Zen Story: Perspective

In a village in China, there lived a farmer. One fine day, his horse ran away. When the neighbors heard, they immediately came to express their pity. “Oh, how sad!” they said to which the farmer replied, “Maybe.”

The next day, the runaway horse returned and brought back three other horses with him. The neighbors immediately exclaimed – “How lucky indeed!” The farmer only said, “Maybe.”

A few days later, the farmer’s young son who was riding one of the horses, fell and broke his leg. The neighbors immediately rushed to comfort his old father. “How sad,” they lamented. But even now the farmer said, “Maybe.”

The next day, the king’s men came to enlist young men into the army. On seeing the son’s broken leg, he was excused. When the neighbors heard, they cried, “How lucky!” The farmer replied, “Maybe.”


There are always two sides to a coin. You see the other one only when you flip it over. The same applies to life. When I was 13, I read a Sanskrit verse that said – You can never experience all good, or all bad. There is high tide and low tide. The bad phase shall pass. And so shall the good. There is no point grieving over losses to no end. Because life will turn around some day and you might as well look forward to the good times. Also, know fully well that there will be setbacks; but they too shall pass.


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