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“塞翁失马,焉知非福。”

“Misfortune may be an actual blessing.”






近塞上之人有善术者。马无故亡而入胡。人皆吊之,其父曰:“此何遽不为福乎?”

Near China's northern borders lived an old man well versed in the practices of Taoism. His horse, for no reason at all, got into the territory of the northern tribes. Everyone commiserated with him. "Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said the old man.






居数月,其马将胡骏马而归。人皆贺之,其父曰:“此何遽不能为祸乎?”

After a few months, his animal came back, leading a fine horse from the north. Everyone congratulated him. "Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a cause of misfortune." said the old man.






家富良马,其子好骑,堕而折其髀。

Since he was well-off and kept good horses, his son became fond of riding and eventually fell off the horse and broke his thigh bone.






人皆吊之,其父曰:“此何遽不为福乎?”

Everyone commiserated with him. "Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing," said the old man.






居一年,胡人大入塞,丁壮者引弦而战,近塞之人,死者十九,此独以跛之故,父子相保。

One year later, the northern tribes started an invasion of the border regions. All non-disabled young men took up arms and fought against the invaders, and as a result, nine out of ten men died around the border. The old man's son did not join in the war because he was crippled, and they both survived.






故福之为祸,祸之为福,化不可极,深不可测也。

Blessing into misfortune, and misfortune into a blessing, its pattern is unfathomable.