The unicorn is a legendary creature that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. The unicorn was depicted in ancient seals of the Indus Valley Civilization and was mentioned by the ancient Greeks in accounts of natural history by various writers, including Ctesias, Strabo, Pliny the Younger, and Aelian. The Bible also describes an animal, the re'em, which some translations have erroneously rendered with the word unicorn.
In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn and cloven hooves (sometimes a goat's beard). In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin. In the encyclopedias its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. In medieval and Renaissance times, the tusk of the narwhal was sometimes sold as unicorn horn.
“I thought unicorns were more . . . Fluffy.”
― Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies
“The Lady Amalthea beckoned, and the cat wriggled all over, like a dog, but he would not come near... She was offering her open palm to the crook-eared cat, but he stayed where he was, shivering with the desire to go to her"...[later, Molly asked the cat] "Why were you afraid to let her touch you? I saw you. You were afraid of her."
"If she had touched me," he said very softly, "I would have been hers and not my own, not ever again. I wanted her to touch me but I could not let her. No cat will... The price is more than a cat can pay.”
― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
“You only had to see a unicorn lay open the side of a centaur once, the ribcage flashing white when the ripped skin flopped down, to swear a mighty oath never to fuck with or even look at another unicorn again. I'm putting down the hearts and fluffy clouds and backing away slowly. Don't want any trouble here. You can have all the rainbows.”
― Lev Grossman, The Magician's Land
“I like her. Not the body she comes in.
“Are you indecisive?” I wonder. “It looks like you have the rainbow in there.”
“Precisely.” She smiles, licking the chocolate off her fingers. “Unicorns love rainbows. I love unicorns. Therefore thy hair must be a rainbow.”
― Krista Ritchie, Hothouse Flower
“For the first time, they were seeing the dream beneath the flesh.
Karla stared at the pointed ears that had come from the Dea al Mon, the hands with sheathed claws that had come from the Tigre, the hooves peeking out from beneath the black gown that could have come from the centaurs or the horses or the unicorns. Most of all, she stared at the tiny spiral horn.
The living myth. Dreams made flesh. But, oh, had any of them really thought about who the dreamers had been?
No wonder the kindred love her. No wonder we've all loved her.
Karla quietly cleared her throat to ask the question she suddenly hoped wouldn't be answered. "Who is going to war with Terreille?"
"I am," Witch said.”
― Anne Bishop, Queen of the Darkness
“And holy. Fucking, Hell.
Charlie was hung.
He had a good ten inches of long, hard cock. It was like learning unicorns were real.”
― Laura Kaye, Hard to Be Good