塞翁失馬  > pron: Sāi Wēng Shī Mǎ

During the Han Dynasty, in the third century B.C., one day an old Chinese man named Sai Weng, lost his horse. His neighbors all said what terrible luck that was, and sympathized with the old man. But Mister Weng said: “I don’t know, maybe losing my horse is not a bad thing after all.”
The next day the old man’s horse returned, together with a beautiful female horse alongside him. All the neighbors exclaimed: “What great luck!” But the old man responded: “Maybe this is not such good luck after all.”
Old man Sai Weng also had a strong, young son. The boy fell in love with the new horse and rode her every day. One day the new horse got spooked by a wild animal in the forest and threw the boy from her back. He broke his leg very badly and was permanently crippled.
All Mister Weng’s neighbors said: “What a tragedy, your strong son will never walk without pain again.” But the old man again said: “Maybe this is not such a bad thing after all.”
And so it went that when the New Year came, the Emperor’s army passed through the region and recruited all able young men to fight in the frontier war. Because the old man’s son was crippled he could not fight and was left in the village to farm with his father. Sai Weng said to his neighbors: “You see, it all turned out OK in the end. Being thrown from the new horse and breaking his leg saved my son from fighting in the war and almost certain death. So it was in the end a lucky thing after all.”

Whenever bad thing happens in China, someone will say “Sai Weng Shi Ma” ( “The Old Man Who Lost His Horse”) to remind themselves and others that apparently bad things sometimes have a silver lining.

Happy Chinese New Year for Everybody in Year of The Horse

新年快樂 > xīn nián kuài lè

The story is taken from Just Another Day in China

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