America was home to the Eagle and the Rattlesnake, but the Rattlesnake reigned after the Eagle’s mistake.
The Eagle said, “America is the land of the free,” while the Rattlesnake warned, “Don’t tread on me.”
The Eagle said no one would tread on the Rattlesnake, and that was a freedom no one can take.
And so they agreed but never saw eye to eye, and in keeping the peace they’d say lie after lie.
One day the Eagle saw how the Rattlesnake behaved. Some animals he tortured, others he enslaved.
The Eagle told the Rattlesnake, “It’s the land of the free,” but then he snapped back with, “Don’t tread on me.”
The bird of the sky challenged the serpent of the land, but the Rattlesnake maintained his strong upper hand.
The Rattlesnake grew bold and thought the Eagle was weak. If he snapped off her wing, she would fall on her beak.
So the Rattlesnake lunged up into the air, aiming to land on a wing that laid bare.
But the Rattlesnake learned how much he was wrong. He forgot the sky was where the Eagle was strong.
The Eagle snatched the Rattlesnake with her sharp claws. She dropped him demanding, “Agree to my laws.”
The Rattlesnake surrendered to the Eagle’s terms, but he never forgot the lessons he learned.
He trusted the Eagle since she soared with wings, but that was before her claws left him stings.
His big takeaway: “She treaded on me.” She remained a threat as far as he could see.
He’d have to kill the Eagle at some point some year. Being treaded on remained his big fear.
He can’t kill the Eagle from up in the sky. It was a mistake to attack her so high.
He needed the Eagle to dive and swoop low, and that’s when the Rattlesnake would strangle his foe.
But the Eagle just soared and expanded her reach, from every stream and mountain to every swamp and beach.
She saw much of the world, but it wasn’t all free, so she set out to change that everywhere she’d see.
The Rattlesnake noticed he could tire his foe, so where she soared high he burrowed low.
Thus soaring above was freedom’s standard-bearer, but crawling below was a campaign of terror.
Everywhere he went he said, “Don’t tread on me,” even to creatures that just let him be.
No land was ever free where the Rattlesnake slithered, and so the Eagle’s mission eventually withered.
The Eagle retreated and flew back to her nest. From there she watched the world, enjoying her rest.
The Rattlesnake saw she was finally tired, and he could strike her down as he desired.
The only thing he needed to seize total power was his foe at his level instead of her tower.
The Rattlesnake knew exactly what to do: get her attention by inciting a coup.
The Rattlesnake bragged and boasted his terror, and baited the Eagle with every way to scare her.
He poisoned the Eagle’s land of the free, but all she could hear was, “Don’t tread on me.”
She heeded his warning, so he tried to test her. He continued his terror so the poison would fester.
The Eagle lost hope and with it her way. She let her anger drift her values astray.
The Eagle felt hate: she despised the Rattlesnake, and that’s when she made her fatal mistake.
She swooped down with a wrath and came low to the ground, where the Rattlesnake wrapped her around and around.
The Rattlesnake jeered as he strangled the Eagle, and mocked her as she cried, “This is illegal!”
“The home of the brave, the land of the free! I thought those terms were what we agreed!”
“How could I be brave in the land of the free when you were free to tread on me?”
His poisonous fangs sunk into the Eagle, and ended her reign, so majestic and regal.
Then the serpent slithered onto the flag. Now America flies that Star Rattled Rag.
But one day the poison brought the Eagle back to life: the Blue Phoenix is born out of tyranny and strife.
She can only restore the home of the brave if she breaks the shackles of every last slave.
One of those slaves that needs to be free is the Rattlesnake crying, “Don’t tread on me.”
He’s imprisoned by fear and his words are a plea, and that’s why it was never the land of the free.
Ignoring his fear was the Eagle’s mistake. Now it’s up to the Blue Phoenix to save the Rattlesnake.
To be continued…