In this post I will tell you about the Unicorn in two different cultures. I hope you enjoy!
The Chinese Unicorn..
Accounts of the Chinese Unicorn are consistent regarding it's appearance and almost always describe it as "gentle, beneficent, delicate in diet, regular and stately in pace".
Called the Ki-lin or Qilin ( pronounced "chee-lin") the Chinese Unicorn was one of the four special animals who lived in the heavens right next to the dragon, phoenix, and the tortoise. It is said that these special animals would appear on earth on rare occasions to herald the birth of a wise person/benevolent emperor or to intervene in human affairs. Five thousand years ago it was a said that a Unicorn taught the emperor Fu Itsi the secrets of written language.
For most of China's history, pictures of the Ki-lin were displayed in the rooms of pregnant women in the hope of granting them the good luck of bearing distinguished sons.
Are the two Unicorns the same creature even though their appearance is different?
Some scholars believe so and they think that the look of the Unicorn is different due to environment.
The Unicorn of India...
The story comes from book 3 of the Mahabharata: The Book of the Forest. Written around 200 B.C., the Mahabharata "which means :great story" in Sanskrit) with it's collections of myths and ancient stories is one of the foundational documents of the Hindu religion.
The story of the Kasyapa is of a boy who left his family to become a holy man dedicated to mystical meditation. Kasyapa shunned human company after the death of his teacher and lived in the forest with only animals for company. As the story goes he encountered a beautiful doe deer or antelope, the animal ended up staying with him in his hut and some months later gave birth to a baby son.
You are probably asking yourself how that could happen. There are different explanations for how something like this could happen, one account has kasyapa spilling his "seed" in the lake water which the doe then drinks. Another story says the doe became pregnant just from seeing the mans body.
Either way the child who was mostly human except for one horn growing out of his forehead. This child was named Risharinga/Rsyasrnga meaning "antelope horn".
The doe soon died after the birth so the child was raised by it's father away from other humans. The horn of the child was said to represent the childs special, even divine, nature.
although it's appearance is quite different from what most of us envision a Unicorn to be, many scholars believe that the Unicorn boy of India may have influence Unicorn stories in other parts of the world.
So now you can ask yourself...do I believe in Unicorns?
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