Chinese Idiom Stories
The Old Man Who Lost His Horse
There was once an old man who lived with his only son at the border of the state. They were fond of horses and often let them graze freely in the meadow.
One time a servant reported to the old man, "A horse is missing! It must have gone into the neighbouring state."
His friends felt sorry for him, but the old man was not bothered at all by the loss. As a matter of fact, he said, "Who knows! The loss may bring us good fortune!"
a few months later, a strange thing happened. Not onl did the missing horse return home safely, it also brought back with it a fine horse from the neighbouring state.
When his friends heard the new, they congratulated the old man on his good luck. But the old man said, "Who knows! This may bring us ill fortune!"
One day, when the old man's son was riding the fine horse, he accidentally fell off the horse, broke his leg, and was crippled.
Many friends came to comfort the old man, but the old man was njot the least disturbed by the accident. "Who knows! This may bring us good fortune after all!" he said.
A year later, when the neighbouring state sent troops across the border, all the young and strong men were drafted to fight the invaders, and most of them got killed. The old man's son was not drafted because he was crippled and so his life was spared.