Ming Lo Moves the Mountain

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by Arnold Lobel (1933-1987);  published (1993) by Greenwillow Books

Ming Lo and his wife live at the foot of a large mountain.  They love their house, but the mountain poses a problem.  Several problems.  These are the problems the mountain poses:  rocks break loose from the cliffs and the roof is full of holes;  the rain falls through the holes;  the mountain hides the sun and in its shadow the flowers and vegetables grow thin and sparse.

“Husband, you must move the mountain,” says Ming Lo’s wife, at last, “so that we may enjoy our house in peace.”

But how will a man such as Ming Lo move the mountain?  He turns to the wise man who lives in the village.  And the wise man who lives in the village is full of great ideas.          

Go home, Ming Lo.  Cut down the tallest, thickest tree you can find. Push this tree against the side of the mountain with all your strength. This is the way that you will move the mountain.”

Well that’s the first great idea.  But Ming Lo has no luck moving the mountain.

take the pots and pans from your kitchen,” says the wise man.  “Hold a spoon in each one of your hands. With these spoons, hit the pots and pans as hard as you can.  Raise your voice in loud shouts and cries.  The mountain will be frightened by the noise. This is the way that you will move the mountain.”

Alas, idea #2 is a bomb.  And idea #3 doesn’t pan out either.  So the old man resorts to a very sly tactic to move the mountain.  It’s totally harebrained, and you will have to suspend your disbelief and wonder at the daftness of these characters.  But it’s a truly fun read.


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