and clever reply, so he picked up the bundle, placed it on the old man's shoulders, and vanished as suddenly as he had appeared. The old man then breathed a sigh of relief and happily made his way back home.
The moral of the story is that you should be careful what you ask for because your wish just might come true.