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Chinese Zodiac Horoscope

2018 - The Year of Dog

Legend of the Chinese Zodiac

The legends of how the twelve animals came into the Chinese Zodiac are intrinsically tied with Chinese imagination and mythology. One is as follows: Long, long ago the Jade Emperor found that people need a common way of measuring and counting time. He decided the flow of time must be divided into a sequence of repeating periods, the Zodiac. The names of the periods should be easily memorable by common people. So, why not use names of animals known already by little children? Following his idea, he invited the animals to a swimming competition on his birthday. The first twelve animals arriving the other bank of a fast flowing river near to his garden would each have a year of the Zodiac named after them, in the order of their arrival (In another well-known legend the Buddha invited the animals to take part in the competition).

Rat / Mouse In a colorful caravan all the animals left the emperor's garden and walked down slowly to the river bank. On the way the two good friends cat and rat stayed close together. Both were very worried because they knew their poor swimming abilities. After thinking for a while they got the idea to ask the big and strong ox to carry them across the river. Unexpectedly, the ox agreed and they climbed happily on his back.

Ox / Buffalo After all animals had lined up along the river bank, the Jade Emperor raised his arm and the race was started. Soon the ox took the first position and cat and rat became most upbeat about their cleverness. When the three were already close to the opposite river side the rat suddenly pushed the cat into the water. This was the end of the race for the cat who had to fight against drowning with all its strength. But the rat took a long inrun on the back of the ox and jumped from it's head just to the river bank. The Jade Emperor gave his congratulation for the first place to the proud rat and named the first year of the Zodiac the Year of Rat. The poor ox became aware that he was tricked out and got only the second position in the Chinese Zodiac.

Tiger A moment later the water-weeping tiger exhaustedly pulled himself to the embankment of the river and just lied there with all four legs stretched out. Swimming across that river was quite different from taking a bath in a forest lake. It had taken all strength away from him. Very delighted the Emperor paced towards the still majestic animal and rewarded him the third year of the Zodiac.

Rabbit / Hare When the Jade Emperor turned back he saw the rabbit just jumping from a snag to the river bank. Surprisingly, it's fur was completely dry! What had happened? When most other animals already had jumped into the water the rabbit still was sitting on the beach thinking how to cross the river. Then it became aware of an old tree floating towards him in the water. Without deliberation the rabbit hopped on the snag which immediately began to turn towards the opposite riverside and arrived there soon. The Jade Emperor became very happy about so much luck in the world and named the fourth year of the Zodiac after the rabbit.

Dragon Short afterwards the air became filled with tumescent sough which suddenly stopped when the dragon landed with a remarkable bang. After a short moment of shock the Jade Emperor was wondering why the dragon arrived so late and didn't win the race as expected, although not only he can fly fast, but also swim well. The dragon explained to him that short after soaring into air he saw in upstream direction three travelers struggling for their life beside an overturned ferry boat. By using his magic the dragon broke down three fir trees standing on a cliff beside the river and sent them to the casualties. Unfortunately, one stem drifted to the wrong side of the river, but all three people were able to enter the remaining two and could reach the river bank. But when the dragon wanted to resume the race he descried the poor little rabbit still sitting at the starting point. Full of compassion he blew a gust of wind to force the remaining stew into that direction, and with another blew drove it across the river, the rabbit sitting on top of it. The Jade Emperor was impressed by so much kindness and dedicated the fifth year of the Zodiac to the dragon.

Snake With still seven animals to arrive, the Jade Emperor felt a bit tired for standing all the time and sat down on a rock above the river embankment where he had a nice outlook. There he became aware of a dusty cloud in some distance downstream of the river. While the cloud was growing bigger and bigger his ears were filled with a crescendo clippety-clop of hooves and soon the horse arrived beneath the rock. The Jade Emperor just wanted to congratulate the Horse horse for the sixth position when a knotted rope magically unfolded by itself and fell off the neck of the horse to the ground. After a moment the horse recognized the rope was a snake and immediately turned over, stepped away and lashed out his back legs full of fear and anger. The insidious snake took the chance and hissing strongly wriggled onto the top of the rock. Thus, the Jade Emperor had no choice but had to give the sixth position in the Zodiac to the snake, and the timid horse only got the seventh place.

Goat / Ram / Sheep The Jade Emperor went back to his lookout on the rock and soon spotted a shaky raft on the river. The monkey – standing at the rear – tried with all his effort by using a long stick to force the raft into the direction of the Emperor. Goat and rooster crouched down near the bow to shield each other against water splashes. After arrival they explained to the Emperor that the rooster had found the raft in the reed, but had no way to bring it to the water. So he asked the monkey for help. The goat, standing nearby, noticed the monkey was afraid of water and offered them to push the raft to the shore by his strong horns if the monkey became steersman of the raft. This motley crew then accomplished a crowning achievement far of reach for every single one. Although the Jade Emperor didn't want to prefer one before the others, he finally had to decide some order. With heavy heart he gave the eighth position to the goat, monkey became ninth, and the rooster the tenth animal of the Zodiac.

Monkey Rooster / Cock

Now let's look what happened to the coltish dog. Already before the race was started it saw a colorful butterfly fluttering around his head. When the dog tried to snatch it, the butterfly turned around and began to visit this and that beautiful flower on a big meadow in a chaotic zigzag Dog course. The dog forgot the race at all and followed close behind the butterfly, often jumping up to catch that insect. After a while, the butterfly disappeared in a big, wild scrub and the game ended. Suddenly, the dog became aware that the race was to be started soon and blamed himself for his childish behavior. He rushed towards the river but couldn't see other animals anymore. At once he jumped into the water and swum as fast as possible to the opposite side and arrived there quickly because he was a good swimmer. After he had finished shaking off the water from his fur, the Jade Emperor crouched down and fondling the dogs head congratulated him to the last but one position in the Zodiac. Although being exhausted, the dog expressed his happiness about this honor by a long and loud barking.

Now there was only one place left in the Zodiac, and full of expectation the Jade Emperor took again his seat on the rock to await the last winner of the race. As he came to know later on, the boar – standing in the line of animals awaiting the start of the competition – suddenly felt hungry and wanted to eat something to be strong enough for the race. When it saw the dog running away behind the butterfly, it thought there would be enough time for a short meal in a nearby forest. As soon as the Pg / Boar boar arrived that forest, the smell of truffles entered his nose. It didn't last long to find those delicious mushrooms, but to dig them out of the soil was much more hard work. So, after the enjoyable meal, the pig suddenly felt a bit tired and fell into a doze. And the time passed until a curbed but clearly audible distant barking came to the pig's ear and made him wide awake at once. Loudly grunting the pig finally entered the race. On the other side of the river the Emperor already wanted to leave the scenery when the grunting of the pig arriving the river bank stopped him. Being happy to finish his task the Jade Emperor named the last year of the Zodiac the Year of pig. From that day on the Chinese Zodiac's everlasting cycle of years continued and the story of those twelve admirable animals is known by young and old and will never fall into oblivion.

As for the cat, after being bounced to the water by the rat it swept away in the torrential river and stranded on a flat beach far away from the starting point. Cats newer can forget this perfidiousness and will be rats enemy forever.