Myth #34: Polish people eat swans

I kid you not. Most British people believe this. Ok, maybe not ‘most,’ but I never said I was going to be fair and impartial. This story pops up again and again in the more, shall we say, ‘creative’ parts of the British media. In other words, the parts that print the first thing that comes into their heads rather than mucking around with all that tedious ‘journalism’ and ‘research’ nonsense.

Do not eat the swans

According to a story in the Daily Mail hundreds of swans have gone missing from a canal outside of London. And Polish immigrants are suspected of eating them.

Polish and Lithuanian immigrants have been seen trying to drag the birds away, while the remains of some have been found butchered on the towpath…

Obviously, witnesses knew they were Poles and Lithuanians because they were probably waving Polish and Lithuanian flags, singing their national anthems, and gulping down pierogi at the time. How the hell do you catch a swan anyway? Aren’t they supposed to be able to break your arm with their beaks or something? I guess the idea is that hungry Poles hide in the bushes with knife and fork at the ready waiting for the poor birds to nod off and then jump out with a blood-curdling cry of “Smacznego!”

The whole thing is so absurd I don’t really know what to say about it. Except to point out that the stretch of the Vistula that flows through Krakow is full of swans but I’ve never been offered a swan sandwich here. I do, however, have a theory. According to another, no doubt carefully researched, story from a French news agency a Muslim man was jailed in Britain for catching and eating a swan in 2006. When arrested the man:

had blood on his shirt and white feathers in his beard…

It goes without saying that he presumably also had a towel wrapped round his head, an evil glint in his eye, and suspicious wires poking out of his shirt. So there you have it; the whole thing is clearly an al Qaeda plot to discredit decent upstanding Poles.

Want more myths? Of course you do!

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9 thoughts on “Myth #34: Polish people eat swans

  1. eenx says:

    What a story, is that true ?

  2. island1 says:

    It’s absolutely true that it was in the newspaper. I think it’s extremely unlikely that it’s a true story though.

  3. Contrary to what you wrote, I’ve yet to meet anyone who believes that Poles eat swans.

  4. island1 says:

    Warren: I have. You obviously hang out with a better class of person :)

  5. […] #1: Polish people are rude Myth #19: Polish people can drive Myth #21: Polish girls are gorgeous Myth #34: Polish people eat swans Myth #7: Polish people drink a lot Myth #17: Poland is poor Myth #46: Poland is in Eastern Europe […]

  6. Ghostekk says:

    I kid you not. Most British people believe this. – you made me spit tea all over the keyboard. Nevertheless – that’s still a lovely note.

  7. island1 says:

    Ghostekk: I may have exaggerated slightly for comic effect. Sorry to hear about the tea wastage.

  8. It is amazing how often this “fact” gets wheeled out as a story in the press. I don’t think ‘most’ people believe it, but there’s certainly a decent chunk of people who do! I’ve been running a straw poll on my site ( and about a third of respondants seem to think there’s truth in it.

    Two things: I’m sure some people who do believe the myth probably don’t even judge it badly, and I’m sure some people only believe it because officials say that it’s true. Even the Polish ambassador claimed that “I’ve heard of four or five [Polish] people being arrested”

    Personally, I’m sure it’s nonsense :)

  9. John says:

    Swan meat was supposedly a delicacy in the victorian era, in the distant past only royalty was allowed to eat it. Not much has changed since then, peasants are still being screwed by the rich today. For eg the swans in the UK allegedly belong to HM queen. Obviously not all Polish people hunt or fish, like any other nation, a small minority of Poles do hunt and fish. I have met them while out fishing myself. They will take swan, duck, pigeon, rabbit, squirrel and freshwater fish for the table. And why the hell not, have you seen the price of meat these days, it is so fcking expensive, most stores have started putting security tags on it. Stick it to the man, have swan for xmas dinner.

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