THE YEAR OF THE ROOSTER
Kimmel, Eric A. The Rooster’s Antlers, A Story of the Chinese Zodiac. NY: Holiday House, 1999.
A long time ago, the Jade Emperor decided to measure time and name each of the 12 years of the Chinese Zodiac after an animal.
He would choose only the wisest, bravest, swiftest and most beautiful animals.
All the animals hoped they would be picked especially Rooster with his bright red comb, multi-colored feathers and coral antlers.
Dragon, however, wasn’t sure if he would be picked because of his baldness. Centipede cut a deal with dragon. He offered to get Rooster’s antlers so Dragon would be picked but Dragon had to promise to give him many legs and powerful jaws. Dragon agreed, grateful that he wouldn’t have to defend Centipede like he used to do.
Centipede gave Rooster a sob story about Dragon’s baldness and asked to borrow Rooster’s antlers. When Dragon finished with them, he would return them. Dragon, Centipede assured Rooster, just wanted the Emperor chose him as one of the 12 animals of the zodiac.
When Centipede brought the antlers to Dragon, Dragon strutted and in front of his mirror. He also carried out his promise to Centipede and gave him lots of legs and powerful jaws.
Jade Emperor summoned all the animals together and announced his choices to represent the Twelve Earthly Branches. The Emperor placed the Dragon 5th on his list and placed the Rooster 10th. Rooster was crushed.
Rooster demanded his antlers back but Dragon refused, laughing at him. Next, Rooster got into a fight with Centipede. Centipede thought his new jaws and legs would defeat Rooster but he was no match for Rooster’s beak and ability to fly. Centipede crawled under a rock in fear that Rooster would hurt him.
From that day on, roosters have hated centipedes and pounce on them and eat them. Rooster continued to pine for his coral antlers, sitting on a fence, flapping his wings and crowing loudly, “Ku-ker-keru! Dragon, give me back my antlers!”
The Jade Emperor
Act out The Year of the Rooster. What would happen if Dragon had returned the antlers to Rooster? The tale would have ended differently! Act out a different version of the story.