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Woodcut of a kneeling woman petting a unicorn. First mentioned by the ancient Greeks, it became the most important imaginary animal of the Middle Ages and Renaissance when it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be seen and/or captured by a virgin. It has been described in European folklore as resembling a white horse with a large, pointed, spiralling horn projecting from its forehead, and sometimes a goat's beard and cloven hooves. At other times described as resembling a small horse but with a long, straight horn growing out of its forehead having the legs of a deer and the tail of a lion.
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