Author Topic: Good luck? Bad luck?  (Read 9320 times)

arebelspy

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Good luck? Bad luck?
« on: July 14, 2013, 12:43:07 AM »
I'm reading a book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, and in this book there is a short story I thought some here might find insightful or entertaining.  I did.

Quote
An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day, the horse ran away.

"How terrible," sympathized the neighbors. "What bad luck."

"Who knows whether it is bad luck or good luck," the farmer replied.



A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.

"What wonderful luck!" said the neighbors.

"Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?" answered the old man.



The next day, the son, trying to tame one of the horses, fell and broke his leg.

"How terrible. What bad luck!"

"Bad luck? Good luck?"

 

The army came to all the farms to take the young men for war. The farmer’s son was of no use to them, so he was spared.

"Good? Bad?"
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footenote

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 05:53:53 AM »
I quote this fable frequently, especially when others are complainypants. And I try to remember it myself when I project "What good fortune!" or "Oh, that's so unfortunate!" onto a situation.

A few events in life (painful, incurable disease or disability) are clearly 99% awful. (And I would never tell this fable to someone who has just lost a spouse or been diagnosed with a terminal illness or severe disability. All that person needs is my sympathy, listening and support.)

But the vast majority of events in life are what we make of them, neither pure "good" nor pure "bad." Great post!

arebelspy

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 09:57:22 AM »
There's like four little ultra short fables like this in the story, all very stoic in nature.  Worth reading, IMO.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

Russ

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2013, 12:58:03 PM »
This is one of the more popular Taoist fables, and also one of my favorites. Very good for keeping yourself grounded IMO. Thanks for sharing.

dragoncar

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2013, 02:06:34 PM »
I'm reading a book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, and in this book there is a short story I thought some here might find insightful or entertaining.  I did.

Quote
An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day, the horse ran away.

"How terrible," sympathized the neighbors. "What bad luck."

"Who knows whether it is bad luck or good luck," the farmer replied.



A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.

"What wonderful luck!" said the neighbors.

"Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?" answered the old man.



The next day, the son, trying to tame one of the horses, fell and broke his leg.

"How terrible. What bad luck!"

"Bad luck? Good luck?"

 

The army came to all the farms to take the young men for war. The farmer’s son was of no use to them, so he was spared.

"Good? Bad?"

And then the Vogons came and obliterated Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

"Tough luck" they said as they flew away.

The end.

tooqk4u22

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2013, 10:21:37 AM »
That is one of my favorites.

Another of my favorites, which has been posted on so many PF blogs including MMM (although I think it was a guest post) is this:

Two close boyhood friends grow up and go their separate ways. One becomes a humble monk, the other a rich and powerful minister to the king. Years later they meet. As they catch up, the minister (in his fine robes) takes pity on the thin, shabby monk.

Seeking to help, he says: ”You know, if you could learn to cater to the king you wouldn’t have to live on rice and beans.”

To which the monk replies: ”If you could learn to live on rice and beans you wouldn’t have to cater to the king.”


ace1224

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2013, 10:30:35 AM »
whoa.  mind blown.  this is going to affect all complaineypants feelings from now on.  thanks

Jamesqf

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2013, 12:35:44 PM »
An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day, the horse ran away.

...

A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.

Chalk up another one for ignorance of horses: using a stallion to pull their plow?  Not smart.

arebelspy

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2013, 01:13:25 PM »
Two close boyhood friends grow up and go their separate ways. One becomes a humble monk, the other a rich and powerful minister to the king. Years later they meet. As they catch up, the minister (in his fine robes) takes pity on the thin, shabby monk.

Seeking to help, he says: ”You know, if you could learn to cater to the king you wouldn’t have to live on rice and beans.”

To which the monk replies: ”If you could learn to live on rice and beans you wouldn’t have to cater to the king.”

Hell yeah.  I love that story.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
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Rural

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 05:40:06 AM »
An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day, the horse ran away.

...

A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.

Chalk up another one for ignorance of horses: using a stallion to pull their plow?  Not smart.

Heh. I didn't even notice until you said something.

arebelspy

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 09:58:24 AM »
Sometimes one must make do with the tools they have.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

Rural

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 10:56:59 AM »
Sometimes one must make do with the tools they have.

True, but that particular tool put to that application is fairly likely to seriously injure or kill you.

