塞翁失马 - A blessing in disguise (Chinese parable)
塞翁失马，焉知非福 = “A loss, no bad thing” (Chinese Idiom)
In ancient China, there lived an old farmer who worked a small plot of land with his teenage son. They were poor even by the most modest standards. During this time, horses were considered great treasures; the richest person in the province owned no more than a few of them. One day, a wild horse came galloping into the town, jumped the old farmer’s fence, and began grazing on his land. According to local law, this meant that the horse now rightfully belonged to him and his family. The boy could hardly contain his joy, but the father put his hand on his son’s shoulder and said, “Who knows if this is good or bad? We shall see.”
The next day, the horse made its escape back to the mountains, and the boy was heartbroken. “Who knows if this is good or bad? We shall see,” said his father again, with the same equanimity he’d shown the day before. On the third day, the horse returned with a dozen wild horses following! The boy could hardly believe his good fortune. “We’re rich!” he cried, to which the father replied, “Who knows if this is good or bad? We shall see.” On the fourth day, the boy climbed on one of the wild horses and was thrown, breaking his leg when he landed. His father ran to get the doctor and was soon helping him treat the boy, who was crying and complaining about his miserable fate. The old farmer wiped the boy’s forehead with a wet cloth, looked deeply into his eyes, and said directly, “My dear son, who knows if this is good or bad? We shall see.” And on the fifth day, the province went to war, and army recruiters came through the town and conscripted all the young men—except for the one with a broken leg.