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Blessing Or Bane

The squire at the frontier lost his horse
Certain bad luck is actually "a blessing in disguise."

Blessing or Bane

Near China's northern borders lived a man well versed in the practices of Taoism. His horse, for no reason at all, got into the territory of the northern tribes. Everyone commiserated with him.

"Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said his father.

After a few months, his animal came back, leading a fine horse from the north. Everyone congratulated him.

"Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a cause of misfortune," said his father.

Since he was well-off and kept good horses his son became fond of riding and eventually broke his thigh bone falling from a horse. Everyone commiserated with him.

"Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said his father.

One year later, the northern tribes started a big invasion of the border regions. All able-bodied young men took up arms and fought against the invaders, and as a result, around the border nine out of ten men died. This man's son did not join in the fighting because he was crippled and so both the boy and his father survived.

Another story conveying a moral of  bless or bane happened in the state of Sung, and the old man and his son also ended up with lucky escape of death from an invasion and besiege. But that a black cow born a white calf and the subsequent sacrificing  implies more mysterious and spiritual senses instand of philosophical wisdom:

A family in Sung had for three generations never swerved from the path of virtue. Without any apparent reason a black cow belonging to this family dropped a white calf, Confucius was asked, and said that it was a lucky omen, and that the calf ought to be sacrificed to the spirits, which was done accordingly. 

After one year, the father of the family became blind without a reason.  

The cow then produced a white calf a second time. The father sent his son to ask Confucius, who replied that it was a propitious portent, and that the animal must be immolated, which was done again. 

After a year, the son lost his eye-sight, nobody knew why.  Subsequently, Ch'u attacked Sung, and besieged its capital. At that time the besieged were in such a distress, that they exchanged their sons, and ate them, breaking their bones, which they used as firewood. It was but for their blindness that father and son were not called upon to mount guard on the city wall. When the enemy's army raised the siege, father and son could see again.