swan

European - A graceful water bird with a long. Neck, usually white. (1) In G reek myths the swan is sacred to Apollo whose soul was said to reside in it. Zeus himself took the form of a swan to seduce Leto. (2) In the German story of Lohengrin the Swan Knight, the hero travelled in a boat drawn by swans and when rescuing Elsa, restored her brother Godfrey, who had been turned into a swan, to his former self. In a different story of the Swan Knight, the six children of Oriant and Beatrix were turned into swans. The seventh child, the boy Elias, escaped and appeared later as the Swan Knight to rescue his mother from the stake and, at that time, the other six children regained their human form. (3) In Hindu lore the bird is sacred to Brahma and is regarded as the bird which laid the cosmic egg. (4) In the Irish legend of the Children of Lir, the three sons and one daughter of Lir were turned into swans by Lir's second wife and were forced to spend three periods, each of 300 years, in that form. (5) Norse legends have the Valkyries appearing in the form of swans and in another story three swan-maidens flew to earth to bathe and were unable to return to heaven when Slagfinn and his two brothers seized the wings the girls had left on the shore while bathing. (6) In Serbia, the Vila (water-spirits) sometimes appear as swans. At times, referred to as swan.

Nearby Myths