There was once a farmer. One day the farmer’s only horse broke
out of the corral and ran away. The farmer’s neighbors, all hearing
of the horse running away, came to the farmer’s house to view the
corral. As they stood there, the neighbors all said, "Oh what bad
luck!" The farmer replied, "Maybe."
About a week later, the horse returned bringing with it a whole herd
of wild horses, which the farmer and his son quickly corralled. The neighbors,
hearing of the corralling of the horses, came to see for themselves. As
they stood there looking at the corral filled with horses, the neighbors
said, "Oh what good luck!" The farmer replied, "Maybe."
At that same time in China, there was a war going on between two rival
warlords. The warlord of the farmer’s village was involved in this
war. In need of more soldiers, he sent one of his captains to the village
to conscript young men to fight in the war. When the captain came to take
the farmer’s son he found a young man with a broken leg who was
delirious with fever. Knowing there was no way the son could fight, the
captain left him there. A few days later, the son’s fever broke.
The neighbors, hearing of the son’s not being taken to fight in
the war and of his return to good health, all came to see him. As they
stood there, each one said, "Oh what good luck!" The farmer