Chinese Zodiac Story - Horse

How did the Horse rank in Chinese zodiac animals?

Legend goes that the horse had wings in ancient times and it was named Holy Horse which could run on the ground, swim in the water and fly in the sky, thus very powerful and became a royal horse of the Jade Emperor. Gradually, the horse was haughty because of the Jade Emperor's love and indulgence and it often ran amuck. One day, the horse left the Heavenly Palace and went to the East Sea, and it wanted to break in the Dragon Palace. The Holy Turtle guarding the Dragon Palace led the shrimp soldiers and crab generals to fight against the horse. The Holy Horse was so angry that it kicked the Holy Turtle to death. After the event was reported to the Heavenly Palace, the Jade Emperor ordered to cut away the horse's wings and bury it under the Kunlun Mountain for 300 years. More than 200 years later, the human ancestor Ren Zu would pass by the Kunlun Mountain; the god in charge of the Royal Horse Stable for the Heavenly Palace disclosed the information to the horse, and told it how to come out from the mountain. When Ren Zu passed by the mountain, the horse shouted: "hi, you kind-hearted! Please save me and I will work for you in my life." After Ren Zu heard what the horse said, he was sympathetic, so he cut down the peach tree on the top of the mountain and the horse jumped out after a loud noise.

To return thanks to Ren Zu for saving its life, the horse came to the mortal world and worked for Ren Zu. At ordinary times, it ploughed, pulled a cart and carried things without complaint. In wartime, it ran on the battle fields, went through fire and water and became the inseparable friend of human beings. When the Jade Emperor was to select the twelve zodiac animals, the horse was recommended by human beings. The Jade Emperor agreed because the horse performed a meritorious service to atone its crimes and it helped a lot to the human beings.

Of course, the folk legend is fictional. In fact, however, no other animal can have the close relationship with the human than the horse. Since human beings bid farewell to the fishing and hunting era and entered into the agricultural society, the horse has become one of the first animals bred by human. No matter in farming, transportation or on the battlefield, the horse has made outstanding exploits for the mankind. That explains why the ancient people ranked it the top of six domestic animals.

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