|UNICORNS AND MAN
Will the unicorn
be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?
Job 39 9
Unicorns are among
those rare and recalcitrant beings that refuse to be tamed or exploited.
They insist on living out their own lives in those special places that
The existence in unicorns
has been questioned since ancient times. There is a
||remain wild, and
they can only be brought into the dominion of man through deception.
Although their flesh has never been regarded as a delicacy, it was once
widely believed that their magical horns could detect poison whenever it
was near, and that, drunk from the hollowed horn, a poison's effects could
be neutralized. Is it any wonder that humans could not resist devising
ways of capturing and exploiting the unicorn? The mystical powers
attributed to the unicorn's horn are so great that this is a major factor
in the near - extinction of the rhinoceros, whose horn was also prized
to a future marked
by human greed, treachery, and exploitation. Most people believe
the unicorn was a imaginary animal that never existed since we have never
caught one and displayed it in a zoo, like all other animals. Some
people believe the unicorn existed in ancient times and is not extinct.
There is a Hebrew folk tale describes the time when Noah was constructing
his ark. When the ark was finally finished, all the animals gathered
in pairs for boarding save for two unicorns, which
said he was the animal first named by Adam in the garden of Eden and the
one most beloved. When Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, the
unicorn was given the choice to stay in the garden and never die, or to
go out into the world with man where death, and all the other tribulations
of the real world would occur. It hesitated only a moment before
choosing to follow Adam and Eve, and in doing so, it too became destined
Finally, the rain ended
and, after the ring dove had first returned with its sprig of vegetation,
Noah let all of the birds of his ark fly out to find land. Yet there
was little land to be seen, and in increasing numbers the weary birds landed
and perched on the unicorns' horns. As one bird after another came
to perch on them, the
on galloping about playing games and refusing to enter their confined quarters.
Finally, in exasperation, Noah lifted the gangplank and shut the doors
on the unicorns.
As the rains came
and the waters rose the unicorns bravely swam about for days and even weeks
on end, their heads and horns just barely above the water level.
many strange abilities. But of all the things they can do, it seems
we are most fascinated by their power to heal. For the touch of a
unicorn's horn can
were unable to swim any longer, and they finally slipped below the waves
forever. Other people believe that the unicorn still exists hidden
away from humans, but are on the verge of extinction because humans
are unwillingness to leave enough wilderness and opportunities for personal
freedom as are necessary for such an innocent and solitary animal to survive.
It is obvious, when studying all the information on past encounters that
unicorns have only asked us to let them live undisturbed. Unicorns,
such as the Ki - lin, are wisdom personified and have sought out men to
help them. They predict good fortune. They introduced writing
to China. Japanese unicorns have helped judges administer justice.
European unicorns have purified water so all may drink.
unicorn, the horn retains
its power even without a unicorn attached which has led people to hunt
it rather ferociously. In Persia, Arabia, India, and North Africa,
the ferocious karkadann, so different from the gentle ki - lin was greatly
feared by humans as well as by other animals. However, people would
occasionally attempt capture the karkadann for its horn, which could either
be shaped into a magical flute or ground up an used as an antidote for
|pull us away
from death, toward immortality. Alicorns, the unicorn's horn are
among the most powerful of magical items. They were prized by popes
and kings because they provided protection against all manner of evil,
including epilepsy, pestilence and poisoning. A horn set in the middle
of a table would begin to sweat, or form a dew, if any of the foodstuffs
had been poisoned. Even a little powder filed from such a horn was
an antidote to the most toxic substances. Unfortunately for the
|In Romantic literature
the unicorn became associated with gentle and romantic love and with spiritual
purity. Thus, it was the Romantics who ultimately saved the unicorn from
complete extinction, by raising the creature above the level of religious
allegory and medical quackery to that of simple beauty. No longer
linked with treachery, pain, and death, the unicorn was finally set free
to roam the vistas of the mind, with beauty its only excuse for existing,
and its innocence as protection from further harassment or exploitation.
With this has come the realization that a
for preserving surviving unicorns may be unnecessary, unicorns can thrive
anywhere that the heart and imagination are receptive to them. If
we are to learn anything from the dragons and unicorns, perhaps it is that
animals should not be judged by human values that is, by whether or not
they are useful to us or whether or not they conform to our own ideas of
beauty. There is a place for unicorns in this world, just as there is a
place for dragons, and if we do not allow both these creatures to survive
and prosper in some form, we can hold out little hope for our own survival.
Finally, although unicorns have little reason to believe in us, the least
we can do is to believe in them