This section of the book is from the "Stories of Animal Sagacity" book, by William Henry Giles Kingston.
Swans show much bravery, especially in defending their young; indeed, from their size, they are able to do battle with the largest of the feathered tribe. They have been known also to attack people who have ventured nearer their cygnets than they liked.
I remember a lady being attacked by a swan on the banks of a lake, in the grounds of a relative of mine. She had to take to flight, and was met running along the path crying for aid, with the swan, its wings outstretched, in full chase after her.
Only lately, a person paddling in a canoe near Chelmsford approached a nest of cygnets, when the parent swan swam out, and seizing the bow of the canoe, nearly upset it. The paddler had to back out of the way, with difficulty escaping the violent assaults of the enraged bird.
One morning, as a family of cygnets were assembled on the banks of one of the islands in the Zoological Gardens of London, and the parent birds were swimming about watching their little ones, a carrion-crow, thinking that the old birds were too far off to interfere with him, pounced down on one of the cygnets. The father swan, however, had his eye on the marauder, and, darting forward, seized him with his bill. The crow in vain struggled to get free. The swan, like the gander I before mentioned, dragged the felon towards the lake, and plunging him under water, held him there till his caws sounded no longer.
Be brave and bold in defence of the helpless, especially of those committed to your charge.