The Mythical Tale of the Chinese Fertility Wheel

In a time when the world was plagued by drought and despair, and the rivers ran dry, the animals of the Chinese Zodiac gathered under the glow of a rare super blue moon. They had been friends for countless lifetimes, bound together by a deep kinship and a shared destiny. Then, on this fateful night, a mysterious visitor appeared among them, sensing their discontent and unhappiness. The visitor, an enigmatic being from realms beyond mortal comprehension, observed the somber mood of the animals and inquired about the cause of their sorrow. The animals, with heavy hearts, revealed that they were burdened by the wrong order in which they were presented to the world. They knew of their sacred connection to the lunar calendar and revered Chinese agriculture calendars. Legends whispered that the wheel held the power to guide humans on their path toward becoming skilled and prosperous farmers.

With countless moons passing, the beings sensed a growing unease within them. They knew they had a higher purpose, a duty to share their wisdom and empower humanity. However, the knowledge they once possessed had faded into the mists of time. The secrets and insights of the Fertility Wheel had become veiled, lost within the depths of their collective memory. Once, the great creator had established their proper sequence, but another had altered it, changing their message and shattering the harmony and purpose of their existence.

Shrouded in confusion and feeling lost, they looked to the mysterious stranger emerging from the shadows, hoping he could guide them. This strange figure possessed a deep understanding of the intricacies of time and the needs of the farmers and the people. With a voice resonating with ancient knowledge, the stranger explained that the fertility wheel was born out of intuition—a deep-seated sense within the farmers that signaled the changing of seasons and the cycles of life. Its purpose was to provide tools for understanding animal fertility, plant growth, and even human reproduction, ultimately enriching people’s lives. The stranger shared the wisdom imparted by the great creator but lost to time. He explained that they helped with the knowledge of the ancient lunar calendar. He had come to understand that their representation should not be confined to a mere appearance every twelve years but should instead align with the natural rhythm of the moon, the divine orb that guided the cycles of life. The solar-lunar calendar was made for them, and they needed to be a part of it again. A month encompassing 29.5 days would be the canvas upon which their individual stories would be told, a testament to their eternal bond with humanity.

The stranger, a being of profound wisdom, already understood the animals’ plight and recognized the moment’s significance—a super blue moon casting its radiant light upon them. It was a convergence of celestial energies that would allow them to seize the opportunity and set things right. This would be when the animals’ true purpose should be revealed. Inspired by this rare occurrence, the animals resolved to transcend their once-every-12-year periodic appearances and embrace a higher calling. They sought to bring knowledge and enlightenment to those who had cherished and revered them throughout the ages. They believed that by aligning themselves with the lunar calendar and assuming their rightful positions within it, they would become beacons of hope and knowledge, capable of safeguarding lives in cataclysmic turmoil. 

The animals, however, faced a challenge. They had discovered the wisdom of the lunar calendar but needed to decide which month each should represent. Ideas flew among them. The months did not have a meaning to the animals anymore. They were lost on a 12-year cycle.

The wise man offered, “There is already a solution.” He urged this collection of mystical animals to organize themselves according to their primary mating seasons. By doing so, each animal would have a month that held deep significance to each animal, and humanity would witness the natural rhythms of their lives. The shepherd summoned both sexes of the creatures of the Chinese zodiac— “mares, stallions, bulls, cows, rams, ewes, bucks and does, and even you, too, hens, please, all come here.” They formed a circle, representing the fertility wheel, as the shepherd shared the wisdom of agricultural timing. The female animals, delighted, asked if they would be included in the story, to which the shepherd replied, “Of course – your contributions are equal to those of your male counterparts. You are very important to the wheel. These are called Fertility Wheels.” “Look, some of you are already represented on my Fertility Wheel of another region’s animals,” said the man.

Curiosity sparked within the flock, and their inquisitive eyes turned toward the stranger, who had been a farmer and shepherd in a much different time and place. The Goats and Sheep approached the enigmatic figure and implored, “Kind stranger, in which month should we find our rightful position on the wheel?”

With eyes that held the secrets of ages, the stranger peered down at the grazing animals and smiled gently. “Ah, my friends,” the stranger spoke, “your mating season aligns with the rhythm of nature. You, the Goats and Sheep, are creatures of shorter days, known as short-day breeders. Your courtship begins just after the fall equinox when the balance of light begins to sway in favor of darkness. Hence, your rightful place lies within the embrace of the time of the fall equinox, so September 22nd and October 21st will be your month.” A wise ewe stepped forward, ready to share the hidden wonders of their existence from the animals’ own perspective. Then, with a gentle bleat and a knowing gaze, they unveiled the myriad benefits they offered the world.

“Dear humans and animals,” her voice resonating with warmth and sincerity, “let me reveal the many blessings we, the Sheep and Goats, bring forth in our presence. We add wealth to every farm.” The ewe spoke of the lush grasses and abundant foliage that adorned the lands, where their nimble hooves danced gracefully. “With each nibble, we trim and tend to the lush carpets of the earth. Our insatiable appetite for plants allows us to play a crucial role as nature’s gardeners, ensuring the balance and health of the delicate ecosystems surrounding us.” She continued, her words laced with a sense of gratitude and purpose. “From the very essence of our wool, we offer warmth and comfort to humans. Through our annual shearing, we gift you nature’s finest fiber, allowing you to create garments and blankets that shield you from the chill of winter and wrap you in softness and coziness.”

