(Translation) 2019 塞翁失馬

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Original Script

近塞上之人有善術者,馬無故亡而入胡。人皆吊之。其父曰:「此何遽不為福乎?」居數月,其馬將胡駿馬而歸。人皆賀之。其父曰:「此何遽不能為禍乎?」家富良馬,其子好騎,墮而折其髀。人皆吊之。其父曰:「此何遽不為福乎?」居一年,胡人大入塞,丁壯者引弦而戰,近塞之人,死者十九,此獨以跛之故,父子相保。故福之為禍,禍之為福,化不可極,深不可測也。


Translation

Student Translation : Russell Guilbault

There was a man living near the border who was skilled at alchemy. One day his horse, for no reason, ran off into the barbarian lands; everyone commiserated with him. His father said: "Could this not unexpectedly turn out to be a blessing?" Several months later, his horse took a fine steed from the barbarians and returned; everyone congratulated him. His father said: "Could this not unexpectedly turn out to be a disaster?" Their family had an abundance of good horses, and the son was fond of riding, [but] he fell and broke his thigh. One year later, a horde of barbarians amassed at the border; able-bodied men drew their bows and did battle, and among the people at the border, nine out of ten were killed. Only on account of [the son's] lameness were the father and son able to save each other. Thus can blessings become disasters, and disasters blessings, changing without limit, deep beyond measure.


  • Discussion Questions:

(YO) Good. I was think about how to render 善術. The 術 is perhaps most reasonably translated "arts" in the sense of techniques and methods of various nature. (cf. fashu/pŏpsul 法術 'magic,' fangshu/pangsul 方術 'methods and arts,' yaoshu/yosul 妖術 or xieshu/sasul 邪術 'perverse arts,' etc.)