10:30 on the 24th of January 2012 found 14 of my 5th graders performing in a play about the Chinese Zodiac. After the performance, they graciously allowed me to use their masks to re-create the story! Enjoy!
All the animals lined up along the river bank.
'Of course' said the kind ox. 'Just climb on my back and I will take you across.'
The rat and the cat quickly jumped up and were very excited when the ox soon took the lead in the race.
The poor ox had been tricked into second place and the second year of the zodiac was named after him.
'Why didn’t you win the race, as you can fly as well as swim?' the Jade Emperor asked.
'I was held up because some people and animals needed water to drink. I needed to make some rain,' the dragon explained. 'Then when I was nearly here I saw a poor little rabbit on a log in the water and I blew a puff of wind so that the log would float to the river bank.'
'Why are you so late when you are one of the best swimmers?' asked the Jade Emperor.
'The water in the river was so clean that I had to have a bath on the way,' explained the dog.
His reward was to have the eleventh year named after him. Now there was one place left in the zodiac and the Emperor wondered when the last winner would come.
'You took a long time to cross the river,' said the Emperor to the boar.
'I was hungry and stopped to eat,' explained the boar. 'After the meal I felt so tired that I fell asleep.'