A long time ago there was a farmer who loved horses. When his favorite mare ran away he was sad, but when villagers came to sympathize he told them, “Yes, I have lost my horse but who knows what will happen. All we can do is wait.”
A few months later, the mare returned with a stallion and his neighbors congratulated him on his good luck. “Yes, this seems like good fortune, but who knows?”
One day, while he was riding the stallion, he fell and broke his hip. People gathered round to help him, commiserating, lamenting his bad fortune. He shrugged. “No one can tell the future.”
Shortly after, the area was attacked by marauders and all able-bodied men were conscripted to serve, but the farmer’s bad hip kept him safe from the fighting. Few returned home.
In years to come, whenever someone sympathized or rejoiced with him, his only response was, “Let us see what happens. You never can tell.”
Wit and wisdom from around the world and through the ages. Tales by Nancy King.