The Unicorn, which could only be captured by a virgin girl

Author Sushobhit Saktawat
has many riddles and enigmas to its credit. A script, which could not be decoded. A race, which could not be identified. A river, which was lost. An apocalypse, about which we are clueless. It just goes on and on. The mystery of is one of them, one of the foremost myths of Mohenjo Daro.

Thinking about the popular animals and creatures of Indus valley civilization, what had intrigued the archeologists and historians most was that while figures of humped bull, elephant, tiger and even rhino were found on their seals, there was absolutely no reference of horses. As if they were totally unaware of the very existence of this magnificent beast. This also gave way to this legend that when invaded them, they were riding horses and horse-chariots and this spellbound the Indus valley people.

However, none of them was more enigmatic than the mythical Unicorn which was as if ubiquitous in the cities of Indus valley civilization. Of total 1755 seals found from Indus sites, 1156 have the imprint of Unicorn carved onto them! This is a high 60 percent number of all the seals! By all means, Unicorn was their most sacred and most important animal. But as for Zoology, no such beast exist anywhere. Shireen Ratnagar, an expert on Indus valley civilization, however, says that this Unicorn can only be a totem instead of a living beast. That it was the symbol of the dominant lineage which had expanded, or was expanding. She says that we may interpret the unicorn as the religious expression of a system of political control operating through lineage connections.

The Argentine fictioneer has written an encyclopedic book on the mythical beasts called “The book of Imaginary Beings.” Two chapters of this book are dedicated to Unicorn. What we gather from this book is during 4th century BC, the historian and physician had written that “among the kingdoms of India there were very swift wild asses with white coats, purple heads, blue eyes, and in the middle of their foreheads a pointed horn whose base was white, whose tip was red, and whose middle was black.” goes further to describe this Unicorn as “the fiercest animal, which in the rest of the body resembles a horse, but in the head a stag, in the feet an elephant, and in the tail a boar, and has a deep bellow, and a single black horn three feet long projecting from the middle of the forehead. it is impossible to capture this animal alive.” Borges further tells us that In the Middle Ages, bestiaries taught that the Unicorn could be captured by a maiden; in the we read: ‘How it is captured. A virgin is placed before it and it springs into the virgin’s lap and she warms it with love and carries it off to the palace of kings.’

has its own version of Unicorn where it is among the four most sacred creatures. The other three being Dragon, Phoenix and Tortoise. However, it is yet to be confirmed as to whether Unicorn was a universal myth or it found its place in the universal folklores through the Indus Valley Civilization.
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