English translation (Herbert Allen Giles, 1922)Edit
That the unicorn is a spiritual being is beyond all doubt. Hymned in the Odes, immortalised in Springs and Autumns, it has found a place in the writings of all ages. Women and children alike know that it is a portent of good.
Yet it is reared in no farmyard: it is rarely ever seen throughout the empire's breadth. It is classed under no species. It is not of normal growth like a horse, ox, dog, pig, panther, wolf, or deer. Even were one to appear now, it would not be recognised for what it is.
We see horns, and say, “That is an ox.” We see a mane, and say, “That is a horse.” And by a similar process we know dogs, pigs, panthers, and deer to be what they are. But the unicorn cannot be known. For Shu-sun to regard it as inauspicious, was therefore reasonable enough. On the other hand, for the unicorn to appear, there should be an All-wise in power: it is in token thereof that the unicorn does appear. Then the All-wise recognises the unicorn, and its manifestation comes in due season.
Again, it is said that the unicorn is a unicorn by virtue not of shape, but of the Truth, of which it is the material embodiment. But if the unicorn appears before the All-wise is in power, then, for Shu-sun to regard its manifestation as inauspicious, was once more reasonable enough.