ONCE upon a time, a rotund creature was invited to a party thrown by the kingdom’s emperor.
Everyone was told to arrive early. It was announced the Jade Emperor would give different talents, fortunes and personalities to each of the invitees. In addition, the emperor would determine the order in which they came.
This is my Khoky version of the story: Through no fault of the creature, The Pig, was the last one to arrive at the feast. He profusely apologized to the emperor. The pig was forgiven but he had to take the last seat, the12th one. Today, he is the icon of what is now known as the Chinese zodiac. The Year of the Wood Pig starts on Feb. 5 and ends on Jan. 24, 2020.
One legend said the pig was tardy because someone, allegedly the Big Bad Wolf, incinerated the pig’s bungalow. He had to rebuild his house after he bought the necessary materials. “It was an emergency, your highness,” he may have whined.
But who knows, really? The arson was never investigated as thoroughly as possible. There were no CCTV cameras back then. It was easy to blame the wolf because of his previous crime record involving pigs: The Three Little Pigs. He blew down two pig houses with his bad breath.
The third pig, who wisely built his house using bricks, set up a trap for the wolf by placing a pot of boiling soup or water under the fireplace. The wolf fell into the pot when he entered through the chimney. He received second degree burns because he had a tough time extricating himself from his folly.
Maybe the pain reformed the wolf. Perhaps, he is now a good boy incapable of mischief. This leaves us with the possibility it was really The Rat, the first guy to arrive at the party, who did it. You are familiar with the saying “to smell a rat.” However, it could have been The Snake who did it. A “snake in the grass” is not to be trusted, right?
These are all speculations. The arson remains a mystery to this day. Millennial author Pigleanor Bacon wrote the book “The Case of the Burned Down Pig’s House” based on the story. I heard Warner Bros. is planning to develop a film based on the book. Robert Carlyle of “Once Upon a Time” fame has been tapped to play the Bad Wolf.
Another account says the pig was late because he overslept. Maybe he was partying at The Rooster’s hut. A natural early bird, the rooster was ahead of his own body clock. He got up at 1 a.m. Although he arrived at the party with bags under his eyes, he gladly took the ninth seat in the Chinese zodiac.
Although I may have added a little humor to the story, a pig’s life in real time has sad notes I would rather skip out today. Do celebrate the new year with all of the lucky food you know. My family has decided to take a detour. We will celebrate with food that makes us happy. I believe happiness heals the heart and brings good luck to a person.