I just have to pass this one on to my missionary grandson! :-D
Where does this tradition of old, sage men on mountain tops come from? I was watching the movie "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain" recently and I think I may have a one answer to that. Toward the end of the movie, the romantic and titular hero of the story had to remain on a mountain top in World War I Wales through the night in order to use the early morning daylight to take measurements that might qualify the elevation to be labeled a mountain on His Majesty's maps. The narrator relates how this is regarded in Welsh tradition: "Now you know what the Welsh say about people who stay on mountain peaks at night, don't you? They become poets, madmen, very, very wise or....." I don't know that this is where the tradition of mountain top sages that cartoonists like so much to portray, but it gives us some hint. Of course, there is also the tradition of the Lord revealing His wisdom and will to mankind at mountain top locations: think Moses and Nephi....
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