© 2000 Walter E. Gast
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The unicorn of myth was a small animal the size of a young goat. According to legend, no hunter could take it by force, but it could be captured by trickery. The hunter was required to lead a virgin to a spot the unicorn was known to frequent, where she was left alone. The unicorn would sense her purity and run to her, falling asleep in her lap. The unicorn is thus a symbol of purity and of feminine chastity. It has been used as an allegory of the Annunciation and of the Incarnation of Christ, who was born of a virgin. It is most often used as an attribute of the Virgin Mary, but may also be used of St. Justina of Padua or St. Justina of Antioch, both of whom retained their purity under temptation.