Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ancient Wisdom – Story of “The Old Man at the Fort”



Do you believe in planning your life...? 

I don’t.

I have stopped planning my life – because – whatever I planned never materialised in my life. 

I have learnt the hard way that instead of planning your future – you should just let things happen  and let your life take its natural course.

This lesson is lucidly brought out in Liehtse’s famous parable of The Old Man at the Fort


An Old Man was living with his Son at an abandoned fort on the top of a hill.

One day  he lost a horse. 

His fellow villagers came to the Old Man to express their sympathy for this misfortune and Bad Luck.

But  the Old Man said: 

“How do you say that this is a misfortune...? 

The fact of the matter is that  one horse is missing  and  there is one horse less in the stables. 

That is the fact. 

Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well that is a matter of judgment...”

A few days later 
 the Old Mans lost horse returned with a number of wild horses. 

Now – the Old Man had a large number of horses in his stables.

The villagers came again to congratulate him on this stroke of fortune – and – they all complimented the Old Man on his Good Luck. 

But  the Old Man replied:

“How do you know this is good luck...? 

The fact of the matter is that there are more horses in my stable than before. 

Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well that is a matter of opinion...”

With so many horses around  the Old Mans young son began to take to riding in a big way. 

One day while riding a wild horse  the Old Mans Son was thrown off a horse  and  he broke his leg  and  the accident made him lame in one leg. 

Again  the neighbours came around to express their sympathy for the Old Mans bad luck  that the Old Mans only son had become lame and disabled for life.

But  the Old Man replied:

“How do you know this is bad luck...? 

The fact of the matter is that my son is lame in one leg...”

A few years later a great war broke out. 

All the able bodied men were forcibly conscripted into the Army  and all of them were sent to the battlefield to fight in the war.

The war was so terrible  that all the young men of the village were killed fighting in the war.

Because the Old Man’s son had a broken leg 
 he was not conscripted into the Army.

So  the Old Man’s son did not have to go to the battlefield  and  his life was saved.

All the villagers had lost their sons in the war.

And  all the villagers were envious at the Old Man’s good fortune” – since he was the only one in the village who still had a living son.

But this time  they did not say anything to the Old Man.

They knew what the Old Man’s dispassionate response would be. 

If they complimented him on his good fortune  they knew that the Old Man would say: 

“How do you know that this is good fortune...? 

The fact of the matter is that  my son is alive – and  all your sons are dead.

That is the fact. 

Whether it is good luck or bad luck – well that is a matter of opinion...”


This parable drives home the lesson that it is better not to plan too much in life. 

So – what should you do...?


Just do what the Old Man did. 

Accept things as they come  don’t resist too much  flow along with events as they happen  and  go along smoothly living your life.

Do you agree...? 

Or  do you still believe that you can plan your life...?

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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1. This post is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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