The young lord yearned for a virgin bride:
"Where is she I would wed?" he cried.
"Where can I go to seek and find
She who is sweet and chaste and kind?"
Only the purest virgin could be
Good enough for the likes of he.
Only an unsullied maid could stand
Before the altar and take his hand.
But where could he find this lucky child?
And how could he know she was undefiled?
Without being crude, how could he
Test a maidenís virginity?
Though he travelled all the land around
Nary a suitable maid he found.
Already wed were all the best:
Merely children were all the rest.
Many a handsome lass he spied,
Buxom wenches on every side,
But each was saucy and none too shy,
With tossing hair and flashing eye.
Each would have made a wonderful spouse,
To bear his children and tend his house,
But he was afraid that none was as chaste,
As he wanted to satisfy personal taste.
Then in his travels throughout the land,
He happened upon a travelling band,
Of men with a captive Unicorn:
A snow white horse with a single horn.
"Never have I seen," he swore,
"Such beauty on this earth before."
"This beauty, Lord," one man replied,
"Is naught compared to She-Who-Cried,
The day we caught this creature pure,
For she it was we used as lure.
A virgin maid so full of grace,
That angels sighed to see her face."
The young Lord smiled and quick replied,
"Sheís the one to be my bride.
Where is she whom I would claim,
To love and cherish and take my name?"
"Already wed," the men did say,
"To her young man on the very day,
We rose before the dewy dawn,
And left with our captive Unicorn."
The young Lord knew that this could be
His foolproof test for virginity:
If the Unicorn went unafraid,
To the gentle hands of a pure, sweet maid.
In exchange for the beautiful, magic beast,
The men wanted gold or gems at least.
He paid them all a tidy measure,
And watched them ride away with pleasure.
Then standing by the snowy head,
"Find me a virgin bride," he said.
The Unicorn looked at him with eyes
That were soft and brown and very wise.
It led the man till at last they came,
To the heart of a forest and by the flame,
Of a flickering fire there did see,
A circle of maids all fair and free.
From a gnarled old woman of many days,
They were learning the healerís arts and ways.
Each was a beauty so demure:
For his wifeless state, a certain cure!
When the young lord stood in the firelight,
To tell the story of his sad plight,
The girls all looked at him and sighed,
And hoped to be chosen as his bride.
But when he talked about his test,
Hope died quickly in each breast:
For the men of the forest were lusty lads,
The girls remembered the times theyíd had!
Out of the trees the Unicorn pranced,
And into the lambent firelight danced,
To lay its head without a care,
In the lap of the only virgin there.
Beauteous once, with a tender heart,
Sheíd devoted her life to the healing art.
Now looking into the young manís eyes,
She laughed to see his complete surprise.
Virgin or not, a wrinkled crone,
Was not the one he desired to own,
So coaxing the beast from the healerís side,
He resumed his search for a virgin bride
Many a mile and many a day,
Passed as they wandered on their way,
Till they came at last to a seaside place,
And there beheld a lovely face.
The face belonged to a merchantís daughter,
Who carried herself with regal hauteur,
Very proud of the fact that she,
Was a maid as chaste as a maid could be.
When the Unicorn went without any qualms,
Into the clasp of the maidenís arms,
"My prayers are answered!" the young Lord cried,
And asked the girl to be his bride.
"My Lord," she said with a haughty stare,
"Tales Iíve heard from here and there,
Of the bawdy exploits of your youth,
Tell me Iíd find you too uncouth!
"Not a man to wed for life.
I do not wish to be your wife!"
Her braids flashed gold in the sunny morn,
As she turned from the man and the Unicorn.
With a sinking heart he travelled on,
Till they came to a small but wealthy town,
And found a beauteous maiden there,
With emerald eyes and auburn hair.
The youngest child of a wealthy man,
With many servants and much fine land.
She dressed in fancy clothes and fur;
The Unicorn walked up to her.
But though she was pretty and she was pure,
For the questing Lord she held no allure:
For she was a spoiled and selfish brat,
He could not marry a one like that!
Some said she'd change with married life,
But he could not see her as his wife,
With her wanting and carping from day to day:
He shook his head and rode away.
Tired and weary and full heart-sore,
He returned at last to his own front door.
His quest for a virgin had been in vain:
He vowed he would make no attempt again.
"Iíve leaned a lesson from this," he said,
As he stood by the Unicornís snowy head
"Iíve been thoughtless and Iíve been proud:
Iíve been as foolish as Iím allowed.
"I see now what a fool Iíve been,
In searching for my selfish dream.
Itís time for me to stay and be,
The kind of Lord I was meant to be.
"Now dear friend, Iíve one last task:
I know your wish: no need to ask!
I take the halter from your head,
And give your freedom back instead."
With a touch, for luck, to the alicorn,
He bade farewell to the Unicorn
Then through the blur of tear filled eyes,
He looked at her with great surprise:
The Unicorn vanished in a flash of light,
And a woman instead came into sight!
A girl with white skin, soft and fair,
With deep brown eyes and raven hair.
"My Lord," she said in an angelís voice,
"Youíve set me free with your loving choice,
For I was the Unicorn, under a spell,
Placed on my by a wizard fell.
"When I first met him, he seemed to be,
A handsome lad so wild and free!
I was seduced and then abused:
Oh, how I was so cruelly used!
"In time, my Lord, he tired of me,
And said that he would set me free:
For once I was happy, not forlorn,
Then he changed me into a Unicorn.
"Only thus would he let me go:
As a magic horse as white as snow.
Never again a woman to be,
Till someone willingly set me free.
"But a Unicorn is a valued thing:
I was owned by princes and by kings;
By a lady of rank and a merchant man;
By a greedy monk and a poor farm hand.
"Though I often escaped and was often free,
I remained a Unicorn for you see,
Only your tearful, fond farewell,
Was strong enough to break the spell.
"Now before you, here I stand:
A homeless soul in a strange new land.
I could travel on to places new,
But Iíd like to stay for I love you true!
I learned to love you more each day,
As we travelled on our way,
Until with each new step weíd take,
I thought my spell-bound heart would break!
For even if the spell should flee,
I knew you could not marry me:
Though young and fair with heart so true,
I am not a maiden pure."
Casting down her eyes she wept,
Till up to her the young Lord stepped,
And gently took her in his arms:
His heart afire with all her charms.
"My dearest friend, my love my life,
If you will only be my wife,
My silly quest will not have been,
The waste of time it once did seem.
"As for your virginity,
I have learned at last to see,
That purity is a natural part,
Of any loving, caring heart."
So they were married one joyous morn;
The Lord and his little Unicorn.
That they were in love was plain to see,
And they lived ever after, most happily.