Chinese proverbs are an excellent way to know their culture, while we are told a lesson.
Today I have chosen one of my favourite ones:
The story begins when an old man of the frontier loses his horse (that's what the proverb recalls). The horse fled into a dangerous area, so it was impossible to bring it back.
However, thought to himself: "Who says this may not be a blessing one day?"
Several months later, the horse came back along with a group of fine horses. The man was congratulated by relatives and friends, but he thought: "Who says this won't turn out to be a misfortune?"
The old man's son loved the new horses so much, he often took a ride on them. Since the horses well not well tamed, he fell off one of them one day, and became crippled. The old man thought: "Who says this may not be a blessing in disguise?".
Some time later, the area were the old man lived was invaded. Most young people living in the frontier regions had to join the army to fight the invaders. About nine out of every ten of the draftees were killed in the battle. As a cripple, the old man's son did not have to fight, so that he survived the border war.
"Therefore, a blessing may turn out to be a misfortune and the contrary also be true".
塞(sài)：frontier. 失(shī)：lose. 马(mǎ): horse
翁(wēng)：ancient Chinese word, meaning "old man".
How many modern examples could we find of this?