Once upon a time, there was a wise old man who lived in the steppes. He owned many horses. One evening, after a long day of working in the fields, he came home to discover that one of his horses--a mare, had run off. His family and his neighbours searched the surrounding area. When they finally gave up, they sent him their condolences, “We are sorry that this unfortunate incident happened to you.” The old man of the steppes remarked calmly, “The loss of my mare is not necessarily a bad thing. All will be shown for its true worth in time.”
The next morning, the old man of the steppes looked up in the horizon and saw two horses coming towards his house. The first horse was his mare that had run off, and the other was a stallion following the mare. Even from a distance, he could see that this stallion was a war horse of great stature and worth. He quickly inquired at the county office whether anyone had reported the loss of their stallion. The county magistrate advised him to keep the horse until someone had reported it missing. That evening, the old man’s family and his neighbours celebrated the return of his mare as well as his newly acquired stallion. At the celebration, he was called upon to make a speech. The old man of the steppes stood up and remarked calmly, “The acquisition of this stallion is not necessarily a good thing. all will be shown for its true worth in time.”
A week later, the old man’s son took the stallion out for a ride. Not being skilled in manoeuvering a great war horse, the boy suffered a terrible fall. As a result, his leg was broken. The old man’s family and his neighbours crowded around the boy and commented, “This is an awful thing that has happened. This stallion has brought bad luck to the family.” The old man of the steppes stood by the boy and remarked calmly, “This accident is not necessarily a bad thing. All will be shown for its true worth in time.”
Sometime later, the kingdom was involved in a cruel and unjust war with a neighbouring kingdom. All the young men of the kingdom were called upon to enlist in the army. The old man’s neighbours lamented as all their sons were called off to fight in the war. It was impossible to escape the draft as the enlisting officers moved from county to county and house to house in search of all the young men. Inevitably, they finally came upon the old man’s house.
Seeing the stallion in the yard, they remarked to themselves, “This must be the home of a great warrior. But why has this coward not gone off to war? We must seize him at once.” When they searched the house, they found only the old man of the steppes, his wife and their crippled son. The enlisting officers then remarked, “This young man would have been a fine soldier if it were not for his broken leg. We cannot take him with us.” And thus, their son was exempted from fighting in the war. The old man’s neighbours, observing with amazement the declared, “What wisdom this old man has, that he can foresee both good and bad incidences for what they are truly worth!”