I was fishing where I should not have been fishing, and I took something I should not have taken. I fished a baby bunyip out of the water. What is a bunyip? Well, it is a creature that is something between a calf and a seal.
I wanted to take it home to my sweetheart, so that her brothers and sisters could play with it. I ignored the mother’s cries of distress as I ran away with her baby.
She sent the floodwaters after me. They swept me away from home and forced me to change my shape. I am a black swan now, and a black swan has no hope of return. I am not alone, though. There are other black swans in the water who have tried to take things that are not their own. We talk to one another. We remember.
Black Swan Man in The Bunyip, Brown Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.