Most people no longer believe in Unicorns, and I ashamedly admit that I was one of those. Even the so-called “Unicorn horns” collected by certain unmentionable people were proven actually to be from a type of sea creature! What if there were more than one type of Unicorn? Yet, wasn’t the Unicorn a fairy tale? Or was it an extinct creature from the Equidae (horse) family? Perhaps it was its own family with different species and just resembled a horse or goat. I thought I would never know the answers to such things, but sometimes answers find you.
I was walking north of my home through the forest one morning, as was my habit. I was carrying a pack on my shoulder with my supplies and some food, intending to stop at some point for a small bite. I was lost in thought, a common occurrence, and walked farther north than I ever had. I found a large body of water, and, realizing I was hungry, I sat on a rock and opened my pack to eat. While I was enjoying my lunch, I looked out upon the water. Far off in the distance, I could see what appeared to be an island. I would not have seen it had the day not been so clear and sunny, but there it was, and I was intrigued. I looked around and saw a boat on the edge of the beach. What possessed me to climb into that boat and row, I’ll chalk up to curiosity. It never occurred to me that I was stealing that boat. I never thought of it at all! If I had, I would have looked around to see if anyone might lend it for a fee. But no one was around, and something drew me on, so I never even thought twice before hopping in, and rowing. By mid-day, I had reached the distant shore. It was much larger than I had thought at first. Standing on the shore, I could not see how far it stretched to either side, and the forest that started at the edge of the beach called to me to explore. What strange new country had I discovered? Soon I was exploring in the trees beyond the shore, and came upon what looked like a path, but not one formed by man. I, of course, began to follow that path. I don’t know how long I was on it before I was startled from behind by something I never thought ever to meet.
“Excuse me, sir,” a voice said, “may I ask a favor of you?”
I turned around quite startled and completely astonished at what I was seeing! Before me stood a Unicorn! It was not white, but light brown — I would say wheat — in color. It had a single ivory horn spiraling from its forehead and a beard like that of a goat. Otherwise, its size and shape were that of a horse, perhaps fifteen hands in height, or five feet. The oddest feature of this Unicorn was the ivory spectacles it seemed to wear on its nose. Spectacles!
“I’m sorry to have startled you, sir. Perhaps I should introduce myself.” He bowed his head, and for one small moment, part of me thought he would run me through with that horn! Even then, I knew that was ridiculous, but the mind will do what the mind will do.
“I am the Infocorn. That is my name, status and race. And I am the official gatherer of information of the Brotherhood of Alpha Druidia.”
“How do you do?” I asked him.
“Rather well, thank you.”
“I am Sephren Jollifeet,” I told him, “I am an artist, author, and poet.”
“An author!” This seemed to please him. “And artist? And poet as well? You, sir, Mr. Sephren Jollifeet, are exactly who I am looking for! After much prayer and searching, I chance to run into you! Chance? Nay! I think not! Divine happenings for certain! You must help me!”
“Help you? With what, Sir Infocorn?”
“The Druids and the Megacorn have come to an agreement, and they have appointed me with the title of Royal Corn Compiler. I am tasked to compile a Bestiary of Unicorns, listing in alphabetical order, all the different species of Corn in the Unicorn family. But, alas, there is one problem.”
I could not imagine what problem such a creature would need me to solve, but I was eager to know, so I asked him.
“What do you need me for?”
“You, sir, have been gifted with something none of the Unicorns have. Fingers and thumbs. Alas, we are unable to write. Well, some of us have been able to write with our horns, and others could possibly hold a brush or pen in their mouths and write that way – but to write anything more than a word or short sentence? Nay! And so, I prayed, and shortly thereafter, I came upon you walking through our forest. Guided by an angel, no doubt! And you, an author! Familiar with the art of the pen!”
What an opportunity! What chance had brought me to this? Unicorns? I had believed they were a myth, yet here stood one now, in front of my own eyes! I had so many questions and so few answers. The Infocorn, being what he was, could answer them all! My excitement knew no bounds! I was shaking as if I’d had too much stimulant, yet I never drank the stuff!
I pulled out my pens, ink and parchment, and, setting them beside me on a rock, I pulled out my tablet and placed a sheet of parchment on it. I picked up my favorite pen and dipped it into the inkwell. I was ready.
“Now,” said I, “where should we begin?”
“Why, Mr. Jollifeet,” said the Infocorn, “at the beginning, of course! We start with the letter A.”