This week, I want to share one of my favourite stories. I found it in the book “Lightweight Luggage” by Carlos G. Vallés. I discovered it while looking for information on luck and fate, long before the publication of “Good Luck”, and I included it in one of the chapters of my first book, “Letters to Myself/ The Inner Compass”. But this time on the blog I decided to make it a bit longer, though preserving its meaning.

It is a short story that makes us reflect on the sign of the circumstances we live in life, and how in some cases (not always, of course) we can interpret events, often being partial and limited, which blinds us from further lessons that life shows us over time.

A delicious short story that makes us think, and that makes us smile. It goes like this:

“A Chinese story speaks of an old farmer, widower and very poor, who lived in a village, also really poor.

A warm summer day, a beautiful wild horse, young and strong, descended from the mountain meadows in search of food and drink in the village. That summer, the intense sun and little rain, had burnt the grass and there was hardly a drop in the streams. So the horse sought desperately food and drink with which to survive.

Fate brought that the animal happened to go to the elderly farmer’s stable, where it found the wanted food and drink. The old man’s son, hearing the hoofbeats of the horse in the stable, and realizing that a magnificent specimen had entered his property, decided to put this wood block on the door to prevent its departure.

The news sprinted through the village and the neighbours came over to congratulate the elderly farmer and his son. It was very lucky of them that this beautiful young wild hack had come to their stable. It was indeed an animal that would cost a lot of money if it had to be purchased. But there it was, in the barn, quietly slaking its hunger and thirst.

When the elderly farmer’s neighbours came to congratulate him on this unexpected gift of life, the farmer replied, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows!”. And they did not understand…

As it turned out, the next day, the horse felt fine, and agile and strong as it was as a few, managed to jump the fence and jumped back into the mountains. When the elderly farmer’s neighbours came to condole with him and lament his misfortune, he answered them, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows!”. And again they did not understand…

A week later, the young and strong horse returned from the mountains bringing a huge band of horses and taking them one by one, to the stable where it knew it would find food and water for all of its own. Young females of childbearing age, ponies of all colors, over forty specimens followed the steed that a week before had quenched its thirst and hunger in the stable of the old farmer. The neighbours could not believe it! Suddenly, the old farmer had become rich in the most unexpected way. His assets grew by random result of a generous fate for him and his family. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on his extraordinary good luck. But to this, again he replied, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows!”. And the neighbours thought the old man had lost his mind, definitely. It was certain good luck to have suddenly and randomly, over forty horses in the stable home without paying a penny for them.

But the next day, the farmer’s son was attempting to tame that one to guide all the wild horses, the one who had come the first time, fled by the next day, and brought back all its band to stop to the barn. If tamed, no horse or pony would escape from the stable. Taking the head of the pack under control, there was no risk of loss. But that horse was not that easy, and when the young man rode to command it, the animal reared up and kicked him, causing the boy to fall to the ground and receive many kicks that resulted in broken bones in arms, hands, feet and legs. Naturally, everyone considered this as a disgrace. Not the farmer though, whose only reaction was to say, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows!” To which the neighbours did not know what to answer.

And, a few weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every youth who were in good condition. But when they saw the farmer’s son in such bad shape, he was left alone, and the soldiers went their way. The neighbours left in the village, parents and grandparents of dozens of young people who left the same day for the war, went to the elderly farmer and his son, and expressed them the enormous good fortune that the young man had about not having to march into a war that, in all probability, would end the life of many of his friends. To which the sage man replied: “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows!”.


It is true that, in many cases, what we think is a blessing ends up becoming a nightmare, while in many others, what seems a setback, maybe opens the door to a situation that, over time, will be appreciated.

A story which is worth, and very much, stopping and thinking over.

Kisses and hugs,



Alex Rovira