Monday, September 16, 2013

Mythic Animals: Horses: Karkadan of Persia

Many modern depictions of Unicorns are of peaceful, shy, gentle horse creatures. For that reason, I think of them as steeds for fairy princesses. This refined image of the Unicorn is something that I do not relate to. However, learning about the Karkadan, the Unicorn of Ethiopia, India, and Persia, changed my point of view about Unicorns in general. Unlike the seemingly passive European Unicorn, the Karkadan protects its territory. Well-known for its fierceness, the Karkadan preys on elephants and lions. Moreover, this solidly built beast shakes the ground as it runs. It tickles me that only the ringdove is unafraid of the Karkadan. Sitting on the Karkadan’s back, this bird sings to it. In return, the beast protects the ringdoves from harm. I think of this as gratitude for beauty and grace that the ringdove brings to the Karkadan.

Wikipedia” reports that that the Iraqis have a tradition called the “tears of the Karkadann.” According to this myth, the Karkadan wanders in the desert looking for water. When “he” does find it, “he weeps out of fatigue and thirst-pain.” “His” tears, as they fall into the water, become beads, which are then used for prayer beads. After learning about this tradition of the Karkadan, I have come to regard this beast as ancient, fierce, and wise.
What Karkadan looked like

Works Used:

Allan, Tony, “The Mythic Bestiary,” Duncan Baird: London, 2008.

---, “Karkadann,”, Wikipedia, 13 May, 2013,

Nigg, Joseph, “The Book of Dragons and Other Mythical Beasts,” Quarto: London, 2002.

Zell-Ravenheart, Oberon and Ash DeKirk, “A Wizard’s Bestiary,” New Page Press: Franklin Lakes, NJ, 2007.

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