Joy and woe are woven fine

Once upon a time, an old farmer lived in a poor country village. His neighbours considered him well-to-do because he owned a horse, which he used for many years to work his crops. One day his beloved horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours gathered to commiserate with him.

“Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“May be,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, but brought with it six wild horses.

“How wonderful,” the neighbours rejoiced.

“May be,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Again, the neighbours visited the farmer to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“May be,” said the farmer.

The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“May be,” the farmer replied.

– lifted from the book “The Myths of Happiness”

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