How Long will I Live?

One night Tamerlane dreamt that he was on his death-bed and was destined for the burning fires of Hell. Much troubled by the nightmare, he called his astrologers.

‘How long shall I live?’ he asked each man in turn.

The first told the Emir that he would live for twenty years. The second, that he would live fifty years. The third that he would live a hundred years. And the fourth told the Emir that he would never die.

‘Executioner!’ roared Tamerlane, ‘behead these men. Three have given me too little time and the fourth is just trying to save his own neck.’ Then, turning to Nasrudin he said:

‘You have told my fortune on occasion. What have you to say?’

The Mulla calmly replied: ‘Great Emperor, it just so happens that I, too, had a dream last night in which an angel told me the exact day of your demise.’

‘And what did he say?’ Tamerlane anxiously asked.

‘The angel told me that you would die on the very same day as I,’ replied Nasrudin.

The World of Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Tamerlane

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