There is a Taoist tale from the Lieh-Tzu about a man who loses and gains different things.
Among the people who lived close to the border, there was a man who led a righteous life. Without reason, his horse escaped, and fled into barbarian territory. Everyone pitied him, but the old man said : “what makes you think this is not a good thing?”
Several months later, his horse returned, accompanied by a superb barbarian stallion. Everyone congratulated him. But the old man said: “what makes you think this is cannot be a bad thing?”
The family was richer from a good horse, his son enjoyed riding it. He fell and broke his hip. Everyone pitied him, but the old man said: “what makes you think this is not a good thing!”
One year later, a large party of barbarians entered the border. All the valid men drew their bows and went to battle. From the people living around the border, nine out of ten died. But just because he was lame, the old man and his son were both spared.
from The Book of Lieh-tzu: A Classic of Tao, translated by Angus C. Graham, New York: Columbia University Press (1960, revised 1990)
I’ve heard this before. I’m a big fan of Taoism. “The Way” – it’s all so simple and elegant.
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