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 The Story of the Chinese Zodiac









Since the beginning of time, the Chinese have used the ancient lunar calendar to mark the passing of time. One of my favorite stories explains how the 12 animals were chosen for the calendar and just why the Cat and the Rat are sworn enemies. It has been passed through countless generations told repeatedly under starry skies, during bedtime, and over hot cocoa. Now you can share this traditional legend with your children and loved ones. Enjoy! Once upon a time, the Jade Emperor announced to the entire animal kingdom that there would be an amazing race. The first twelve animals to cross the finish line would each be awarded one year in the lunar calendar. The news spread quickly and excitement grew everywhere. Now Cat and the Rat were the best of best friends. They did everything together: eat, play, sleep. There wasn't a day that would go by where they didn't say "howdy" to each other. When Cat heard about the great news, he immediately told Rat whom excitedly jumped to his feet and agreed they should both enter the race. After many restless nights, all Rat could think of was winning the competition. But he said nothing to Cat who was happily dreaming about chasing butterflies. Finally, the day of the race arrived. All the animals gathered at the starting line and with a "BANG!" the race began.

With fantastic speed, Rat and Cat grabbed the lead, scurrying through prickly bushes running over grassy meadows until they came upon a vast river. The current was so strong that they could not swim across. Just as they were thinking of what to do, the sturdy Ox came upon them. Being full of ideas, Rat suggested, "Ox, since your eyesight is very poor, let's help each other. Cat and I will get on your back and direct you across the river." That sounded like a great plan to everyone. Ox was very strong and had no trouble swimming across the river.

As the party neared the other side, Rat let out an excited shriek. "Look, look! The Jade Emperor's palace!" Sure enough, bright red festive lanterns were shining all around the magical kingdom. Now, even though Rat and Cat were the best friends, Rat wanted to be first more than ANYTHING in the whole world. So without even a whisper, Rat pushed Cat off Ox into the fast moving river. "Meowwwwww", yelped Cat. "What was that?" Ox asked. "Oh...oh nothing...must have been the wind. Quick! Quick! We're almost there!" shrieked Rat. As they reached the shore, Rat leapt off Ox's back to the finish line, dancing and cheering.

The Jade Emperor rewarded Rat with the first spot followed by a very tired Ox. Shortly after, the strong and powerful Tiger roared to the finish with the lucky Rabbit hopping right behind. From the sky, the noble Dragon descended to the ground; through bushes the Snake slithered to take its place. Next came the Horse and Goat in a tight race. From the trees, Monkey swung in vine to vine. Rooster scrambled in with a few feathers ruffled, trailed by Dog who was in a very good mood. Finally, last but not least Pig trotted in wanting to know when dinner would be served. As Jade Emperor congratulated all 12 animals on winning the race, Cat, who was soaked head to paw, scampered in to the palace. Jade Emperor thanked Cat for joining the race but that he was just too late. From this day onward, Cat swore he and Rat would be enemies forever. And that is the story of the Chinese horoscope and why Cats and Rats can never get along.


* RAT---- You are honest, funny, and talkative but you also tend to be greedy, petty, and selfish. You know how to take advantage of a situation. You are a collector by nature and probably the only ones awake when the rest of the world is asleep. While you are best matched with Dragons and Monkeys, Horses are your archenemies.

* OX---- You are usually patient, dependable, and hard working. Sometimes, you tend to be slow, stubborn and resistant to change. The Ox is most happy when left alone. You are great friends with Snakes and Roosters but don't get along with Goats at all.

* TIGER---- You are known for your courage, generosity, and passion. Being authoritative and a risk-taker, you make a good leader. Think carefully before you act because your brash and stubborn character can offend others. Tigers' good friends are Dogs and Horses. Monkeys are a no-no.

* RABBIT---- Rabbits are the luckiest animals of all. You are gentle, talented, friendly and very popular. With your cautious nature, you can be successful in anything you do. But don't let get head grow too big! Good friends are Goats and Pigs, but not Roosters.

* DRAGON---- Unique, energetic, and overly dramatic you are blessed with good health and luck. On the other hand, you tend to be unbearably moody and a perfectionist. Dragons should beware of Dogs but are friends with Rats and Monkeys.

* SNAKE---- You are blessed with both beauty and brains which makes you both talented and a wise decision-maker. But sometimes you care too much about your looks and can be selfish and lazy. The Snake gets along best with the Rooster and Ox but hates the Pig.

* HORSE---- People like you for your cheerfulness, wisdom and sincerity. With your positive outlook on life, people like you. You like to be alone and tend to be impatient with others. Good mates for the Horse are Tigers or Dogs. Rats are a poor match.

* GOAT---- Your peace-loving and well-mannered nature makes you close to others. You are also elegant and creative which makes you a good artist. Goats are very friendly towards the Ox but do get along with Pigs and Rabbits.

* MONKEY---- You're funny, smart, and full of energy. Because you're fun to be around, people give you lots of attention. You are also a natural leader but be careful because you can sometimes be tricky and unfaithful. Monkeys should stay away from hungry Tigers and stay in the company of Dragons or Rats.

* ROOSTER---- People tend to see you as funny, trustworthy, and always on time. Because you enjoy being the center of attention, you can be full of yourself. Sometimes, you can also be selfish and harsh. The dependable Ox and the shrewd Snake make good friends while the Rabbit is competition.

* DOG---- Dogs are, as you would imagine: loyal, honest, and devoted. You are extremely helpful and positive but can also worry too much and be critical. Dogs make good friends with Horses and Tigers but should be careful of fire-breathing Dragons.

* PIG---- Pigs are noble and strong and always think of others first, especially family. Your intelligence and quick decision-making help you reach your goals. But you also have the tendency to be insecure and tough to handle. Pigs are their own worst enemies and need to make friends with Rabbits or Goats.


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