On July 6, 1415, as John Hus (whose name means "goose" in his native Czech) made his way to the place of execution, the authorities made him pass by a bonfire where his books were burning. Hus was unafraid and predicted the Protestant Reformation with almost uncanny accuracy. Some of his last words were: You are going to burn a goose but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil. [source]
This "Swan" of this statement has popularly been interpreted to be Martin Luther, not to mention, even by Luther himself:
However, I, Dr. Martinus, have been called to this work and was compelled to become a doctor, without any initiative of my own, but out of pure obedience. Then I had to accept the office of doctor and swear a vow to my most beloved Holy Scriptures that I would preach and teach them faithfully and purely. While engaged in this kind of teaching, the papacy crossed my path and wanted to hinder me in it. How it has fared is obvious to all, and it will fare still worse. It shall not hinder me. In God’s name and call I shall walk on the lion and the adder, and tread on the young lion and dragon with my feet. And this which has been begun during my lifetime will be completed after my death. St. John Huss prophesied of me when he wrote from his prison in Bohemia, “They will roast a goose now (for ‘Huss’ means ‘a goose’), but after a hundred years they will hear a swan sing, and him they will endure.” And that is the way it will be, if God wills. [LW 34:103]I hadn't really thought much of the statement from Hus, other than the irony that indeed, a century later a lone monk began the Protestant Reformation. It's a popular quote. In my mind coincidence, nothing more. While reading in another area, I came across an article by Robert Scribner, Incombustible Luther: The Image of the Reformer in Early Modern Germany. Google Books offers a limited preview of this article with some missing pages, so I went ahead and ordered the book.
This is an incredibly interesting article. It documents the way that many turned Luther into a saint after his death. Stories circulated that paintings of him refused to burn. Luther's special saint miracle was his incombustibility. The picture above in this entry is said to be a painting from 1689 that refused to burn, though it isn't certain. It's indeed the stuff of legends and fantasy. If you get a chance, read through Scribner's article, or at least what Google Books makes available. Note the similarities between the Luther myth and the typical Romanist saint myths.
Scribner's article takes an interesting look at a variety of the Luther legends, even those attributed to him while still living. Among those he covers is the quote from Hus:
A truly interesting find. Even Luther produced a botched quote, and did so to promote himself.