The first leaves had barely began to fall in the magic forest, when a hand-tall red bird came to challenge the magnificent green dragon to a fight. Frail but brave, she huffed her feathers and lifted her wings as if she were a big white crane. The scaley one laughed. Each of his scales alone was bigger than the puny fowl. He laughed so loud he was heard in all four capitals of China. He laughed so hard the air bursting from his mouth threw the bird against a rock, and she passed out.
Next autumn, the senseless tiny one was back. She was a bit fuller, but still diminutive compared to her foe. Another defeat. The same the following year, and the next, and the next, until one day the challenger was as big as the dragon. “Here I am again,” said the bird, as she took a stance. They battled, and people say it was the most wonderful fight ever fought in this or any other land. Through clouds, hills, and waves, the dragon attacked. He used his best moves. But the bird, who had already seen them all, avoided each blow. She even managed to hit her mighty opponent a couple of times. The combat continued for eight consecutive autumns until the dragon, old and wise enough to understand the state of things, asked for a pause. ‘Perhaps we should call it a draw.’
Stunned, the little bird bowed. “Thank you, Master Dragon. For only your kindness allowed me to become better each year, and to get a draw I surely don’t deserve.”
He nodded. “Were you never afraid?”
“Every single time,” the bird answered.
The dragon twisted his ancient beard. “Interesting. What’s your name, master bird? So people can tell your noble story through the ages?” And she said, “I’m the Phoenix.”
From that day forward, they became inseparable. The most dynamic of all harmonies.