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Aesop's Fables: Sir Roger L'Estrange (1692)

112. DEATH AND AN OLD MAN (Perry 60)

An old man that had travell’d a great way under a huge Burden of Sticks found himself so weary that he cast it down, and call’d upon Death to deliver him from a more miserable Life. Death came presently at his call, and asked him his business. Pray, good Sir, says he, Do me but the Favour to help me up with my burden again.
THE MORAL. Men call upon Death, as they do upon the Devil; when he comes they’re afraid of him.

L'Estrange originally published his version of the fables in 1692. There is a very nice illustrated edition in the Children's Classics series by Knopf: Sir Roger L'Estrange. Aesop - Fables which is available at amazon.com.