Chinese Zodiac Story - Dragon

Why does the Dragon rank the fifth in Chinese Zodiac?

In ancient age, the dragon had no horn and lived on the land. The dragon was powerful and it could fly and swim, so it wanted to replace the tiger to be a zodiac sign and the king of animals. Therefore, a tiger-dragon race took place and the result was unresolved. Finally, the Jade Emperor thought they were outrageous and called them to the Heavenly Palace to debate. On departure, the dragon thought although it was tall but not as mighty as the tiger; it was afraid of being looked down upon by the Jade Emperor, then it wouldn't become the king of animals or a zodiac sign. At this moment, the chilopod, the younger brother of the dragon, advised: "the rooster has a pair of beautiful horns; you can borrow from it to become more powerful." The dragon was excited and it came with the chilopod to borrow the rooster's horns.

However, the rooster refused and the dragon was anxious, so it swore to heaven: "if I don't give your horns back, I will die once I come to the land!" The chilopod guaranteed for the dragon: "if the dragon doesn't give your horns back, you can eat me!" So the rooster lent its horns to the dragon.

The dragon and the tiger came to the Heavenly Palace. The Jade Emperor found both of them were very powerful, so he ordered them to be the king of animals: the tiger would be the king of land animals while the dragon would be the king of marine animals. The tiger was a zodiac sign, so did the dragon. But the dragon ranked after the tiger. Therefore, both of them were excited and they said goodbye to the Jade Emperor and came back to the earth. After coming back, the dragon thought if it gave the horns back to the rooster, it could not govern the marine animals. So it decided not to give back the horns and plunged into the water, never going back to the land again.

The rooster was very angry and it transferred its anger on the chilopod, so the chilopod was scared and it sneaked into the rock tunnels. Today, we can still find that the rooster is red in the face and the chilopod seldom goes out to the land; the rooster always eats the chilopod and shouts: "brother dragon, give back my horns!" The dragon never goes back to the land anymore.

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