Unicorn Wiki

Sinād (Arabic: سناد) is a creature living in India, which looks very much like an elephant, but is smaller. Some say it has a single horn on the forehead or nose, connecting it with the karkadann. Sinad is known for its very sharp thorny tongue capable of separating the flesh from bones of whatever it licks. However, it poses mortal danger to the newborn calf, as the mother, led by her maternal instinct, tries to lick it clean, in effect flaying it alive. This behavior led to false rumors that mothers eat their offspring. To protect itself, the calf does not leave the womb until it grows strong enough to run away immediately after birth. Meanwhile, it sticks its head out and feeds on leaves.

Marco Polo, describing his travel across the strait of Molucca, mentioned unicorns living in the kingdom of Basma, saying they are ugly mud-wallowing brutes, completely unlike the Western depictions, and that their best weapon are their tongues. Scholars, such as Edward Topsell, remarked that his description is reminiscent of the rhinoceros, but since the traveller said they have a horn on the forehead and not on the nose, they classified them as unicorns.


سناد (sinād) is the vocalization in the Sarre manuscript of al-Qazwini. Turkish translation from 1709 gives the spelling سنّاد (sannād).