A phoenix is a mythical bird that is said to live forever and it brings good fortune to whoever sees one. It is a bird with a colourful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet. It has a 500 to 1000year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites. Both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again.
The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. In some stories, the phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis ("sun-city" in Greek). It is said that the bird's cry is that of a beautiful song. The phoenix's ability to be reborn from its own ashes implies that it is immortal, thought some stories the new Phoenix is merely the offspring of the older one. In very few stories they are able to change into people.