Her voice swelled with pride as she spoke of the nourishment they provided. “Within the realm of agriculture, we are nature’s providers. The milk we generously yield is a source of sustenance and nourishment, a creamy elixir that satisfies thirst and fuels growth. You craft cheeses, yogurts, and other delectable delights from our milk that grace your tables and bring joy to your palates.” She spoke of their innate ability to thrive in challenging environments, adapting to mountain slopes and arid landscapes. “In lands where few creatures dare to venture, we gracefully tread, converting scarce vegetation into valuable sustenance. We turn arid terrains into bountiful oases, ensuring no land goes to waste.”

“We, the Sheep and Goats, offer ourselves as a symbiotic gift, nourishing both body and spirit. Through our gentle presence, we shape landscapes, provide sustenance, and offer warmth. In return, we seek only the tender care and stewardship that allows us to flourish in harmony with the natural world.” The fall equinox approached, a  sacred time of balance between light and darkness. During this enchanting season, the Sheep and Goats, along with their brothers, the deer, and the gazelle, embarked on a journey intertwined with the rhythm of the fertility wheel. And so, within the embrace of the fall equinox, the Sheep, Goats, deer, and gazelle reveled in their intertwined destinies, their spirits united in a sacred symphony of love and procreation. Through their rituals, they epitomized the enchanting magic that permeated the natural world, reminding all who beheld them of the eternal cycles of life, the interconnectedness of all beings, and the timeless beauty that flourished within the embrace of the fall equinox. Among the gathering of mystical creatures, two magnificent horses, known throughout the land for their strength and noble spirit, stood tall, their sleek mane shimmering under the enchanting moonlight. As the evening breeze whispered ancient secrets, the mare’s ears perked up, drawn to the melodious voices of the Goats and Sheep, who spoke in hushed tones about a newfound understanding.

Mares are long-day breeders, their majestic grace interwoven with the cycle of nature. During the wondrous months of May and June, the Mares reach the pinnacle of their fertility as the sun shines 14 hours of light each day. The horses celebrated this knowledge and their deep connection to the earth’s rhythms. In his travels across the vast countryside, the stranger carried several items. One of the peculiar items was known as the Fertility Wheel. As he ventured from village to village walking east, the stranger would share the secrets of the wheel, revealing its knowledge to the curious nomads and people looking to start a village and become farmers. With a knowing smile, he explained that the Fertility Wheel was a marvel of ingenuity and wisdom, a compass for the farmers, and a beacon of hope for the land. It measured the passing of time with meticulous accuracy, guiding them through the ever-changing seasons and cycles of nature.

The man held crop calendars of regions throughout the land. The horses ventured to look at the crop calendar for their region. It was seeking a connection between its role and the bountiful harvest. As its gaze fell upon mid-May to mid-June, a realization dawned upon the Stallion’s curious mind. It discovered that winter wheat and barley were harvested during this time, crucial to the sustenance that fed the people. The horse’s heart swelled with pride, recognizing the importance of representing the harvest, a true embodiment of a Chinese fertility wheel.

The stranger remembered his days as a shepherd and a nomad from a different time. As he stood among the animals, he recalled the natural grazing instincts of horses. They consumed vast stretches of grass and forage with their hungry mouths, effortlessly maintaining pastures and keeping agricultural fields free from invasive weeds. Their ability to efficiently digest vegetation made them invaluable allies in preserving the balance of the land. The shepherd knew that the horse’s contributions extended beyond their grazing prowess. He spoke of their remarkable manure, rich in nutrients that nourished the soil. Its organic matter acted as a natural fertilizer, enriching the earth and promoting robust plant growth. The shepherd often remarked that the horse manure was like magic, breathing life into the soil and ensuring bountiful harvests. The shepherd smiled and recounted the horses’ strength and historical role in tilling and plowing fields. These majestic creatures, harnessed with care, could break up hardened soil, preparing it for the planting of crops. Their hooves worked harmoniously with the land, aerating the ground and creating an ideal environment for seeds to take root. The shepherd knew that with the horse’s help, the earth became an artist’s canvas, ready to paint a masterpiece of abundance.

Transportation was yet another gift the horse bestowed upon agriculture. The shepherd spoke of their trusty companionship and ability to pull carts laden with agricultural produce, tools, and supplies. Across farms and short distances, the horse provided sustainable means of moving goods. With a gentle sway of their powerful bodies, they carried the weight of the harvest, their hooves leaving a trail of purpose and progress.  The shepherd marveled at the versatility and adaptability of horses. Through his stories, he emphasized how these noble creatures could navigate any terrain, thriving in diverse environments. Whether in mountainous regions or vast plains, horses gracefully traversed uneven landscapes, offering their strength and agility to aid farmers in their agricultural endeavors.

But it was not only the physical benefits that the shepherd extolled. He emphasized the emotional connection between the horse and the farmer. Horses provided companionship and a sense of joy in the agricultural routine. The Mare, in particular, held a special place in the shepherd’s heart, a trusted partner in the fields. She was always by his side. Lastly, The shepherd knew that a happy and fulfilled horse was a healthy one. By participating actively in farm activities, horses avoided boredom and certain health issues, their noble spirits shining bright as they fulfilled their role in farming and agriculture.   With renewed purpose, the Horse strode purposefully toward its designated month, embracing the honor bestowed upon it. Yet, the Horse’s gaze wandered to its loyal companion, the sturdy bull, who toiled tirelessly upon the fields, carrying the weight of agricultural labor upon its mighty shoulders. The Horse, ever considerate, pondered whether the bull, along with the cow and ox, should find its place within the Chinese fertility wheel.

