Good Or Bad who knows

There was once an old peasant farmer who lived in the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe with his young son. Together, they just managed to eke out a living by subsistence farming. They owned a small piece of land at the base of the mountain range and one horse, which pulled the plow through the terse earth, guided by the old farmers strong young son. It was a hard life but they were alive and healthy.

Then one-day tragedy struck, some how the gate to the horse’s field came open and their only horse escaped. Without the horse, it was impossible plough and farm the land. Both their meagre income and ability to feed themselves had gone with the horse. The horse represented a massive investment for the farmer and the son, which they could never hope to recoup without the ability to farm.

The neighbours in the area heard about the old farmers misfortunes and were very keen to come round and commiserate with the old man. “Oooh isn’t that just awful, what terrible luck for you both. How on earth will you survive now without your horse?”

“Good, bad, who knows?” replied the old farmer.

A few days later the horse returned to the farm. It had been wandering lost in the mountains and during it’s adventures, it had joined a heard of wild mountain horses. When the horse entered it’s field to be fed, the heard of wild horses followed. The farmer’s son noticed the horses in the field and ran out to close the gate. He managed to capture over thirty wild mountain horses. The farmer and his son had just gone from imminent collapse and starvation to being rich beyond belief in one moment.

The neighbours were back round again to mutter jealously about the old farmers unbelievably good fortune and the amazing turnaround in events.

“Good, bad, who knows?” replied the old farmer.

In an attempt to capitalise on their stroke of good luck, the old farmer asked his son to break and tame some of the wild horses so that they could be used on the farm or sold for a profit. Whilst his son was trying to tame one of the horses he was thrown from the beasts back. He landed badly and seriously broke his leg.

This was surely a disaster for the old man and his son. Too old and feeble to plough their field with a horse, who would work the farm now the son was injured? Starvation and ruin were hanging over the farm once more. Again the old mans neighbours were slightly over keen to come round and commiserate with the pair. “Oh my, what a terrible thing” they all cried. “Who will plough your fields and how will you eat this winter?” they all asked. “What terrible luck!”

“Good, bad, who knows?” replied the old farmer.

Several weeks later, war broke out between the old farmers country and a neighbouring principality. The army desperate for new recruits travelled through the mountains pressing any able bodied, eligible young men they could find into military service to help in the fight. When they came through the valley where the old man and his son lived, they took all the young sons of the old man neighbours. The old farmers son was no use to the soldiers with a broken leg so they didn’t take him.

Good, bad, who knows? You decide.