Unicorns, the horned horse we love to love

A depiction of a unicorn

The unicorn. We’ve all grown up loving these horned horses, but where does the idea come from?

The honest answer is, no one really knows. But we see the legends in the stories of the ancient Greeks and other Asian cultures, but they all tell the “old stories” or of the unicorn as if it existed. So we’re not really sure where the idea began. Many learned scholars would have sworn up and down that the animal actually existed, and it was treated as such. Which is to say, there really isn’t a way to trace these stories because they weren’t really stories way back when.

But the one thing the legends or stories agree on are the horse (or goat) like creature with a single horn protruding from its forehead. This creature, unlike so many of the old legends, isn’t actually a monster. It is a symbol of purity and grace. The unicorn is not a threat, and people revere it. This is one old story that wasn’t meant to frighten children. Stories said that water touched by a unicorn horn was made safe to drink.

Unicorn horn was supposed to have many blessed properties, such as the ability to cure poisons or protect from harm. The medicinal uses of unicorn horn were well documented and widely practiced. Apothecaries world wide dealt in these rare artifacts and they were very expensive. At one point, a unicorn horn was worth ten times its weight in gold.

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named drinking Unicorn blood

Seen to be so pure, the best way to lure in a unicorn is said to be with a virgin girl walking into the forest. But, as we’ve all seen in Harry Potter, killing a unicorn is a monstrous offense. That idea is supported in a lot of the old stories. Although the idea that unicorn blood will keep you alive seems to be Ms. Rowling’s invention. Pretty good idea, though. Apparently, anyone who drinks the blood of a unicorn will heal all wounds. The blood will keep them alive. But killing a unicorn exacts a price. That part, at least, seems to fit with legends. The majestic animals are rarely killed in the legends, since it goes against everything pure that we love about unicorns.

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