Unicorns are known around the world, and they come in many species. We have introduced the Chinese unicorn qilin, which is quite different from the European unicorn. Another peculiar unicorn, karkadann, comes from the Middle East. Wait, what is karkadann?
Karkadann is the Middle Eastern unicorn. As far as I´m aware, karkadann is not well-known in the Western culture. This gives us a good reason to explore this fascinating creature.
Karkadann is said to live in India, Persia (Iran) and North Africa. It is a fierce animal, but it is also a benevolent creature that brings good luck, especially for women.
Let’s explore karkadann’s appearance and special powers. We will also talk about some legends on this intriguing creature.
Build Of A Buffalo, Horn Of A Rhino
The description of karkadann‘s appearance reminds me of the origin of the unicorn myth started by Ctesias, a physician and historian in Ancient Greece.
Like the mythical one-horned wild ass described by Ctesias, karkadann looks like a kind of mixture of a rhino and a large horse. Actually, in Persian and Arabic languages the word kargadan means a rhinoceros. Kargadan also means ´lord of the desert´ in Persian.
Normally, the karkadann has three hooves on its feet; one hoof at the front and two at the back. It has a short tail and it is described to have a build of a buffalo. Karkadann’s ears remind the ears of a donkey.
Horn Of A Rhino To Horn Of A Unicorn
The descriptions of karkadann’s horn have varied. Persian scholar Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni mentioned a short, curved horn on karkadann’s nose. This kind of horn is just like a horn of a rhino.
Later writers made the karkadann’s horn like the horn of the modern unicorn; a long, straight horn on the animal’s forehead. I have also seen illustrations of karkadann portraying it with two horns; a short curved horn on its nose, and a long, straight horn on its forehead.
Karkadann – The Lord Of The Desert
Karkadann is described as a violently strong and aggressive creature.
This uncontrollable animal is even mentioned in the Arabic folktale collection One Thousand and One Nights, in the “Second Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor”. In this tale, Ibn Attuba calls karkadann a ferocious beast that drives all other animals away from its territory.
Karkadann has a loud, haunting call. It carries for several miles across the desert. The horrifying voice of karkadann reminds me of the descriptions of monoceros, the early unicorn myth in Ancient Rome.
What Is Karkadann? – A Loyal Friend Of All Women
While ferocious and violent, karkadann is a symbol of good luck in Middle East. It is often used in lucky charms. Like the Western unicorn, karkadann also has healing powers.
Karkadann’s Amazing Horn
Karkadann’s horn is said to have healing powers similar to those of the Western unicorn’s horn. Karkadann’s horn can purify water.
Karkadann’s horn kills poisonous creatures, such as snakes, spiders and scorpions, in minutes. If someone would be bitten by a poisonous animal, a karkadann’s horn would save them.
Like a unicorn horn, a karkadann’s horn can cure constipation, lameness and epilepsy.
Karkadann – A Loyal Friend Of All Women
Karkadann particularly brings good luck for all women. I mean all women, not just the virgins. This makes the Middle Eastern unicorn different from the Western unicorn myth. The Western unicorn traditionally liked virgins, but the Middle Eastern unicorn likes all women, virgin or not.
Especially women willing to have a baby benefit from the karkadann’s blessings. If a karkadann touches the water with its horn, any females swimming in the water at the same time would become mothers.
Personally, I don’t like the idea at all; I´m swimming in a lake unsuspectingly. All of a sudden, a unicorn pokes its horn in the water. And boom, I’m pregnant. But we must remember the legend of karkadann dates back to as early as 10th or 11th century. I guess getting pregnant was the best thing that could happen to most women back then.
Epic Legends About The Karkadann
The only animal that can kill a karkadann is an elephant. According to a legend, a karkadann stabbed an elephant with its horn and killed the gigantic animal. The karkadann got killed itself too, because the dead elephant collapsed on top of it.
Roc, a massive mythical bird flew down and took the bodies of the elephant and the karkadann. The bird carried the bodies to its nest to feed its chicks.
Only a dove can tame a karkadann. The Middle Eastern unicorn loves a dove’s call. It would wait under a tree for a dove to land on its horn, so that it could enjoy the bird’s song.
Karkadann – A Fierce But Benevolent Creature
So, now we have explored different aspects of the Middle Eastern unicorn, karkadann. While little-known in the Western world, karkadann has been known in Arabic mythology for centuries.
Karkadann lives in India, Persia and North Africa. It is a fierce but benevolent creature. Karkadann is known to be violently strong and aggressive. It keeps all other animals away from its territory.
Karkadann has a build of a buffalo, ears of a donkey and a horn or a rhino. Later writers have changed the description of a karkadann’s horn. Instead of a short and curved horn on the animals nose, like a rhino horn, karkadann’s horn has become a long and straight horn on its forehead. This makes karkadann more unicorn-like.
According to legends, karkadann’s horn has healing powers similar to unicorn horns. Karkadann’s horn is said to protect from poison and it can purify water.
While karkadann is a fierce animal, it is a symbol of good luck in the Middle East. Karkadann brings luck especially to women. The Middle Eastern unicorn likes all women, not just virgins. This makes it different from the Western unicorn tradition.
Any thoughts about karkadann? Were you familiar with karkadann before reading this post, or did you read about it for the first time? Please let us know in the comment section below!
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