1

There are English (and French and German too) folktales about the Swan Knight who arrives in a boat drawn by swans. The story of The Knight of the Swan is well known and some royal lines claim descent from it too, and depict a collared swan on their coat of arms.

Is it practically possible for a small boat (carrying a human) to be pulled by a team of swans? What is the likely pulling power of these birds?

8
  • 1
    This question may be a better fit for another site such as physics.SE. The skeptics.SE site is rather strict as to which questions are considered to be on-topic. A good question for this site challenges a claim that is either made by a notable source, or which is believed by a notable number of people. It's the burden of the question to prove this notability. Your question doesn't meet either requirement: neither does it explain why a collection of fairy tales should be an appropriate source, nor does it illustrate that there are people who actually believe that swans can draw a boat.
    – Schmuddi
    Nov 10 at 11:24
  • We want to focus our attention on doubtful claims that are widely held. This is literally a fairy tale. Are you are referring to the Bohun swan with a crown around its neck? Is anyone claiming that is a yoke?
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 10 at 12:15
  • 1
    Water friction is dynamic, not static, right? So even a very small amount of force would suffice to tow even a very heavy boat - it just won't go very fast. Nov 13 at 6:55
  • @NateEldredge Yes, that's a very good point..
    – Yogesch
    Nov 13 at 7:54
  • 1
    For instance you can find videos on YouTube of humans pulling cargo ships with a mass of several thousand tonnes - about 10000 times the human's own mass. Here we are talking about a boat with maybe 10-20 times the mass of a swan. Even if the swan is proportionally quite a bit weaker than the human, it still seems well within the realm of possibility. Nov 13 at 14:20

Browse other questions tagged .