My Favorite story
So, today I was reminded of the following story. I absolutely love this story, it reminds me that we judge things are normally good or bad, because they do or don’t fit into our plan – it is not the situation itself but the judgment on them that makes them feel “good” or “bad’ to us, and our emotional response follows.
I didn’t, unfortunately make the story up, and sadly don’t know who to credit it to. It goes like this:
There was an old man living in a small village in a small country. He owned a beautiful white stallion which was the envy of every one who saw it. It came to the attention of the emperor, who sent an agent to buy the stallion. But the man loved the horse and refused the generous offer. His fellow villagers thought him mad – “that kind of money is not easy to come by.” They remonstrated.
Some time later the stallion broke out of it’s corral and ran off. “you see’, cried the villagers, it was a bad thing that you did not sell the horse for now you have no horse and no money.” The old man replied “It is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is, for we can never know the whole story”.
Some time later the stallion returned to the village trailing behind him a brood of wild mares that he had picked up in the mountains. “You were right’ cried the villagers “good thing that the horse ran off, now you have a whole herd.” The old man replied “It is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is, for we can never know the whole story”.
Some time later the old man’s son was breaking one of the wild mares for the saddle, and he was thrown and broke both his legs, becoming lame. “Oh ho,” the villages pronounced “it was a bad thing that the horse came back with this herd, now your son is lame. Better to have no horses then a lame son.” The old man replied “It is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is, for we can never know the whole story”.
Some time later the small country went to war with it’s neighbor, and the emperor started a conscription campaign, conscripting all the young men in the villages of the land. The villages knew that their sons were unlikely to make it home alive. “Who would have thought, it is a good thing your son is lame, at least he will survive this terrible war, when our sons will most likely die” they declared to the old man “It is neither good nor bad, it simply is what it is, for we can never know the whole story”.