The Unicorn and the Lake
By Marianna Mayer
Pictures by Michael Hague
Dial Press, 1982
This story finds its roots in the many legends of the unicorn where its magical abilities purify water of poison and make it safe to drink.
- Unicorn, took refuge in the mountains to escape hunting humans
- Serpent, evil enemy of all the animals
- The many animals of the lower lands
Before man came the Unicorn lived in the lower lands and all the animals were able to speak to one another. But after man started trying to kill the Unicorn for his horn, the noble beast fled for the mountains taking his magic with him. As magic left the land, the animals all forgot they used to speak to each other and soon they could only talk to those of their own kind. They forgot about the Unicorn. After some time their enemy, the Serpent, grew stronger and more cunning in his hunt and all the animals were afraid of him. Then the rain went away and the animals all joined together in a distress cry to the clouds to send rain so they would not die of thirst. The Unicorn heard these cries and responded, ultimately defeating the Serpent.
This is a beautifully told story both in words and illustrations. Reading it you can feel the anguish of the animals as they suffer and the joy they feel with the Unicorn. Oh, and the battle between the Unicorn and Serpent is heart-pounding! I wasn’t sure the Unicorn would survive, but thankfully he does.
Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for a classic story of good versus evil.
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