Meaning of the Idiom
yu gong yi shan(Yu Gong Moves Away the Mountains)
In ancient times, there was an old man named Yu Gong. He was nearly 90 years old. There were two mountains in front of his house. One was the Taihang Mountain, the other the Wangwu Mountain. It was very inconvenient for people to come and go.
One day, Yu Gong said to the whole family:
“These two mountains block the doorway of our house. It is very inconvenient for us to come and go. Let our whole family exert efforts to move away these two mountains. How about it?”
Upon hearing this, all his sons and grandsons said:
“You are right. Let us start tomorrow!”
But his wife felt it too difficult to move the mountains. She said:
“Do you know how high these two mountains are? How can you move such big mountains? Where can you put all the stones and earth?”
“So long as we work hard together, we can certainly move away these two mountains. We can carry the stones and earth of the mountains to the sea.”
The following day, Yu Gong led the whole family and started to move the mountains. His neighbour was a widow with a son, only 7 or 8 years old. When he heard of this, he also came to help happily. They worked nonstop every day, fearing neither heat in summer nor cold in winter, neither wind nor rain.
When a shrewd old man named Zhi Sou saw Yu Gong’s family moving the mountains, he thought it ridiculous and said to Yu Gong:
“You are so old that you can hardly walk. Can you move the mountains?”
Yu Gong replied:
“You are not even as clever as a child. Though I am about to die, I have sons. When my sons die, there are still grandsons. Generation after generation, my offspring are endless. But with more and more stones being removed, smaller and smaller will the mountains become. Not a grain of earth or a piece of stone will grow on the mountains. If we work without stop every day, why can’t we move away the mountains?”
Zhi Sou, who thought himself clever, had nothing more to say.
Yu Gong led his family digging the mountains continually from early morning till late night. They finally moved God, who sent two celestials to the world to move away these two mountains.
yú gōng yí shān，说明了要克服困难就必须坚持不懈的道理。
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