Is It Good Or Is It Bad? - A Parable:

There’s a story about an old, poor farmer in ancient China who worked a small plot of land with his teenage son. During this time, horses were considered a sign of rare wealth; the richest person in the province owned no more than a few of them. One day, a wild horse galloped into the town, jumped the old farmer’s fence, and began grazing on his land. According to local law, this meant that the horse now rightfully belonged to him and his family. The farmer’s son could hardly contain his joy, but the father put his hand on his son’s shoulder and said, “Who knows what’s good or bad?” The next day, the horse, not surprisingly, made its escape back to the mountains, and the boy was heartbroken. “Who knows what’s good or bad?” his father said again, with the same equanimity. On the third day, the horse returned with a dozen wild horses following. The boy could hardly believe his good luck. “We’re rich!” he cried, to which the father replied, “Who knows what’s good or bad?” On the fourth day, the boy climbed on one of the wild horses and was thrown, breaking his leg. His father ran to get the doctor; soon both of them were attending to the boy, who was moaning and complaining about his miserable fate. The old farmer wiped the boy’s forehead with a wet cloth, looked deeply into his eyes, and said directly, “My son, who knows what’ is good or bad?” And on the fifth day, the province went to war, and army recruiters came through the town and conscripted all the eligible young men — except for one with a broken leg.


© 2020 by Gio Valiante. 


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