The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Who Needs Fiction: What Would Zhuang Zi Do?

A very old Chinese Taoist story describes a farmer in a poor country village. His neighbors considered him very well-to-do. He owned a horse which he used for plowing and for transportation. One day his horse ran away. All his neighbors exclaimed how terrible this way, but the farmer simply said "Maybe."

A few days later the horse returned and brought two wild horses with it. The neighbors all rejoiced at his good fortune, but the farmer just said "Maybe."

The next day the farmer's son tried to ride one of the wild horses. The horse threw him and the son broke his leg. The neighbors all offered their sympathy for his misfortune, but the farmer again said "Maybe."

The next week conscription officers came to the village to take young men for the army. They rejected the farmer's son because of his broken leg. When the neighbors told him how lucky he was, the farmer replied "Maybe."

A friend sent me a news story which I've posted below. The original article may be read here. Read the news story, think about the folk story and put yourself in the subject's place.

My brother found himself in a somewhat similar position. He found a suitcase in the street in front of his house. He opened it, hoping to find some sort of identification to return it to it's owner. It was full of jewelry.


The thought of keeping it passed in a moment as he considered all of the possible bad things that could happen as a result of his keeping the suitcase. He turned it into the police.


It turned out to belong to a local jewelry store. I don't remember the explanation of how it got into the street, but the jewelry store gave him a cash reward of something like $500 or $1000 (this is over 30 years ago). Certainly enough to be a reward, but not enough to be another burden.


For myself, I think winning the Lottery would be one of life's greatest calamities.


Man finds $150K in his backyard, turns it in


By Kelsey Williams, SFGate.com:


On Monday, Wayne Sabaj, 49, an unemployed carpenter living in McHenry County, Ill., (about 60 miles northwest of Chicago) found some green stuff in his garden-about $150,000 worth, stuffed into two duffel bags.

The Chicago Tribune reports: "[Sabaj] contemplated his position for about a half hour, then - fearing that the money might have come from a bank robbery and someone might come back looking for it-he called the McHenry County Sheriff's Department."

Sabaj, clearly a realistic sort, did not toast his good fortune at the load of dough that literally appeared in his backyard, but said to his father, "We have enough problems, now we got another problem.  Look what I found in the garden."

At this point the police are baffled by the discovery, and for all they know, it could be that a leprechaun has traded in pots-of-gold for duffels of cash. Still they are examining the bags and their contents for clues and say they will work with Sabaj to see if he can keep the money if no true owner or explanation is found.

All I want to know: What kind of fertilizer does Sabaj use?

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"Michael Muskat"

Rick said...

Thanks for visiting. I'm glad that you enjoyed the post.