The Soldier and Death Part V
The Soldier and Death Part V
The soldier set himself up as a miracle worker, travelling the land wherever he was called, healing people from near death. He would hold up his glass and look through it and if death was at the person’s feet he would sprinkle some of the water over them and they would be instantly recovered; their relatives would shower the soldier with gratitude and money. However, if death appeared at the patient’s head through the glass, there was nothing the soldier could do and he would shake his head solemnly and the family would recognise that he had come too late and pay him anyway.
It went well for the soldier until one day he got a message from home to say the old Tsar had fallen ill and had sent for him.
He got to the palace and looked at the Tsar through his glass but it was too late, death was sitting at his head. The Empress pleaded with the soldier to save him. “You have saved beggars and thieves and cats and dogs yet you won’t save your master”.
“If death needs a new friend I cannot fight him.” Said the soldier.
“Then let me go in his place.” Replied the Empress.
“No.” Said the soldier, “The Tsar has been my friend and father, and I should go in his place.”
He looked through the glass at death and said “Sir, take me instead, I beg you.” Death disappeared from the head of the Tsar and the soldier flicked his water over him and he awoke instantly. The soldier sank to his knees, he felt as though all the energy had been sucked from his body and the room was spinning, and then he passed out.
He awoke in his bed with the most terrible fever he had ever had. He knew if he didn’t do anything he was going to die. He grabbed the miracle glass from next to his bed and saw his reflection in it. Death was standing at his head. He looked up at his wife who was sitting beside him and requested she bring him his sack. His wife did so and when she returned she handed him the sack.
“Do you know what this is?” Said the soldier to Death through the glass.
“It’s a sack.” Replied Death.
“Well if it’s a sack then get in it.” Said the soldier.
The creature in the reflection looked scared. Then suddenly a black mist was pulled from the reflection of the glass into the sack. The soldier jumped on it and pulled the drawstring tight. He sat up laughing and shouting on his bed. “I CAUGHT DEATH IN MY SACK!” The people standing around his bed were all astonished, they could hardly believe what they were seeing.
Death was a prisoner and the news spread through the village like wild fire. Pretty soon the whole country knew and then the whole world.
It wasn’t hard to see that no one was dying anymore, no matter what happened to them.
The soldier took the sack with death in it to the largest tree in the forest he could find. He climbed up to the top and tied the sack to a branch then promptly fell off but it didn’t matter because he couldn’t die!
There were wars going on in many places but after a day of battle no one had died. They looked at each other exhausted with no idea what to do.
The soldier was the most famous person in the world because suddenly everyone could live forever. He sat in his palace and whistled his tuneless whistle, satisfied with what he had achieved for the world.
Many years had passed and one day when the soldier was looking out of his palace window he could see his courtyard full of pour souls, old scrags of folk, waiting for death’s release but death would not come. The soldier could barely stand their sorrow so he decided that he would release death from its prison in his magick sack. Back he went to the forest and took the sack down from the tallest tree.
He took the sack back to his palace and in the comfort of his own room opened the bag. Death’s masked face appeared at the rim of the sack.
“Death, you must take me now and set the world right.”
Death looked at him but was fearful of the man with his sack and leapt out of the bag and disappeared. The soldier called after him but Death would not come back.