The rat takes the first place in the Chinese Zodiac though it is the smallest in size and weakest in strength among the 12 animals. How did it succeed in the competition or in the Great Race? This remains a question throughout the history. Many people tried different ways to work out the reasons, but the most popular interpretation is the story of the Great Race.
According to the legend, not all animals were allowed to participate in the race. Only 12 of them were selected by the Jade Emperor and the order was decided upon the speed in a race.
On hearing the regulations, all the 12 animals ranging from the biggest to the smallest, from the strongest to the weakest were prepared to win the first position and not anyone was willing to lag behind. The tiger was confident to be the first because of his strength. The dragon thought he was superior with his magic power. The ox believed in their perseverance. The horse was sure of his galloping ability. The monkey could jump from tree to tree and the rabbit used to be the champion of long distance running.
What could the rat do? He seemed to be inferior in every way compared with the other 11 animals. Yet, the rat was not disheartened. He was proud of his little but smart head and small but flexible body!
That night before the race, the rat was working hard on a scheme while others were sleeping so as to gather strength for the next day. He realized that if he wanted to beat other competitors, he had to exert his strong points. Otherwise he would be the last. “What a shame to be the last! I will never let it happen to me!” The rat thought to himself. Finally, he hit upon an idea. “I will surely be the first!”
Early the next morning, all the 12 animals got up early and got to the starting line early. They were fully prepared for the race. The rat, being the smallest, knew very well that he could not get the better of others if he didn’t apply any scheme.
Just before the race started, the rat walked quietly close to the ox and jumped onto the back at the moment of the starting signal was sent. The ox was too focused on the start of the race to feel what happened. The rat was now happy on top of the ox, who was running with all his might. At the last moment to the end of the race, the rat jumped off the back of the ox and touched the finishing line. He was the first in the race!
Regardless of the trick the rat played, the Jade Emperor announced that the rat won the first position in accordance with the regulation that whoever first arrives will win the first position.” The rat won the race with his smart head and his quick body and the race won for him the pride among the 12 animals.
Those born under the sign of the rat are usually thought to be aggressive and ambitious. They are also imaginative, charming, and truly generous to the ones they love. However, they have a tendency to be hot-tempered and overly critical. They are usually suitable for sales work or work as a writer, critic, or publicist. Rats can get well along with Dragons and Monkeys.