A unicorn is a mythological creature. Though the modern popular image of the unicorn is sometimes that of a horse differing only in the horn on its forehead.
The White Goddess The Pendle Witches 1612-2012

Unicorns - Mythology and Folklore - The White Goddess

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Wednesday, 29 June 2022



The Legends of the Unicorn

One legend stems from the mammal (The Narwhal) whose tusk is referred to as alicon.

The Norwhal ( monodon monoceros ) is one of the rarest whales known that lives in the Arctic. The male of this species has a single left tusk that is a modified upper incisor. The tusk is spirally twisted, usually in a counter clockwise position. In a mature specimen the tusk can be 2 to 7 metres long. One horn in Liverpool University is believed to have been from the horn of a Narwhal, measuring 110cm long with a diameter of 5.2cm, tapering to 2.5cm.  The Narwhal is not an endangered species, neither is it hunted commercially.

Medieval Times

A unicorn or alicon was very valuable during medieval times. The horn was believed to be able to cure many illnesses and neutralize poison. Unicorn horns were sold in druggist shops, in powdered form, and whole horns were kept in the vaults of royalty.  There was much concern over alicons (unicorns horns). Many could not afford real alicons, and rumours circulated that many were fakes. Since people were so concerned over the authenticity of their alicons, scientists came up with some tests.

1. The true horn, when thrown into water sends up little bubbles. The water seems to boil though cold, and one can hear the boiling.
2. The true horn gives out a sweet odour when burnt.
3. The true horn sweats in the presence of poison.
4. Enclose a spider in a circle drawn on the floor with an alicon. If the horn is true the spider will not be able to cross outside the circle, and it will starve to death.

Noah’s Ark

There is a story that when all the animals of the earth were boarding the Ark, the unicorns were so busy playing to join the others. Is this the reason there are no more unicorns on the earth.  Or are there?  Many stories and poems of the unicorn tell us otherwise. These legends take us into a world of fantasy and dreams. Unicorns still exist, and maybe in the flesh for those with the purity of heart to see them.  The legend of the unicorn has been strong enough to survive throughout the ages, through all cultures.

Unicorn descriptions and quotes

Unicorns are wild creatures, very difficult to observe. The earliest reports about unicorns come from India. Their appearances are generally described the same way, doesn’t matter when or where they have been seen. The body of the beast, smaller than a horse, covered with a silvery white fur. They have long legs, which give them the agility, and hoofs similar to a goat. They have manes that go half way down their backs. The tails are long and furry. On top of their head they have a single horn pointing skyward, which thy use to fight fearlessly and fiercely, but only when they cannot run away.  They believe everyone, every living being have the right to live free.

Unicorns were the most recognizable magic the fairies possessed, and they sent them to those worlds where belief in magic was in danger of failing altogether. After all there has to be some belief in magic- however small for any world to survive.


"Their bodies are white, their heads dark red, and their eyes dark blue. They have a horn on the forehead." (Ctesias- indica 416 BC)

"Towards noon we spotted an animal gazing down at us from a sterile mountain peak of red black rocks. Our guide stated that the animal must certainly be a unicorn, and he pointed out to us the single horn, which jutted from its forehead. With great caution we gazed back at this most noble creature, regretting it was no closer for us to examine." (Friar Faber 1438)

"To this day it is said, that malicious animals poison this water after sundown, so that non-can there upon drink it. But early in the morning, as soon as the sun rises, a unicorn comes out of the ocean, dips his horn into the water to expel the venom from it, so that other animals make drink thereof during the day. This as I describe it, I have seen with my own eyes." (Johannes Von Hesse of Utrecht 1389).

A constellation named after the unicorn.

There are 88 recognised constellations. Monoceros is the almost invisible unicorn.

Monoceros – meaning unicorn
Pronunciation – mon oss sir us
Abbreviation – mon,mono
Genitive – monocerotis (mon awe sir awe tiss)
Number – 55
Size – 481-57 square degrees (1-167% of the sky )

Monoceros is usually associated with the unicorn, but the constellation is itself modern. Monoceros boasts the two most massive stars yet discovered. The two blue giants are estimated to be some 55 times the size of the sun, and they revolve around each other. Together they are known as Plasketts Star. This constellation first appeared in 1613, on a celestial globe designed by the Dutch theologian Petus Plancius. Jacob Bartsch a German mathematician brought the constellation into general use on his star charts in 1624 under the name unicorn.  Monoceros is on the celestial equator between Orion and Hydra.

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