The New International Encyclopædia/Swan, Knight of the

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SWAN, Knight of the. A very old and popular myth found in French, German, and English mediæval romances, first mentioned by William of Tyre about 1180. Helias, Knight of the Swan, is one of eight children of Oriant of Lilefort. Seven are changed to swans, one drawing the hero in a boat to become champion for Clarissa of Bouillon, the ancestor of Godfrey, thus connecting the story with the Crusades. After marriage the knight departs when his wife breaks the taboo on his name, a Grail feature common to all variants, as Lohengrin, showing its partly Celtic origin. The scene is generally on the Lower Rhine, connecting it with the dukes of Brabant and Cleves, whose symbol was a swan.