We sent commodities to their king to barter for Amber-griese, and for the hornes of Abath, whereof the king onely hath the traffique in his hands. Now this Abath is a beast which hath one horne onely in her forehead, and is thought to be the female Vnicorne, and is highly esteemed of all the Moores in those parts as a most soueraigne remedie against poyson. We had only two or three of these hornes which are of the colour of a browne gray, and some reasonable quantitie of Amber-griese.
Because you may vnderstand as well those things alleaged against me, as what doth serue for my purpose, I haue here added the reasons of Master Anthony Ienkinson a worthy gentleman, and a great traueller, who conceiued a better hope of the passage to Cataia from vs, to be by the Northeast, then by the Northwest.
His second reason is, that there was an Vnicornes horne found vpon the coast of Tartaria, which could not come (said he) thither by any other meanes then with the tides, through some fret in the Northeast of Mare Glaciale, there being no Vnicorne in any part of Asia, sauing in India and Cataia: which reason (in my simple iudgement) forceth as litle.
First, it is doubtfull whether those barbarous Tartarians do know an Vnicornes horne, yea, or no: and if it were one, yet it is not credible that the Sea could haue driuen it so farre, being of such nature that it will not swimme.
Also the tides running too and fro, would haue driuen it as farre backe with the ebbe, as it brought it forward with the flood.
There is also a beast called Asinus Indicus (whose horne most like it was) which hath but one horne like an Vnicorne in his forehead, whereof there is great plenty in all the North parts thereunto adioyning, as in Lappia, Noruegia, Finmarke, &c. as Iacobus Zieglerus writeth in his historie of Scondia.
And as Albertus saieth, there is a fish which hath but one horne in his forehead like to an Vnicorne, and therefore it seemeth very doubtfull both from whence it came, and whether it were an Vnicornes horne, yea, or no.
The 24. being in 67. degrees, and 40. minutes, wee had great store of Whales, and a kinde of sea birds which the Mariners call Cortinous. This day about sixe of the clocke at night, we espied two of the countrey people at Sea, thinking at the first they had bene two great Seales, vntill wee sawe their oares glistering with the Sunne: they came rowing towardes vs, as fast as they could, and when they came within hearing, they held vp their oares, and cryed Ilyaoute, making many signes: and at last they came to vs, giuing vs birdes for bracelets, and of them I had a darte with a bone in it, or a piece of Vnicorns horne, as I did iudge. This dart he made store of, but when he saw a knife, he let it go, being more desirous of the knife then of his dart: these people continued rowing after our ship the space of 3. houres.