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THE UNICORN: MYTH OR REALITY?


By CarolynCHolland(9,534) CarolynCHolland



Its beauty is beyond comprehension and it’s boundless strength prevents its capture, according to literature through the ages. Authors from many cultures affirm its existence yet there are those who claim the beast is merely a myth.

Who could question the existence of such a universal historical beast? Renowned men from the Greek physician Ctesias to modern day Barnum and Bailey have debated the question: IS THE UNICORN A MYTH OR A REALITY?

The first description of the unicorn was done by Ctesias. Around 400 BC he noted it had a white body, a dark red head, a white horn and gray eyes. Its horn served as a weapon and a poison repellant.

Indian Himalayan Mountain residents said the unicorn was at least the size of a horse, with a white body, dark red head and dark blue eyes. Its horn was one and a half feet long and located on the head. Its base, two handbreadths in length, was white. The center was black middle and the sharp tip was a vivid crimson. Its cinnabar-colored anklebone was oxen-like but heavy as lead. The unicorn was a strong beast, with a power and swiftness that protected it from predators. It fought with horny teeth and its heels.

Others say when the unicorn is furious it throws the enemy down, crush them under its knees and wounds them with its very long, spiny tongue.

Of all the animals, the unicorn has the harshest and most contentious, dissonant voice. It wanders about, alone and solitary, in the most deserted place it can find.

Eastern residents say the unicorn delights in living in mire and mud and are hideous, being the size of an elephant with feet like the elephant, hair like a buffalo and a head like a wild boar.

Orsaean Indians describe the unicorn as having a stag head, elephant feet, a boar’s tail and a horse’s body. In its mid-forehead it has a wonderful, bright, sharp four-inch horn.

The unicorn has is the shape of a beautiful, nicely proportioned horse, bay-colored with a black tail, according to Chinese reports. The length of its mane varies, sometimes so long it hangs reaches the ground. The tip of its horn is fleshy.

Asians liken the unicorn to a rhinoceros having a black projection between its eyebrows with a natural twist and rings with an end that is a sharp point. The one and a half cubit long horn has a white base, a black center and a crimson tip.

The first claimed unicorn sighting occurred in first century India.

When third-century Hebrew scholars of the Septuagint were translating the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek they came across the word RE EM. Since their work was divinely inspired, obviously God Himself authenticated the existence of the unicorn.

During the time of the early church, when Tertullian converted to Christianity, the unicorn was accepted as a symbol of Christ. He said the unicorn represented Christ and the horn stood for Christ’s cross. His took his reference from Deuteronomy: “his horns are like the horns of unicorns.”

According to Johannes of Hese, the river Marah in the field of Helyon had very bitter water. After Moses stuck his staff in it, the water became sweet and drinkable.

When enormous animals poison water after sunset, good animals cannot quench their thirst in it until the unicorn dips its horn in the stream and drives the poison out.

Folklore and legend provide numerous unicorn myths.

In China, the K’I-lin was a gentle harbinger of good fortune and a symbol of longevity. The tip of his horn was fleshy, symbolic of goodness and indicative of a peaceful character having no use for its horn. In Arabia, the Karkadarn was a fierce fighter. Thus, with the unicorn, fantasy and reality achieve a well-balanced union.

The unicorn, though small, was so extremely fierce that no hunter could capture him without being devious and using unfair methods. Hunters who knew the unicorn’s weakness and method of capture were successful in its capture. They’d lead a virgin maid to the unicorn’s place of residence and leave her alone in the forest, where the unicorn will spy her and jump into her lap and embrace her, enabling his capture. He will then be exhibited in the palace of a king.

The Japanese believed the unicorn could distinguish between right and wrong. When KAU YOU exercised criminal jurisdiction, he handed over those whose crime was doubtful to the KAI TSU. It’s said this small animal gored the guilty and spared the innocent.

Another legend claimed that drinking a potion made with dust filed off the unicorn horn, or drinking liquid from a cup carved from its horn, would immunize a person from the effects of poisons---even after the poison had been ingested. The potion or cup would also protect great men ringed with hoops of gold from illness, convulsions or the Holy disease of epilepsy.

Between the 12th and 15th centuries it was believed the serpent would cast poison into water before animals gathered to quench their thirst. The animals, aware of the serpent’s presence, waited for the unicorn to go into the lake and make a sign of the cross with his horn, rendering the power of the poisons harmless and enabling them to drink safely.

Unicorns have a strange habit: they love to pierce elephants with their horns. Since they never succeed in shaking them off, they accumulate multiple elephants. When they’ve gathered one to four elephants on their horn, they are immobilized and fall prey to the roc.

The unicorn’s size is so incredible that Noah couldn’t find room for it on the Ark.  It had to swim the entire duration of the flood, only occasionally resting the tip of its horn on the Ark, according to the Talmud.

Variations of the unicorn legend may be interpreted as allegories of Christianity’s whole divine plan for the redemption of sinful mankind. Christians adopted it as a symbol of Christ during Tertullian’s time.

The unicorn horn is frequently used in Scripture to denote power, glory and salvation. Christ, the power of God, is sometimes called the unicorn based on the creature’s single horn.

The unicorn horn has also signified the words of the Savior: I and the Father are one (John 10:30). Its exceeding fierceness represents Christ’s invincibility, and is symbolic of the fact that neither Principalities nor Powers nor Thrones…not even the most subtle devil, nor Hell…could hold him against his will.

The animal’s small size suggests the humility of Christ in his incarnation: Learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart (Matt. 11:29). When the unicorn surrenders his fierceness and becomes tame by means of a virgin, it shows that Christ, by the will of the Father, apparently surrendered his divine nature and became a human by means of the Virgin Mary.

The method of capturing the unicorn, leaving a virgin maiden in the forest alone and having the unicorn jump in her lap and then taken to the palace of the king, has been interpreted as an allegory of the way Jesus Christ, the spiritual unicorn, descended into the womb of the Virgin Mary, and through her took on human flesh. Jesus was then captured and condemned to die on the cross.

Still another interpretation likens the unicorn hunter to Jesus’ enemies. The unicorn’s capture and shameful death is likened to condemnation and death on the cross, like Christ was. The unicorn’s exhibition in the king’s palace is akin to the resurrection, where Christ rose and went heavenward to the palace of he heavenly king.

The question still remains: IS THE UNICORN A MYTH OR A REALITY?

A character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest responded: Now I will believe that there are unicorns (Act 3 Scene 3). But I, like Ulysses Aldrovandus of the 17th century (who reviewed all the current literature on unicorns in his day) say:

“Some are doubtful whether the unicorn exists; some deny its existence, and others affirm it.

“For my own part, I shall merely report their opinions faithfully, leaving each of my readers his own freedom of judgment.”




This Blog Post has been read 398 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Monday, January 01, 2007
View other posts by CarolynCHolland

Comments on this blog post:

Tiffany from Ohio: (14 days 9 hours ago.)
i think unicorns probably did exist at one time then they became extinct like the dinosaurs..regardless they are beautiful creatures


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