Extract from ETERNAL STORIES FOR LEARNING TO LEARN by José María Doria. A selection of stories of multiple cultural roots which form the Ethical Heritage of Humanity.
In the far off Kingdom of Kariel, lived Long Ching, an old man with a fragil little body and a long white beard. His serene manners and his way of speaking, always thoughtful and kind, made him respected all over the region.
People said that Long Ching, in his youth, was initiated in the mysteries of ancient wisdom. And it is true that his neighbors as well as his only son who lived with him, admired his great lucidity and temperance.
One day Kariel´s townspeople found him very sad. During the last storm, his mares had escaped from his corrals to the mountains, leaving the poo old man without his livelihood. Because of this, the townspeople were troubled and continuously visited his honorable house:
“What a disgrace! Poor Long Ching! They said to him. “Damn the storm that fell on his house! What bad luck your life has brought you. Your house and goods are lost.”
Long Ching, amiable, serene and attentive, merely said over and over again:
A little while later, the first winds of winter appeared bringing freezing cold to the region. And Oh what a surprise, Long Chin´s mares returned to the warmth of their old stables, but this time they were pregnant and the wild horses they found in the mountains came with them.
With their arrival, Long Chins herd grew unexpectedly.
When the townspeople heard this, they were very happy for the old man´s good luck and one by one, they went to his home to congratulate him for his good fortune.
“What good luck you have old man, Bless the yeguas… for running away and then increasing your herd. Life is generous with you, Long Ching”.
To which the old sage merely answered again and again:
A short time later, the new horses were domesticated by Long Ching´s son, who, from dawn to sunset trained his animals for new tasks. It could be said that prosperity and happiness reined in their home.
One morning like any other, it happened that one of the horses threw off Long Chin´s young son with the bad fortune that his legs and arms and even some ribs were broken by the tremendous fall. The result was that the only son of the old man was incapacitated for a long time and could not do his daily jobs.
The townspeople were consternated by this sad news and everyone went to his home saying to the old man:
“How terrible you must feel Long Ching” they said sadly. “What bad luck, your only son! Damn the horses that brought bad luck to your home.”
The old man listed serenely and merely responded again and again:
In time, the heat of the summer passed and when the first breezes of autumn were felt, high tension with the neighboring country exploded in armed conflict. War was declared and all available youths were enlisted for that dark adventure.
Soon after the news was heard, a group of government emissaries came to Kariel to enlist all available youths in the county. When they got to Long Ching´s house and saw his son, they continued on their way and forgot the boy who looked like he would take a long time to mend.
The townspeople of Kariel were happy to know that Lon Ching´s son would stay home. And so, once again, one by one they visited the old man to exclaim on the good luck that had touched the old man with its Wing.
“Good luck has come into your life Long Ching,” they said. “Blessed be the fall for it is saving your son´s life, keeping him at your side during the uncertainty and anguish of the war. Yours is a great destiny which takes care of you and your house by keeping your son at home. Good luck blesses your home.”
The old man, with a twinkle in his eyes merely answered: