I knew there was a song about the Unicorn missing the boat, Noah’s Ark. I had not retrieved the song, but our WordPress colleague Gallivanta sent me the link. The Unicorn is an important legendary and zoomorphic, creature. Zoomorphic animals combine the features of many animals, including humans. (See Legendary animals, Wikipedia.)
The Bible, the Book of Genesis in particular, is an etiological text, or the pourquoi story of children’s literature, the preeminent example being Rudyard Kipling‘s (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) Just So Stories, in which he describes the origins of a certain animal’s characteristic. How the Camel got its Hump is an example of Rudyard Kipling‘s Just So Stories, published in 1902. Kipling’s book is not restricted to the origin of animal features.
The Dove and the Unicorn resemble one another. For instance, both the dove and the Unicorn are white, and, in Christianity, the Unicorn can only be tamed by a maiden, representing the Virgin Mary, and it stands for the Incarnation. As for the white dove, it represents the Holy Spirit and is also a messenger. In this respect, we must examine doves more closely. Messengers are frequent in the Abrahamic religions, Islam especially. However, the Unicorn is transcultural and the product of man’s imagination.
The medieval bestiary is abundant and it includes several legendary animals many of which are allegorical. The Middle Ages, which ended after Constantinople fell to the Ottomans (1453), was the Golden Age of Bestiaries. Bestiaries are home to several allegorical animals that may be real animals, or fantastical. The Unicorn is featured in the Bible. (See Daniel 8:5, NIV.)
As we have seen, the Unicorn is featured in the six tapestries known as Dame à la licorne and housed in the Cluny museum, in Paris.
- A Tapestry: The Lady & the Unicorn (16 February 2012)
- The Lady and the Unicorn: the Six Senses (16 February 2012)
- The Phœnix: on the Importance of Sympols & Myths (1 February 2012)
Sources and Resources
- Unicorn, Wikipedia
- The Unicorn Song, Wikipedia
- Bestiary.ca (Animals in the Middle Ages)
- The Just so Stories are Gutenberg project’s [EBook #2781]
Love to everyone ♥
 Boria Sax, The Mythical Zoo: An Encyclopedia of Animals in World Myth, Legend, and Literature (Santa Barbara, US; Denver, US; Oxford, UK: ABC-CLIO, 2001).
 See The Fall of Constantinople, Wikipedia
The Unicorn Song by Shel Silverstein, 1968
© Micheline Walker
5 July 2018