24 April 2013

U is for...

It's day twenty-one of the A to Z Challenge.

I'm going to talk about Unicorns today. Originating in European folklore, the unicorn is a mythical creature, often described as a white horse with a spiral horn emanting from its forehead. Some stories described it as having a goat's beard, cloven hooves, and a lion's tail.

The unicorn gained popularity in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It was believed to be a fiercely wild, graceful and pure beast, unable to be tamed save by a virgin. The alicorn, or the horn of the unicorn, possessed magical properties to heal sickness and cure any poison.

In many pagan traditions, the unicorn is a symbol of purity and innocence. It may represent the innocent joy of childhood, for example. As their horns were believed to have healing properties, you could invoke a unicorn for healing.

Interesting fact: the horn of the narwhal was often ground and sold as a ground alicorn.

So, touching back on the innocence of youth part... :-)

When I was little and we were stationed in West Berlin, I read every book in my school library. One of my all time favorites was The Unicorn Treasury by Bruce Coville. It's an anthology of poems, short stories, and book excerpts whose subject matter is unicorns. I could not get enough of this book as a child. I checked it out over and over. As an adult, it's one of a very select number of childrens' books that I sought out and bought. Thank goodness for Amazon, who had it!

Do you have any interesting unicorn stories, dreams, or memories? Or do you prefer a different mythological beast?


  1. I immediately think of the story "The Last Unicorn," which I loved as a child. In more recent years, relatively speaking, I was enchanted by the unicorns in the movie "Legend," starring Tom Cruise and Mia Sara. Magic.

    1. I never read the story "The Last Unicorn" but I loved, loved, LOVED the animated film. Legend is another great choice for beautiful unicorn imagery. Good call!

  2. When I was a kid, I had a sweatshirt especially made with a unicorn on it. I loved, loved it. I like that they have a unicorn as one of the treasures in the Librarian movie.

    Jaime at Awakenings and Reflections

    1. Jaime,

      My mom loves that Librarian movie, but I haven't seen it yet. Clearly, I'm going to have to watch it now. :-)

  3. You reminded me of a book I had when I was very young - a sticker book about unicorns. I've always been fascinated by them!

  4. I love unicorns! They're so pretty. When I was a child, the movie The Last Unicorn moved me to tears and I can still recall its soundtrack to this day.