Fratris Felicis Fabri Evagatorium in Terrae sanctae, Arabiae et Aegypti peregrinationemEdit
English translation (Aubrey Stewart, 1893)Edit
About noon we saw a beast standing on a mountain-top, looking down at us. When we saw it, we thought that it was a camel, and wondered how a camel could live all by itself, and a question arose among us as to whether there are wild camels. But Calinus came and said that the beast was a rhinoceros or unicorn; moreover, he pointed out the single horn growing out of its forehead. We gazed most earnestly upon this exceeding noble beast, and grieved sore that he was not nearer to us that we might have viewed him more narrowly. This beast is most singular in many respects. In the first place, they say that it is an exceeding fierce beast, and hath a horn set in the midst of its forehead, four feet long, and so sharp and strong that, whatsoever it butts at, it either tosses into the air, or else runs him (sic) through, and pounds him against the rocks. His horn is wondrous brilliant, and the bone thereof is reckoned as costly as the most precious stones, and is set in gold and silver. He is so strong that he cannot be taken by any art or strength of those who hunt him; but it is said by writers on natural history that they place a young virgin in his way, who opens her bosom as he runs toward her, where at he puts away from him all his fierceness, and lays down his head (in her lap), and is held thus entranced and, as it were, disarmed until he be taken and slain by the shafts of the huntsmen. If he be caught alive, he cannot be held against his will; and if he be forcibly held in fetters, he straightway dies of vexation, because he is an untameable animal. He is so strong, that in Holy Scripture (Numb. xxiii. 22) God's strength is likened to his; and so untameable, that in Job xxxix. 9, etch., we are asked 'Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow?' etc. David also, in the Book of Psalms, mentions the unicorn both in a good and a bad sense. He is a great beast, with the body of a horse, the feet of an elephant, the tail of a swine, and is of the color of box-wood. His roaring is terrible. He wages war with the elephant, whom he overcomes by goring him in the softer parts of his body with his horn; and, as heath been said, he shows a strange reverence for virgins.
Pompey the Great brought a unicorn to Rome for a show, as we read in Albertus De Animalibus. So we made a long half at the foot of the mountain whereon the beast stood, and it seemed to us that as the sight of him was pleasing to us, even so was the sight of us to him; for the beast stood still, and did not flee away until after we left him.