The German Unicorn
erman folk are perhaps the staunchest believers in the unicorn. During the Middle Ages their churches and palaces were filled with images of the creature, known to them as Einhorn.
In German Marian mysticism (the cult of the adoration of the Virgin), the name given to the mother of God was Maria Unicornis (Mary of the unicorn).
The Harz Mountain region of central Germany has long been considered a haunt of the Einhorn. In fact, there is a cave in this area which to this day is called the Einhornhohle. It acquired its name from a story which took place in the days when much of Germany was covered with dark, unmapped forests, which were ruled by the old gods.
The Wise Woman Of Scharzfeld
n this forest an old wise woman lived in the Steingrotte Cave near Scharzfeld. People came to her from all over the Harz region for healing and advice. This angered the Christian missionaries in the area and they denounced her as a witch. The missionaries used their influence with a Frankish king, whom they had converted, to send soldiers and a monk to arrest her.
As the soldiers were making their way up the steep hill to her cave, the old woman came out and looked down upon them with total disdain and lack of fear. At first the soldiers hesitated, but realizing she was only one old woman, they continued climbing up to the cave. Then a pale Unicorn stepped out of the forest, its horn shining against the gloom cast by the trees. It went up to the woman and knelt before her, she got up on its back and rode away.
The monk and soldiers ran after her, but soon fell behind because of their heavy armor and weapons. The monk was finally able to catch up with the woman, but as he tried to grab her, she raised her arms and made signs in the air -- and the monk disappeared. By the time the soldiers reached the spot, all they found was a hole in the ground with the monk lying shattered and lifeless at the bottom. The soldiers buried the monk and named the cave Einhornhohle, a name by which it has been known ever since.