U is for Unicorn

The elusive unicorn is a fairytale subject matter that many people still believe once existed. There is no actual fact or scientific evidence to support the belief that the creature graced the earth. The Unicorn is essentially a mythological character, a feature of folk law, however, the symbolism and faith attached to the animal has kept it alive in enough minds to make it almost real through that collective belief.

A unicorn resembles a white horse with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat's beard and cloven hooves. The Unicorn is known for its purity and grace and can only be captured by a virgin. The horn has the power to heal even the deadliest of ailments. In ancient times, it was believed unicorn's horn was powerful enough to neutralize the effects of poison in food and drinks. Hence, many cups were made from these horns; however there was no evidence to suggest the horns were from a unicorn. Possessing even a fragment of a unicorn's horn could prolong life of a person, according to the belief of the medieval period. In the orient of the unicorn it is considered a harbinger of good fortune and a prophet of great things to come.

Though written accounts of Unicorns date back only two and a half millenia, depictions of the one-horned beast can be found as far back as Humankind's history goes. He was known and worshipped in ancient Babylon, the very crucible in which civilisation was born. Unicorn is mentioned in the folklores of the medieval period and many tapestries and famous paintings contain images of unicorns. The two famous warriors who were associated with the sightings of Unicorn were Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. Historians state Alexander the Great had a few encounters with an animal called Bucephalus. It is said the head of the animal resembled a lion and the body that of a horse. There was a horn in the forehead of a Bucephalus and it is believed that King rode on a unicorn.The Lion and the Unicorn are symbols of the United Kingdom. They are, properly speaking, heraldic supporters appearing in the full Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom. The lion stands for England and the unicorn for Scotland.

However true or untrue the existence of this whimsical beast is, the unicorn will always be remembered as a symbol of peace and a figment of beauty.


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