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Misfortune may be an actual blessing

Near China's northern borders lived a man well versed in the practices of
Taoism. His horse, for no reason at all, got into the territory of the northern
tribes. Everyone commiserated with him.

"Perhaps this will soon turn out to
be a blessing," said his father.

After a few months, his animal came back,
leading a fine horse from the north. Everyone congratulated him.
"Perhaps
this will soon turn out to be a cause of misfortune," said his father.

Since
he was well-off and kept good horses his son became fond of riding and
eventually broke his thigh bone falling from a horse. Everyone commiserated with
him.

"Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said his
father.

One year later, the northern tribes started a big invasion of the
border regions. All able-bodied young men took up arms and fought against the
invaders, and as a result, around the border nine out of ten men died. This
man's son did not join in the fighting because he was crippled and so both the
boy and his father survived.

塞翁失马,焉知非福


战国时期,靠近北部边城,住着一个老人,名叫塞翁。塞翁养了许多马,一天,他的马群中忽然有一匹走失了。邻居们听说这件事,跑来安慰,劝他不必太着急,年龄大了,多注意身体。塞翁见有人劝慰,笑了笑说:“丢了一匹马损失不大,没准会带来什么福气呢。”

邻居听了塞翁的话,心里觉得很好笑。马丢了,明明是件坏事,他却认为也许是好事,显然是自我安慰而已。过了几天,丢失的马不仅自动返回家,还带回一匹匈奴的骏马。

邻居听说了,对塞翁的预见非常佩服,向塞翁道贺说:“还是您有远见,马不仅没有丢,还带回一匹好马,真是福气呀。”

塞翁听了邻人的祝贺,反而一点高兴的样子都没有,忧虑地说:“白白得了一匹好马,不一定是什么福气,也许惹出什么麻烦来。”

邻居们以为他故作姿态纯属老年人的狡猾。心里明明高兴,有意不说出来。

塞翁有个独生子,非常喜欢骑马。他发现带回来的那匹马顾盼生姿,身长蹄大,嘶鸣嘹亮,膘悍神骏,一看就知道是匹好马。他每天都骑马出游,心中洋洋得意。

一天,他高兴得有些过火,打马飞奔,一个趔趄,从马背上跌下来,摔断了腿。邻居听说,纷纷来慰问。

塞翁说:“没什么,腿摔断了却保住性命,或许是福气呢。”邻居们觉得他又在胡言乱语。他们想不出,摔断腿会带来什么福气。

不久,匈奴兵大举入侵,青年人被应征入伍,塞翁的儿子因为摔断了腿,不能去当兵。入伍的青年都战死了,唯有塞翁的儿子保全了性命。

2016-06-24

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