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The Race to the Finish (cont...)

All of a sudden, a loud thumping sound came: it was the rabbit. It jumped from one stone to another and was doing well until it slipped. Fortunately, there was a log floating by and it grabbed onto that log and floated to the finish line earning the fourth place in the race. In fifth place was the dragon, but everyone thought that it would come in first because it could fly. It told Jade Emperor that it had to stop a couple of times to help some villagers. And on its way to the finish line, it saw a little rabbit on a log and decided to give a little puff of air to help it get to shore. After the dragon, the horse came galloping towards the finish line. The sneaky snake was hidden behind the horse’s foot. It suddenly appeared and the horse was scared. The snake took advantage of this and landed itself in sixth place, and the horse landed in seventh.

Soon after, the monkey, the rooster, and the sheep landed onto shore. Unlike some of the previous animals, these three actually helped each other to get to the finish line. The rooster found a raft, and the monkey and sheep hopped on. Working hard together through the water currents and the weeds, they reached shore: the sheep came in eighth place, the monkey in ninth place, and the rooster in tenth place. In eleventh place was the dog. Even though it was a great swimmer, it was late. It told the emperor that it needed a bath, and the fresh water from the river was too tempting. Right when the emperor was going to close the race, an “oink” sound was heard: it was the pig. “Lazy little pig” originated from this story. The pig felt hungry in the middle of the race, so it stopped, ate something, and then fell asleep. After it awoke, it finished the race in twelfth place and became the last animal to arrive.

The order of the lunar calendar follows the outcome of the race, where the rat is the first animal to start the sequence, and the pig is the last. After the pig, the sequence starts over again. The lunar calendar has been a significant calendar for China and the Chinese zodiac. Many parts of the world are also familiar with this calendar.

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