This is another in my series of German Fairy Tales. A man needed a godfather for his son. After considering many options, he chose Death to be the godfather. The boy grew and became a doctor.
The elements in the piece reflect historical references to medicine: poppies; a plague mask; a whale for ambergris; toads; and of course, leeches.
The candles represent the lengths of human lives. Only Death knows how tall they are.