The stranger said, “The symbols of cattle, or my friends, the cows, bulls, and oxen, are interchangeable, for each plays a vital role in agriculture. From the gentle grace of cows and their nurturing milk to the raw power of bulls and oxen in tilling the land, all are essential components in the intricate workings of farming. Together, they embody the strength, fertility, and resilience required to cultivate the earth and sustain communities.” Intrigued by the horses’ position on the wheel, the other animals affirmed, “Your place is in the heart of your peak mating season, dear bull, for you bring forth the miracle of life, siring generations to come, including dairy cows, perhaps one of the most important animals on the farm and to humans.” The bull stood tall, its eyes gleaming with determination, as it sought further clarification from the mysterious stranger. The stranger, sharing the bull’s role in agricultural endeavors, told of the knowledge that barley, a vital crop, was planted from early September to the end of November. A harmonious realization washed over the bull, for its peak mating season started in October, which coincided perfectly with this crucial period of sowing and cultivation. But the shepherd’s tales didn’t end there. He spoke of the nurturing presence of the cow, a creature revered for its maternal instincts and the nourishing elixir it provided. With its warm, brown eyes and serene demeanor, the cow graced the pastures, bestowing the gift of milk upon the world. The shepherd explained how this wholesome liquid was a source of sustenance and a foundation for various dairy products. From creamy butter to cheeses, the cow’s milk was a treasure that adorned the tables of the villagers, filling their homes with the aroma of abundance.

The shepherd spoke of the cattle’s integral part in the cycle of life. As the cattle feasted on the lush grass, they converted its nutrients into rich, organic manure. The shepherd knew the true value of this natural fertilizer, for it possessed the power to rejuvenate tired soil, infusing it with life-giving nourishment. With every step, the cattle scattered their precious offerings, enriching the earth and paving the way for thriving crops like the Horse.  With confidence, the cattle embraced the significance of this time, recognizing two compelling reasons to symbolize its essence. First, they took pride in the profound impact they had made on humanity’s progress in the fields of agriculture and farming. Walking tall, they carried the knowledge that their contributions had propelled significant advancements in these vital domains.

The Monkey approached the Chinese fertility wheel, its eyes gleaming with anticipation as the stranger revealed his place on the wheel. The monkey was told he gets to reside in the months of August and September, and the Monkey was overjoyed. One of the animals asked the shepherd why the Monkey got to be in the forest and not on the field. What does it do for farmers?

As the monkey swings through the trees, they play a significant role in the agricultural landscape. Their contributions to agriculture and land are intertwined with their natural behaviors and interactions with the environment.

Monkeys take pride in their ability to disperse seeds as they munch on delicious fruits. Through this process, they aid in the regeneration of forests and the spread of diverse plant species, both wild and cultivated. In addition, their droppings serve as the starting point for new growth and the flourishing of vegetation. Additionally, monkeys are skilled pest controllers, relishing the opportunity to feast on insects and small vertebrates that may harm crops. Monkeys reduce the reliance on harmful chemical pesticides by keeping pest populations in check, fostering more sustainable farming practices. Monkeys also understand their role in maintaining ecosystem health. As they feed on leaves and small plant parts, they shape vegetation dynamics and contribute to nutrient cycling. This indirectly benefits agricultural productivity by promoting soil health and nutrient availability. Monkeys act as seed dispersers, pest controllers, ecosystem managers, and biodiversity indicators are essential contributions to the harmony of nature and the well-being of agricultural endeavors. As the Monkey expressed its intention to play with friends in the forest, an intriguing revelation surfaced—a creature known as the Sichuan snub-nosed Monkey, a proud member of the primate family, emerged as a kindred spirit. This unique species, much like the monkey, exhibited mating behavior during the month of September. 


With each passing day, the Monkey and the Sichuan snub-nosed Monkey celebrated the beauty of their chosen abode. They swung from branch to branch, their laughter echoing through the forest as a testament to the enduring spirit of friendship. 


On the moonlit nights, as the forest shimmered with an ethereal glow, the Monkey and the Sichuan snub-nosed Monkey discovered a shared affinity for moonlit dances. With the moon as their guide, they leaped and twirled with grace and elegance, their movements echoing the celestial rhythm that governed the universe. The Monkey was happy with August and September.

“The Rat’s peak mating season is in the warm summer months, but they can mate year-round,” said the stranger. “Wise shepherd,” said the Rat, “I may seem too small to be meaningful to humans or agriculture, but perhaps I can share with you how I contribute.” “Listen closely, dear shepherd and animal friends,” the Rat began, his voice blending wisdom and earnestness. “For it is time to reveal the hidden ways in which we, the humble rats, have silently aided you throughout the ages.”

“Our burrowing prowess and innate curiosity contribute to the health of your very soil. As we dig and create intricate tunnels, we aerate the earth and facilitate the flow of nutrients. Our actions foster healthy ecosystems, allowing plants to thrive and the delicate balance of nature to flourish. We may be small, but our role is mighty.”

As the Rat delved deeper into his tale, he shared another secret.  “In the vast life cycle of the food chain, we serve as a vital link. Our presence sustains many predators—elegant snakes, majestic birds of prey, and powerful carnivorous mammals. By offering ourselves as nourishment, we enable the dance of life to continue, ensuring the survival and balance of the diverse creatures that share this wondrous world.” Closing his tale with a sense of reverence, the Rat spoke of the rats’ influence on human culture and history. “Throughout time, we have left our mark upon your stories and traditions. In folklore, we embody traits you admire—intelligence, resourcefulness, and adaptability. Our presence has sparked changes, prompting humans to build better cities, devise sanitation systems, and explore the frontiers of medicine. In this dance between our destinies, we have unwittingly shaped your world, inspiring the pursuit of knowledge and the protection of public health.”

