Yugong Moves the Mountains


“Some story like

Phonetic: Yúgōngyíshān
Transliteration: Yugong Moves Mountains
Translation: The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains

is basically about–there’s an old guy and there was a huge mountain in front of his house and it was very hard to climb it but one day he start moving it and eventually he move the whole mountain.”


Informant (CQ) is a student aged 19 from Shanghai, China. He attended high school in the U.S. and currently goes to USC. This piece was collected during an interview over dinner in the dining hall. He learned the story from a Chinese fairy tale book when he was in elementary school. He sees the meaning to be that a person can do whatever they put their mind to.


This story demonstrates that through hard human work, anything is possible. This story is embraced by the Chinese government and taught in elementary schools most likely to encourage this message: that the Chinese people can do anything they put their minds to.