I heard this story some time ago and am not sure about its origin –
A poor farmer once opened the gate to his corral and his horse escaped into the mountains.
His friends, who were standing nearby, saw what happened and said, “How terrible this bad thing has happened to you.”
The poor farmer replied, “How do you know it’s bad?”
Two days later the horse returned with a herd of stallions and ran into the farmer’s corral and the farmer’s only son closed the gate behind them.
The farmer’s friends saw what happened and said, “Oh, how wonderful this good thing has happened to you.”
And the farmer replied, “How do you know it’s good?”
A week later the farmer’s son was breaking in one of the new stallions when he was thrown from the horse and broke his leg in several places.
The farmer’s friends saw what happened and said, “How dreadful this bad thing has happened to you.”
And the farmer replied, “How do you know it’s bad?”
A few days later a government official entered the farmer’s village and drafted all the able-bodied young men for war, for which they all died in battle.
The farmer was the only man in the village whose son was not taken away.
No man knows his personal future, and life-events must been seen in connection with other life-events.
Original Storyteller – Unknown
Retold by Steven R. Cook, D.Min.