An essay for the journal 'Unsettling Wonder', in which I examine traditional tales of kismet, destiny and wyrd.
"Kismet - fate, destiny, quadr, karma, doom, wyrd - across the world these similar yet subtly different concepts have sprung up as responses to the same anxiety. They reassure us that whatever good or evil may befall is somehow meant to be: intended, written in the stars. Kismet is the opposite of luck. Luck is happenstance, the random fall of the dice. Kismet is destiny ordained by a higher power. ... One of the neatest tales of kismet is to be found in the Babylonian Talmud, c500 CE. Rabbi Johanen tells a story to illustrate the saying: A man's feet are responsible for him, they lead him to the place where he is wanted.
" 'One day, King Solomon noticed that the Angel of Death was looking downcast...' "