Thursday Mar 06, 2003

As Luck Will Have It

I heard this Chinese folktale many years ago and its meaning stuck with me as a true friend.

A man named Sei Weng owned a beautiful mare, which was praised far and wide. One day this beautiful horse disappeared. The people of his village offered sympathy to Sei Weng for his great misfortune. Sei Weng said simply, “That’s the way it is.”

A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated Sei Weng for his good fortune. He said, “That’s the way it is.”

Some time later, Sei Weng’s only son, while riding the stallion, fell off and broke his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at Sei Weng’s misfortune. Sei Weng again said, “That’s the way it is.”

Soon thereafter, war broke out and all the young men of the village, except Sei Weng’s lame son, were drafted and were killed in battle. The village people were amazed as Sei Weng’s good luck. His son was the only young man left alive in the village. But, Sei Weng kept his same attitude: despite all the turmoil, gains and losses, he gave the same reply, “That’s the way it is.”»

Excerpt from: The Asian Mind Game: Unlocking the Hidden Agendas of the Asian Business Culture: A Westerner’s Survival Manual (Scribner; January 1991) by Chin-ning Chu, an East-West marketing consultant.

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