The Hunter and the Unicorn

Photo © 2015 by Claire Catlett

© 2015 by Beate Sigriddaughter

The white unicorn lengthened its sinews, rippled, jumped up, pranced, ran a few steps, turned back, then stopped, eyes clouding over.

The hunter stroked a length of velvet rope with his fingers. “I don’t feel like hunting you. What if I don’t catch you?”

“Well, isn’t that the point?” asked the unicorn.

“Perhaps,” the hunter said. “But I need to have some kind of guarantee.”

“No,” said the unicorn. “The uncertainty, the striving, the possible rapture, that’s the whole idea.”

The hunter didn’t agree, but he figured he’d let it go.

The unicorn, however, was an ardent unicorn, meaning it wanted to jump in great strides through thickets and clearings and be hunted.

It got up from time to time, even put on fishnet stockings on occasion, frolicked a few steps. Nothing. It took off the fishnet stockings again and sadly went to the hunter’s side and nuzzled him.

Absentmindedly he put his fine green velvet rope around the unicorn’s neck, almost as though he had caught it himself.

“I guess that’s as much as there will ever be,” thought the bewildered unicorn.

Eventually the hunter bought a hunting lodge with dark wood paneling, a fireplace, and woven tapestries with – you guessed it – images of prancing unicorns chased by passionate hunters.

Nowadays they often sit in front of that fire. He polishes bows and arrows, fiddles with his hunting noose, and talks about their great precision and fine workmanship.

The unicorn stares into the crackling sparks. It hasn’t learned to express how it feels about theoretical concepts of inherent essence. It dreams of a scene such as on the tapestry directly behind them. A hunter flying through the forest, following a sleek unicorn riding the air. The unicorn can practically taste the wind. It can almost sense the velvet caress of the noose when it circles the neck.

“I want to be caught,” the unicorn says. “But I want to be caught with skill.”

He reads in Hunter’s Health on how to catch a unicorn with skill.

“You could ask me,” says the unicorn.

So he does. But each time the unicorn tells him, the next time he has forgotten. However, the teachings of Hunter’s Health he will never forget. After all, they were written by hunters for hunters.

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