updated 2/22/2008 8:50:34 PM ET 2008-02-23T01:50:34

Elishia Stevenson wanted an apology when she was bitten by a swan. So she wrote to Queen Elizabeth II.

The 6-year-old girl from Cornwall, south west England, wrote to Buckingham Palace because her mother told her the queen owns all the swans in Britain. She decorated her letter with flowers and a picture of a swan with a sad face.

A lady-in-waiting responded, saying the queen was "sorry to hear about the swan."

Though the queen doesn't own every swan in Britain, she does own certain mute swans in the Thames. This tradition goes back to the 12th century, when roast swan was considered a delicious dish, and continues today with the annual "Swan Upping," a census of swans on the Thames.

David Pogson, a Buckingham Palace spokesman, said the idea the queen owns all the swans is a myth.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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