Friday, February 19, 2010

Today I learned that I was born in the year of the Horse

Zodiac Origin - There are many legends to explain the beginning of the 12 Zodiac animal signs, in order, they are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

The rat was given the task of inviting the animals to report to the Jade Emperor for a banquet to be selected for the zodiac signs.

The cat and the rat were the worst swimmers in the animal kingdom. They decided to cross the river by hopping on the back of the ox. The ox agreed. The rat thought, in order to win, must do something, it pushed the cat into the river. Because of this the cat has never forgiven the rat and hates the water as well. After the ox had crossed the river, the rat jumped ahead and reached the shore first, and it claimed first place in the competition.

The strong ox was named the 2nd animal in the zodiac. After the ox, came the tiger, explaining to the Jade Emperor how difficult to cross the river, with powerful strength, it made to shore against the heavy currents, was named the 3rd animal in the cycle.

Rabbit arrived with a thumping sound from a distance, explained how it crossed the river by jumping from one stone to another in a nimble way, almost lost the race but lucky enough to grab hold of a floating log that later washed him to shore. It became the 4th animal in the zodiac cycle.

The dragon came flying in the 5th place. Jade Emperor was curious why a strong and flying creature should fail to reach first. The mighty dragon explained that he had to stop and make rain to help all the people and creatures of the earth and he saw a little helpless rabbit clinging onto a log so he gave a puff of breath to the poor creature to land on the shore. The Emperor was very pleased and added the dragon into the zodiac cycle. Then the horse appeared with a galloping sound. Hidden on the horse’s hoof is the snake, whose sudden appearance gave the horse a fright, thus making it fall back and giving the snake the 6th spot, while the horse placed 7th.

Then the sheep, monkey and rooster came to the shore. They helped each other to get to where they are. The rooster spotted craft and took the other two animals with it. Together, the goat and the monkey cleared the weeds, tugged and pulled and finally got the raft to the shore. The Emperor was very pleased with their combined effort and named the goat as the 8th creature, the monkey the 9th and the rooster the 10th.

The 11th animal is the dog. Although he was supposed to be the best swimmer amongst the rest, as he needed a good bath after a long spell and the fresh water in the river was too big a temptation. For that, he almost didn’t make it to finish line.

Just as the Jade Emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and squeal was heard from a little pig who got hungry during the race and stopped for a feast and then fell asleep. After the nap, the pig continued the race and was name the 12th and last animal of the zodiac cycle. The cat finished too late (13th) to win any place in the calendar and vowed to be the enemy of the rat for evermore.
» The 12 Chinese zodiac animals II ShangNing.net

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