So, it was just the Lunar New Year. We are out of the Year of the Dog and into the Year of the Pig. I was happy to have a day off. I had put together a story to explain to the kids about the animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac. I got the information from Wikipedia and dumbed it down for them. Here it is.
Happy New Year
A long time ago, the Jade Emperor decided to name each year after an animal to help people remember what year it was. When the animals heard his idea, they began arguing which animal should be named first. To end their fighting, the Jade Emperor announced there would be a race to determine the order the animals would appear. All the animals would have to race across the river and report to him.
The cat and the rat were good friends. They were very smart, but very bad swimmers. They decided to cross the river on the back of the ox. The ox, being naive and good-natured, agreed to carry them. Halfway across, the crafty rat pushed the cat into the river. When the ox reached the shore the rat jumped off the ox’s head and claimed first place. The friendly ox was second. The cat was missing.
The third animal to cross was the powerful tiger, who swam his best in the strong currents. Closely behind came the rabbit, who had hopped quickly from stone to stone in the river. Halfway though the stones disappeared, but luckily for the rabbit a log floated by that carried him to the finish line.
The dragon arrived in fifth place. The Emperor didn’t understand why such a powerful and flying animal did not finish first. The mighty dragon explained that he was not first because during the race he had to stop and make rain for all the people and creatures on earth. Then on the way to the finish line he saw a rabbit lost on a log in the middle of the river. So he did a good deed and blew the log to shore. That was why he was so late.
As soon as the dragon finished his story, the horse galloped up. As he did so, the sneaky snake slithered out of the horse’s hoof where he had been hiding. This scared the horse so much it fell back, giving the snake the sixth spot. The poor horse had to be satisfied with seventh.
Shortly after that, the ram, monkey, and rooster came together on a raft that the rooster had spotted. The rooster shared his find with the ram and monkey who steered the raft and cleared the weeds. Because they worked so well together, the Emperor named the ram eighth, the monkey ninth, and the rooster tenth.
Then the dog finally showed up. He was a good swimmer but was having so much fun playing in the water he almost forgot about the race. The lazy pig became hungry during the race, so he ate a feast and then fell asleep. The Emperor was about to say the race was over when the pig finally showed up.
The poor cat had been swept so far down the river that by the time he walked back to the finish line, the race had been over for days and everyone had gone home. The cat was so angry that he promised to hate the rat forever.