愚公移山 ~ A Foolish Old Man Moves a Mountain
Source: 「中國寓言」 ICLP Textbook
A Foolish Old Man Moves a Mountain
There once was a foolish old man whose house faced a mountain. There were thirty people in his family, and every time they went out, they had to go all the way around the mountain to get anywhere, which was seriously inconvenient.
The old man was over ninety and well into his retirement when he decided to do something useful with his autumn years: move the mountain. Since he was the head of his household, he ordered everyone to help him take the dirt and stones from the peak far away from their home. But the mountain was massive, and they were not, so the work went very slowly.
One of his neighbors, a wise elder, though this was ridiculous. He said: “I hate to see you spending your days like this. You’re trying to do the impossible. If you had started this when you were twenty years old, you still wouldn’t have made a dent by now.”
The foolish old man said, “It isn’t as hopeless as you think. If I can’t move this mountain in my lifetime, my grandchildren will continue my work, and their grandchildren will do the same. It’s a dead clod of dirt and rock. It can’t get any bigger than it is now. As long as we don’t give up, we’ll eventually succeed.”
When the God of the Mountains heard this, he became very anxious, because he knew how determined the old man was. So in order to protect the entirety of the mountain, the god picked it up and put it somewhere else.
Translator’s Note: The parallel with Matthew 17:20 is as conspicuous as Fuji: “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”China, La Vida, Literature, Translations