Problem solving story: Who is obligated to pay the “mountain” tax

10 min readApr 9

Once upon a time, there lived a magical dragon that no one could see or hear and no one knew it existed. The only way it could communicate with people was through their dreams, where it could appear as anything it wished, be it an animal, item, or person. As people fell asleep and started dreaming the magical dragon would enter their dreams, and see their thoughts, their memories, and all of their wishes. The magical dragon felt fulfilled when it could make dreams come true for people that were good. Sometimes when the magical dragon wanted to do good and made a wish come true it inadvertently caused a change in a person’s behavior and that person started taking advantage of other people. In such cases, the magical dragon felt obligated to intervene and create new situations in which it would try to get the person to change his or her way. If that didn’t work the magical dragon took away what it gave and went on.

One day the magical dragon stopped at a village by a big forest it had never been to before. So it took its time and visited the dreams of every villager. After a few days, the dragon found out about a wish most of the villagers had. Almost all of them wished that they wouldn’t have to travel for two days to get to the nearest mountain where some would pick herbs, some would hunt, and others would just go there to clear their minds by walking on the trails or climbing the highest peak. So one night after every villager fell asleep the magical dragon created the most beautiful and highest mountain any of the villagers had ever seen right next to the “forest village”. When the villagers woke up they could hardly believe their eyes, but never the less they were more than happy to accept this miracle. The first couple of days villagers would spend most of their time when the sun was up exploring the mountain and during the night they would share with each other what they had found. The mountain had a bit of everything for everyone, from easy to more challenging hiking routes, steep mountain sides for climbing, different trees, and other plants for preparing medicine as well as a small waterfall with a lake at the end. The mountain was perfect and the villagers were the happiest they have ever been. The mountain gained even more charm when animals from near and far came to live there. Soon people from all over…


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