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Good? Bad? Who Knows? A Story By Ajahn Brahm

A long time ago a King was out hunting when he cut his finger. He summoned his doctor, who was always with him on the hunt, and the doctor put a bandage over the wound. "Is it going to be alright?" asked the King. "Good? Bad? Who knows?" replied the doctor, and they carried on hunting. By the time they had returned to the palace, the wound had become infected and so the King summoned his doctor again. The doctor cleaned the wound, carefully applied some ointment and then bandaged it. "Are you sure it's going to be OK?" asked the King, becoming concerned. "Good? Bad? Who knows?" replied the doctor again. The King became worried. The King was right, because in a few days the finger was so badly infected that the doctor had to amputate it! The King was so angry with his incompetent doctor that he personally escorted him to the dungeon and threw him in a cell. "Well, Doctor, how do you like it, being in jail?" "Being in prison, Sire... Good? Bad? Who knows?" replied the doctor with a shrug of his shoulders. "You are insane as well as incompetent!" declared the King and departed. A few weeks later, when the wound had healed, the King was out hunting again. Chasing an animal, he became separated from the others and became lost in the forest. Wandering in the woods, he was captured by the indigenous forest people. It was their holy day and they had found a sacrifice for their jungle god! They tied the King to a large tree and their priest began chanting and dancing as the forest people sharpened the sacrificial knife. The priest took the blade and was about to cut the King's throat when he shouted, "Stop! This man has only got nine fingers. He is not a perfect enough specimen to sacrifice to our god. Set him free." In a few days, the King found his way back to his palace and went straight to the dungeon to say thank you to the wise doctor. "I thought you were stupid saying all this 'Good? Bad? Who knows?' nonsense. Now I know you were right. Losing my finger was good. It saved my life. But it was bad of me to lock you in jail. I'm sorry." "What do you mean, Sire, that it was bad to put me in jail? It was very good that you put me in jail! Otherwise I would have accompanied you on the hunt. I would have been captured too. And I have all my ten fingers!"

Grazing Horse by Lee Hock Moh

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