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The Phoenix Tree

5th April, Story #96/366

By L.C. SchäferPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Image credit to AI, prompted by me. Cheers, DALL-E.

They say that somewhere in the centre of the First Forest's velvety green depths, a phoenix laid an egg.

This is a rarer occurrence for a phoenix than for most ordinary birds.

Birds, like many creatures, are aware of their mortality in their bones, if not in their brains. They strive for immortality of their DNA, rather than of their bodies. A human teenager is a good example. He often seems to disregard the safety of his body almost entirely, while trying to leave as much of his DNA about the place as possible.

A phoenix, as you might know, is different. She's wise. She knows, if she's canny and burns fiercely, she can live for age upon age. Perhaps even forever. So she's not driven, as many creatures are, to leave behind little version of herself, to breathe and burn long after her own flame has gone out.

No one knows why the mother bird laid her egg, nor do They say anything about why she didn't return to it . In time, it was covered by undergrowth, then by soil. All the while, the firechick waited to hatch.

Was he patient? Was he angry? Who knows?

The Trees did as Trees do; they slurped on the goodness in the soil. Thanks to the flame-feathered generator under the ground, there was plenty of it, and the forest grew lush and verdant.

At last, the shell cracked. Who knows if the Trees took pity on the fiery bird? Or if they were just especially hungry? Maybe the shell cracked, or maybe a wise little beak tapped on it, driven at last, to seek freedom?

Imagine it, that hot magical life force spidering out into the ground, feeding the roots. A red-gold elixir to gift the Trees with Wisdom, Death and Immortality all at once.

Today, many tree species still emulate the phoenix, as well as their First Forest ancestors. They bud bright in the spring; Summer gowns them in glorious green, and then, when She leaves, the Phoenix wakes. He sets them alight, all red and gold. They burn bright for a season, and then lie dead and ashen... Until Spring wakes them with new shoots.

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Word count: (excluding note): 366

Submitted on: 5th April at 00:25

*Quick Author's Note*

First, and most importantly: thank you for reading! Especially if you are one of the people who has been staunchly reading these daily scribbles since the start of the year. I see you, and appreciate you 😁

A Year of Stories: I'm writing a story every day this year. This one makes an 96 day streak since the 1st January. Almost 14 weeks in, and a quarter of the way there! I'm collating all the stories here.

The story behind the story: I wrote this in response to my own prompt, "Write a story about a phoenix". You can read this prompt (and my other prompts for April) here.

Leave me a link if you decide to use this prompt! I'd love to read what you come up with!

I have written about trees in Autumn before, here. 👇 I had this in mind as I was writing this.

Thank you

Thank you again! I do my best to reciprocate as man reads as possible - please leave a comment to make it easier!

FantasyShort StoryMicrofiction

About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Book-baby is available on Kindle Unlimited

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Sometimes writes under S.E.Holz

"I've read books. Well. Chewed books."

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Comments (10)

  • Thavien Yliaster3 months ago

    "This is a rarer occurrence for a phoenix than for most ordinary birds." - Naturally, since Phoenix's are capable of reviving themselves from their own ashes. The closest living example we would have today is a jellyfish reverting back to an early stage of life when its environment is stressful and/or its received damage. The phoenix is an extreme example of a k-selected species, till the point You would call it K-selected prime species, since they're practically immortal reproduction would only benefit them from escaping illness such as viruses, but a virus would have to be really resilient to the supernatural heat that this aviary species produces (which doesn't give a whole lot of breathing room for any viruses or bacterial infections in the slightest that could touch this bird). "They strive for immortality of their DNA, rather than of their bodies. A human teenager is a good example. He often seems to disregard the safety of his body almost entirely, while trying to leave as much of his DNA about the place as possible." - Oh, You have such a great sense of humor, but You forget, that just like how males will spread their DNA females will attempt to collect as much DNA as possible. Several species will have their females collect and save as many different male's DNA in the hopes that their offspring is as diverse as possible, and that some of them will have the adaptations necessary. This occurs a lot with reptiles and birds. As for mammals, such as humans, we're not really a monogamous species, and other primates that are more closely socially and genetically monogamous tend to have less sexual dimorphism. "So she's not driven, as many creatures are, to leave behind little version of herself, to breathe and burn long after her own flame has gone out." - Exactamundo. *snaps fingers* "They say anything about why she didn't return to it ." - Oh no. Was she not preggers and is she just a laying an egg like most birds usually do? Plus, if there is a chick in that egg, wouldn't it get cold and eventually perish, not having the rejuvenation ability until it hatches and/or reaches adulthood? " All the while, the firechick waited to hatch." - AH! She was preggers! "The Trees did as Trees do; they slurped on the goodness in the soil. Thanks to the flame-feathered generator under the ground, there was plenty of it, and the forest grew lush and verdant." - So, did the trees like make a natural nest for the egg? Cause one of my main concerns would be about the egg suffocating if it got covered in water from rainfall. "Maybe the shell cracked, or maybe a wise little beak tapped on it, driven at last, to seek freedom?" - Sure that cute little chick might be magical, but if he still needs to eat, there's only so much yolk in that egg. Better to leave Your own natural prison before it traps You forever when You no longer have the strength to break out. "Today, many tree species still emulate the phoenix, as well as their First Forest ancestors. Until Spring wakes them with new shoots." - So it's not a real phoenix but just a metaphor. Not like the sun, but as one that helps to spread life, and like when a forest fire occurs, the nutrients return back to the soil. Thus, several species of flora have evolved to only sprout once a fire has burned down the area. In all honesty, I do wish that we did controlled burnings as to help prevent major forest fires. Native Americans did it as a practice and it worked. It's one heckuva overlooked practice.

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    This is beautiful. I love the idea of the phoenix giving us the fall colours. Well done.

  • Stephanie Hoogstad3 months ago

    This is beautifully written and such an original explanation of the trees’ reaction to the seasons changing. You have an incredibly creative mind and a wonderful way with words, especially when it comes to fantasy.

  • This sounds like the beginning to an epic Fantasy!

  • Alexander McEvoy3 months ago

    Oh wow! I love this explanation for the changing of the seasons, LC! It's a damned same that we don't have an official challenge out right now for myths and legends because I definitely think this is quality enough to place in one

  • Blake Booth3 months ago

    This was fun and delightful

  • Gerard DiLeo3 months ago

    Such nature on display here. Verynice. By the way, do you know how many are still in the story-of-the-day challenge? I'd like to put links to them after each of my day submissions.

  • John Cox3 months ago

    Wonderful parable of nature. Reminds me of the Just So stories. I loved it!

  • Esala Gunathilake3 months ago

    Creative and super! It is full of horror for me.

  • Alex H Mittelman 3 months ago

    This is fantastic! The hatching of the Phoenix egg sounds very dramatic and I want to know more! I’m betting this will get top story! Wish I was as creative as you!!!!! 😀

L.C. SchäferWritten by L.C. Schäfer

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