Image: Hans Baldung. Study of a Unicorn, 1544. WikiArt.
There’s a sea unicorn living in the creek behind my house.
His name is Eustace.
He keeps a very low profile as he is in hiding.
From what I asked?
Life in the ocean was his response, its all chaos and mayhem. He went to tell me that the popular myth of them creating havoc among the dolphins is a beat up.
In actual fact, if he is to be believed, he blames the sea fairies for all the trouble and bad press the unicorns have been receiving.
The sea fairies he says are hideous creatures, living in the deepest parts of the ocean and being the most self centred and manipulative beings you could imagine.
If truth be told the sea fairies would have rounded up all the unicorns and corralled them for their own sordid pleasures. One such pleasure was to cut off the tip of the unicorn’s horns, grind them into a fine powder, mix it with their own saliva and rub it into their bodies to give them added sexual strength.
‘An aroused sea fairy is a sight to grotesque to think about.’ said Eustace shuddering and breathing deeply.
Now Eustace, or Useless as he is affectionately known around here, maintains he narrowly escaped the sea fairies and made his way into the harbour and then up the river and eventually into the creek behind my house.
He still is very cautious when coming out of the river. He is not so concerned about anyone seeing him but more so he is quite paranoid of the sea fairies venturing up the river to find him.
I think he is very safe where he is, he has many friends among the ducks who share the creek with him and they keep a lookout for anything suspicious.
He is no bother except one must be careful in getting too close as he does like to swish his head around and there is, as I tell him, a ever good chance he could take an eye out with his horn.
Most days he hides in the shallows of the creek, is very camera shy and prefers to eat at night along the creek bank.
He is old now, doesn’t get around as he once did. Once he could dive to great depths but now days a soft paddle along the creek bed and a wallow in the refreshing mud is about all he can manage.
I’m not sure how old he is but he has been in the creek for a long time, I know because my grandfather on his death bed asked me to keep an eye on Eustace, said he’d appreciate the attention, which is true. I’ve discovered that Useless loves nothing more than a good rub down and a bit of the old furniture polish applied to his horn.
We’ll continue to sit by the creek of an afternoon, watching the sun set across the way as he tells me tales of his adventures in the sea and land. He knows he is the last of his kind and doubts very much that a lady unicorn is going to wander by looking for a life partner. He did consider the farmers draught horse at one stage but realised it was his fading hormones talking to him and on second glance not only was the draught horse as thick as a plank it was also among life’s ugliest creatures.
The reality of a celibate life hit Useless hard, but when you are only twelve inches tall, with a horn six inches long, you have to be careful where you stick your nose.
The creek behind my house and if you look carefully beyond the duck in the foreground you can just catch a glimpse of Useless’s horn sticking out of the water.