Sun, Feb 18, 2007 - Page 9 News List

A race for time 計年之爭

Once upon a time, before there was a solar or lunar calendar to help tell the time, the people of the world, at a loss, went to a temple to ask the Jade Emperor for help. The Jade Emperor thought for a long time and finally thought of a good idea: he would hold a race to cross a river among the animals. Based on the order in which the first twelve animals arrived at the other shore, they would rotate a position as monarch, and the year would be named after them. As soon as this announcement was made, all of the animals began intensely discussing this race that would decide the names of the twelve years.

At that time the cat and mouse were like two peas in a pod. When the cat heard about the race, he became a little nervous because he could not swim very well. His good friend the mouse told him, “Don't worry. Brother Ox is a very good swimmer, and I'll ask him to carry the two of us across the river!”

The day of the race finally arrived. Every animal arrived early because they were eager to win. When crossing the river, some animals swam their hearts out. The ox was the fastest among them. At this time, the mouse, sitting on the ox's back, suddenly thought of a naughty idea. He pushed the cat into the water with all his strength. The cat, not an expert swimmer, swallowed a great deal of water.

After a brief time, when he saw that the ox was near the finish line, the crafty mouse jumped off of the ox's back and became the first to land on the other shore, earning himself first place. The ox, on the other hand, finished second. After a time, the soaking wet tiger finally swam over. The rabbit finished fourth and the dragon fifth. The snake, the horse, the ram, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and finally the pig followed them.

Today's Word 今日單字

1. solar adj.

太陽的 (tai4 yang2 de5)

例: Have you ever seen a solar eclipse?

(你看過日蝕嗎?)

2. rotate v.i. /v.t.

輪流 (lun2 liu2)

例: The couples rotated around the dance floor.

(多對夫妻在舞池中翩然起舞。)

3. intensely adj.

熱切地 (re4 qie4 di5) ,極度 (ji2 du4)

例: This task is intensly difficult.

(這工作難度極高。)

4. crafty adj.

狡猾的 (jiao3 hua2 de5)

例: You must be careful of my dog. He can be quite crafty when he wants to get something.

(你得小心我的狗。每當牠有所求時,就會變得很狡猾。)


Only then did the dripping wet cat hurriedly climb onto the shore, asking, “What place did I finish in?” The Jade Emperor said, “You're too late. The race is over!” When the cat knew that he had not earned a place, he angrily struck the mouse. The mouse, feeling guilty, could only run for his life. Since then, whenever a cat sees a mouse, he chases him with all his might while the mouse runs for his life.(TRANSLATED BY JASON COX)

很久很久以前,沒有日曆或月曆幫忙計算年份,不知如何是好的人們於是到廟裡請求玉帝幫忙。玉帝想了很久,終於想到一個好主意:他要動物們比賽渡河,最先抵達對岸的十二種動物,就可依到達的先後順序輪流當大王,作為年份的名稱。消息發佈後,動物們都興高采烈地討論十二生肖比賽的事。

那時候貓和老鼠十分「麻吉」。不太會游泳的貓聽了這個消息,心裡有點擔心,身為好朋友的老鼠便說:「沒關係,水牛哥很會游泳,就請他背我們兩個游過去吧!」

比賽這一天終於到了。為了想贏,大家都很早出發。渡河時,動物們都拼命向前游,其中水牛游得最快,這時坐在牛背上的老鼠,忽然起了壞心眼,他使盡全力把貓推進水裡,貓因為不擅游泳,喝了好多水。

沒多久,眼看水牛就要抵達終點,狡猾的老鼠卻從牛背上跳下,首先上岸的他得了第一名,水牛則是第二名。過了一會兒,老虎全身濕淋淋地游了過來。排名第四的是兔子。第五名是龍,接著是蛇、馬、羊、猴、雞、狗,最後是豬。

這時,全身濕透才上岸的貓急忙跑過來問:「我是第幾名?」玉帝說:「太晚了,比賽已經結束了!」貓知道自己沒得名後,氣得撲向老鼠。心虛的老鼠只好拼命逃。此後所有的貓見到老鼠就拼命追,而老鼠就只有死命逃的份。

(林倩如編撰)

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