It's the year 4707, and time to welcome the Year of the Ox!
How the Years got their Names
The gods chose 12 animals to name the years after, but the animals argued about whose name should be give to the first year. Each animal thought he was the most important and should be given the honour. They had a terrible argument. The gods decided to settle things by having a swimming race across the river. Whoever got across first would give his name to the first year, second to the second year, and so on.
That’s not fair! said the smaller animals the rat, the hare, the snake and the rooster. Everyone knows the big animals like the horse and the ox will get there first.
Well, you never know! said the gods.
So the animals lined up along the bank. Ready, steady, go! called the Gods, and they were off. It was surprising to see how well they all swam. The ox was in the lead, for he was the biggest and strongest, but the hare and the snake weren’t far behind him. The worst swimmer was the boar, who was fat and out of condition. Grunt! Grunt! He panted breathlessly; I don't care if I never have a year named after me! And he gave up.
But the rat didn't give up! He cared very much indeed who won the race. He was so determined that he paddled and paddled until he caught up with the ox. He quickly jumped onto his back and held on tightly until the ox had very nearly reached the other side, ahead of all the other competitors. Then he jumped off onto the dry land he had won the race just ahead of the ox!Ha! Ha! he laughed, I'm the winner!
The ox had to settle for being second, followed by the tiger, the hare, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the ram, the monkey, the rooster, and the dog.
And finally, last by a long way, came the boar, panting for all he was worth!
Here’s hoping this year brings much happiness, love, fortune and joy to everyone!