The Narwhal

generally called the Monoceros or Sea Unicorn, is thus shown in one

place, by Gesner; and, rough though it is, it is far more like the

Narwhal's horn than is the other, also, in his work, of a Sea Rhinoceros

or Narwhal engaged in combat with an outrageous-sized Lobster, or

Kraken, I know not which; for, as we shall presently see, the Kraken is

represented as a Crayfish or Lobster. It was the long twisted horn of

the Na
whal which did duty for ages as the horn of the fabled Unicorn, a

gift worthy to be presented by an Emperor to an Emperor.

This sketch of Gesner's, he describes as a one-horned monster with a

sharp nose, devouring a Gambarus. Olaus Magnus dismisses the Narwhal

very curtly:--"The Unicorn is a Sea Beast, having in his forehead a

very great Horn, wherewith he can penetrate, and destroy the ships in

his way, and drown multitudes of men. But divine goodnesse hath provided

for the safety of Marriners herein; for, though he be a very fierce

Creature, yet is he very slow, that such as fear his coming may fly from


The earlier voyagers who really saw the Narwhal, fairly accurately

described it; as Baffin, whose name is so familiar to us by the bay

called after him:--"As for the Sea Unicorne, it being a great fish,

having a long horn or bone growing forth of his forehead or nostrill,

such as Sir Martin Frobisher, in his second voyage found one, in divers

places we saw them, which, if the horne be of any good value, no doubt

but many of them may be killed;" and Frobisher, as reported in Hakluyt,

says:--"On this west shore we found a dead fish floating, which had in

his nose a horne streight, and torquet, (twisted) of length two yards

lacking two ynches. Being broken in the top, here we might perceive it

hollow, into the which some of our sailors, putting spiders, they

presently died. I saw not the triall hereof, but it was reported unto me

of a truth; by the vertue thereof we supposed it to be the Sea