There is a well-known folktale about a peasant who had a beautiful white horse. One night the horse ran away. When the neighbors learn of his misfortune, they come to offer their sympathy, saying, “We are so sorry for your bad luck.” They are surprised by their neighbor’s response when he says, “Could be bad luck; could also be good luck. You never know.” The next day the peasant’s horse returns together with a beautiful stallion. The neighbors come to congratulate him, saying: “You are so lucky. Not only has your horse returned, you now have two beautiful horses.” Again the peasant’s reply baffles them when he says: “Could be good luck; could also be bad luck.
You never know.” The next day the peasant’s son is thrown off one of the horses while riding and he breaks his leg. The neighbors again come to comfort the peasant, saying: “We are so sorry to hear of your son’s bad luck.” Again the peasant replies:
“Could be bad luck; could also be good luck. You never know.”
The next day officials from the government come to the village to conscript every able-bodied young man to go fight in a senseless war. All the young men of the village are taken except for the peasant’s son, who could not serve in the army with a broken leg. In the end he is the only young man in the village to survive the war—all because of his bad-good luck. the end he is the only young man in the village to survive the war—all because of his bad-good luck.
Moral of the story: “ Like the neighbors in this tale, we tend to judge and label all our experiences in life as good or bad, desirable or undesirable. This is a manifestation of our fixation on duality.” Estelle Frankel, The Wisdom of not Knowing: Discovering a life of Wonder)