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The strangely-shaped rocks are one of the Four Wonders of the Yellow Mountains (along with oddly-shaped pines, the seas of cloud, and hot springs).
The Yellow Mountains is a natural exhibition hall of rocks. These rocks are unique in shape and have a charm all of their own. The big rock towers look like stone needles and towers. The smaller boulders have also caught the imagination. Some look like animals, some look like various gods, and some get their name from historical stories or mythical tales.
More than 120 peaks and rocks have been named. The most famous rocks are Flying-Over Rock, Immortal Pointing the Way, and Monkey Watching the Sea.
Flying-Over Rock (飞来石 Fēi-Lái Shí /fay-lie shrr/'Fly-Come Rock') is a tall standing stone, 12 meters (40 ft) high, 4 meters (13 ft) wide in profile, tilting slightly on a flat rock platform, about 15 meters (50 ft) long and 10 meters (33 ft) wide. The contact area is very small, which makes it more amazing. It looks like a rock that has just fallen from the sky, hence its name.
Immortal Pointing the Way (仙人指路 Xiānrén Zhǐ Lù /sshyen-rnn jrr loo/'Immortal Points Way') is a pointy standing rock by the old Cloud Valley path. It looks like a man in a cloak holding up a hand in a didactive stance. It has an instructive story associated with it.
It's said that…
Once upon a time a clever child failed in an imperial exam (an important exam for work in the imperial palace in ancient China) and then failed in business. He felt so depressed that he decided to go to the Yellow Mountains to find immortals for inspiration. But he could not find anyone, and got lost in the mountains.
He became very tired after days of climbing and fell into a faint. An old man saved him, asked him to go home, and gave him some fruits. On his way down the mountains, he suddenly concluded that the old man must be an immortal, and went back to ask the old man to "point the way".
The old man told him the truth that he was an ordinary person, and the desire for fame and wealth had destroyed his family. So he came to the Yellow Mountains to be a recluse. The young man still begged for the way to find the immortals, and kowtowed before the old man. When he looked up, the old man had become a rock, and sounds came from it, saying he would become happier than an immortal after working hard.
The young man took the words to heart and went down. And he lived a happy life after working hard. The old man pointed the way to a happy life and success.
It is a popular story to encourage people to work hard.
Monkey Watching the Sea (猴子观海 Hóuzi Guān Hǎi /ho-dzuh gwan hi/'Monkey Watching Sea') is a monkey-shaped (when viewed from the right direction) boulder perched atop a mesa overlooking the North Sea of Clouds.
There is a fairy tale about a monkey and a beautiful girl…
The girl was very beautiful and the monkey fell in love at first sight.
The monkey had been practicing its supernatural skills in the mountains for thousands of years, and had thirty-six appearances (like the'Monkey King' Sun Wukong in "Journey to the West"). The monkey changed his appearance into a handsome and rich man, and asked the girl's parents to stay one night at the family home. The girl's parents thought he was a kind, polite man, and said yes.
After dinner he expressed his love to the girl and proposed marriage. Her parents approved their marriage the next morning.
After their wedding, the monkey became very drunk and his monkey appearance was revealed to the girl. The girl was frightened and left him.
The monkey couldn't find the girl anywhere. So he sat mournfully on the Yellow Mountains looking northeast, where the girl's home was. After many years he became a rock on the Yellow Mountains.