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History of Unicorns

The unicorn has been a topic of wonder and speculation for centuries. The writings of such men as Aristotle, Genghis Khan, Saint Thomas, and Saint Gregory reflect the fact that these men considered the unicorn as a very real creature. Webster's Seventh defines a unicorn as a mythical animal generally depicted with the body of a horse, hind legs of a stag, tail of a lion and a single horn in the middle of its forehead. The word "unicorn" comes from the Latin "Uni", meaning one, and "Cornu", meaning horn.
The unicorn is a legendary creature like a horse but with a slender, usually spiral, horn growing out of its forehead. The popular image of the unicorn is that of a white horse differing only in the horn. They have a billy-goat beard, a lion's tail, and hooves. Unicorns were once thought of as nasty, easily provoked creatures, unlike the gentle perception we have of them today. Even though the existence of the unicorn is questionable, its symbolism is not. Like all mythological creatures, the unicorn has been a reflection of man's hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares, and inner consciousness. Most mythological creatures represent man's worst traits and are usually more evil than animals or man. The unicorn is an exception to the rule, being a symbol of purity, hope, love, and majesty.


A widespread legend is that when Noah gathered two of every kind of animal, he neglected to gather the unicorns, which is why they do not exist today.
All of the beasts obeyed Noah when he admitted them into the ark all but the unicorn. Confident of his strength, he boasted "I shall swim!" For forty days and nights the rains poured down and the oceans boiled, as in a pot, and all the heights were flooded. The birds of the air clung onto the ark: and when the ark pitched, they were all engulfed. But the unicorn kept on swimming. When, however, the birds emerged again, they perched on his horn and he went under--and that's why there are no more unicorns now.

from a Ukranian folk tale 



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