Bad luck or Good luck?
There is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped to the hills and when the farmer's neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?"
A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, "Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?"
Then, when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?"
Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg, they let him off.
Now was that good luck or bad luck? Who knows?
A legend tells of a man who used to carry water every day to his village, using two large pitchers tied on either end of a piece of wood, which he placed across his shoulders.
One of the pitchers was older than the other and was full of small cracks; every time the man came back along the path to his house, half of the water was lost.
For two years, the man made the same journey. The younger pitcher was always very proud of the way it did its work and was sure that it was up to the task for which it had been created, while the other pitcher was mortally ashamed that it could carry out only half its task, even though it knew that the cracks were the result of long years of work.
So ashamed was the old pitcher, that one day, while the man was preparing to fill it up with water from the well, it decided to speak to him.
"I wish to apologize because, due to my age, you only manage to take home half the water you fill me with, and thus quench only half the thirst awaiting you in your house."
The man smiled and said: "When we go back, be sure to take a careful look at the path."
The pitcher did as the man asked and noticed many flowers and plants growing along one side of the path.
"Do you see how much more beautiful nature is on your side of the road?" the man remarked. "I knew you had cracks, but I decided to take advantage of them. I sowed vegetables and flowers there, and you always watered them. I've picked dozens of roses to decorate my house, and my children have lettuce, cabbage and onions to eat. If you were not the way you are, I could never have done this. We all, at some point, grow old and acquire other qualities, and these can always be turned to good advantage."
-- Paulo Coelho