The old Man and his Horse

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The Farmer and His Horse(also known as “The Old Man and His Horse” or “Sai Weng Lost His Horse”) is a classic Taoist story from China. Its origins are ancient, and like many parables, its exact authorship is uncertain. However, it’s often associated with the foundational texts of Taoism. Enjoy it and discover its lessons.

Listen to the audio story of The Old Man and His Horse

In a small village surrounded by rolling hills, there lived an old farmer named Li. He had a single horse, a beautiful and strong creature that helped him with his daily chores.

One day, as the sun was setting, the horse broke through the fence and ran away into the wild. A neighbor, hearing of the misfortune, rushed over and exclaimed, “Oh, Li! Such bad luck you’ve had!”

Li looked up and replied calmly, “Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll see.”

A week later, to everyone’s astonishment, the horse returned, and it wasn’t alone. It brought with it a magnificent wild stallion. The same neighbor hurried over, eyes wide, and said, “Li, you were right! It wasn’t bad luck at all. It was a blessing! Now you have two strong horses!”

Li, pausing from his work, responded, “Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few days later, Li’s son tried to tame the wild stallion. But the stallion was strong and threw the young man off its back, causing him to break his leg. The neighbor, once again, came running, shaking his head, “I was wrong earlier. This stallion is not a blessing but a curse! Your son has broken his leg!”

Li, looking at his injured son, said gently, “Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll see.”

As fate would have it, a few weeks later, the emperor’s men arrived at the village. They were drafting young men to join the army for a war that was brewing on the horizon. Seeing Li’s son’s broken leg, they passed him by. Many of the other young men from the village were taken, and sadly, many did not return. The same neighbor, with tears in his eyes, approached Li and said, “Your wisdom is unparalleled, Li. Your son’s injury saved him from a terrible fate.”

Li, gazing into the distance, simply said, “Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll see.”

The story of the farmer and his horse reminds us of the unpredictable nature of life and the wisdom in reserving judgment. What may seem like misfortune one day might be a blessing the next, and vice versa.

Moral Of the Story

The story of the farmer and his horse reminds us of the unpredictable nature of life and the wisdom in reserving judgment. What may seem like misfortune one day might be a blessing the next, and vice versa.

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