The Old Man And Death

An Old Man met Death and asked for a reprieve. Death said no as he had given the Old Man many hints about what was coming to him.

Be prepared. One never knows when Death will show up.


JN Fable 048

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: C. Nesbit (1828)

An aged Man saw with surprise the appearance of Death before him, and was seized with terror, when summoned to follow him immediately. “Pray grant me a little time, said the old man, at least till I have made my will and testament.”—”I cannot (replied Death) longer delay, as I have so often given you warning to prepare yourself for my final call, which I perceive has had no effect upon you, nor have you paid the least regard or attention to it.”—”Surely you mistake,” said the old man, “you never came to me before this moment, nor have you ever admonished me to prepare to follow you.”—” How,” said Death, “have I not given you frequent and awful warnings sufficient to awake your conscience, when I have one by one taken away your youthful companions as they stood around you, and your children in their infancy, all which you have disregarded, as if you thought yourself exempt from my power, and now complain that you are not prepared. But prepared or not your hour is now come, and you must obey the summons.”


This Fable forcibly impresses on our minds the necessity of being always prepared for death, as we know not the hour, the day, nor year of the awful visitation.

JN Fable 048a

Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: J. Jackson (1828)