The Taoist farmer – Finding the hidden opportunities in life

The Taoist farmer lived in a remote village in the furthermost corner of China. He was not a wealthy man, but he was content with his life, and farmed a small plot of land with his son and wife. One day, a wild horse galloped on to his land, jumped the fence and began grazing in the farmer’s field. According to the provincial law, the horse now rightfully belonged to the farmer and his family. The farmer’s son could hardly contain his excitement, but the farmer put his hand on the son’s shoulder and said, “Don’t be quick to judge! Who knows what’s good or bad?”

The following day, the horse broke out of the field and galloped away. The farmer’s son was heartbroken. “Don’t be quick to judge,” said the father. “Who knows what is good or bad?”

On the third day, the horse returned with four mares. The farmer’s son could hardly believe their good fortune. “We’re rich!” he shouted, but again his father said to him, “ Don’t be quick to judge. Who knows what is good or bad?”

The following week, while riding the horses, the boy fell and broke his leg. The farmer ran to get the doctor: within a short time, both the farmer and the doctor were tending to the boy, who was moaning and complaining about his miserable fate. The farmer wiped his son’s forehead with a cool, damp cloth, looked deeply into his eyes ad reassured him once again, My son, do not be too quick to judge. Who knows what is good or bad?”

The following week, war broke out in the province, and army recruiters came through the village and conscripted all of the eligible young men – all except for one young man who was unable to fight due to a broken leg!

This parable was taken from The Flipside: Finding the Hidden Opportunities in Life

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