I was reading about how the Chinese zodiac animals were sequenced. When the Jade Emperor decided he wanted twelve animals to be his guards, he set up a race to his Heavenly Gate. The order the animals arrived would represent their ranking. It was no surprise to me that the rabbit would be arrogant about his speed and considering the rabbit was making fun of the ox for being slow, the rabbit got his comeuppance for finishing after the ox. After reading this, I read that the rabbit is one of the most delicate animals so I wonder if this experience of losing the race changed the rabbit’s ego. I also made the connection that the rabbit can be a lot like the rat in how they are used. Because rabbits are docile creatures that reproduce easily, they too are used for scientific experiments and testing. Surgical lasers were developed using rabbits and studies for ear infections, cancer, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and many more studies use rabbits as a key instrument. I don’t believe I have ever seen rabbit on a menu but apparently it is a popular dish in many parts of the world. China consumes the most rabbits out of all other countries and in Europe, Italy and France do to.
Now back to the story about the Jade Emperor. I read how when the Jade Emperor organized the race, everyone suspected the dragon would come first. It was sweet to see that the dragon actually came fifth because apparently, on the way to the Heavenly Gate, a village was suffering from a drought and the dragon had to create rain for them. What a noble character. Personally, the dragon is a very alluring zodiac because it does just seem like such an exotic creature. I thought it was interesting to read what the website said about its hybridization: the dragon is composed of nine different animal parts. Some of these animals were surprising to me, like the “head of a camel” and “belly of a clam” just because I would have expected the hybridization to revolve around macho animals. But the dragon’s hybridization does add more allure to this creature. As for myths with the dragon, I loved reading about how it was said the dragon took 3,000 years to hatch where the first thousands years were in the sea, then in the mountains, the last thousand years in the village. (I wonder if that’s why the dragon felt such a pull to save the village from the drought). I also thought it was cool how the dragon lives in the sea during winter months and the heavens during spring months…Out of all the zodiacs, to me the dragon definitely has a lot of magical components.
So, when the dragon finished in fifth place in Jade Emperor’s race, it is not surprising that he was well noticed by the emperor. Because of this, the emperor told the dragon his son could be the sixth guard. Since the dragon’s son could not come that day, the snake jumped in and said the dragon was his adoptive father, which is why the snake is the sixth zodiac. I read from a few different sources on the snake and it seems like the snake is commonly depicted as a negative character, or at least a character one should be suspicious of. When I think about movies, story tales, or biblical references, the snake is commonly associated with witches and evil. I also read “The White Snake,” which was cool to see how the snake unlocked all this power for the servant and how eating the snake indirectly saved the servant’s life and ultimately helped the servant marry the king’s daughter. This kind of can be related to how snakes can save peoples’ lives today, and surprisingly with their venom. How ironic that something like venom could help humans! Venom is widely tested on and it is amazing that scientists have been able to discover how it helps patients with multiple sclerosis.