Nardog (Canis monoceros)

Robert Marbury: Nardog (Canis monoceros)

The Nardog has been the subject of great speculation and mystification, although it has enjoyed a much greater life in the pages of travelogues and fairytales, than in science. The Nardog represented loyalty, honour, purity and love, throughout the centuries, however this bounty was beyond the reach of any mortal. For the Nardog was one of a handful of truly free animals and was almost impossible to capture.

In the 1300s, Marco Polo reported to the Great Khan that in order to catch this beast, a young virgin must be placed under a tree with her breast exposed and then the Nardog would fall asleep in her lap. Slightly earlier, in 1120 AD, the Greek poet Tzetzes adds to the myth that a young man, dressed up and scented, will do as well as a maiden.

In fact, this is how the only known example of a Nardog has ever been documented. In 1881, while traveling with P.T. Barnum’s Greatest Show On Earth, and The Great London Circus, Sanger’s Royal British Menagerie and The Grand International Allied Shows United, the dapper Albino Aborigine, Unzie, ended up taking a nap under a tree outside of the town of Crieff, in Perthshire, Scotland. This very sensitive and intelligent man had been working as an exhibit in this famous travelling show. Upon waking from his nap, Unzie found what he described as a medium sized sheep dog, with a single horn sprouting from its head, asleep on his lap. From that point onward the two never parted.

In 1890, Unzie was introduced to the United States. During this time, he never allowed his Nardog to be exhibited, feeling that it was indecent. The two travelled the country and finally settled in New York. The Nardog followed Unzie loyally into death, was stuffed and exhibited nationwide for twenty years before being disregarded as a hoax. While lore tells of packs of Nardogs roaming medieval forests and highlands, accurate descriptions of group habits and relationships do not exist. Alive, this Nardog stood three feet high, with a pearl white horn. She had bright red eyes and a glowing white pelt, with grey ears, paws and a grey breast patch. At sunrise and sunset, her fur changed to the colour of pure gold. She ate off of the ground with difficulty because of her horn and in later years depended on a human hand to feed her. Using the rings of her horn as a method of dating, the Nardog appears to have been between two hundred and fifty to three hundred years old at the time of her death. Many still believe in the existence of other Nardogs, however scientific evidence is insufficient.

Believers credit the lack of evidence to the fact that since no one is looking for the Nardog, no one is able to see one.

http://www.roguetaxidermy.com/

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Unzie ... never allowed his Nardog to be exhibited, feeling that it was indecent.