Thomas Jefferson Bowen (1814-1875)


Central Africa, chap. XIVEdit

English originalEdit

Several of the villagers told me of an animal, called agbangrere, which has the form of a horse, the feet of a cow, and single horn in the forehead, like that of a large antelope. This creature is sometimes slain in Yóruba, but the unfortunate slayer is sure to die within a year. Only one had been killed in these parts for a long time, and the skull of that was buried in the stack of bones before the hunter's temple, at Bi-olorrun-pellu, but I could not be permitted to pull down the stack and remove it. The horn of one was produced, and proved to be nearly as long as my arm, black in color, coarsely rugose below and smooth toward the point. The stoutly denied that it was an antelope's horn, and said that the person who owned it, held it sacred as a sort of órisha, or idol. Bíoku himself confirmed all these statements. They declared further that king Suta had a living unicorn at Ilorrin. Three years afterward, when I went to Ilorrin, I asked the king's people whether they had ever seen a unicorn? They replied, Yes, that one had been brought into the town as a present to the king; that it was shaped like a horse, but was not so large—that it had cloven feet like those of the large antelope, (ira,) that its color was sorrel—that it had a large black horn on its forehead, that it refused to eat, and that the king had it taken out of the town and killed.

The king's slaves had eaten its flesh, but no one knew what became of the horn or the skull. If such an animal exists in the country, some of us will probably be able to procure a skull before long.

Central Africa, chap XVIIEdit

English originalEdit

The next tribe in order are the Alabiwo, who have a small goat-like horn projecting from the middle of their forehead. For all that, they are a nice kind of black people and quite intelligent. A woman of this tribe is now in slavery at Offa, near Ilorrin. She always wears a handkerchief around her head because she as ashamed of her horn.

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