Are We Really Ready?
There was once an old lady who had a young daughter of whom she was very fond. One day the daughter fell ill and, though no pains were spared in treating her, nothing was of any avail. “O Lord, it would be much better if I were to die instead of my daughter, for I am old and have had enough of this life. But my daughter is young; she has seen nothing of the world and must not die,” the old lady prayed.
She constantly kept this prayer on her lips.
One day, while the daughter was still very ill, the door of the house was accidentally left open, and a stray cow wandered into the courtyard. Seeing a large, black earthen pot, the cow put her mouth in it to eat whatever food it might contain. But her head got stuck in the pot, and, confused and bewildered, she started running here and there with the big pot covering her eyes, howling in terror, and bumping into everything in the courtyard.
Hearing the noise, the old lady came out to see what was happening. As she stepped into the courtyard the cow started running towards her, and she was panic-stricken, thinking that this queer and outlandish-looking creature was the angel of death.
“Please, please,” she at once called out to the cow. “I am only an old woman! Don’t take me! My young daughter lies in there. Please take her instead!”
Tales of the Mystic East