U is for unicorn…
Normally I’m not one to write about unicorns, however, I told my friend Andrea that I would use my “t” post to retell the story of Teddybear Picnic, and I didn’t. So, yeah, today I told people I couldn’t think of a “u” post, Andrea suggested unicorn, and she wins because I punked out on her before. (Although, she’ll get her teddybear picnic story… eventually.)
The Tale of Ulysses the Unicorn
Once upon a time there was a unicorn named Ulysses. Ulysses was teased a lot as a wee unicorn. Not because he had an old timey name, but because he had a rather unfortunate problem. Ulysses was a sweet little guy born to perfectly normal unicorn parents, but Ulysses didn’t have a horn.
A unicorn without a horn is not much of a unicorn at all. However, he definitely had unicorn blood flowing through his veins, and one day he decided to go on a quest in order to find himself a horn. Packing his favorite snacks in a hobo sack, he set out on his journey.
Ulysses was not sure exactly where he would find a horn, and he was not sure exactly what that horn would look like, but he was excited by the possibilities. When he had been walking for quite some time, he ran across a pile of sticks in a stream. Thinking that one of those sticks could suit his purposes he began to sort through them. Before he had just moved and rejected the tenth stick in the pile, when a rather perturbed looking beaver came lumbering out to glare at him. “Young sir,” said the beaver, “this is my home and I would appreciate it if you did not take it apart.” Ulysses felt quite sorry for disturbing the beaver, and after apologizing genuinely, he put the sticks back where he had found them.
Moving on, Ulysses felt a bit discouraged. However, he squared his shoulders, and pressed forward. Several hours after his encounter with the upset beaver, he began to shiver. The ground turned from green grass to a white fluff, and in the distance he saw something glinting in the sun. Hanging from a tree branch, was a long, clear object that looked almost exactly like the horn on the other unicorns at home. Gently plucking it from where it was, Ulysses carefully attached it to his head between his ears. Heading back the way he had come, he left the cold, snowy tundra, and returned to the warmer plains closer to home. The further he walked, the more he realized that his head was getting wet. He surmised that he must be hotter than he thought and sweating quite profusely. He stopped at a stream for a drink, and caught site of his reflection. His lovely horn was no longer where it had been. It had melted!
Disappointed with this second failure, Ulysses plopped down onto the ground next to the stream for a good pout. When his nose came close to the ground, he smelled something enticing. That’s when he noticed a bunny eating a carrot on the other side of the water. Ulysses perked up when he realized that carrots looked pretty similar to a horn, and since he was fond of the color orange, he felt the carrot might work nicely. Calling out to the bunny, Ulysses asked, “Mr. Bunny, where did you acquire that snack you are munching?” The bunny cocked his head to the side, and then he wriggled his nose. Finally he answered, “Growing in rows over there. Here! I have an extra. You can have it.” After tossing the carrot at Ulysses he hopped off. Spirits lightened, Ulysses put on his new horn and began the journey home.
The shadows were growing long as the sun drooped lower into the sky. Reaching back into his hobo sack, Ulysses rooted around for a snack. There was nothing left! The sack was empty, and his stomach was rumbley. Hooves dragging, he made it a few more steps before he realized he would not make it home in such a hungry condition. That is when he remembered the carrot he was using as his horn. Poor Ulysses was not sure what to do! He did not have time before the day ended to find a new horn, but he was positive he could not continue on without first eating. Making the hardest decision he had ever had to make in his young, unicorn life, he took off the carrot, and ate it.
After the snack Ulysses’ belly felt better, but his head hung low. When he got home, his parents saw his long face and asked what was the matter. Ulysses told them the story of the stick, and the icicle, and finally the carrot. His mother nuzzled him and his father tousled his mane. “Ulysses,” said his mother, “you are special. No other unicorn is quite like you! You do not need a horn to make you amazing, you were born that way, and you do not need to change for anyone.” Feeling much better, Ulysses smiled at his parents. They gave him his dinner that they had been saving for him, and after he was full he went to bed a very happy, very content, hornless unicorn.