As the Rat concluded his tale, a newfound appreciation shone in the animals’ eyes. They realized that hidden wisdom and purpose existed even in the smallest creatures. With trepidation and hope, the Rat turned to the shepherd and expressed his desire to rest within the safety and friendship of the Wheel. The shepherd welcomed the Rat with open arms, recognizing the kinship that had blossomed between the Rat and the other animals.  And so, the Rat and Monkey embarked on their mythical journey, weaving their own tale of courage, friendship, and transformation. Their adventures would echo through the myth of Chinese folklore, inspiring countless generations to embrace their true selves, conquer their fears, and embrace the magic that lies within every creature.

The Snake represents the spring equinox in many cultures. It was a time of abundance and fertility, and the Snake knew it had an essential part to play in the intricate dance of life. The shepherd knew its peak mating season coincided with the awakening of nature right before the Spring Equinox, a time when creatures sought companionship and perpetuated the cycle of existence. The Snake assumed its rightful place in the Chinese fertility wheel, spanning from February to March. Snakes will be revered throughout history. One day, its brother in Mexico will appear on the pyramid in sunlight on the spring equinox. He also appears on the fall equinox because the sun is in the same place as the spring equinox, but at this time, snakes go into hibernation. Many cultures embrace the Snake as the start of spring. It welcomed its role with reverence and grace. It understood the weight of its responsibility and carried it with unwavering determination and pride. The Snake became a beacon of a new day, a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there was always the promise of renewal and the chance to begin anew.

With a graceful movement, the Snake emerged from its place of rest, its scales shimmering with the vibrant hues of spring. It raised its head proudly, knowing that it held the key to unlock the door to a new beginning. It was destined to be the herald of the spring equinox, bringing light and rejuvenation. The stranger spoke of snakes’ extraordinary benefits on their cherished farm.

He would tell of the remarkable pest control abilities of these slithering creatures. Then, with a gleam in his eyes, he shared how snakes fearlessly hunted down rodents and insects that threatened their crops. They were nature’s own pest control squad, silently working their way through the fields, keeping pests in check without the need for harmful chemicals. The animals listened intently as the stranger continued, sharing tales of the snakes’ vital role in maintaining biodiversity. “These magnificent creatures,” he exclaimed, “help maintain the delicate balance of our farm’s ecosystem. By keeping prey populations in check, they ensure that nature’s symphony plays harmoniously, allowing our crops to thrive.” The stranger would regale his audience with stories of the snakes’ secret superpower: soil health enhancement. He would imitate the snakes’ movements with animated gestures, mimicking their burrowing and digging habits. “Their rhythmic wriggling helps aerate the soil, promoting optimal nutrient absorption and water retention. As a result, our soil becomes a rich and fertile haven for our beloved plants.” The most magical part of the story was the snakes’ role in protecting non-target species. The stranger’s eyes sparkled as he shared tales of Snakes fearlessly standing guard against crop-damaging creatures. “These remarkable serpents,” he exclaimed, “not only safeguard our crops but also ensure the well-being of our fellow wildlife inhabitants. They maintain a delicate balance, where all creatures can coexist harmoniously.” And so, the man weaved his tales, captivating the minds and hearts of his listeners. He taught them to appreciate the invaluable contributions of snakes to their agricultural haven. They learned that snakes were not to be feared but respected and cherished as essential allies in their quest for sustainable farming.

From that day forward, the animals embraced the snakes as valuable members of their community. They celebrated their pest control prowess, reveled in the biodiversity they supported, and marveled at the wonders of their soil-enhancing capabilities. Together, they created a sanctuary where snakes thrived and the land flourished, forever grateful for the mystical benefits these serpents brought to their beloved farm.

The Rooster and the Snake met near the spring equinox, their prime mating season. The Rooster excitedly asked the shepherd if this spot was available for him. The Snake warmly welcomed the Rooster, wanting to have him as a companion. They both looked to the shepherd, who nodded his head yes. The roosters and hens rejoiced, knowing they would symbolize the vibrant period shortly after the spring equinox. However, the Rabbit, a dear friend of the Rooster, also expressed a longing to be associated with spring. Understanding the Rabbit’s wish, the Rooster acknowledged that his peak mating season was during this time. Yet, he kindly offered to accommodate the Rabbit’s mating period, seeking a harmonious arrangement. The Rabbit pondered and preferred the midpoint of spring in the balanced days of April and May. He believed this timing would beautifully complement his representation. Realizing that every animal has its own peak season, the Rabbit concluded that being next to the Rooster after the spring equinox would be ideal. He envisioned bringing in his season when the fields were lush and the rivers flowed abundantly, making it a truly special time to represent. The Rooster, caring for his friend’s happiness, asked the Rabbit if he was content with his designated month. The Rabbit replied with joy, affirming his satisfaction. Thus, with the shepherd’s affirmation, it was settled that the Rooster would represent March through April while the Rabbit would symbolize April through May. Together, they embraced their respective roles, eagerly bringing forth the essence of their designated months in the Chinese calendar. As the Rooster proudly announced the arrival of spring, 

