“A hermit lived on the edge of a forest close to a small village. The villagers all thought he was a fool, for he spoke in paradoxes. His name was Jed. One day, Jed took in a stranger who was sick and nursed him back to health. In gratitude the stranger gave him a horse. When the villagers heard what had happened, they congratulated Jed.
“Jed, what good luck! What great fortune!”
“Who knows if it’s good luck?” Jed responded. “Maybe it’s bad luck.”
“Bad luck?” They laughed. “How can it possibly be that? You had no horse; now you have one. This is good luck! What a fool,” they thought,”he cannot even recognise good luck when it happens to him.”
Jed took his meagre savings and bought a saddle. Then one day, the horse escaped and ran away.
“Oh what bad luck,” the villagers said when learning what had happened. “You now have a saddle and no horse”
“Who knows if it’s bad luck? Maybe it’s good luck.” Jed responded cheerfully.
“Good luck?” They laughed. “There’s no way this is good luck. This is a tragedy for you.”
“Who knows?” Jed responded.
Several days later the horse mysteriously returned and brought with him a couple of wild horses. Jed quickly led them into a corral, and word spread that he now had three horses. The villagers rushed to see for themselves.
“What good luck!” They said to Jed. “You now have three horses. You can sell two and Keep one for yourself.”
“Who knows if it’s good luck” Jed said. “Maybe it’s bad luck that this has happened.”
“Bad luck?” they laughed, unable to hide their pity for such a simple-minded fool.
One day while attempting to ride one of the wild horses Jed was thrown and broke his leg.
“What bad luck.” the villagers said when they learned of the mishap.
“Who knows.” said Jed “Maybe it’s good luck that I broke my leg.”
A week later an invading army stormed through the village and forcibly conscripted all the men who were in good health, but they did not take Jed because he had a broken leg….”
~ John Kehoe