They say that swans only sing once in their lives, and that is just before they die. A man who didn't know this once bought a swan in the market and asked his friends to dinner to hear it sing. They had a delicious meal, and then he called the swan and ordered it to perform. But the swan just looked at him and hissed quietly to itself. The crosser the man got, the more silent the swan became until his friends got tired of waiting and went home.
A few weeks latter, the swan knew it was about to die. It lifted up its head and sang the sweetest and most beautiful song the man had ever heard. He stared at it in astonishment. He felt angry because he had looked such a fool when his friends came to dinner. "If I had known you only sang when you were about to die," he said angrily, "I'd have told you I was going to kill you and eat you for dinner when my friends were here."