A unicorn is a legendary and mythical creature. It looks like a pony with one long, single and white horn on its head. The word unicorn means literally "one-horn". It comes from the Latin word ūnus, which means one, and cornu which means horn, which term is in itself borrowed from the earlier Greek word monokerōs (also 'one horned').
Unicorns are found in many stories and myths from different parts of the world, especially China and India. Its blood and horn usually have mystical powers. In Western culture, its horn is said to have power (often called alicorn in medieval literature) to heal wounds and sickness, and to neutralize poison.
A Narwhal is an animal that is about 8 feet long. They live in the water around Canada and Greenland. Narwhal’s horns were said to be the horns of unicorns by some. People would sell the horn of a narwhal to others and say it was a horn of a unicorn. Christian legends say the Unicorn is as small as a normal sized goat. They are so fearful that no hunter can catch them. Only a maiden that goes into the forest alone can catch a unicorn. The unicorn will come and fall asleep in the maiden’s lap. Around the time of the Middle Ages, some stories of unicorns became more popular. People bought what were said to be the horns of a unicorn at very high prices. They were mostly a tusk of a walrus or a horn from a narwhal.
Scimitar oryx with one horn
Unicorns in historyEdit
In On the Nature of Animals (Περὶ Ζῴων Ἰδιότητος, De natura animalium), Aelian, quoting Ctesias, adds that India has also a one-horned horse (iii. 41; iv. 52), and says (xvi. 20) that the monoceros (Greek: μονόκερως) was sometimes called cartazonos (Greek: καρτάζωνος), which may be a kind of the Arabic karkadann, meaning "rhinoceros".
- "Why is the Unicorn Scotland's national animal?". Scotsman. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- Aelian (circa 220). "Book 3. Chapter 41.". On the Nature of Animals (Περὶ Ζῴων Ἰδιότητος, De natura animalium). Check date values in:
- Aelian (circa 220). "Book 4. Chapter 52.". On the Nature of Animals (Περὶ Ζῴων Ἰδιότητος, De natura animalium). Check date values in:
- Aelian (circa 220). "Book 16. Chapter 20.". On the Nature of Animals (Περὶ Ζῴων Ἰδιότητος, De natura animalium). Check date values in:
- Lindahl, Carl. "Unicorn." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.
- SuperScience: Mythical Creatures Revealed. Scholastic, May 2006. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=11851 Archived 2010-03-07 at the Wayback Machine>.
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