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Swan Hooper's swans
Ainu Legends

How this graceful creature preserved part of the Ainu race from extinction
"God originally made the swan and kept it in Paradise as one of his angels. Now, after having lived a long time in the world, the Ainu became degraded and wicked, and did nothing but quarrel among themselves and fight and slay one another. In after years people came from a certain country and made war upon them. The inhabitants of Takai Sara in the Nikap district were in those days very numerous, but the warriors came and exterminated them.

"At that time, one poor little lad, and one only, escaped by hiding among the grass. He hid in fear and trembling, and he alone was left alive in the whole district. But he was such a little child that he was quite unable to procure food to keep himself alive. He therefore sat down and wept sorely. Now there were no people anywhere near the place to help him, and so he came very near starving to death. He wept and wept till he had no more strength left him even to cry.

"When he was at the last extremity, a woman came suddenly from somewhere, took him up, loved him much, and comforted him. She carried him away and built a beautiful house and lived there with him. After a time, when the child was fully grown, he and the woman were married. They reared a very large family and in this way repopulated the district which had been so grievously destroyed.

"The woman who saved this lad and afterwards became his wife was a swan, and formerly had her home in Paradise. She turned herself into a woman and came down to preserve the Ainu race alive in that district. God also saved the child for this purpose. While the woman was alive she used to weep and lament for the people if any of them became ill or died. And so it is at the present day, when the swan's cry is heard it is found to resemble the weeping and lamentations of the women. This then is the beginning of these things, and swan worship is called 'the ceremony of the worship of Mistress Swan.'"

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