I wanted to write a riddle in the form of a story, so here we are. Hope you like it.

This is the story of great birds, two.
Around and around in the sky, they flew.
One remained small, while the other grew,
Till they looked like a sparrow, sat on a yew.

The great one went up into the sky,
Nearly reaching the sun, it was ever so high.
The heat increased, making the great one cry,
As it saw its feathers fall off and die.

With a screech of pain, the great one flew to the ground,
And struck the floor with an almighty sound.
The great one lay there all heaped in a mound,
As the small one landed and perched on its bare crown.

Unfortunately for the small one, it found its own plight,
as the residue heat from the great bird had set it alight.
The flames swallowed it up, they burnt so bright.
Then from the ashes, a baby burst out into the daylight.

This story of great birds, two,
tell of a place, but will you,
tell me where? I bet you do.
I have utmost faith in you.

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    $\begingroup$ That second stanza got quite dark lol $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2018 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


[This was originally posted as a mostly-joking answer, but turned out to be correct! Thanks to OP and Chris Qu in comments for clarifying some things; the text below reflects my current understanding of how it's intended to work.]

The place is

Phoenix, Arizona. (Or perhaps one of the other towns called Phoenix in the USA, but the one in Arizona is the best known.)

The first bird is

an eagle, symbol of the United States.

The business about flying too high, losing feathers, etc.,

is simply a way to make it a bald eagle, more specific symbol of the United States. There is no particular symbolism to the way in which it loses its feathers, and presumably we should not understand it to have died.

The second bird is

a phoenix, bursting into flames and then emerging reborn from the ashes. Again, no particular symbolism to the fact that it catches fire from the residual heat of the first bird, nor to the business at the start where the first bird grows while the second doesn't.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's actually, correct, but can you tell me why? And how does the other bird come into it? $\endgroup$
    – AHKieran
    Oct 4, 2018 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ I thought of the same place ;) $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2018 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ Huh, interesting. I wouldn't have guessed more than a 10% chance of its being right. Let me do some digging and see if I can figure out why :-). $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Oct 4, 2018 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ As stated by Gareth, the answer is Phoenix, Arizona. My contribution is the guess that the larger bird is an Eagle. And after its feathers fall off, and the smaller bird lands on its bare crown, it is a bald eagle. If we take this as a symbol of America, we have a city and a country. There are a handful of cities called that in the United States, though. I'm not sure there is any way to conclude that it must be Arizona... $\endgroup$
    – Chris Qu
    Oct 4, 2018 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ [Chris's comment above was posted as an answer, prefaced with "I wish I were able to comment, but this account is new and I lack the reputation". Your wish is our command, Chris! I've made it into a comment.] $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Oct 4, 2018 at 20:27

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