Myths And Legends »

The Story Of The Phoenix

The Story Of The Phoenix

The story of the Phoenix is a legend from Asia.

One day a long time ago, the Sun looked down and saw a large bird with shiny red and gold feathers. The Sun was impressed with the brightness and beauty of the bird. The Sun called out, ‘Glorious Phoenix, you shall be my bird and live forever!’

The happy Phoenix lifted its head and sang, ‘Glorious Sun, I shall sing my songs for you alone!’

When people saw the Phoenix they chased it, desperate to take its beautiful feathers for themselves and to hear its song. This made the Phoenix very annoyed.

‘I cannot live here,’ thought the Phoenix. And it flew off to the far eastern desert to praise the Sun in peace. Day and night, through all the four seasons, the Phoenix sang praises of the Sun.

After five hundred years, the Phoenix was old and tired. It wanted to soar high in the sky and fly fast like it did when it was young.

So the Phoenix flew west, and on its journey it collected cinnamon twigs and fragrant leaves, tucking them in its feathers. It picked up a ball of resin in its claws.

Then it flew to Heliopolis in Egypt, the ‘City of the Sun.’ It built a nest on top of the Temple of the Sun out of the spices and resin it had collected on its journey.

The phoenix sat in its nest and sang, ‘Sun, glorious Sun, make me young and strong again!’

In a flash of flame the Sun ignited the nest. The Phoenix was ablaze and died in the fire.

The flames died down. Then something wonderful happened. The ashes trembled and a new, young Phoenix rose up. It sang to the Sun and as it sang it grew. When its song ended, it was the same size as the old Phoenix.

Then, just like the previous bird, it spread its wings and flew back to its lonely desert. It lives there still. But every five hundred years, when it feels old, it flies west to be burnt by the Sun at the Temple.

And each time, the Phoenix rises from the ashes, young again.

This legend is the origin of the idiom ‘rise like a phoenix from the ashes’. This idiom means ‘to be revitalized after a devastating experience.’

« Back Next Story: The Story Of The Rainbow Serpent »

Was this article useful? What should we do to improve your experience? Share your valued feedback and suggestions! Help us to serve you better. Donate Now!