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, dancin and
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
The Chinese Zodiac is base on the Lunar Calendar, so generally
if the person was born in January (or till mid. Feb.),
his or her sign possibly will be still with in the last year. **