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The Tale of the Phoenix

written and illustrated by

Idris O'Neill

copyright 1999-2001
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When the Wee One awoke, she smelled the fragrance of smoke, that filled the air of her home in the ancient oak.  She was frightened as only a wood nymph could be, for her whole reason for being was the care and nurturing of the Little Woods.  She immediately took flight  and flew as quickly as her wings could take her, to the tallest oak so that she might find the reason for the smoke.  She set herself down lightly and  there, in the early light of morning, she met her friend the Griffin.  He listened as she chattered excitedly about the smoke.  He assured her that all was well.  He then told the fae about the beautiful bird he had seen, called the Phoenix.
 
 

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The Phoenix was a beautiful female bird, that had come to Tintagel from a far away Arabian desert.  The beautiful bird had lived some five hundred years in this present life cycle.  The bird,  was now old and weary and sought a place of love and happiness to spend her last few days.  The Griffin said the Phoenix had been in the Little Woods for only a few days.  He assured the Wee One that she was not to blame for not caring for the weary bird.
 
 

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The Phoenix was preparing itself for a re-birth.  She needed time to gather her strength and self-assurance to begin another cycle of life.  “But the smoke,”  the Wee One cried, as her eyes sought out the bird, in the area of  the faerie mound, where a thin trail of smoke could still be seen rising into the clear morning air.
 
 

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“Ahh, the smoke is the signal that all is well with the Phoenix,”  he said.

The Wee One cocked her head to one side and gave the Griffin a poke, as he seemed to be drifting off to sleep.  “What happened?” “What happened to the Phoenix?”  She said loudly, to fully awaken the sleepy Griffin.

“Huh, what, what...Oh yes the Phoenix,”  the Griffin said sleepily.
 
 

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The Griffin continued his story, yawning off and on as he told it.  He had witnessed the event in the middle of the previous night, when the meadow and the Little Woods had settled down to sleep and all was silent. The old weary Phoenix came out of her hiding place and began to build a funeral pyre out of odorous woods and gums that she had found in the Little Woods.
 
 

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The Phoenix carried the twigs in her beak and set them on the faerie mound, one at a time and worked for  hours becoming more weary as the pyre grew to a great size.  The bird then looked to the heavens and a thunder bolt drove straight down to the mound.  It set the pyre alight.  The Phoenix moved closer and closer to the small flame that had caught fire in the pyre.  She fanned the flames with her wings, until the pyre was a raging fire.
 
 

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“But she must have been burned terribly,”  the Wee One cried.

“Yes, yes,” the Griffin replied sadly, shaking his large white feathery head.   “Settle down now lass and listen!” The Griffin said, giving the wood nymph a hug.
 
 

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The Phoenix watched the fire grow and seemingly with it, her strength to do what she must to be re-born.  In an instant  she took flight on singed; tattered wings above the raging pyre and  dove into the flames headlong.  The white hot flames devoured the Phoenix and rose even higher into the sky.  The Wee One gasped.  Her tear filled eyes appeared as big as saucers. The Griffin smiled and continued  his story.
 
 

Page9
 
 






The flames of the  funeral pyre jumped into the sky and suddenly out of the fire flew  a new and more beautiful Phoenix, in the perfect bloom of youth.  The Phoenix now looked almost luminescent, as it preened itself in the glow of the full moon.  The Phoenix was once again beautiful, strong and self-assured, as only those who possess the spirit of youth and beauty, can be..............
 
 

As published in Sonata