Once upon a time in China there lived an old farmer who had only one skinny horse with which to work his land. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors and friends came to visit. “We’ve heard the bad news, such bad luck” they said, “you must be so sad.”
“Bad news or good news, we’ll see.” the farmer said.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it two other wild horses.
Again upon hearing of such news his friends and neighbors exclaimed “How wonderful! Not only did your horse return, but you received two more. What good luck you have!”
“Good luck or bad luck, we’ll see.” said the farmer.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors came to offer their sympathy regarding his misfortune. “Now your son cannot help you with your farming,” they said. “Such bad luck you have!”
“Bad luck or good luck, we’ll see.” replied the farmer.
The following week, military officials came to the village to draft young men for the army. Seeing that the farmer’s son had a broken leg they passed him by. They neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things turned out. “Such great news. You must be so happy!”
The old farmer smiled to himself and said once again.