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The God, Cat & Chinese Zodiacs

The God, Cat, and Chinese Zodiacs.

The Chinese Zodiac is an astrological system that coordinates each year to an animal. There are twelve "official" animals in the Zodiac: the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Sheep, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog, and the Boar. The Cat and the God are two who are not part of the Zodiac, but part of the Sohma Curse, as whenever a member of the opposite sex hugs them or they become weak or stressed, they turn into the animal of which year they were born into.

The Chinese Zodiac Legend

S1E1-2001 (14)

Long ago, God told all the animals he was throwing a banquet the next day and not to be late. The mischievous rat told his neighbor, the cat, that the banquet was the day after tomorrow. So, the next day, all the animals lined up for the banquet, and the rat rode there all the way on the cow's back.

All the animals had fun, except for the cat, who was at home sleeping and dreaming for a banquet that would never come. so then the cat fought the rat every time he saw him so he would be excepted with the others.

The Chinese's Legend of the Zodiac

In the Chinese legend, God had 12 places to be taken for the 13 animals he invited to his Chinese New Year celebration.

The animals were:

  1. The Cat
  2. The Rat
  3. The Cow
  4. The Tiger
  5. The Rabbit
  6. The Sheep
  7. The Dragon
  8. The Pig
  9. The Dog
  10. The Rooster
  11. The Snake
  12. The Monkey
  13. The Horse

Back then, the cat and  the rat were the best of friends. However, upon receiving the words of the race, the rat wanted to win the race. It didn't even want its best friend to win. The cat wanted to race too. It told the rat that he would sleep and trusts the rat to wake him up in the morning of the race. However, on the morning of the race, the rat slyly didn't do it and ran off.

At the last leg of the race, the ox had taken over the rat. Even more determined to win, the rat jumped onto the ox's back. As the rat was light, the ox didn't know and carried on running. At the finishing line, the rat jumped off the ox's back to win the first place of the Zodiac.

When the dragon finished the race, God wondered why he had not taken first place. In reply, the dragon said that he had to first bring rain to crops and help the people. God was pleased with that.

The pig was far too lazy to wake up. However, its friend, the dog, woke it up and told him to get going. That's why the dog and the pig's positions are close: the dog ran in front of the lazy pig who walked all the way in the race.

As for the cat, he remained sleeping, waiting for his best friend, the rat to wake him up.

Only after God declared the Zodiac did the cat wake up. It rushed to the end of the race, only find out the rat betrayed him. From that day onwards, the cat and the rat's relationship soured until the cat kept on chasing the rat.

The True Zodiac Legend

A man (later to be called “God”), had lived on top of a mountain for several years, all alone. The man had lived a thousand lifetimes and possessed a thousand different powers. Since God knew he was not like the humans at all, he came to fear them, specifically to get hurt by them.

But then, one day, a cat came to visit. The man was very shocked by the sudden visitor. The cat confessed that he had been watching the man quite some time, and that he couldn't help but be drawn to him. He expressed his desire to stay by the man's side. And so, the cat held its words and never left the man's side. This made the man very happy.

Eventually, the other animals (those that are considered part of the Chinese zodiac) went to see the man. After that occasion, the thirteen animals and the man would have a banquet every night the moon shone. In their banquets, they all had a great time, as they sang, danced, and laughed.

But one night, the cat suddenly collapsed. “God” and all the other animals were devastated and it made them realize that all living things were destined to die, and that their wonderful banquets would eventually end. “God”, not wanting their friendship or banquet to end, and only yearning to make their bond last for eternities, created a spell by drawing a circle in a cup of water with his finger. This drink, later revealed to a spell which would make their friendships last for all eternity, that they would be reborn and no matter how many times they were reborn the bond of their friendship would remain.

“God” had the cat, still unconscious, drink it first without telling him what it was. All the other animals drank the spell willingly, the Rat going first. However, the cat briefly regained consciousness and was devastated by the fact that he was forced to drink the spell-water. He explained that he didn't want to be reborn for all eternity, and was steadfast in his belief that all things must come to an end. After saying his piece, the cat passed away. The other animals, however, did not want to hear to the cat's wisdom and had already made up their minds that the cat had betrayed them.

And at last, the day came when “God” too left this world. However, he was not afraid because of the promise they had all made so many years ago. He knew that his friends (the animals) would wait for him and that all of them would be reunited.

