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塞翁失馬,焉知非福

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ChineseEdit

A setback may turn out to be a blessing in disguise; every cloud has a silver lining where; how to know; to be aware
 
(be) not; wrong; blame; Africa
 
good fortune; happiness; luck; Fujian province (abbrev); a surname
trad. (塞翁失馬,焉知非福) 塞翁失馬
simp. (塞翁失马,焉知非福) 塞翁失马
Literally: “When the old man from the frontier lost his horse, how could one have known that it would not be fortuitous?”.

EtymologyEdit

From a tale in Huai Nan Zi:

禍福相生
無故
:「?」
駿
:「不能?」

:「?」
胡人丁壯
不可深不可測
[Classical Chinese, trad.][▼ expand/hide]
祸福相生
无故
:“?”

:“不能?”

:“?”
胡人丁壮
不可深不可测
[Classical Chinese, simp.]
Fú huòfú zhī zhuǎn ér xiāngshēng, qí biàn nán jiàn yě.
Jìn sàishàng zhī rén yǒu shàn shù zhě, wúgù wáng ér rù hú. Rén jiē diào zhī.
Qí fù yuē: “Cǐ hé jù bù wéi fú hū?”
Jū shù yuè, qí jiāng hú jùn ér guī. Rén jiē hè zhī.
Qí fù yuē: “Cǐ hé jù bùnéng wéi huò hū?”
Jiā fù liáng , qí zǐ hǎo qí, duò ér zhé qí bì. Rén jiē diào zhī.
Qí fù yuē: “Cǐ hé jù bù wéi fú hū?”
Jū yī nián, húrén dà rù sài, dīngzhuàng zhě yǐn xián ér zhàn, jìn sài zhī rén, sǐ zhě shí jiǔ, cǐ dú yǐ bǒ zhī gù, fù zǐ xiāng bǎo.
Gù fú zhī wéi huò, huò zhī wéi fú, huà bùkě jí, shēn bùkě cè yě.
[Pinyin]
It can be difficult to foresee the twists and turns which compel misfortune to beget fortune, and vice versa.
There once was a (father), skilled in divination, who lived close to the frontier (with his son). One of his horses accidentally strayed into the lands of the Xiongnu, so everyone consoled him.
(But) the father said, “Why should I hastily (conclude) that this is not fortunate?”
After several months, the horse came back from the land of the Xiongnu, accompanied by another fine horse, so everyone congratulated him.
(But) the father said, “Why should I hastily (conclude) that this can not be unfortunate?”
His family had a wealth of fine horses, and his son loved riding them. One day (the son) fell off the horse, and broke his leg, so everyone consoled (the father).
(But) the father said, “Why should I hastily (conclude) that this is not fortunate?”
One year later, the Xiongnu invaded the frontier, and all able-bodied men took up arms and went to war. Of the men from the frontier (who volunteered), nine out of ten men perished (from the fighting). It was only because of (the son's) broken leg, that the father and son were spared (this tragedy).
Therefore, misfortune begets fortune, and fortune begets misfortune. This goes on without end, and its depths can not be measured. (Wiktionary translation)

PronunciationEdit


ProverbEdit

塞翁失馬,焉知非福

  1. Every cloud has a silver lining. / A setback may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.