with a voice that carried across the fields, the Rooster saw himself as the guardian of time. As the first rays of the sun painted the horizon, his resounding crow awakened the world, signaling the start of a new day. Farmers and workers alike relied on his timely call, knowing it was time to rise and embrace the tasks that lay ahead. The Rooster saw himself as the conductor of the farm’s symphony, ensuring that everyone operated in harmony with the rhythm of the day. As he strutted among the hens, the Rooster marveled at their remarkable ability to lay eggs. He believed that the rooster and hen symbols were inherently intertwined, each playing a vital role in the circle of life. The hens’ prolific egg-laying exemplified fertility at its finest, a testament to the abundance and vitality of the farm. Their eggs provided sustenance and nourishment to humans, a gift from nature’s helping hand. The Rooster saw the hen’s egg-laying prowess as a symbol of fertility and a reminder of the cyclical nature of agriculture, where life begets life in an endless dance of creation.

On the farm, the rooster’s call and the hen’s eggs intertwined, their symbols and contributions inseparable. Together, they embodied the spirit of fertility and abundance that sustained humanity and agriculture. The Rooster took great pride in his role, knowing that his crow and the hens’ eggs were the threads that wove the farm’s story, reminding all that the circle of life and the earth’s bounties were forever intertwined. Its vibrant feathers shimmered in gold, red, and orange hues, reflecting the rising sun. Its crow echoed through the valleys and hills, awakening slumbering buds and coaxing them to unfurl. With each call, the Rooster breathed life into the world, invigorating the earth with the promise of new beginnings.

Meanwhile, the Rabbit bounded through the fields. 

The rabbits spoke of their remarkable ability to reproduce, a gift that mirrored the cycle of life itself. Their swift and gentle nature allowed them to multiply, ensuring a steady supply of tender meat and nourishing fur for humans. In agriculture, rabbits offered a sustainable source of protein, providing sustenance to farmers and communities alike. With their rapid breeding and bountiful litters, rabbits symbolized fertility, reminding all creatures of the abundance that the earth could offer.But the rabbit’s contribution didn’t end there. He hopped around the fields, nibbling on tender shoots and helping to control vegetation growth. Their voracious appetite for grasses and plants made them natural landscapers, preventing overgrowth and maintaining a delicate balance within the ecosystem. The Rabbit shared stories of farmers who welcomed their presence, knowing that their nibbling habits helped create healthier pastures and meadows. In this way, rabbits became nature’s gardeners, harmoniously tending to the land alongside their human companions.

With each tale the Rabbit spun, he revealed the intricate and often unnoticed benefits that rabbits bestowed upon humanity and agriculture. From their ability to multiply and provide sustenance to their role as nature’s gardeners, rabbits proved essential contributors to the delicate life network. The forest animals listened in awe, realizing that even the smallest creatures could be significant in nature’s grand symphony.

The Rooster and the Rabbit formed an extraordinary alliance, bridging the gap between the changing seasons. Their synchronized dance encapsulated the harmonious transition of spring’s awakening, from spring’s gentle embrace to summer’s vibrant embrace. Their presence on the Chinese fertility wheel symbolized the cyclical nature of life, where one chapter seamlessly flowed into the next, and transformation was as inevitable as the turning of the celestial wheel. It was with great satisfaction that the shepherd recognized the value of each animal’s realization of their own place, their own importance, and how each fits into the web of life. Shepherd had the answers, but the profound significance of the animals extolling their virtues and appreciation for each and their contributions was more valuable than just being told. The super blue moon’s light enhanced the moment’s significance and captured the essence of this important cosmic understanding.

Under the enchanting glow of the super blue moon, the man kindled a crackling fire and beckoned the humans and animals to gather ’round. Then, with a warm smile, he began to share the forgotten tales of how pigs, in ancient times, served as unsung heroes in the realm of waste management and so much more. A curious phenomenon unfolds for pigs as the seasons turn and the world prepares for the winter solstice. During this time, the pigs, guided by ancient instincts, find themselves at the height of their mating season. They are, in essence, creatures attuned to the shorter days, known as short-day breeders.

In the embrace of human care and guidance, domesticated pigs have grown accustomed to a different rhythm, their cycles no longer solely bound by the changing seasons and celestial alignments. In addition, the light and warmth provided by human settlements have created an environment where their breeding patterns have become less reliant on the amount of sunlight.

Yet, even as the domesticated pigs partake in their year-round affections, their ancestral roots echo within their beings. Deep within their genetic messaging, the memories of their short-day breeding heritage reside, a testament to the enduring legacy of their wild ancestors.

