Many years ago there was an old man who had one son and a horse. One day his horse broke out of the corral and fled to the freedom of the hills. “Your horse got out? What bad luck!” said his neighbours.

“Why do you say that?” asked the old man. “How do you know it’s bad luck?”

Sure enough, in the next night the horse came back to his familiar corral for his usual feeding and watering, leading twelve wild horses with him. The farmer’s son saw the horses in the corral, slipped out a side door and locked the gate. Suddenly the farmer and his son had thirteen horses instead of one. The neighbours heard the good news and rushed to the farmer, “Thirteen horses! What good luck you have.”

The old farmer answered, “How do you know that it’s good luck?”

Some days later his strong young son trying to ride one of the wild horses, was thrown off and broke a leg. The neighbour came back that night and passed another hasty judgement: “Your son broke his leg. What bad luck!”

The wise father answered again, “How do you know its bad luck?”

Sure enough, a few days later a warlord came through the town and conscripted every able-bodied young man, taking them off to war, never to return to their homes again. But the young man was saved because of his broken leg.