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  • Once upon a time there was unicorn, who lived in a forest glade with squirrels and rabbits and deer and lots of birds and butterflies. As far as he could tell, he was the only unicorn.

    One day when the unicorn was trying to reach some tasty leaves he knocked his horn against a branch and it snapped off. The unicorn was very upset indeed, and started to cry.

    "Don't worry," said a deer who was grazing nearby. "My horns fall off every year. Then they grow back. It's a bit itchy, but it's no biggie."

    And he carried on munching.

    The unicorn, still crying, went to talk to the owl, who was the wisest person in the forest and knew everything.

    The owl looked up Unicorns on Wikipedia to see if they habitually lost their horns but there was no information to be found.

    "It says here," said the owl, peering over his glasses at the unicorn, "that you are a legendary beast."

    The unicorn stopped crying. He became indignant.

    "Do I look legendary to you?" he said crossly.

    The owl snapped shut the lid of his laptop. "I can't help you any more," he said. "I need to take a nap now."

    The unicorn decided that there was nothing for it but to set off into the world to seek another horn, or another unicorn, or both.

    However, no sooner had he stepped shyly from the forest into the surrounding countryside than he was spotted (his silver coat was glinting in the sunlight) by a keen-eyed farmer who rounded him up and imprisoned him in a field.

    The unicorn became sadder and crosser than ever, particularly when his white coat became muddy and brown and he started to put on weight. He spent hours just staring over the fence, trying to work out where things had gone wrong and what he could do about it.

    Then one day a jay came and sat on the unicorn's fence. She had been eating fermenting berries and was a little drunk. She wobbled slightly on the wire.

    "Whoops," she said, "it's a unicorn!"

    "How can you tell?" asked the unicorn, sadly.

    "You've got a little horn growing on your forehead," replied the jay. "Unless I'm seeing things, which is possible..." and she flew unsteadily off.

    The unicorn went and looked at his reflection in the water trough and it was true! His horn was growing! The unicorn ran round and round his field, wild with joy, and then was seized with a mad impulse to jump as high as the moon. He ran at the fence as fast as he could and leapt into the air with a wild snort of freedom. He sailed over and galloped as fast as he could to the nearest river where he rolled in a foaming pool beneath a waterfall until he was silver again.

    Then he shook himself dry and thought. Should he go back to the forest?

    He stood looking towards the forest, then back down the valley where the wide world waited. Back and forth he looked like someone waiting to cross a road.

    Five minutes later he was trotting off into the world, because he was determined to find another unicorn....
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