There's a story, Yeshi's Luck, that I often read to my daughters when they were young. This tale came out of a book of short stories called Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas by Naomi C. Rose. I'd like to share this story here:
Nestled among the tallest mountains of the world is the land of Tibet. In the foothills of those mountains lies a village. And in that village lived Yeshi with his father and their horse. One morning Yeshi dashed into the stone cottage. “Pa, Pa, our horse is gone!” Yeshi’s father pulled on his dusty boots, tightened his sash and stepped into the cool air. Squinting at the snowy peaks, he breathed deeply. Yeshi scowled. “Come on, Pa! We must find our horse.”
Yeshi and his father trampled through the tall grasses, peering behind boulders and over thick brush. “Om Mani Padmé Hung,” chanted Yeshi’s father. “How can you chant now?” asked Yeshi. “That won’t help us find our horse.” “Chanting helps me have a peaceful mind,” replied his father. Yeshi kicked into the dirt. Several villagers happened by. “What are you looking for?” “Our horse!” cried Yeshi. “We’ll help.” The villagers searched all day with Yeshi and his father.
At nightfall, Yeshi wept. “What bad luck! We’ve lost our only horse.” “What terrible fortune,” chimed the villagers. “Who can say what’s good fortune or bad?” asked Yeshi’s father. “Give thanks for everything.” Yeshi and the villagers exchanged puzzled looks. “Om Mani Padmé Hung,” chanted Yeshi’s father.
After several days, some villagers arrived at Yeshi’s house. “Your horse is in the meadow. He brought a surprise. Come quick!” Yeshi raced out the door. His father and the villagers hurried behind. When Yeshi reached the meadow, he blinked hard. A new horse was grazing alongside Yeshi’s. “This is good fortune!” said Yeshi. “Now we have two horses.” “Your horse running away was good luck after all,” chimed the villagers. Yeshi’s father smiled. “I’m grateful. But who can say if this is good fortune or bad?” Yeshi and the villagers exchanged puzzled looks. “Om Mani Padmé Hung,” chanted Yeshi’s father.
Yeshi and his father swiftly trained their new horse. One day as Yeshi galloped through the meadow, the new horse bucked him off and high into the air. “Owww!” screamed Yeshi. He crumbled to the ground. “Help! My leg!” Some villagers rushed to Yeshi. A man lifted Yeshi into his arms and headed up the hill. The others followed. Yeshi’s father met them at the door. “Pa,” moaned Yeshi, “our new horse was bad luck after all.” “Such terrible fortune!” chimed the villagers. Yeshi’s father placed the boy onto the straw bed. “I’m sorry to see my son hurt. But who can say what is good fortune or bad?” Yeshi and the villagers exchanged puzzled looks. “Om Mani Padmé Hung,” chanted Yeshi’s father.
Yeshi grimaced while his father wrapped his leg in clean rags. Finally bandaged, his leg throbbed in pain. Yeshi gazed at his father in the glow of the butter lamp. And he listened to his soft chanting. “Om Mani Padmé Hung, Om Mani Padmé Hung.” “I’ve heard Pa chant a lot,” thought Yeshi, “but it never sounded so beautiful!” Warmth filled his heart. Tears slipped down his cheeks. “That’s odd,” he thought, “my leg has stopped hurting. Maybe there is something to the chant. Could it be my pa is wise after all?” He listened to his father chant as the moon rose high in the sky.
Yeshi awoke to a villager knocking at the door. “Have you heard? Military officers are here. They’re taking our boys away to fight in a battle. But you don’t have to go because of your hurt leg.” “My!” Yeshi said. “Falling off the horse was good luck after all.” He glanced at his father. “But, I, I — guess no one really knows what’s good fortune or bad.” Yeshi thought he saw his father smile. More villagers came. “Such good fortune for Yeshi, but such bad fortune for our boys.” “I’m scared for my friends, too,” replied Yeshi. “But, who can say what’s good fortune or bad?” The villagers exchanged puzzled looks. “Om Mani Padmé Hung,” chanted Yeshi with his father.
It took many weeks for Yeshi’s leg to mend. Soon after, a villager ran up to Yeshi. “Our boys are back. They’re safe. They even brought new friends to join the village!” Yeshi grinned. At the homecoming celebration, Yeshi sang:
Life is like a potter’s clay changing shape from day to day.
As stars sparkle in the sky light and dark go quickly by.
What’s the future, no one knows.
Be at peace with how life goes.
The villagers exchanged smiles. “Om Mani Padmé Hung,” chanted Yeshi’s father. “Om Mani Padmé Hung,” chanted the villagers. “Om Mani Padmé Hung,” chanted Yeshi. “Om Mani Padmé Hung.”