Foure-Footed Beasts

Filed Under: Blog, Unicorn Studies

It is sayd that Unicorns above all other creatures, doe reverence Virgines and young Maides, and that many times at the sight of them they growe tame, and come and sleepe beside them, for there is in their nature a certain savor, wherewithall the Unicornes are allured and delighted: for which occasion the Indian and Ethiopian hunters use this stratagem to take the beast. They take a goodly strong and beautiful young man, whom they dresse in the apparrell of a woman, besetting him with divers odoriferous flowers and spices.

The man so adorned, they set in the Mountaines or Woods where the Unicorn haunteth, so as the wind may carrie the savor to the beast, and in the meane season the other hunters hide themselves: the Unicorne deceaved with the outward shape of a woman and sweete smells commeth unto the young man without feare, and so suffereth his head to bee covered and wrapped within his large sleeves, never stirring but lying still and asleepe, as in his most acceptable repose. Then when the hunters by the signe of the young man perceave him fast and secure, they come uppon him, and by force cut off his horne and send him away alive: but concerning this opinion wee have no elder authoritie then Tzetzes, who did not live above five hundred years agoe, and therefore I leave the reader to the freedome of his owne judgement, to beleeve or refuse this relation….

Source: Topsell, E. Foure-Footed Beasts
Image above: Of The Unicorn via the University of Houston Libraries