This is one of the many legends of how animals are picked to be the Chinese zodiacs.
At the ancient times, the lion was a Chinese zodiac; there was no tiger at all. However the lion is very cruel, so the supreme god wants to take away the lion’s Chinese zodiac status. But the supreme god cannot do so because the lion is the king of all animals. If the supreme god gets rid of it, he would need a new animal to control all the animals. Then the supreme god remembered the tiger.
The tiger was only a insignificant creature live in the human world, but when it learned fighting skills from the cat, the tiger become a ferocious warrior. All the animals challenged him are either dead or mortally wounded. After the tiger emerged victorious from all the battles, the tiger become very famous for his skills. In fact the tiger become so famous the supreme god summoned the tiger to heaven. When the tiger arrived at heaven, it defeated all the supreme god’s warriors. After the fight, the tiger become one of the supreme god’s warriors.
But sometimes after tiger become a supreme god’s warrior, the animals started to attack humans because lack of control. This have attracted the supreme god’s attention, he then sends tiger down to protect the humans. The tiger request every battles he wins, he want a reward. The supreme god accepted its request.
When the tiger arrived at the human world, the tiger learned the lion, bear and the horse are the strongest animals. So the tiger challenged them all and won. When the other evil beasts heard this, they all hide in a forest of where no one leaves and was never seen again. The humans thanked the tiger for his defeat of the beasts.
The tiger was then summoned backed to the heaven, because the tiger have won three times, the supreme god put three horizontal lines on its forehead. Sometime after, the human world was again disturbed by an evil and magical turtle. The human world was flooded by water summoned by the turtle. The tiger was again send down to earth and killed the turtle. The supreme god then added a vertical line in the center of the three horizontal lines, creating the Chinese word “king”. The word can still be seen today on all tigers’ forehead.
When the lion’s infamy was heard by the supreme god, he decided to take away the lion’ Chinese zodiac status and the tiger was chosen to replaced the lion as the Chinese zodiac and the king of all animals.
Editor: Feng Hui