As the man’s words carried through the night, he revealed pigs’ remarkable role in cleaning the waste of civilizations long past. In a time when modern sewage systems were nonexistent, pigs were relied upon to consume the discarded food scraps and organic waste that accumulated in villages and towns. Their voracious appetites and unique digestive systems allowed them to transform what others deemed as refuse into valuable sustenance. Pigs thrived on the leftovers, eagerly gobbling up what humans no longer needed, while also providing an essential service by preventing the spread of disease and maintaining cleaner living environments. In this symbiotic relationship, pigs and humans worked hand in hoof, creating a cleaner and healthier existence. But the man’s stories didn’t stop there. He spoke of the pig’s versatility, showcasing how their extraordinary abilities went beyond waste management. In a time when survival relied on resourcefulness, pigs were adept at finding sustenance in the most unexpected places. They turned over the soil with their snouts, unearthing delectable roots and grubs that would have otherwise remained hidden. Pigs were agile diggers, adept at unearthing and turning over the soil, making them indispensable allies to farmers and gardeners. With their powerful snouts, they meticulously upturned the earth, preparing it for planting and aiding in the cultivation of crops. Their innate skill in rooting out weeds and pests contributed to healthier fields and bountiful harvests. The man’s words painted a picture of pigs as industrious partners, their presence in ancient times ensuring the balance between human civilization and the land they relied upon. The stranger spoke of how ancient man revered the pig’s sacrifice, ensuring that no part of the animal went to waste. Skin for clothing, bones for tools, and even their bristles for brushes—the pig’s presence resonated in every aspect of human life. They gained a newfound appreciation for the humble pig, whose contributions reached far beyond their reputation as a source of sustenance. In ancient times, pigs were guardians of cleanliness and cultivators of fertile land, their roles intertwined with the prosperity and well-being of their human companions. As the man’s stories of the Pig’s remarkable contributions unfolded beneath the luminous super-blue moon, a curious Dog sat at the edge of the gathering, his ears perked and tail wagging in anticipation. The Dog listened intently, his eyes widening with each revelation about the pig’s multifaceted abilities. The Dog, known for his loyal companionship and keen sense of smell, had always admired the pig’s sense of smell, sturdy physique, and friendly nature. However, as the tales unraveled, he was astounded by the pig’s diverse skill set. The Dog had never fathomed that behind the pig’s pleasant demeanor and insatiable appetite lay a creature capable of such incredible feats.

As the Dog absorbed the accounts of the pig’s tireless work cultivating the land, he couldn’t help but tilt his head in amazement. The image of the Pig passionately digging and rooting out weeds showcased a determination and perseverance that left the Dog in awe. He marveled at the Pig’s dedication to aiding farmers and gardeners, understanding now that there was more to his porcine companion than meets the eye.

With a newfound respect for the Pig’s versatility and contributions, the Dog realized that there was much to learn from the animals around him. 

As the wheel of fertility turned, the Dog inquired about its place. “Where shall I reside upon this grand wheel?” the dog pondered. “They are considered short-day breeders, meaning the decreasing daylight influences their breeding tendencies during that time. However, domestication has altered their breeding habits, allowing them to mate throughout the year rather than being strictly tied to the changing seasons.”  the man said, “I can remember him as my friend and a great sheepherder from long, long ago.” 

As the fire continued to crackle and the moon bathed them all in its ethereal light, the humans and animals listened intently to the man’s tales. In a voice of admiration, the stranger would recount the tales of the Dog’s exceptional skill in herding livestock in his many past lives. “My dear friends,” he said, “this noble canine possesses an innate ability to guide and protect our beloved flock. With unwavering focus and a gentle nudge, the Dog ensures that every Sheep finds its way safely back to the fold.” With each story, the stranger’s audience marveled at the remarkable intelligence of these furry companions. “Not only do they safeguard our livestock,” the stranger continued, “but they are also adept at detecting predators lurking in the shadows. The Dog’s sharp senses and vigilant nature protect our flock from harm, preserving the delicate balance between nature and farming.” The animals listened intently as the stranger shared more tales of the Dog’s contributions to the land. Then, with a gleam in his eyes, the stranger spoke of how dogs could unearth truffles, much like his friend the pig, hidden deep within the soil with their incredible sense of smell. “These delectable treasures,” he explained, “not only bring joy to our taste buds but also provide an additional source of income for our farm.” But the benefits did not end there. The stranger would regale his eager listeners with stories of how dogs aided in pest control. “These intrepid canines,” he exclaimed, “have an uncanny ability to detect and deter unwanted critters that may harm our crops. Their presence alone, they help safeguard our harvest, ensuring its abundance and quality.”

The stranger concluded his tales, the fire glowing warmly around the animals. He spoke of the deep bond between farmers and their dogs, forged through years of shared experiences and unwavering companionship. “Our loyal four-legged friends,” he whispered, “bring not only practical benefits but also immeasurable joy and companionship to our lives.” Inspired by the stranger’s stories, the animals recognized these canines’ integral role in agriculture. They embraced their faithful companions with grateful hearts, knowing that the dogs were not just helpers but cherished members of their farming families.

In a realm where reality and enchantment danced hand in hand, the Pig and the Dog found themselves engaged in a captivating conversation about their place within the mystical cycles of time and all they had in common. The Pig, with a hint of melancholy lingering in its eyes, expressed its heartfelt belief that they embodied the essence of the winter months, where the world donned a frosty cloak, inviting introspection and serenity. Yet, the Dog’s spirit yearned for the lively days of spring and summer when the fields burst with abundance and joyful activity, but he knew he had to honor his ancestors and go to his rightful spot next to the pig.

The Tiger, exuding wisdom and grace, asked the man to confirm that winter is its peak mating time and if he could claim that position on the Wheel. He wondered if he had a place, being that he was not a part of the agricultural cycle. The shepherd explained. “Tiger, you are a magnificent, wild creature with an essential place in nature. While your primary habitat lies in dense forests and grasslands, and the benefits to agriculture and land are less direct than those of domesticated animals, the larger ecosystem needs you. Tigers play an essential role in maintaining the ecological balance, which indirectly but impactfully influences agricultural landscapes.”

As apex predators, tigers regulate the population of herbivores, such as deer and wild boar, preventing overgrazing and habitat destruction. Tigers preserve the delicate balance between prey and vegetation by keeping these populations in check. This, in turn, helps maintain healthy ecosystems, including the areas surrounding agricultural lands.

