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  • Writer's pictureFiona Djapouras

The Stallion Parable

There is a old Chinese parable that tells the story of an old farmer in a small village in China. The farmer owned a stallion which was his most prized possession. One day, he entered the stallion in a competition and it won the first prize. All of his neighbours rushed over to congratulate the old farmer and yet, the farmer’s calm response was, “Who knows what is good or what is bad?” The neighbours left him, feeling puzzled as they expected him to rejoice and celebrate his winnings.


The next week, thieves broke in the farmer’s stable and stole the stallion. When the neighbours learnt of this, they rushed over to console the old farmer. They found the farmer looking perfectly calm and at ease and he said, “Who knows what is good or what is bad?” Puzzled yet again, the neightbours left him, thinking that this old farmer is probably becoming senile.


The following week, the stallion escapes and returns to the farmer, bringing back several wild horses with him. The neighbours were amazed by this wonderful twist of fate and rushed over to share in the farmer’s joy. They found him again being very calm and unaffected by his good fortune, saying, “Who knows what is good or what is bad?”


Three days later, the farmer’s only son rode one of the wild horses in his attempt to tame it. The horse threw the son him to the ground and he broke his leg. The neighbours rushed over to comfort the farmer and were quite disturbed when they found him being very calm. He quietly told them, “Who knows what is good or what is bad?”


A fortnight later, a war broke out in the region. The army wanted to conscript young men to join and fight the war. However, they couldn’t take the farmer’s son due to his broken leg. However, they couldn’t take the farmer’s son due to his broken leg. This time, the neighbours didn’t rush over to congratulate him as they knew what the farmer was going to say…“Who knows what is good or what is bad?”


The moral to this story is what can look like a sad situation, may be a blessing. Who knows what is good or what is bad.


Life happens for you, it unfolds to teach you something that needs to be learned. If we always look at each event as "who knows what is good or what is bad" then we are able to look at the experiences with more opportunity than disaster.


This can be applied to our lives today, no matter what we experience, whichever belief we have on whether it is good or bad, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.








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