» Continued from yesterday / 接續昨日
t he successful animals gathered on the bank and watched as the rest of the contestants swam across. Before long, the horse came into view. The horse was swimming furiously and was just about to make land when a snake slithered out from under his hooves. The horse was so surprised that he reared up in shock, allowing the snake to slither across the line for sixth place. The horse got seventh, and was happy enough with that.
Then came the most amazing sight of an amazing day — a rooster, a monkey and a goat traveling together on a raft. The rooster had found the raft and the other two had helped to navigate and clear away reeds. When they finally touched down on the bank, the emperor was delighted. “I have never seen such a remarkable display of teamwork!” and with that he granted the goat the eighth year, the monkey the ninth and the rooster the tenth.
There was long gap until the next animal arrived. The emperor was beginning to wonder if any other animals would make it across and if he had made his challenge too difficult. But he needn’t have worried because just then the dog appeared, nearing the shore. The dog explained that the water had been so clean that he couldn’t resist bathing in it. The emperor laughed and duly awarded him the eleventh year.
So it just remained to be seen which animal would get the final place. The animals were discussing the subject when the pig appeared on the bank, earning him the twelfth year. The emperor’s trumpet players issued a fanfare and the emperor began to speak. “Congratulations to all the animals that made it across the river today. Your names will be remembered forever because of your amazing efforts today,” he said.
But whatever happened to the cat who had sat on the ox’s head? The rat pushed him back into the river and he was swept back to the other bank, and since that day rats and cats have been enemies.(John Phillips, staff writer)