With an air of authority, the Tiger confidently took its spot, invited by Dog to stand by his side.

However, as the Dog expressed a twinge of apprehension towards the majestic Tiger, the loyal canine inquired if the Tiger could transform into its kindred animal—a house cat—during their shared moments of play. The Tiger’s eyes gleamed with warmth and reassurance as it responded, affirming that it would forever remain a tiger. However, it reassured Dog that there was no need for fear, for their eternal bond would be woven with joy and companionship.  As the Tiger prepared to impart words of wisdom upon the gathered creatures, the mischievous Dog, brimming with playful energy, couldn’t resist the temptation and playfully leaped onto the Tiger’s tail, unsettling the majestic feline. Startled, the Tiger momentarily lost its train of thought, its words of enlightenment fading away. It cast a bemused glance at the Dog, recognizing the purity of its intentions, and their connection ignited an invigorating chase. The boundaries of hierarchy dissolved as the Tiger, now filled with playful abandon, eagerly pursued the Dog, and in turn, the Dog joyously reciprocated. The lines between predator and companion blurred.

A momentous occasion unfolded. As these animals discovered they each had an important place on The Wheel, a wave of jubilation washed over them, filling the air with joy and contentment. The creatures embraced their designated time with anticipation, eager to continue fulfilling their cosmic roles. However, amidst the harmonious chorus of celebration, the majestic Dragon shed tears of confusion and sadness.

With a trembling voice, the Dragon expressed his anguish, “I am without a place to call my own, adrift in the sea of uncertainty. I know not where I truly belong. I have a mystical and mythical background, and I do not have a place in farming or agriculture, and I don’t even seem to influence our shared ecosystems. I am an ancient creature without a modern-day home.”  Hearing the Dragon’s despair, the fierce Tiger, renowned for its wisdom and regal presence and now with a deepened purpose, stepped forward with an offering of solace. “Oh, mighty Dragon,” the Tiger declared, “you, who once carried emperors upon your back, embody the epitome of ancient majesty. Surely, you should be granted the freedom to choose any month you desire, for your legacy must be forever etched in the records of time.” However, the wise and serpentine Snake slithered forth, its eyes gleaming with a profound understanding. “Beware, noble Dragon,” the Snake whispered, “for current times hold perils for one as revered and feared as you. The humans, driven by fear, may seek to cage or even extinguish your radiant flame, much like the fate that befell the once-mighty lions and tigers. Therefore, you must consider a transformation that allows your essence to endure while connecting with the hearts of the people so that they may witness and remember your magic.” As the Dragon pondered the Snake’s words, gazing up at the heavens with a mix of insecurity and hope, a grand council ensued among the gathered animals. Each creature offered its own perspective, urging the Dragon to avoid assuming certain forms, for they were burdened with the hardships and mistreatment inflicted upon them by humanity. Dragon and the circle of animals looked to the shepherd once more.

“Please, shepherd, advise us – where does Dragon belong.”

Shepherd knew within these tales and deeper meanings, there was still a place for magic, especially in cultures that embraced and revered such things. He sat silent, watching the animals share their ideas, eager to help the dragon find his place. He knew there were lessons to be told and learned as they worked together to solve this mystery. The shepherd would step in to help when the time was right, but not yet.


In this assembly of voices, the mischievous Monkey, known for its love of the vibrant forest and zestful life, stepped forward. “Oh, wise Dragon,” the Monkey chattered, “embrace the sanctuary of the forest, where freedom dances through the rustling leaves and the secrets of nature whisper in the wind. You shall find solace and a true reflection of your spirit there.” The Snake, sliding gracefully toward the Dragon, added its voice to the monkey’s proposition. “Yes, dear Dragon, venture into the depths of the lush forest, where the earth welcomes your presence and shields you from the woes that burden the creatures of the land. Become an animal akin to my nature, one who glides through the foliage and relishes the serenity of untouched realms.” The Dragon found itself yearning to soar through the skies again, to reclaim the exhilaration of flight lost to the passage of time. However, he realized he would not be able to fly in the air again with so many people on Earth.  Dragons, magnificent and timeless beings, may not follow seasonal breeding patterns. However, in the enchanting creatures of nature, lizards dance to the rhythm of the seasons, embracing the essence of renewal and rebirth. As the ethereal winds whispered ancient secrets to his soul, the Dragon appeared drawn to the lizard, its spirit beckoning him toward a newfound connection. As the Dragon pondered its fate, the stranger showed the Dragon a relative of his that could hide from the humans and still play on land and in the water, so he would feel like he was flying again. The Dragon was shown a creature known as the Chinese Crocodile Lizard—able to reside underwater for over twenty-five minutes. The Dragon’s heart quickened with excitement, sensing a glimmer of hope in the depths of this newfound knowledge.


