Ah! Good morning once again! Thank you for coming to visit! It is time once again for Sunday Griot. There’s coffee and bagels in the back, and a warm fire up front. Come, sit, and learn how what seems to be a curse . . . can be a blessing.

In 1859 in Alabama, there was a farmer who worked a small plot of land with his son. They raised just enough to get buy, and to sometimes sell a little for some extra money.

One day the farmer’s son came home leading a colt. Don’t ask me how he got the colt. You can’t always know everything about a story. The farmer asked around to make sure the colt didn’t already belong to somebody else, then eventually told his son he could keep the colt. His son was about 15, old enough to not need the lecture about how he had to take care of the colt and exercise and brush him and the whole bit, but he got it anyway.

His neighbors marveled at the son’s good fortune. “Your son was mighty lucky to find such a horse!” the people said.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied. “But what seems to be a blessing, can also be a curse.”

The man’s neighbors rolled their eyes. He was always saying stuff like that! He was like a fortune cookie with a plow.

Well, as the colt grew it needed to eat more and more, as horses do, and the buying of food and gear for the horse took up what little spare money the man and his son had.

“That horse is gonna eat you out of house and home,” the neighbors said.

“Maybe,” the farmer said. “But what seems to be a curse, can also be a blessing.”

The neighbors rolled their eyes again.

The colt grew into a fine horse, and eventually the son took him to the fair in Decatur where the horse won a prize. He made some money racing, and started collecting some stud fees.

“You’ve got a lucky son there,” the neighbors said. “He’s raised himself a fine horse.”

“Maybe,” the farmer said. “But what seems to be a blessing, can also be a curse.”

He’d long since gotten used to the rolling eyes.

One day the son was riding back from one of the neighbor’s farms when — again, don’t ask me how, because you can’t know everything about a story — the horse fell on top of the son’s leg, breaking it in several places. The doctor set it as best he could, but told the farmer the leg would take a long time to heal, and it was likely the son would have a limp the rest of his life.

“That’s terrible news,” people told the farmer. “Too bad about your son.”

Of course they knew he was going to say, “Maybe, but what seems to be a curse, can also be a blessing.”

By then war had broken out between the Union and the Confederacy, and it didn’t pass by the farmer’s little town. One day in February of 1862 a recruiter for the Confederate army came through looking for men to fight for the South. Every single young man from the town signed up, except for the farmer’s son, who still couldn’t walk.

Every single young man who signed up from that town died at the battle of Shiloh. The only one left was the farmer’s son. People knew then what the farmer meant. Sometimes, what seems to be a blessing can be a curse, and what seems to be a curse, can be a blessing.

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