Malba Tahan tells the story of a man who met an angel in the desert and gave him water.
“I am the angel of death and I came to get you,” said the angel. “But as you were kind, I will lend you the Book of Destiny for five minutes; you may change what you want.”
The angel gave the man the book. As he was leafing through its pages, the man began reading about the lives of his neighbors. And he got discontented,
“These people don’t deserve such nice things,” he said. With the pen in hand, he began worsening the lives of each one.
Finally, he reached the page of his destiny. He saw his tragic end, but as he prepared to change it, the book disappeared. Five minutes had already passed.
And right there, the angel took the man’s soul.