Letter of the Patriarch D. João Bermudez to the King Our Lord, ch. LIEdit

English translation (R. S. Whiteway, 1911)Edit

There is found in this country [of Damute] a kind of unicorn, which is wild and timid, of the shape of a horse and the size of an ass.[1]

  1. The Portuguese editor takes this to apply to the rhinoceros; it is more likely the oryx antelope, which when standing in profile, appears to have only one horn. A rhinoceros was no novelty, as one was seen in Portugal in 1515, and Castanheda's description (Bk. iii, chap. cxxxiv) was published in 1552. Lobo (p. 69) describes the unicorn as an animal so timid that it can only be seen dashing from one thicket to another, and as in appearance like a large well-made bay horse, with black points; he distinguishes between those from different provinces. He adds that they are so fearful that they go always in company with other animals, especially the elephant, to whom all stags and gazelles resort for protection against beasts of prey.

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