The protagonist is the godson. He doesn't obey his godfathers rule because he wanted to save two people for his own benefit and he is constantly arguing with death about tricking him. "Now it so befell that the King became ill, and the physician was summoned, and was to say if recovery were possible. But when he came to the bed, Death was standing by the feet of the sick man, and the herb did not grow which could save him. “If I could but cheat Death for once,” thought the physician, “he is sure to take it ill if I do, but, as I am his godson, he will shut one eye; I will risk it.”"
The antagonist is Death or the godfather. He has a simple rule for his godson but his godson keeps tricking him and making matters worse between them. "But Death came to the physician, looking very black and angry, threatened him with his finger, and said, “Thou hast overreached me; this time I will pardon it, as thou art my godson; but if thou venturest it again, it will cost thee thy neck, for I will take thee thyself away with me.”"
If death stands at the head of a person the doctor gives them a magic medicine that makes them survive. But if death stands at the feet the person must die. Death let him go on the king one but he would die if he did it again and he did it again for the princess because he wanted to marry her. "When the physician came to the sick girl’s bed, he saw Death by her feet." "He raised up the sick girl, and placed her head where her feet had lain. Then he gave her some of the herb, and instantly her cheeks flushed red, and life stirred afresh in her."