Minli (her name means "quick thinking") is the main character. She endeavors on a journey to find the Old Man of the Moon who will answer her question of how to find her family's fortune.
Minli's father is a storyteller. He indulges Minli with numerous Chinese folktales including stories about the Old Man of the Moon and the Never Ending Mountain.
Minli's mother is very dissatisfied with the family's situation. She does not like for Ba to tell the stories to Minli because she thinks he is filling her head with ideas.
Minli befriends a dragon along the way. When they first meet, he has been bound with ropes and she cuts them off of him. They continue the journey together. Dragon cannot fly.
There are numerous other minor characters in the book:
The Goldfish Man
Old Man of the Moon
Da A Fu
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