Sunday, February 20, 2011

Old man at the Fort

Horses. Mixed media painting by Robert Joyner. 

" The great Taoist philosopher Liehtse gave the famous parable of the Old Man At the Fort:
An Old Man was living with his Son at an abandoned fort on the top of a hill, and one day he lost a horse. The neighbors came to express their sympathy for this misfortune, and the
Old Man asked "How do you know this is bad luck?" A few days afterwards, his horse returned with a number of wild horses, and his neighbors came again to congratulate him on this stroke of fortune, and the Old Man replied, "How do you know this is good luck?" With so many horses around, his son began to take to riding, and one day he broke his leg. Again the neighbors came around to express their sympathy, and the Old Man replied, "How do you know this is bad luck?" The next year, there was a war, and because the Old Man's son was crippled, he did not have to go to the front."
From The Importance of Living. Lin Yutang, New York, 1937

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