Editing to add that I like the story regardless, since I realized I hadn't said so. It's just that part doesn't actually work, why they call it fiction, you know.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 11:01:42 AM by Rural »

Jamesqf

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 12:15:20 PM »
Editing to add that I like the story regardless, since I realized I hadn't said so. It's just that part doesn't actually work, why they call it fiction, you know.

Maybe I'm too literal-minded, since catching details like that always jars me.  (I might have made a good editor...)  Like the one about old folks having to eat cat food 'cause they're on a budget: did the people who came up with that ever bother to go to the grocery store and check the price of (canned) cat food?  It ain't cheap...

oldladystache

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 08:07:46 PM »
An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day, the horse ran away.

...

A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.

Chalk up another one for ignorance of horses: using a stallion to pull their plow?  Not smart.

A) A stallion can pull a plow as well as any other horse.
B) Where does it say it was a stallion?

Rural

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 11:18:31 PM »
An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day, the horse ran away.

...

A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.

Chalk up another one for ignorance of horses: using a stallion to pull their plow?  Not smart.

A) A stallion can pull a plow as well as any other horse.
B) Where does it say it was a stallion?

It says he was a stallion when the mares followed him home. They wouldn't have done that with a gelding or another mare.

A stallion could certainly pull a plow, if he chose to, but he won't. The details of "won't" are likely to end up with a dead or maimed plowman -- that's the trouble.

arebelspy

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2013, 11:38:41 PM »
Then take your pick:
They were successfully plowing with a tamed stallion, or
The mares followed another mare home.

Choose whichever you feel is most plausible.

Or, you know, let it go and try to realize the point of the story.  :)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
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Rural

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2013, 06:11:42 AM »
Then take your pick:
They were successfully plowing with a tamed stallion, or
The mares followed another mare home.

Choose whichever you feel is most plausible.

Or, you know, let it go and try to realize the point of the story.  :)

I like option #3 myself. I was just explaining how we figured out it was a stallion, since someone asked and it doesn't say explicitly. The point of the story is unaffected by the equine characters. :)

tooqk4u22

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2013, 06:56:26 AM »
Then take your pick:
They were successfully plowing with a tamed stallion, or
The mares followed another mare home.

Choose whichever you feel is most plausible.

Or, you know, let it go and try to realize the point of the story.  :)

Initially my response to those posts was "who the f cares, it has nothing to do with the point of the story" but because I don't know a damn thing about horses I got curious and started looking it up.  I still don't know anything but an opportunity to learn something new that I never ever would have thought about without that post is nice.

Jamesqf

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 11:35:21 AM »
Choose whichever you feel is most plausible.

That was just my point: knowing a bit about horses, I realize that none of those is really plausible, and I just have the kind of mind (yeah, I know it's a personality problem: sue me) for which that lack of verismilitude really gets in the way.

PS: And I also realize that poor farmer and his son now have to feed 6 horses, take care of their hooves, clean up massive piles of manure...
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 11:38:02 AM by Jamesqf »

arebelspy

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2013, 12:22:02 PM »
And I also realize that poor farmer and his son now have to feed 6 horses, take care of their hooves, clean up massive piles of manure...

Good luck?  Bad luck?
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

grantmeaname

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2013, 12:23:13 PM »
Who knows.

Rural

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2013, 05:40:54 AM »
And I also realize that poor farmer and his son now have to feed 6 horses, take care of their hooves, clean up massive piles of manure...

Good luck?  Bad luck?

Organic fertilizer. Should age it first, but it's not as high in nitrogen as cow manure, so you don't have to compost it as thoroughly to avoid burning your plants.

Lotta work, though.

ace1224

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2013, 06:00:04 AM »
And I also realize that poor farmer and his son now have to feed 6 horses, take care of their hooves, clean up massive piles of manure...

Good luck?  Bad luck?

Organic fertilizer. Should age it first, but it's not as high in nitrogen as cow manure, so you don't have to compost it as thoroughly to avoid burning your plants.

Lotta work, though.

sells good though.  i have bought a bag from a horse barn for 20 dollars a bag....they call it black gold

Jamesqf

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Re: Good luck? Bad luck?
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2013, 11:17:28 AM »
sells good though.  i have bought a bag from a horse barn for 20 dollars a bag....they call it black gold

Funny, around here they give it away.