Birbal Sees Both Good and Bad

A fellow courtier complained, "My prize Arabian mare ran away!"
"That could be good," said Birbal, angering the courtier.
Then the mare returned, followed by a wild stallion.
"What wonderful good luck!" exclaimed the courtier.
"Though it could be bad," said Birbal, angering the courtier again.
The stallion then threw the courtier's son, breaking his leg.
"My poor boy!" sobbed the courtier.
"That could be very good," said Birbal.
"You're heartless!" the courtier replied, angrier than ever.
The next day, soldiers came to recruit able-bodied young men for the war; they did not take the courtier's son.
Birbal just smiled.


Inspired byA Caravan from Hindustan: The Complete Birbal Tales by James Moseley
Notes: This story is titled "Good News and Bad News" in the book. Compare the Tenalirama story: Tenalirama the Optimist.


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