Good thing, bad thing – who knows?

There was once a farmer who owned a horse and had a son.

One day, his horse ran away. The neighbours came to express their concern: “Oh, that’s too bad. How are you going to work the fields now?” The farmer replied: “Good thing, Bad thing, Who knows?”

In a few days, his horse came back and brought another horse with her. Now, the neighbours were glad: “Oh, how lucky! Now you can do twice as much work as before!” The farmer replied: “Good thing, Bad thing, Who knows?”

The next day, the farmer’s son fell off the new horse and broke his leg. The neighbours were concerned again: “Now that he is incapacitated, he can’t help you around, that’s too bad.” The farmer replied: “Good thing, Bad thing, Who knows?”

Soon, the news came that a war broke out, and all the young men were required to join the army. The villagers were sad because they knew that many of the young men will not come back. The farmer’s son could not be drafted because of his broken leg. His neighbours were envious: “How lucky! You get to keep your only son.” The farmer replied: “Good thing, Bad thing, Who knows?”

The wisdom of Benjamin Graham

“I blamed myself not so much for my failure to protect myself against the disaster I had been predicting, as for having slipped into an extravagant way of life which I hadn’t the temperament  or capacity to enjoy. I quickly convinced myself that the true key to material happiness lay in a modest standard of living which could be achieved with little difficulty under almost all economic conditions”

Benjamin Graham, The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street