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There are in India oxen also with solid hoofs1 and a single horn;2 and a wild beast called the axis, which has a skin like that of a fawn, but with numerous spots on it, and whiter;3 this animal is looked upon as sacred to Bacchus. The Orsæan Indians hunt down a kind of ape, which has the body white4 all over; as well as a very fierce animal called the monoceros,5 which has the head of the stag, the feet of the elephant, and the tail of the boar, while the rest of the body is like that of the horse; it makes a deep lowing noise, and has a single black horn, which projects from the middle of its forehead, two cubits in length.6 This animal, it is said, cannot be taken alive.

1 Probably meaning, "not cloven."

2 Cuvier conjectures, that this is from Ctesias, and says, that a similar animal is to be seen on one of the sculptures of Persepolis.—B.

3 Probably the stag of the Ganges, the "Cervus axis" of Linnæus; but if so, Pliny has omitted to mention the horns.—B.

4 White apes are now unknown, as a distinct species, but individuals are occasionally found nearly without colour.—B.

5 The "one-horned," or the unicorn.

6 We have a discussion by Cuvier, respecting the existence of the unicorn, or of any animal similar to that here described, with a single horn. He remarks, that the only single-horned quadruped of which we have any certain knowledge, is the rhinoceros, and that the only horns which have been discovered, and which can have been single horns, belong to it. There are five animals mentioned by the ancients, as having single horns, the Indian ass, the single-horned horse, the single-horned ox, the monoceros, described in the text, and the oryx of Africa, which Pliny speaks of in c. 79 of this Book, and in B. xi. c. 106. There are many curious accounts given by travellers of acknowledged veracity, respecting animals seen in the more remote parts of Asia and Africa, answering to the description of the unicorn, and there are representations of the same in ancient sculptures; but they do not amount to that kind of evidence which can at all supply the place of direct proof.—B.

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