|Chinese Zodiac [Rat]||Chinese Zodiac [Ox]||Chinese Zodiac [Tiger]||Chinese Zodiac [Rabbit]|
|Chinese Zodiac [Dragon]||Chinese Zodiac [Snake]||Chinese Zodiac [Horse]||Chinese Zodiac [Sheep]|
|Chinese Zodiac [Monkey]||Chinese Zodiac [Rooster]||Chinese Zodiac [Dog]||Chinese Zodiac [Pig]|
Chinese Zodiac Legend
There are several legends about how the animals were chosen for the Chinese zodiac. Following is one of the most popular Chinese zodiac stories.
A long time ago in China, the Jade emporer decided that there shold be a way for measuring time. On the day of his birthday, he told all of the animals that there was going to be a swimming race. The first twelve animals that would finish the race across the fast flowing river would recieve medals, and would have a year of the zodiac named after them.
All the animals lined up along the river bank. The rat and the cat were very good friends, but very worried because they were poor swimmers, and knew that they would not get a medal, or a year of the zodiac named after them. But being as clever as they are, they asked the strong ox if he would carry them across the river. The kind ox agreed, and just told them to climb on his back. The rat and the cat quickly jumped on the ox's back and were very excited when he soon took the lead. When they had almost reached the other bank, the rat became greedy and pushed the cat into the water. Then, just before the ox was going to win the race, the rat jumped onto his head, and onto the bank to finish first. The Jade emporer congratulated him and gave him a medal. "The first year of the zodiac will be named after you." The Jade emporer said to the beaming rat. The ox climbed out of the water, and on the bank. He had also earned a medal, and a place in the zodiac but he didn't finish first. "Let me teach you an important lesson." Said the ox, "It's very nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."
Shortly after, the exhausted tiger climbed up onto the river bank. It had been a great struggle for him because of the strong currents and all the rocks in the way. The Jade emporer was delighted with his efforts and gladly awarded him with a medal, and third place in the Chinese zodiac. Next to arrive, was the lucky rabbit. The Jade emporer asked how he got here so fast, and the rabbit answered that he never actually swam across, but instead he hopped on all the rocks, and then he found a log that carried him all the way to the river bank. The surprised emporer handed him a medal, and incuded him in the zodiac. Just then, and kind dragon swooped down to take fifth place. " Why didn't you win the race?" The curious emporer asked, "Because you have an excellent ability to fly and swim, you could have easily won." The dragon explained that some of the anilmals and people were thirsty, and so he had stopped to make rain for them, and that on his way to the finish line, he had seen a rabbit struggling on a log in the water, and that he had blown a puff of wind so that the log would float in the direction of the finish line. The emporer gave the kind dragon a medal, and a spot in the Chinese zodiac.
The next thing the emporer heard was the sound of hooves. He was sure that the horse would come in next. And just as predicted, the horse came into view. The Jade emporer took out the medal, and just as he was about to award it to him, a snake wriggled off of one of the horse's hooves. The startled horse jumped backwards, giving the sly snake the sixth medal and place. The poor horse had to be sastified with seventh. Now not long afterwards, a raft arrived with the goat, the monkey, and the rooster on it! They explained to the Jade emporer that they had shared the raft that the rooster found. The goat and the monkey had cleared the weeds and pushed the raft to shore. The emporer was pleased that the animals had worked together, and he named the goat eighth, the monkey ninth, and the rooster tenth. The next animal to finish was the dog. "Why are you so late when you are one of the best swimmers?" The emporer asked. "The water in the river was so clean, that I just had to take a bath!" The dog answered. His reward was a medal, and the eleventh year named after him.
Now there was one place left in the chinese zodiac and the Jade emporer wondered when the last winner would come. He had nearly given up and called it a day when he heard a grunt from the boar. "You took a while to cross the river" The emporer remarked. "Yes, but I was hungry, so I stopped to eat, and after that, I was tired so I fell asleep!" The boar grunted. "Ok, but you still did good and earned yourself a medal and a place in the chinese zodiac." The emporer said.
And so that was that. He got all twelve animals, passed out all the medals, and completed the zodiac.