A great story from my childhood came back to me tonight, with new meaning.
"Long ago in a village in northern China, there lived a man who owned a magnificent horse. So beautiful was this horse that people came from miles around just to admire it. They told him he was blessed to own such a horse.
'Perhaps,' he said. 'But what seems like a blessing may be a curse.'
One day, the horse ran off. It was gone. People came to say how sorry they were for his bad luck.
'Perhaps,' he said. 'But what seems like a curse may be a blessing.'
A few weeks later, the horse returned. It was not alone. It was followed by twenty-one wild horses. By the law of the land, they became his property. He was rich with horses.
His neighbors came to congratulate him on his good fortune. ‘Truly,’ they said, ‘you have been blessed.’
'Perhaps. But what seems like a blessing may be a curse.'
Shortly after that his son-his only son-tried to ride one of the wild horses. He was thrown from it and broke his leg. The man’s neighbors came to say how sorry they were. Surely, he had been cursed. ‘Perhaps,’ he said. ‘But what seems like a curse may be a blessing.’
A week later, the king came through that village, drafting every able-bodied young man for a war against the people of the north. It was a horrible war. Everyone who went from that village was killed. Only that man’s son survived, because of his broken leg.
To this day, in that village, they say, ‘What seems like a blessing may be a curse. What seems like a curse may be a blessing.’”