I'm trying to track down a story, this was the plot:

A woodsman's wife saves for 20 years to buy him a turkey. He takes the cooked turkey into the woods and when he is approached by Death and shares the turkey he is given the power to cure the sick. This power exists unless Death is standing at the bottom of the sick person's bed.

Does this story sound familiar to anyone? Can anyone help with a title and/or author?

  • 2
    They both sound familiar. I will try to remember where I saw them but probably somebody else will get it first. But please make these two questions into two separate posts because that's the way this site works. Click the edit button at the bottom of your question, delete Story Two, and then ask your question about Story Two separately. Thank you.
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 7:22
  • Story Two sounded familiar because you've asked the same question before, here and here.
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 8:03
  • Story One sounded familiar because I've read that story too, and now Frock has identified it.
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 8:22
  • @user14111 - I've flagged. Asking the same question three times is spamming.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


This may be "The Third Guest" (Macario) by B.Traven. 1953. Based on "Godfather Death" by the Brothers Grimm.

Description from here:

... The eponymous hero, Macario (Ignacio López Tarso), is a poor woodcutter who has barely enough food for himself, his wife and four children. His wife helps to support the family through laundry work. On the Day of the Dead the family go into the local village to get payment for their labour and to treat the children to sugared skulls and cake with the paltry tips they get. Whilst there Macario and his family enjoy the atmosphere, but are also reminded of the inequalities between rich and poor that continue even after death. When he delivers wood to a local bakery Macario sees six turkeys being cooked for a local wealthy family and he becomes obsessed with the idea of having one full turkey all to himself. On being short-changed by one of her customers, his wife steals a turkey as payment, cooks it, and gives it to Macario as he leaves for work. Delighted he finds a spot to picnic on this feast and is interrupted three times. This first is by the devil who tries to tempt him with gold and silver. He refuses saying that it would be worthless, as, if he tries to exchange it he will be accused of robbery. The second is God, who he also refuses because he says he does not need food and is only testing him. The third is Death who says that he is starving as he has not eaten for thousands of years. Macario gives death half of the turkey. In return, Death gives him water with magical curative powers. This potent medicine can bring people back from the brink of death, if Death and higher powers are willing to let them be cured...

  • Yes, that's the one I was trying to remember. No doubt it's the OP's answer as well.
    – user14111
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 8:21

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