Life is full of ups and downs. You feel like things are going well until they are not. You feel like things will never get better until they do. Good luck and bad luck are intertwined with unexpected results.
- 人間: the (human) world
- 万事: everything
- 塞: fortress
- 翁: old man
- が: grammar particle
- 馬: horse
A long time ago there lived a wise old man (翁).
He lived in (or nearby) a fortress (塞). An odd place to live.
He was a fortune-teller (占い師).
Apparently not a very good one, because his horse (馬) ran away.
All the villagers tried to console him for his loss. But it didn’t bother him at all. “This will turn into something good” he repeated confidently. A short while later that horse returned with another horse that was younger, faster and stronger.
The villagers all congratulated him on his good fortune of acquiring a free second horse. But he felt the opposite. “This will turn into something bad.” Despite this, he lets his son ride the new stallion.
One day his son is thrown from the horse and breaks his leg.
The villagers are back again to console the old man for his son’s injury. Again he firmly states “this will turn into something good.”
War breaks out with the neighboring country and all young men are sent to battle.
Almost everyone is killed. Everyone except his son, who couldn’t go to war because of his broken leg.
Good things – bad things – no one knows what will come from them (except an old man living in a fortress apparently…)