On 15 Jun 2012
I also have a definition (which means that the thing defined must exist.)
The account of the unicorn is often combined with that of the monocerus, with some sources saying that they are the same animal. Other sources treat the two as separate beasts, and describe them quite differently. Some manuscripts have accounts and illustrations of both.
The unicorn is described variously as resembling a small goat, an ass, or a horse. It has a single horn in the middle of its head; the horn is usually depicted as straight and long, and often with a spiral groove running up it. The unicorn is fierce, strong and swift, and no hunter can catch it. To tame the beast so it can be captured, a virgin girl is placed in its path. The unicorn, seeing the maiden, comes to her and puts its head in her lap and falls asleep. The hunters can then easily capture or kill it. Some accounts say the girl must bare her breast and allow the unicorn to suckle. If the unicorn is captured, it is taken to the king's palace.
The unicorn is the enemy of the elephant, which it attacks with its horn, piercing the elephant's belly. Some sources say that it is the sharp nail on the unicorn's foot that pierces the elephant.
A unicorn's horn is highly valued. It can be used to detect poison, and if dipped in a poisoned drink, the horn causes the poison to be rendered harmless. Powdered unicorn horn is used as an aphrodisiac.