Present-tense summary of “The Lost Horse”

A horse belonging to a man in northern China runs away, and when everyone consoles the man his father says, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?” Months later the horse returns accompanied by a “splendid nomad stallion,” and when people congratulate the man his father says, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a disaster?” Later, when the man breaks his hip falling off the horse, and people again try to console him, the father says, “What makes you so sure this isn’t a blessing?” A year later nomads attack and slaughter nearly all of the able-bodied man who must fight them. Because the son is lame, he and his father survive “to take care of each other.”

Blessings turn to disaster, and disaster to blessing: the changes have no end, and the mystery cannot be fathomed.

Past-tense summary of “The Lost Horse”

AND SEE:
The “literary present” in English papers

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