Chinese Zodiac Story - Rabbit

Why does the Rabbit rank the fourth in Chinese Zodiac?

Speaking of the rabbit as a Chinese zodiac sign, there is an interesting folk legend about "Rabbit-Ox Race".

Once upon a time, the rabbit and the ox were neighbors and they got along with each other very well. The ox was diligent and hardworking while the rabbit was smart and capable, so they all lived a comfortable life.

One day, the rabbit good at running showed off to the ox: "I'm the long-distance running champion in the animal world and no one can defeat me!" The ox sought for advice about long-distance running modestly, but the rabbit shook its head proudly and said: "the long-distance running champion depends on the congenital quality and you cannot learn it. Besides, the long-distance running requires a slim body; but you are stout. I'm afraid you cannot run fast."

The ox was upset but it was unwilling to submit. From then on, the ox began to practice long-distance running and it finally gained the iron feet due to its perseverance. Once tailed up, it ran like the wind and never felt exhausted for a few days.

In accordance with the rules, the animals coming first would be listed for the Chinese zodiac signs on the day. The ox and the rabbit promised to each other that they would get up and go to the Heavenly Palace together after hearing the first cockcrow.

The next day, the ox got up after hearing the first cockcrow but the rabbit had already left. The rabbit ran for a long time and it found there was no animal, so it fell asleep for a while. The ox fell behind, but it never rested and arrived first at the Heavenly Palace due to its perseverance and iron feet when the rabbit was sleeping.

A burst of rapid footsteps awoke the rabbit; it opened its eyes and found the tiger running over quickly. The rabbit was anxious and it ran after the tiger. However, it still fell behind the tiger. Since the tricky rat hid under the ox horn, the rabbit only got the fourth position after the rat, the ox and the tiger.

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