Saturday, February 17, 2007
Why There Is No Year Of The Cat
Legend has it that when the Lord Buddha decided to name the years, he summoned all the animals in the land, and told them anyone wanting to have the honour of having a year named after them would have to take part in a race. As Lord Buddha decided on a cycle of 12 years, he announced only the first 12 to cross the line would be chosen.
The cat and the rat who were best friends both decided they wanted a month named after themselves. Discussing the race that evening, the cat reminded the rat he was a heavy sleeper. The cat therefore asked his friend the rat to waken him in the morning in good time for the race. The rat agreed but then had secret second thoughts.
The rat realised that his chances of being among the first twelve animals to cross the finish line would be better if the cat didn’t take part. So the next morning the rat crept away without waking his friend.
The rat being exceptionally clever realised his chances would be even better if he could hitch a ride from one of the faster competitors. Looking around, rat decided to approach the ox whom he knew well.
The kindly ox allowed the rat to sit on his shoulders during the race. When the race started, the ox ran as fast as he could, with the little rat cheering him on all the way. Then, a little before the end of the race, the rat jumped off the tired ox’s back and ran quickly across the finish line. As the rat was first, his year is the first in the cycle, and the ox is second.
The cat slept throughout the morning, missing the race entirely. He only woke up when the other animals came back, celebrating the rat’s win and announcing the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar had also made it into the first twelve.
Looking at the triumphant rat, the cat lost his temper. He jumped up as fast a lightning and ran at the rat who squeaked in terror and ran off as fast as he could. From this day on the cat and the rat were fierce enemies – and the cat never managed to get into the zodiac.
PS in case you’re interested, this year is the Year of the Boar. If you’re celebrating, take a look at the Year of the Boar New Year Online Treasure Hunt.