"Misfortune" Author Unknown
Filed in:Zen Story
A Chinese farmer's neighbors came over to offer him their sympathy after his horse ran away. "I'm not so sure it's a misfortune", said the farmer. The neighbors left, shaking their heads.
The next day, the farmer's horse returned, and three wild horses came home with him. The neighbors returned to congratulate the farmer on his good fortune. "I'm not certain that it is good fortune", replied the farmer. The neighbors left, more bemused than before.
Later that week, the farmer's son broke his leg trying to train one of the new horses, and the neighbors came by to offer condolences. "I'm not sure this is a misfortune", said the farmer again. The neighbors left, discussing the man's mental state among themselves.
The next day, the emperor came through, gathering up young men to be in his army. They bypassed the farmer's son, since he had a broken leg.