Monday, January 28, 2008

IF: Tales and Legends - The Story of the Chinese Zodiac 鼠年故事

The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese zodiac has twelve signs, here's the story of why the year of the Rat is the first year in the cycle.

Once upon a time, the Emperor announced a contest, a race for all the animals. The first twelve animals to cross the finish line will have a year named in their honor.

At that time, Cat and Rat were best friends. When they heard about the great news, they agreed they should both enter the race. 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 and 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. Immediately the Rat came up with a brilliant idea.

"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." The Ox agreed with the plan. He was very strong and had no trouble swimming across the river.

As the party neared the other side, The Cat crouched on the Ox’s head and swished his tail. The Rat could see that his friend was getting ready to leap onto the bank ahead of them and take the first prize. Even though they were best friends, Rat wanted to be first more than ANYTHING in the world. Without hesitating, Rat pushed Cat off Ox into the fast moving river. Then he jumped off the ox's head and got through the finish line first.

Therefore, the Emperor declared the rat as the first zodiac animal, the tired Ox as second, followed by the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and the sluggish Pig as the last.

This is why there is no year named after the Cat. And if you’ve ever wondered why cats hate rats so much - now you know!

Wishing all of you a very Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai!











Kate said...

Great story, and beautiful illustration! (from a goat)

Steph said...

Great style and executed so well!

sketched out said...

I did always wonder why there wasn't a year of the cat, especially since there was a song by Al Stewart, in the 70's by that name. Now I know. Darn rats! You can't trust them!

Wonderful Illustration (Bobo playing the lead, hee hee,) great story and perfect for the IF theme.

Faruffa said...

Bellissimo !
I like very much the mix of modern and traditional
Ciao :o)

Catnapping said...

i love this story! cats are my favorite people. now i know why i was not born in the year of the cat!

rbaird said...

What a terrific post.
Your art captured the tale perfectly!

Danarella said...

What a cute story! I also love the illustration.

claudine hellmuth said...

love their expressions!

Dreamapet said...

hehe...finally i open my comp..
thk for bobo~~
gv me an award..
(thk u very much)

Princess Pepper Cloud said...

Your illustration is AWESOME! I love the action and the dancing Rat and the scardy cat (is that why cats don't like water too?) Also, great lighting and shadows. Really fun.

Swim bobo Swim!

MayY * 五月媽媽 said...

Great post!

Shan said...

cute :) i'll change your grammar some other time, gotta go to school >.<

[chi's japanese is.. wrong =.=]

enigma said...

wow, both your illos are amazing..! happy Chinese New Year to you!

Elé said...

Really beatiful drawing!

isay said...

I have found your site today and I must say your illustrations are great. I like each one of them.

Thank you for this story. I was born in the year of the rat-

Cheers to the New Year!