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In the days of old, a legend is told of a most wondrous animal called the Phoenix. He lived in the Garden of Eden and was beloved by all for his wisdom, his compassion and his beauty. He had feathers that rivaled the sun and a voice as pure and lyrical as the angels themselves.

The garden was a very special place. Fashioned by Yahweh himself for his creations, it was filled with all species of animals and of course…humans. There was plenty of food and room enough for everyone. It was a good life and all were at peace.

Then, something very sad happened. Man and Woman, who were called also Adam and Eve, ate the fruit of The Tree of Knowledge, which was forbidden. Their eyes were opened, and they became aware. Because of this, Yahweh removed them from the garden so they wouldn’t eat of The Tree of Life and become immortal.

But the legend states Eve became jealous of the immortality and the purity of the animals still living in the garden, so she persuaded them all to share in her fallen state by eating the forbidden fruit.

All but the Phoenix, who in Hebrew was called Milcham.

No matter how Eve coaxed and cajoled. No matter what she promised him, the Phoenix stood firm. His mate had already eaten of the fruit and was lost. The Phoenix must have been sorely tempted to be with her, but he would not betray his god by disobeying him.

And so later, when the Lord came walking in the Garden of Eden, there was no one left in the paradise he’d created.

Except the Phoenix.

Milcham explained to Yahweh what had happened, and the Lord was most pleased with his sacrifice and his faithfulness.

Because of the Phoenix’s great loyalty, Yahweh rewarded Milcham. He built him a beautiful walled city with large healthy trees and sparkling pools of the purest water in the world. He gave him special foods of nutmeg and other rare spices. He built him a tower on the edge of the city so he could sing his songs to the world. Yahweh promised the Phoenix if he stayed within the walls he could live in great peace for a thousand years.

Milcham agreed. He went and lived in the beautiful city, and it was good. A thousand years passed in this manner, but in the last months of the last year, the Phoenix got very old and very tired. His feathers lost their radiant glow, and his song became hoarse and raspy. He had trouble chewing the delicious foods and had difficulty getting water from his special pool. Yahweh was forced to gather other birds from outside the walls to care for him.

Finally, the Phoenix cried out to the Lord for help, and God heard his prayer. He told Milcham to build a nest of the spices and herbs that grew in his forest city. Once the nest was built, the Phoenix was to climb into it and face the sun at the dawn of a new day. Yahweh told him to lift his wings and sing to the sun.

The Phoenix obeyed and built his nest. On the dawn of the last day of the thousandth year in his walled city, he climbed shakily into the nest, and lifting his tattered and dull wings to the sun…he began to sing.

He sang of hope and of love, of faith and eternity. He sang and sang until his voice was broken and rough. His wings shook with fatigue, but the Phoenix sang on unflinchingly.

Suddenly, there was a blinding flash of light. Flames burst out of the nest and consumed the Phoenix. He became a burning figure of red-gold fire.

After a while, the flames died down. Amazingly, the nest and the tree it was in were not burned. But the Phoenix?

He was gone. All that remained was a pile of golden-gray ash.

Then, the ash moved. It trembled and slowly began to heave upwards. From under the ash, there rose up a young Phoenix. Featherless and bald, it was small and scrawny, but it stretched out his naked neck and lifted its tiny plucked wings to the sun.

In a voice that could barely be heard, it sang. This time it sang of rebirth and life, of immortality and Yahweh’s constancy. As it sang, it grew, growing stronger and stronger with every melodious note. Beautiful feathers of gold and red, purple and yellow sprouted and covered his nakedness. Eyes that were blind opened, to reveal orbs of glowing gold.

The Phoenix had risen from the ashes and been reborn.


***end of excerpt***



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