Most people think they know what a unicorn is. A horse with a horn, right? Well, not exactly. Few people can seem to agree on the exact appearance of a unicorn. Among those people, there are those who believe that unicorns truly exist and those who think they are imaginary creatures meant only for children. Even the personalities of unicorns are uncertain. The word “unicorn” does come from the Latin root and means “one horn”.
Most modern people believe the unicorn is nothing more than an imaginary creature looking like a horse with one horn protruding from the forehead. The spiral horn much resembles that of a narwhal. The unicorn is most usually white, though black is also another common color. It is also said that a unicorn may only be ridden by a virgin, as it represents purity. However, this is far from the only view of what a unicorn is.
Unicorns aren’t simply viewed as being horses with horns. Historically, the unicorn appears as an animal looking much like a goat or a deer. Sometimes the unicorn is represented with aspects of lions, such as a lion-like tale. In some cultures, unicorns have similarities to dragons. Unicorns were sometimes also seen as being large animals, with large feet and a clumsy appearance, looking more like a monster than a creature of elegance. The unicorn is most commonly represented with cloven hooves.
Unicorns are considered to be beautiful and graceful, but there’s much more to them than outward charm. It is mostly believed that unicorns are loners and rarely associate with their own kind, being solitary animals. Unicorns are said to be pure of spirit, this being the reason only a virgin is able to tame them. Generally unicorns are considered benevolent, being very gentle in nature. By some accounts though, unicorns are considered to be ferocious.
The unicorn is a legendary creature and as is the case with most legends, views of the true nature of unicorns have changed much over the years. Most commonly, the unicorn is considered to be a magical creature. They are also believed to bring good fortune. A unicorn’s horn is said to cure illness and poison and to provide protection against evil.
The unicorn appears all throughout the world. In medieval Europe, it appears as a symbol of purity often representing Christ and love. Unicorns are mentioned in ancient Greece having multicolored horns. Early Mesopotamian artwork has unicorns present. Unicorns are believed to be referenced in Jewish folklore as well as in the Bible. In Chinese lore the unicorn is called K’i-lin and in Japanese mythology Kirin.
Many people do believe that unicorns exist today and one way to know a unicorn is nearby is to find a white feather. Others believe that they once did exist on earth but no longer. One myth says that the reason for unicorns being extinct is that Noah did not allow them on the ark with the other animals. Some of course also believe that unicorns never did exist, but are simply a creation of human imagination.