12 Zodiac Animals race
Back in the days when the ordinary people had no way of telling one year from the next, they pleaded with the Jade Emperor to help them. The Jade Emperor decided the best way was to create a Zodiac comprised of 12 different animals. His idea was to invite all the animals of the Earth to compete in a race and the top 12 animals to finish this race would each earn a place on the Chinese Zodiac.
The race involved the animals crossing a deep river and as the Rat and the Cat are not the strongest or the best of swimmers, but they are both rather clever and crafty.they persuaded the generous natured Ox to give them a ride across the river on his back. All went well until the Rat realized that when they reached the other side the Cat would run faster and beat him to the finish line, so the sneaky Rat pushed the Cat off the Ox’s back into the river. They had been quite good friends before this race but this put an end to it, as the Cat never finished the race and that’s why Cats hate Rats and Water . Once the Ox was on the other side the Rat moved onto his nose and as he saw the finish line approaching jumped off and ran ahead to finish the race in first place.
So the Rat was first, the Ox came second and in third place came the Tiger, as he is King of the Animals (they do not have Lions in the Chinese legends) the Tiger is the still the strong and powerful one but is not the best swimmer either.
Just seconds after the Tiger finished, came the Rabbit by a lucky chance. The Jade Emperor was surprised to see the little Rabbit do so well and asked him how he was so fast. The rabbit told the Emperor that it was hopping across the river using stones but halfway over it slipped and nearly drowned but fortunately it grabbed hold of a log and floated to the other side.
The Dragon was the fifth animal that crossed the finish line. The Jade Emperor was surprised that the Dragon had not come first. The Dragon explained that during the race it had flown over a village in need of water and it had stayed to make rain for them and then as it flew across the river it saw the Rabbit struggling in the water on its log and sent some wind to help it on its way to the finish. Then as it was about to cross the finish line it saw the helpless rabbit flowing in the middle of the river and decided to send a little wind to help the rabbit cross the finish line.
Just as the Dragon was at the finishing line the Horse came galloping up and was almost at the line when the sneaky Snake who had been wrapped around the Horses hoof for the whole race, suddenly uncoiled and jumped out in front to cross the finish and frightened the poor Horse so much it fell behind. So the Snake finished sixth and the horse finished in seventh place and the Jade Emperor added them to the Zodiac.
Then the Sheep, the Monkey and the Rooster who had all helped eachother throughout the race, made it to the shore. They came in 8th, 9th and 10th places in the Zodiac.
In 11th place was the Dog, who was actually by far the best swimmer among all of the animals but became distracted by all the fresh water in the river and decided to have a bath before finishing the race, so was late.
Finally in last place came the Pig, several hours later than the Dog. The Pig got a bit tired on the way and decided to stop for a nap, lazy Pig!