The Swan and The Goose

A Swan and Goose were raised together; one for song and one for supper. The cook picked the Swan but he sung out and saved his life.

A man cannot be too careful of what he does, where the life of any creature is in question.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A certain rich man bought in the market a Goose and a Swan. He fed the one for his table and kept the other for the sake of its song. When the time came for killing the Goose, the cook went to get him at night, when it was dark, and he was not able to distinguish one bird from the other. By mistake he caught the Swan instead of the Goose. The Swan, threatened with death, burst forth into song and thus made himself known by his voice, and preserved his life by his melody.

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

The master of a house brought up a swan and a goose both together; the one for his eare, the other for his belly. He gave orders for the goose to be taken up, and dress’d for dinner. But the place was so dark, that the cook took one for t’other. This mistake had cost the swan her life, if she had not sung in that very instant, and discover’d her self; by which means she both sav’d her life, and express’d her nature.


A man cannot be too careful of what he does, where the life of any creature is in question.

1001Olor et Anseres

Pecuniosus quidam, qui anseres haberet domi, emit et olorem, et inter illos aluit; audierat enim suavissimum esse cantum olorinum. Cum autem vellet ad epulas iugulare nocte quadam anserem, ideo enim alebantur, forte cepit olorem, quod tenebrae discrimen inter hunc et illos fieri nullum sinerent. At olor carmen dulcissimum, quod aiunt illos facere solere ubi instare mortem sentiant, accinit, atque ita cognitus servatur.


Commendat fabula doctrinam et in primis musica studia, quibus etiam mors ipsa saepe avertatur.

Perry #399