The ancient Egyptians and Phrygians revered rats. The Egyptians felt that rats symbolized good judgment as well as destruction. The Phrygians were impressed that rats always managed to find the freshest bread. Pliny wrote that the ancient Romans considered it a sign of good fortune to see a white rat. However, anything gnawed by rats indicated bad luck. Sailors believed that rats deserted a ship that was going to sink. In The Tempest (act 1, scene 2), Shakespeare wrote, "The very rats instinctively have quit it." The rat is the first animal in the Chinese zodiac. In one telling of how this came to be, the ox was at the head of the line when animals were being selected for the zodiac. However, the cunning rat leapt on to the ox's back and jumped off in first position when the animals were being chosen. In most of Asia, the rat symbolizes good luck. In Japan, the rat assists the god of wealth. In Indian mythology, the rat is associated with Ganesh, the Hindu god of wisdom. Artists show this elephant-headed god riding on the back of a rat. In China, to dream of a rat is a sign of money. The more rats you see, the more money you will receive. The rat has always had negative connotations in the West, and is related to ill health, witches, and the devil. If you dream of a rat, it's a sign that you're consumed with worry, doubt, and stress at a subconscious level. Something, or someone, is "gnawing" at you, and you will not achieve peace of mind until the situation has been resolved. Rats can also symbolize greed, aggression, and cruelty. However, rats can survive almost anything. Consequently, to dream of a rat or several rats can be a sign that you will withstand difficult conditions, and will not only survive but thrive as well. Rats usually appear in dreams when you're involved in an undertaking, usually involving money, and are not sure of the integrity of the other people involved.