It’s said that Buddha created the Chinese Zodiac when he felt death grow near and he knew he was about to leave this world. He summoned all of the animals to him to say goodbye but only twelve animals answered his call and as a reward, Buddha dedicated a world of stars to each of them. The first to appear before him was the rat; as usual, the cleverest and quickest of all the animals.
Next was the ox who demonstrated its usual respect and diligence in dealing with man. The tiger arrived third with all of its courage and the rabbit followed with its calm, peaceful nature. Streams of fire shot out of the dragon’s throat as it arrived fifth and its smaller brother, the snake, slithered in after it, leaving a trail of colorful scales. The horse galloped in seventh with its glorious mane flowing in the wind and the joyful sheep pranced in behind it.
The monkey, swinging from tree to tree, managed to get there ninth. The rooster arrived tenth in a flurry of colored feathers, crowing to salute the new day. The dog followed – it would never have dreamed of disobeying Buddha. And last to arrive was the pig who was fortunate enough to get there just in time to say goodbye to Buddha and earn a place among the stars.