Aesop's Fables are the more popular didactic stories in the American course of literature (didactic means "teacher-like"--this definition is a freebie, so have a dictionary on hand for future words). Those stories personify animals to teach lessons to humans. They are part of an older tradition of oral storytelling that many cultures used to teach their youth and remind their elders of how to live a good life. Somerset Maugham's tale is not a fable as it does not use animals, but it still tells a tale to teach a lesson. Maugham's version of "The Appointment In Samarra" is very eerie. The first point of eerie tone is the opening, "Death speaks" (45). Death as a speaking, breathing, moving entity is scary.
Though short, this story has enough insight into the facts of life that cause chills. When Death tells the merchant that she had planned to meet the servant later on in a place the servant is running to, Maugham offers his moral. Perhaps more than one moral exists.
Maugham, W. Somerset. "The Appointment In Samarra." Literature: An Introduction. 5th Ed. Ed. X. J. Kennedy. NY: Longman, 2008. 45. Print.
Please click on Comments to categorize this story. Is it a fable, an allegory, or a parable? (One paragraph is good; more than one is better). You may also refer to any outside sources you may have come across. Remember, cite properly and sign your comments with your first name and last initial.