October 5, 2010

Unicorn Questing Month – Mackinac Island, Michigan

October was considered Unicorn Questing Season on this resort island for many years. A publicist named Bill Rabe issued thousands of questing licenses and held Unicorn Follies at Mackinac's Grand Hotel.

Note that questing for unicorns isn't necessarily hunting unicorns. However, Rabe's group was sometimes referred to as Unicorn Hunters, and the license doesn't make it absolutely clear whether hunters and questers were allowed to actually kill unicorns or merely to take them home. To quote from the regulations:

Unicorns may be taken with:
Serious Intent
Iambic Pentameter
General levity
Sweet talk

However, elsewhere in the regulations is the ominous note that, in October, bows and arrows may also be used to “take” unicorns.

Although Rabe retired from his position as Lake Superior State University publicist in 1987 and has since died, the university still allows people to download unicorn hunting regulations and licenses from its website.

Symbol and heraldry...

The mythological unicorn has been thought of as fierce or gentle but always good, a symbol of purity and innocence. The single horn is sometimes considered to be an antidote to poison.

In medieval times, unicorns were sometimes emblazoned on shields or embroidered on banners. These kinds of decorative identifiers put onto armor and banners is part of heraldry. Unicorns in heraldry usually have, in addition to a horse head and body and a spiral horn, a goat's beard and cloven hooves, and a lion's tail. A lion and a unicorn support the United Kingdom coat of arms.

Found in cabinets of curiosities...

Although the thousands of unicorn questers of Mackinac Island and the millions throughout history and from all over the world have never caught a live unicorn, nor brought into the public eye a dead one, many people do own “unicorn” horns. Natural history displays called cabinets of curiosities, for example, often proudly exhibited beautiful spiral horns said to come from unicorns. Most of these have been proven to be the tusk of a narwhal.

Celebrate unicorns!

Unicorns are usually white, so you might want to color a nice background for the unicorns on these coloring pages.

Or let Lucy Learns teach you how to draw a unicorn yourself. 

Here is a jigsaw puzzle of a unicorn and a fairy princess, and here is a jigsaw with mother-daugher unicorns. 

Here is arugably the most famous unicorn song in the English language. 
And here is another song, this one with animation. 

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