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LITTLE MOUSE'S BIG TRICK
Adapted from a Chinese Folktale by Jean Warren

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 they can.