Yu Gong Moved Away Mountains | Ancient Chinese Culture

Yu Gong Moved Away Mountains


This is a story well-known to most Chinese. In Chinese, Yu Gong means a foolish old man. How the foolish man managed to move away the high mountains?

Once upon a time, there were two high mountains between Jizhou in the south and Heyang in the north. One was called Taihang Mountain and the other Wangwu Mountain.

Just to the north of the mountains lived an old man called Yu Gong who was nearly 90 years old. The two high mountains in front of his house caused his family great inconvenience. They had to walk a long way around the mountains whenever they had something to do on the other side of the mountains.

One day, Yu Gong called all his family together to talk about how to move the two mountains to other places. His wife said, “An old man like you can not even move a small hill, not to mention the two high mountains. Even if you can, where can you throw so much earth and stone?”

“The Bohai Sea is big enough to contain all the earth and stone,” Yu Gong said.

So it was decided. His children started to dig the mountains, led by the old man Yu Gong.


A man named Zhi Sou (a clever man) saw them working and tried to stop them, saying, “You are so silly! You’re so old and weak that you can’t even take away the grass and trees. How can you move the high mountains?”

“You’re wrong,” Yu Gong said with a sigh. “Look, my sons can continue my work after my death. When my sons die, my grandchildren will continue. So generations after generations, there’s no end. But the mountains can’t grow higher. Do you still say I can’t move them away?”

Later the Heaven God, upon learning of Yu Gong’s story, was greatly moved. He then ordered two immortals to take the two high mountains away.

Do you still believe that people like Yu Gong is silly? No, actually, they are the people who often laugh last, who laugh best. With determination anything can be achieved.

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