Today I bring you a Mongolian legend/animal tale. Again this obviously came to Mongolia via India. In this case, via buddhism. But read for yourselves!
Why the Camel Rolls in the AshesA long time ago the names of the animals representing the twelve years of the Mongolian calendar, that is the buddhist calendar, were being chosen and eleven names were called at once. But then there was the question which animal should begin the circle of the twelve years. The camel and the mouse both proposed their names and quarreled about who should be included in the circle. Not wanting to offend either of them, Buddha said: “Settle this between yourselves!”
And so the two animals made a bet to decide who would have the honour to start the calendar: Whoever saw the first rays of the rising sun the next morning, would start the twelve years.
The camel, sure to win, faced East where the sun would rise and waited. But the mouse quickly climbed upon the camel’s hump and stared unwaveringly at the mountain peaks in the West. When the sun rose, the first rays were reflected from the snow-covered peaks of the eastern mountains and so the mouse was the first to see them crying: “The sun is rising!”
The camel became so angry to have lost the bet, that it wanted to trample the mouse to death. The mouse quickly crawled beneath a pile of ashes hiding there.
Since then whenever a camel sees a pile of ashes it wants to trample down the hated mouse and starts trampling and rolling in the ashes.
In the meantime, it was the mouse that got included in the circle while the camel was left out. But although the camel wasn’t included in the calendar as such, its body bears the distinctive features of the twelve animals of the circle. These features are:
1. the ears of the mouse
2. the belly of the cow
3. the paws of the tiger
4. the lips of the hare
5. the body of the dragon
6. the eyes of the snake
7. the mane of the horse
8. the wool of the sheep
9. the hump of the monkey
10. the comb the cock
11. the legs of the dog
12. the tail of the pig
I realise just now that I should have posted this yesterday what with the number twelve being central to this legend and yesterday having been my 12th post. But okay. Didn’t happen.