|There was an old man in a village, and he was very
poor, but even kings were jealous of him because he had a beautiful white horse. Such a
horse had never been seen before because of its magnificent beauty, strength, and pure
whiteness. Noblemen and even kings offered fabulous prices for the horse. but the old man
would say 'this horse is not a horse to me. He is a person, and how can you sell a person?
He is a friend, not a possession. How can you sell a friend? no, it is not possible.'|
The man was poor and there was every temptation, but he never sold the horse.
One morning he discovered that the horse was not in the stable. the whole village gathered
and they said, 'foolish old man! We knew it before-hand, that some day the horse would be
stolen; and you are so poor! How could you protect such a thing? It would have been better
to sell it. You could have fetched any price you asked, any fancy price was possible. Now
the horse is gone. it is a curse, a misfortune.'
The old man said 'no, wait. Simply say that the horse is not in the stable. This is the
fact; every thing else is a judgment. Wether it is misfortune or not, how do you know . .
how can you judge?' The people said 'don't try to fool us! We may not be great
philosophers but no philosophy is needed. It is a simple fact that a treasure has been
lost, and it is a misfortune.'
The old man said, 'I will
stick to the fact that the stable is empty and the horse is gone. Anything else I don't
know. I don't know whether it is a misfortune or a blessing, because this is just a
fragment. Who knows what is going to follow?'
The people laughed, and thought the old man had gone mad. They
always knew that he was a little crazy, otherwise he would have sold the horse and lived
in riches. But he was living as a woodcutter, and he was very old and still cutting and
bringing wood from the Forest to sell. He was living hand-to-mouth, and in poverty. Now it
was completely certain that this man was crazy.
After fifteen days, the horse returned. He had not been stolen. He had escaped to the
wilderness, and not only had he come back, but he had brought a dozen wild horses with
him. again the people gathered and they said, ' old man, you where right and we were
wrong. It was not a misfortune. It proved to be a blessing. we are sorry that we
The old man said, ' again you are going too far! Just say the horse is
back, and say that twelve horses have come with the horse, but don't judge. Who knows
whether it is a blessing or not? It is only a fragment. . . unless you know the whole
story, how can you judge? You read one page of a book, how can you judge the whole book?
You read a sentence in a page, how can you judge the whole page? You read a single word in
a sentence, how can you judge the whole sentence? Life is so Vast. A fragment of a
sentence, and you judge the whole. Don't say that this is a blessing-nobody knows. and I
am happy in my non-judgement.'
This time the people could not say much; maybe the old man was right. So they kept silent,
but inside they knew well that he was wrong. Twelve beautiful horses had come back with
the white horse. A little training and they could all be sold, and would fetch much money.
The old man had a young son, an only son. The young son started to train the wild horses;
a week later he fell from one of them and his legs were broken. The people gathered again,
and people are people everywhere; again they judged, as judgement comes so easily.
The old man said, 'you are obsessed with values! Say only that my son has broken his legs.
Who knows whether this is a misfortune or a blessing? Nobody knows. Again a fragment, and
all is never given to you. Life comes in fragments and to judge the part is to assume you
know the total.'
After a few weeks the country went to war with a neighbouring country and all the young
men of the town were forcibly taken for the military. Only the old mans son was left
because he was crippled. The people gathered crying and weeping, because from every house
young people where being taken away. And there was little chance of their coming back,
because the country that had attacked was powerful, and the war was being lost. They would
probably all die.
The whole town was crying and weeping and they came to the old man and they said, 'you
were right, old man. God knows you were right! This proved a blessing. Maybe your son is
crippled, but still he is with you. Our sons are gone forever! At least he is alive, and
with you. And by and by he will start walking. Maybe a little limp will be left, but he
will be okay.'
The old man again said, 'it is impossible to talk to you people. You go on and on -
judging and judging. Only say this, that your sons have been forced to enter into the
military, and my son has not been forced.
But nobody knows whether it is a blessing or a misfortune! Nobody
will ever be able to know it! Only God knows.'