Liu An: The Old Man at the Fort from Huainantse ~ 《塞翁失马》 刘安 with English Translations

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《塞翁失马》通过一个循环往复的极富戏剧性故事,阐述了祸与福的对立统一关系,揭示了“祸兮福所倚,福兮祸所伏”的道理。如果单从哲学角度去看,这则寓言启发人们用发展的眼光辩证地去看问题:身处逆境不消沉,树立“柳暗花明”的乐观信念;身处顺境不迷醉,保持“死于安乐”的忧患意识。

《塞翁失马》 刘安

近塞上之人,有善术者。马无敌亡而入胡,人皆吊之。其父曰:“此何遽不为福乎?”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?”家富良马,其子好骑,堕而折其髀,人皆吊之,其父曰:“此何遽不为福乎?”居一年,胡人大入塞,丁壮者控弦而战。近塞之人,死者十九。此独以跛之故,父子相保。故福之为祸,祸之为福,化不可极,深不可测也。

The Old Man at the Fort from Huainantse
Liu An

There was an old man at a frontier fort in the north who understood Taoism. One day he lost his horse, which wandered into the land of the Hu tribesmen. His neighbors came to condole with him, and the man said, “How do you know that this is bad luck?”

After a few months, the horse returned with some fine horses of the Hu breed, and the people congratulated him. The old man said, “How do you know that this is good luck?”

He then became very prosperous with so many horses. The son one day broke his legs riding, and all the people came to condole with him again. The old man said, “How do you know that this is bad luck?”

One day the Hu tribesmen invaded the frontier fort. All the young men fought with arrows to defend it, and nine tenths of them were killed. Because the son was a cripple, both father and son escaped unharmed.

Therefore, good luck changes into bad, and bad luck changes into good. The workings of events are beyond comprehension.

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