There was a rich merchant, who after having been out travelling with his caravan for some time, reached the outskirts of a town. The evening was late, but he needed a few things so he sent his best servant to the market. At the market the servant happened to meet Death. It was easy to recognize the sinister face of Death, they were no more than ten meters away from each other. Death saw the servant and raised his hand. The servant instantly became terrified and fled head over heels to his master without having bought anything at all.
Back at the merchant’s tent the terrified servant told his master whom he had met at the market. The merchant immediately gave the servant one of his fastest horses and told him to ride the whole night without stopping and by dawn he would be safe in Samarkand. The servant rode as fast as the horse could carry him. That night it was only him, the horse and the glistening stars.
Early the next morning the merchant went to the market and also he happened to meet Death. The merchant, who was annoyed instead of being afraid, went straight up to Death asking what he ment by threatening his best servant. Death calmly replied « I wasn’t threatening him, I was merely greeting him. But I must say I was very surprised to see him here since I have a meeting with him in Samarkand tonight ».
My mother told me this story when I was a kid and since then the name Samarkand has been in my mind associated to this story. Finally going to Samarkand has for me a great symbolic value because it is related to this story and to my childhood. I know there will be nothing related to this story in the city but just being there is enough. My brothers know what I’m talking about.
With this bit of personal history in my mind, I set off on my way to Samarkand.