Who Knows What is Good and What is Bad?

Posted on April 16, 2012

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The other day, I heard a thought-provoking story.  I would like to share it with you, because who knows just how much it may help someone in changing their perspective on life or even a particular situation.  It’s an old Taoist parable.  Give it a read and let it marinate.

“When an old  farmer’s stallion wins a prize at a country show, his neighbor calls round to congratulate him, but the farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?

The next day some thieves come and steal his valuable animal.  His neighbor comes to commiserate with him, but the old man replies, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?

A few days later the spirited stallion escapes from the thieves and joins a herd of wild mares, leading them back to the farm.  The neighbor calls to share the farmer’s joy, but the farmer says, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?” 

The following day, while trying to break in one of the wild mares, the farmer’s son is thrown and fractures his leg.  The neighbor calls to share the farmer’s sorrow, but the old man’s attitude remains the same as before.

The following week the army passes by, forcibly conscripting soldiers for a war, but they do not take the farmer’s son because he cannot walk. The neighbor thinks to himself, “Who knows what is good and what is bad?”

He realizes that the old farmer must be a Taoist sage.”

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Posted in: inspiration