Joseph Wright of Derby, The old man and death, 1773
Joseph Wright of Derby, The old man and death (1773)

Ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πένης, ὃς καὶ ξύλων γόμον ἐπὶ τῶν νώτων ἐβάσταζε. κατὰ δὲ τὴν ὁδοιπορίαν ἰλιγγιάσας ἐκαθέσθη καὶ τὸν γόμον κατέθετο καὶ τὸν Θάνατον οἰκτρῶς ἐνεκαλεῖτο, λέγων “ὦ Θάνατε.” αὐτίκα γοῦν ὁ Θάνατος ἔφθασε καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἔφη “τίνος χάριν ἐκάλεσάς με;” λέγει πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ ἀνήρ “ἵνα τὸν γόμον ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς συνεξάρῃς μοι.”
οὗτος δηλοῖ ὅτι πάντες ἄνθρωποι φιλόζῳοι τυγχάνουσιν, εἰ καὶ θλίψεσι καὶ ἀνάγκαις συνέχονται.
(Syntipas, Fabulae 2)

A poor man was carrying a load of wood on his shoulders. After a while he was feeling faint, so he sat down by the side of the road. Putting aside his burden, he bitterly called out to Death, summoning Death with the words ‘O Death!’ Death immediately showed up and said to the man, ‘Why have you summoned me?’ The man said, ‘Oh, just to have you help me pick this burden up off the ground!’
The fable shows that everyone clings to life, even if they suffer from affliction and oppression. (tr. Laura Gibbs)