Have an ordinary son with a long life or a scholar who dies early” was the choice his parents chose the latter The scholarly Markandeya was born who grew up to be a Shiva Bhakt.
Mahrishi Markandeya was born to Rishi Mrikandu and Marudmati. Husband and wife were ardent worshippers of Bhagwan Shiva and used to pray him to bless them with a son. Seeing their devotion Shiva apperared before them one day and agreed to grant them a boon but with the condition that they will have to choose between an ordinary son who will a long life or an extraodrinary scholar who dies early at the age of 12.
The couple chose the scholar in hope that one day he might become a great scholar who would be remembered for generations, Bhagwan Shiva granted their wish and Markandeya was born. Markandeya grew up to be a grew up to be a devout Shiva Bhakt and due to the boon Shiva he became an intelligent sage at very young age.
As per his destiny at the age of 12, on his final day, Yam Doots came but when they couldn’t take Markandeya away, they requested Yama to do the job. Yama came and tried to take him away but Markandeya kept worshipping Bhagwan Shiva in his Lingam form. Yama finally flung his noose around Markandeya’s neck which accidentally landed around the Shivalingam. An enraged Shiva emerged from the Lingam and fought Yama. Yama accepted defeat and blessed Markandeya with immortality.
This form of Shiva is called Kalantaka. The legend of Kalantaka ( ender of death )is one of the most important and revered form of Shiva as per Tamil Shaivite sect.