Every year Cholera made a visit to the Holy City of Mecca with her companions Death and Fear. One year however, Fear came to the city before Death and Cholera. The old gatekeeper, who did not know Fear, let her enter
When Cholera and Death arrived at the gate, the gatekeeper shouted, “Cholera, how many victims will you take this time?” “Not more than 500 I’m sure this time,” Cholera said. “Death, how many will you take?” the gatekeeper cried. “As always, I will take only what Cholera gives me.” The gatekeeper let them enter.
Weeks later, Death and Cholera returned and called to the gatekeeper, “Open the gates.” “Cholera, how many victims did you take?” the gatekeeper asked. “Only 499,” Cholera answered. “And Death, how many did you take?” asked the gatekeeper “I took more than a thousand.” “You promised you’d only take what Cholera gave you!” the gatekeeper cried. “Yes,” Death answered sadly, “Most of those who died were taken by Fear who entered your gate alone before us. Now you know that Fear does more harm and causes more deaths than Cholera!”
Indonesian Legends and Folk Tales told by Adele de Leeuw, 1961ompan