| Once upon a time in China, the Jade Emperor
in the sky decided to have a New Year's party. He invited
all of the animals in his kingdom to come to a special
place at a special time. He promised a big surprise for
the first 12 animals to arrive at his party.
Little Mouse loved parties and she wanted to win the
big prize but her legs were so short all the other animals
could travel faster than she could. Little Mouse set
out from home and sure enough, all the other animals
started passing her by.
After an hour of walking, Little Mouse stopped to rest.
Along came her friend Big Cat. Little Mouse had an idea.
She asked Big Cat for a ride. "Sure", said
Big Cat, "hop on my back."
When Big Cat finally got to the party, there were 11
animals ahead of him. He would be the 12th animal to
arrive. He would be one of the winners of the big surprise.
Just then, Little Mouse jumped down in front of Big
Cat. When the Jade Emperor looked over, he saw Little
Mouse first. Because he saw Little Mouse first, Little
Mouse received the big surprise. She was named as one
of the 12 official animals of the Chinese Calendar.
As you may have guessed, Big Cat was very mad at Little
Mouse for tricking him. And to this day cats are still
trying to get even with mice by chasing them whenever