The Marquis reports on his family's swan-fever incurred when it was decided to grace moat and lakes about their Westphalian castle home with a featheration of swans. After several frustrated attempts to procure birds, the family is treated to the arrival of Hans and Leda. From then on swan study and trial-and-error care become an obsession. The Marquis notes swan behavior, penning problems during winter, supplementary feeding, and training of humans by swans: ""Occasionally one says 'come' to a dog only to be rewarded by the patter of swan feet."" The author's leisurely pursuits extend to ducks and dogs as well as cob, pen, and cygnets -- and it's all pleasant chitchat even for those who are lake-and-moatless.