The Phoenix Bird (click the link to read the story). It's a short tale - more akin to the origin type story told in The Ear of Corn by the Brothers Grimm than the usual fairy tale style I've come to associate with Andersen - but I do like it. If you're not familiar with it, take the time to read it before continuing with this post because my favorite part really is the ending.
There are a few things that speak to me about this story. If we take the Phoenix as a symbol for the spirit of creativity and imagination, we see that it has been around since the dawn of creation. As long as there have been human beings, this spirit has lived among them. Andersen writes, "The bird flutters round us, swift as light, beauteous in color, charming in song," and one can imagine the natural gift of creativity in the form of a mythical bird swooping through Andersen's pen as this tale was composed. We can also see that the Phoenix is shown to be universal - belonging to no single land or culture - and with the varied lands described in the story it is clear that the Phoenix "is not the bird of Arabia alone." Andersen ends the story with a lovely tribute to the bird in proclaiming a name for it:
"...thy right name was given thee—thy name, Poetry."
This post is part of my 2011 Fairy Tale Challenge (2 of 12) and continues the Fairy Tale Fridays meme originally begun by Tif of Tif Talks Books. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this story or any other fairy tale of your choice! Leave a link in the comments below if you're joining the Fairy Tale Fun this week!