There is, however, quite a history to the Swan Princess, or more commonly known as Swan Lake.
The legend of the Swan-Maiden goes back for centuries, appearing in differing forms in both eastern and western literature. Women who turn into birds and vice-versa were popular themes, and the swan was particularly favored due to its grace when swimming in the water. The ancient Greeks considered the swan to the bird closest to the Muses. When Apollo was born at Delos, the event was celebrated by flights of circling swans.
It is known that Tchaikovsky was commissioned by Vladimir Petrovich Begichev, the intendant of the Russian Imperial Theatres in Moscow and a friend of Tchaikovsky, to write a score for Swan Lake in May 1875 for the sum of 800 rubles. It was Begichev who authored at least the initial program of the ballet. He, along with Vasily Fedorovich Geltser, a dancer in the Moscow company, are credited with writing the libretto for the ballet, though many contend that Geltser was probably no more than the copyist. The first published libretto of Swan Lake did not correspond exactly to the musical lay out and was probably produced by a staff writer who based it on observations of rehearsals in progress. It is highly likely that Tchaikovsky had a good deal of influence over the story’s development. Legends of swans were presumably familiar to Tchaikovsky and his artistic friends, who no doubt discussed the idea of the swan as a symbol of womanhood at its purest.