With great determination, the Dragon envisioned the aquatic world as a mirror of the boundless sky. It imagined the sensation of gliding beneath the water’s surface, akin to the graceful flight it once knew. The Dragon knew it was shielded from the potential harm that had haunted its existence. Moved by the monkey’s invitation and the Snake’s counsel, the Dragon’s eyes shimmered with newfound clarity. It looked upon its brethren and the world beyond, seeking a kindred spirit that embodied its desires and aspirations.  Excited, the Dragon exclaimed, “I have found my kindred soul! The Chinese Crocodile Lizard, dwelling in the depths of rivers and marshes, basks in the warmth of summer. “I will explore new areas on the earth, play in the trees and swim in the water.”  A surge of joy swelled within the Dragon’s being as it embraced this wondrous idea. A smile graced the Dragon’s face, for it understood that in this transformation, it would forever be etched in the memories of those who worshiped its mythical existence. The Dragon knew that by becoming the Chinese Crocodile Lizard, it would meld seamlessly with the people who revered its ancient powers. Driven by a newfound purpose, the Dragon embarked on a journey, its heart brimming with anticipation. With each graceful step, the Dragon approached the Chinese Fertility Wheel, its chosen path shining with pride and resonance. Shepherd offered, “July is the peak mating time for the Chinese Crocodile Lizard, the same months that resonate with your essence, Dragon. This unique position of June – July shall be your hallowed ground—the realm you will forever call home on the Wheel.” The Dragon, now known as the Chinese Crocodile Lizard, would forever be a symbol of awe-inspiring beauty, a testament to the enduring magic of Chinese mythology, and now adding to the Chinese Fertility Wheel.

At this moment, the Dragon chose to shrink its size, assuming the form of a Chinese Crocodile Lizard, matching the Rat’s size, making a new and unlikely friend along the way while a wry smile washed across the shepherd’s face.

Unified by this newfound understanding, the animals embraced their roles within the Chinese fertility wheel, recognizing the importance of their contributions to the agricultural calendar. Furthermore, they realized that their placement on the wheel would aid the farmers in their agricultural endeavors and merge seamlessly with the lunar calendar, aligning the cosmic and earthly rhythms of time.


The Chinese fertility calendar came to life, pulsating with the energy of the natural world. It became a revered tool, guiding farmers in sowing and reaping, nurturing and harvesting, and understanding the delicate balance between the physical and the metaphysical.



Solar and Lunar calendar

The interested Monkey, curious and eager to understand the interplay between the agricultural calendar, lunar calendar, and the Chinese fertility wheel, caught the stranger's attention. Acknowledging the Monkey's inquiry, the man promised to illuminate the intricate connection between the celestial dance of the moon and the earthly rhythms of fertility. The Monkey was curious about the half-day discrepancy between the lunar calendar and the standard fertility wheel. Sensing the Monkey's inquisitive spirit, the stranger explained that the lunar calendar spanned approximately 29.5 days, while the fertility wheel followed a traditional 30-day cycle. This subtle difference, the stranger revealed, symbolized the enigmatic nature of time itself—a reminder that not all aspects of existence can be neatly divided and measured. With newfound clarity and purpose, the animals embraced their roles as guardians of time and fertility. They became the embodiments of ancient wisdom, guiding farmers and people alike in harmonizing their lives with the natural rhythms of the universe. Through their collective efforts, the Chinese fertility wheel thrived, nurturing the land, inspiring prosperity, and fostering a profound connection between humanity and the divine. This is a tale rooted in folklore, a narrative that weaves together the realms of farming, agriculture, intuition, and the delicate balance of nature. Its purpose is to impart wisdom to future generations, illuminating the interconnectedness of farming practices, ecosystems, and the harmony required to sustain them. This story's rich tapestry of agricultural life unfolds, revealing the profound relationship between farmers and the land they tend. It speaks of their deep understanding of the earth's rhythms, honed through generations of observation and experience. Farmers harness the power of intuition, attuned to the subtle cues that nature provides, guiding their actions to nurture crops and sustain the delicate balance of ecosystems. Through this folklore, the essence of farming is passed down, transcending mere techniques and embracing a holistic approach. It teaches the delicate art of cultivating the land in harmony with nature, recognizing the interdependence of plants, animals, and the environment. It imparts the importance of fostering biodiversity, preserving soil health, and utilizing sustainable farming methods that safeguard the delicate balance of ecosystems. Embedded within this narrative are invaluable lessons for future generations. It illuminates the profound impact of farming on our planet, instilling an understanding of the intrinsic link between agriculture and the environment. It fosters an appreciation for the delicate equilibrium of nature and the responsibility we bear as stewards of the land. The planting and harvest of the crops needed the animals' power and the farmers' wisdom as the horses, Goats, Sheep, and cattle took their place. They embodied the spirit of hard work, showing humanity the rewards of diligence and harmony with the earth. People learned to sow the seeds of their endeavors and patiently await the bountiful results that would come with time. They reminded humankind of the rewards reaped from their labor and harmony with nature. Ever after, the animals of the Chinese Zodiac carried out their sacred duty with renewed vigor and purpose. Embracing the essence of their respective months, they became ambassadors of nature, guardians of the land, and guides to the people. The wisdom of the Chinese Zodiac extends beyond the individual. It would become a catalyst for unity and understanding among communities and nations. Through the shared reverence for the natural world and its rhythms, people found common ground and learned to respect one another's differences. As this folklore is handed down through generations, it will continue to educate and inspire, nurturing a reverence for the natural world and the integral role of sustainable farming practices. Its wisdom will empower future farmers, guiding them towards methods that honor the land, protect biodiversity, and preserve the delicate equilibrium that sustains us all. May this folklore be a guiding light, illuminating the path towards a harmonious coexistence with the earth, fostering a generation of farmers who embrace the wisdom of intuition, the interdependence of ecosystems, and the profound interconnectedness of all life on our bountiful planet.

Chinese Fertility Wheel

I realized that the Fertility Wheel and the Chinese Zodiac were similar, but the wrong order.

Chinese Zodiac in Chinese. I wanted to publish work in their native tongue.

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