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Parable of the Chinese Farmer

Farmer in field

Equanimous Farmer

Once there was a Chinese farmer who worked his poor farm together with his son and their horse. When the horse ran off one day, neighbors came to say, “How unfortunate for you!” The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

When the horse returned, followed by a herd of wild horses, the neighbors gathered around and exclaimed, “What good luck for you!” The farmer stayed calm and replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
While trying to tame one of wild horses, the farmer’s son fell, and broke his leg. He had to rest up and couldn’t help with the farm chores. “How sad for you,” the neighbors cried. “Maybe yes, maybe no,” said the farmer.
Shortly thereafter, a neighboring army threatened the farmer’s village. All the young men in the village were drafted to fight the invaders. Many died. But the farmer’s son had been left out of the fighting because of his broken leg. People said to the farmer, “What a good thing your son couldn’t fight!” “Maybe yes, maybe no,” was all the farmer said.

10 comments

1 maybeyesmaybeno { 04.14.14 at 10:09 pm }

Thank you for sharing this wonderful tale.

:)

2 And Stuff Podcast: Episode 003 — That Damned Luminous Orb! | Adventures in Thing Making { 07.09.15 at 10:49 am }

[…] the parable of the chinese farmer […]

3 Parable of the Chinese Farmer | curatedlifeblog { 04.16.16 at 11:44 pm }

[…] As found on http://www.whatilearnedwhen.net/ […]

4 Dante { 05.29.16 at 8:01 pm }

Am I glad I found this parable? Maybe yes, maybe no.

5 Angeles { 06.13.16 at 9:20 pm }

That does not apply to all

6 Bradford Hatcher { 11.13.16 at 5:53 pm }

The story (of Sei Weng) comes from The Huainanzi 淮南子 in the early Han Dynasty, more than 2000 years ago.

7 Alise { 03.09.17 at 9:04 pm }

Then what happened?

8 Making The Right Choice™ – Rough Earth { 03.27.17 at 12:57 am }

[…] may have come across the Parable of the Chinese Farmer in some form or another. It’s often quoted in Taoist or zen Buddhist or New Age circles. […]

9 Tripped by An Angel { 04.23.17 at 4:24 pm }

[…] are being helped, not always in the way we expect. But, always moving us, blessing us.  Like the parable of the Chinese farmer, you can’t judge an event without knowing the whole picture. The one we never have at the […]

10 ReinaldoX { 06.25.17 at 8:48 am }

I must say you have very interesting articles here.
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