The Farmers Fortune Or Misfortune: A Story About Meaning!
One day while working out in the fields the farmer’s son fell and broke his leg. The villagers came to the farm and said, ‘My, that’s a great misfortune. Your son has broken his leg: now he can’t help you in the fields.’ The farmer said, ‘It is neither a fortune nor a misfortune.’ A day later, the government troops came to the village looking for young men to conscript into the army. They had to leave the boy behind because his leg was broken. Again, the villagers came to the farm and said, ‘My, that’s a great fortune.’ The farmer replied, ‘It is neither a fortune nor a misfortune.’ Then one day the farmer’s only horse jumped the fence and ran away. The villagers came to the farm and said, ‘What a great misfortune that your horse has run away.’ The farmer said, ‘It is neither a fortune nor a misfortune.’ Two or three days later, the horse came back with a dozen wild horses following behind him. The villagers came to him and said, ‘It’s a great fortune that your horse came back with twelve others.’ The farmer replied, ‘It is neither a fortune nor a misfortune.’ …You see the farmer was wise enough to know that everything that was happening had a purpose and meaning beyond the simple appearance of the event that had occurred. So many times we are trapped by the emotion of the events in our lives. Remember the teaching of the Tao . . . ‘nothing is long or short, hot or cold, good or bad.’ If you define it as good or bad, you always must ask yourself ‘Good in relation to what or bad in relation to what? Until we decide what the event means to us there is no meaning.