The whole and complete story follow as:

Once upon a time in a particular place...
there lived a person.
The person was alone.
For a long, long time.
After leaving the mountains...
this person learned that many, many people lived below it.
But the person was still alone.
Even with a thousand powers and a thousand lives...
... and a thousand memories.
The person learned that such things were different from what most other people had.
And thus...
...he developed a fear of people.
Despite having many powers...
... the person was afraid...
... of being different from others.
One day...
... a cat came to visit.
The person was bewildered by the sudden visitor.
The cat bowed his head reverently.
"I have humbly watched you for a long time", he said.
"You are a very mysterious person".
"I cannot stop being attracted to you".
"I am merely a stray cat...
... but please let me be by your side".
"Please, Lord God".
From that time on...
... the cat kept his promise.
He never left God's side.
Not even for a moment.
And that made God very, very happy.
Suddenly, God had an idea.
"I see. Maybe I can get along with others...
... as long as those others aren't people".
"If they know the same feelings I do...
... maybe I can have a pleasant banquet with them".
God...
... wrote many invitations.
And sent out many, many invitations.
As a result...
... twelve animals came to see God.
God was thus surrounded by thirteen animals in all.
They all held a banquet every night the moon sparkled.
They sang, and danced...
... and laughed together.
And God, too, laughed out loud for the first time.
The moon quietly watched over...
... the inhuman banquet.
But one night...
... the cat collapsed.
His life had run out.
Nothing could be done.
They all cried.
It made them realize...
... that someday, everyone would die.
The banquets would come to an end.
No matter how much they enjoyed them.
No matter how dazzling and precious they were.
Someday they would...
God recited...
... a single chant.
And drew a circle on a sake cup.
God made the cat drink.
And then spoke to everyone.
"Our bond", God said.
"I will now make it eternal".
"Even if I or all of you die and rot away...
... we will be tied together by an eternal bond".
"However many times we die".
"However many times we are reborn"
"Just as before".
"We will have...
... our countless banquets".
"We will all be friends".
"Until the end of time".
"We will be permanent".
Everyone nodded empathetically.
The rat was the first to drink.
Next, the ox.
Next, the tiger.
Next, the rabbit.
All in order...
... they shared the drink of their vow.
When finally the boar drank...
... the cat started to cry, his breath faint.
"My lord God".
"My lord God...
... why did you make me drink?"
"My lord...
... I don't want eternity".
"I don't need permanence".
Those words...
... were unexpected.
To God and the others...
... they were words of rejection.
It devastated them.
They scolded and admonished the cat.
Even so, the cat spoke.
"My lord God, my lord God. I know it's frightening...
... but let us accept that things end".
"I know it's sad...
... but let us accept that lives depart".
"My lord God, I know it was for only a short time".
"But I was happy to be with you".
"If one more time...
... we both die and are reborn...
... and if we meet again...
... I don't want to only see you in the moonlight".
"I want to see you smiling under the light of the sun as well".
"Next time, I don't want to meet you with only those of us here".
"I want to meet you while you're smiling...
... within a ring of people".
The cat twitched his tail one last time and died.
But no one cared about the cat anymore.
They were filled with the sense that the cat had betrayed them.
Some time after that, one after another...
... the others died.
Finally, after the dragon died...
... God was left all alone again.
And then another day came.
A day when even God died.
But God wasn't afraid.
Because God was supported by the promise made with the others.
"Again".
"We'll hold our banquets".
"Once again...
... and as many times as we want".
"For as long as we wish".
"Without changing".
"I may be sad and alone now...
... but everyone is waiting on the other side of our promise".
Now it's a tale...
... from long ago.
Everyone has forgotten...
... their first memories.
Their first promise.
That first...
... promise.
At what point...
... did it become a curse?
When did it change...
... into a burden?
Those days that were so happy.
The days that were so hard to part with.
There was...
... supposed to be love there.
Time passed.
People changed.
And it became nothing but pain.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
But...
... to all of you...
... who continued to shoulder that exhausted promise...
The promise that lost its original form.
The most important thing I want to tell you...
... is thank you.
Thank you.
A story of long ago.
The first memories that everyone forgot.
It wasn't until much...
... much...
... much later...
... that the cat's wish was finally granted.

Which animal in the Sohmas

Main article: Sohma Curse

Trivia

  • Only 12 of the cursed members (including Kyo and Akito) appear in the 2001 anime.
  • Kyo is the only non-member of the Zodiac that has an animal form despite lacking an official zodiac year and possesses a "true" form.
  • Tohru loves the Chinese Zodiac Legend story, but does mention that she feels sorry for the Cat for being left behind.

Navigation

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Terminologies in Fruits Basket
Terms
Mogeta  •  Sohma Curse  •  Sohma Family  •  Sorta Cinderella  •  The Chinese Zodiac
Items
Cat Backpack  •  Hat  •  Juzu Bead
Locations
Ayame  •  Cat's Room  •  Kaibara Municipal High School  •  Shigure's House  •  Sohma Dojo  •  Sohma House
Groups
Mabudachi Trio  •  Prince Yuki Fan Club  •  Sohma Fan Club
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