(Translation) 2019 塞翁失馬

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Original Script



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.)