(by Ted Andrews)
Long before there was a long time ago, the dragon was the guardian of the animals. He was the greatest and most powerful animal and humans were afraid of him. It was this alone, which prevented most humans from harming animals. Unfortunately, as the ages passed, humans quit believing in dragons. Because they no longer believed, they no longer feared the dragon.
More and more animals began to be harmed. Many species disappeared altogether. Nature was being hurt and disrespected. And the dragon was saddened by all of this. He could no longer do his job. So he decided it was time to leave.
The dragon was married to the phoenix. She was the great bird of rebirth who rose from her own ashes. Se saw his great sorrow. As much as she tried though, she could not console him. She knew that once his mind was set, he would not change it. But then she had an idea and so she waited and she watched.
Discouraged and frustrated, the dragon prepared to give up his guardianship. If people did not believe, there was no reason for him to stay. So he faced the sun, and he inhaled his own fire and that of the sun. He began to swell, growing larger and larger and then he exploded into millions of pieces. The phoenix watched with great love and sorrow and as he explodes, she allowed herself to go up in flames. A great wind caught her ashes and swirled them amidst the pieces of dragon. And they attached themselves. As each ash touched a piece of the dragon, there was a flash of fire and a beautiful red-tailed hawk was born, soaring scross the sky.
To this day, this red-tailed hawk sits perched, watching the world. Born of dragon and phoenix, its spirit is now the true guardian of the animal world, and whenever seen perched high upon a tree or pole, it is a reminder of the guardianship of the dragon and phoenix, alive within the hawk and still alive within the world.
Those who became guardians of Nature, protectors of animals and Steward of the Earth, would come to be known as Dragonhawks.