It’s probably best to pet a phoenix as the newborn chick.
It could get dicey on “burning day,” when the phoenix bursts into flames as part of its mythological regeneration.
That creature of Greek mythology cyclically regenerated or reborn, arising from the ashes of its predecessor, has been around for centuries.
Pontiac made a muscle car out of it.
It took J.K. Rowling’s own Harry Potter to cast it in modern fiction:
“The phoenix is a large swan-sized scarlet bird with red and gold plumage, along with a golden beak and talons, black eyes, and a tail as long as a peacock’s. Its scarlet feathers glow faintly in darkness, while its golden tail feathers are hot to the touch. Phoenixes are known for nesting on mountain peaks.”
“They are gentle herbivores and are not known for fighting. As phoenixes approach their Burning Day they resemble a half-plucked turkey. Also, their eyes become dull, their feathers start to fall out, and it begins to make gagging noises. Then the bird suddenly bursts into flames only to rise from the ashes shortly after. In a number of days, they grow back to full size.”
The Phoenix Zoo does have a petting section.
It took Edward Snowden, however, to domesticate the fiery bird.
The fugitive former contractor for the National Security Agency was asked in an online chat sponsored by the U.K.’s Guardian today about speculation that he is a spy for the Chinese or seeking asylum there.
“Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing?” respondent Snowden reportedly replied, according to the Guardian. “I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.”
Would that palace come with a driver?