“Unicorns - the mythological creatures”

Table of contents
1. Introduction.
2. Creatures of mythology.
3. Unicorns – the mythical creatures.
4. Conclusion.
5. References.

This paper analyzes magical creatures of mythology that have become a colorful and inalienable part of books about the magical world, for example, in the “Harry Potter” series.
Many of the legendary magical creatures are mentioned in folklore - the Greek mythology, the Egyptian mythology, the British folklore. Besides, the paper gives an analysis of one of the most beautiful mythological creatures - a unicorn.

2. Creatures of Mythology.
Creatures have become an integral part of mythological stories. They are of different size and shape that one can only imagine. Some creatures are beautiful like the unicorn, and others are ugly like trolls, ghosts and so on (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p. 207-208).
The dragons, the most widespread mythological beasts, are famous creatures that have wings and can fly. People think that dragons are descendents of dinosaurs. Some dragons are described as gigantic wingless worms or large snakes. More often they are depicted as great lizards with wings that breathe with fire. Dragons are creatures of the fantasy world but everyone known what a dragon looks like.
In the West the dragon is an awful creature that breathes fire. However in China the dragon is a wise creature with warm heart. There it is connected with the bringing of life-giving rains. In legends dragons can speak and have a magical power.
They are mentioned in legends like Beowulf, novels like “The Hobbit” by Anne McCaffrey (Lurie, 1999, p.14). Besides, the dragon is the title of the year in the Chinese Zodiac (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p. 241-242). The dragon is described in legends of many cultures of the world.
Pegasus is the mythical creature with wings that looks like a horse. The rumor has it Pegasus was the tamed creature of Bellerophon in Greek Mythology. He managed to tame Pegasus with a golden bridle (Lurie, 1999, p.17). However, one day Zeus turned Pegasus into a constellation.
Mermaid is famous in stories, legends, literature and art all over the world (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p. 209). One of the most beautiful creatures of the submarine world, mermaid fascinates people for centuries. She is a beautiful creature, half-female and half-fish. They have gold or green hair and they are seen in the moonlight while looking into mirrors. However, in literature she is known to be the reason of many sailors who mysteriously disappeared.
Mermaid is a character of many stories, such as “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen, “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie and many others (Lurie, 1999, p.48).
Troll is another creature of a fantasy world that is described for many centuries in stories and legends. They are depicted as aggressive creatures with ugly faces, huge tusks, great noses, and arms that reach their knees (Lurie, 1999, p.64). Besides, they are guardians of bridges. Usually they are of green color and have great power. It is very difficult to kill a troll.
Trolls are sometimes described as stooped and wicked creatures – dwarfs, or giants with great strength, like in stories “Three Billy Goat’s Gruff” and “The Hobbit” (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p. 113-114). They live in caves near the sea or high in the mountains. Most trolls cannot see the direct sunlight beams otherwise they become stone or burn.
The Sphinx is usually described as a magical creature with the upper portion of a woman, and the body of a lion. It is well known for giving the riddles to every victim on the road. If the answer is right the traveler was free to continue his journey.
In the legends of Egypt the Sphinx has the head of a man and the body of a lion. The Assyrian Sphinx has the body of a bull and the head of a man (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p. 68-69).

3. Unicorns – the mythical creatures.
The unicorn is very likely the most wonderful of all mythical creatures. It is a well-known fact that a unicorn is famous for that he is lost in a dense forest that is situating on the border between the real and magical worlds (Coville, 1988, p.24). The unicorn arouses respect as it is a breathtaking creature. However, the connection of unicorn with human beings is very often dangerous for the fantastic world and for the unicorn itself (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p.69-70).
The unicorn exists in myths, folklore and also in the art. Many of the mythological creatures are seen on pictures in order to show the beauty of an image (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p.93-94). One can see many examples of the lightsome creature, the unicorn, on the screen and on book covers.

Unicorns, high spirited creatures of the deepest forests of the world, are the most generous, and wonderful. They are the frontier guards of the valleys and woods (Coville, 1988, p.31). Sometimes they become aggressive in battles with each other. They have white fur and silver hooves. Silver horns make the unicorns highly spiritual beings so that one can think they are somehow connected with the Moon light.
The rumor has it the unicorns are very shy, cautious creatures and they are even afraid of people. They say, a unicorn can be tamed by virgins only and it is a very difficult task (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p.195).A young virgin could capture or kill it sitting and waiting when a unicorn will come and lay its head in her lap and feel asleep. Sometimes the unicorn is described as an immortal creature, sometimes – not.
For the first time in the history a unicorn is mentioned by Greek historian Ctesias in 398 B.C. Ctesias describes unicorns in his chronicls about India. The unicorns are herbivorous and in size they are like ponies or horses. The difference between unicorns and horses is that the first have cloven hooves (Dann and Dozois, 1985, p.289). A unicorn is like a white horse, but it has a little goat’s beard and a horn in the middle of the forehead.
In mythological stories unicorn is a creature with a single spiral horn that was a valued magical object. Unicorns run on a tremendous speed and have an aggressive conduct. They are unsociable and even wild. The horns were used for making drinking vessels that had the possibility to neutralize the poison (Coville, 1988, p.19). Besides, one could purify water with a horn and a horn had properties of an aphrodisiac.
Unicorn hair is known to be used by magicians as a traditional major component of many old magic spells. It has a silvery glint like moonlight. Besides, it has a healing effect.
The unicorn is a symbol of chastity, fierceness, virginity, and meekness. The legends tell that the meek and the unicorn will inherit the earth (Coville, 1988, p.47). In China the unicorn symbolizes good omen, like the dragon, the pheonix, and the tortoise.

4. Conclusion.
The paper briefly analyzes magical creatures of mythology, such as dragon, troll, mermaid, Pegasus, elf, dwarf, gnome, goblin, Gollum, hobbit, giant, ghost, beast, owls, gryphon, centaur, werewolf, shapechanger, spirit, Phoenix, and others.
Besides, the paper gives an analysis of one of the most beautiful mythological creatures of the world’s deepest forests and jungles - a unicorn.

1. Alison Lurie (1999). Fabulous Beasts, Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
2. Bruce Coville (1988). The Unicorn Treasury, Doubleday, 1988.
3. Alma Flor Ada (1994). The Unicorn of the West, Atheneum Books, 1994.
4. Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois (1985). “Stories About Legendary Creatures Of Myth And Magic, Bestiary” The Berkley Publishing Group, 200 Madison Ave., New York, New York, p.1-2, 69-70, 93-94, 113-114, 195, 207-208, 241-242, 289.

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