A Baby Unicorn

Dark silver-lashed eyes opened slowly, and the baby unicorn looked around, its eyes reflecting the light of the moons as it gazed on its fresh new environment. Then it wriggled and cracked the rest of the shell. As fragments of shell fell onto the snowy ground they broke into thousands of flakes, and the shell became one with the snow.

The baby unicorn stood on new and wobbly legs, neighing a soft moonbeam sound until it gained is balance. It stood barely as tall as Charles Wallace, testing one forehoof, then the other, and kicking out its hind legs. As Charles Wallace watched, lost in delight, the baby unicorn danced under the light of the two moons.

. . . As the baby had been following Gaudior in the steps of the dance, so it imitated him now, eagerly trying to drink moonlight, the rays dribbling from its young and inexperienced lips and breaking like crystal on the snow. Again it tried, looking at Gaudior, until it was thirstily and tidily swallowing the light as it was tipped out from the curve of the moon.

Gaudior turned to the nearly full moon, and again with exaggerated gestures taught the little one to drink. When its flanks were quivering with fullness, Gaudior turned to the nearest star, and showed it the pleasures of finishing a meal by quenching its thirst with starlight. The little one sipped contentedly, then closed its mouth with its tiny, diamond-like teeth, and, replete, leaned against Gaudior.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle


5 responses to “A Baby Unicorn

    • I haven’t quite finished it yet because I’ve been pretty busy recently but I’m really enjoying it and I just love how she wrote this part about the unicorn. I was enthralled with the idea of drinking moonlight and starlight… and to describe his neigh like a moonbeam and dribbles like crystals. It’s ingenious and I wish I’d thought of it. 🙂

      • Anthony, I read the last page last night. I liked the whole book very much but I think I’d understand it better if I read it all again… which I’m not going to do right now because I’m starting Many Waters . I like how the whole book only covered one evening in the Murry household but yet it covered many, many years as Charles Wallace traveled with the unicorn.

      • That’s kind of how I feel about A Wind in the Door; there’s so much allegory that a second reading is required to catch everything. But I like books with sustainability, so I’m not complaining. 🙂

        Many Waters is unique in that she takes relatively static characters (at least compared to Meg and Charles Wallace) and works the story around the twins as much as through them. It’s sort of like being tossed into a narrative much larger than ourselves, understanding that while the outcome does not depend on us, God gives us a front row seat for the building of our faith. And while many may lack Meg’s emotional intuition or Charles Wallace’s brilliant mind, we are still in the middle of something big, and God lends us the privilege of being involved in His plan through whatever gifts we are granted.

        [And since I identify most with Meg’s character, I acknowledge the value of those go-with-the-flow types. A little perspective and stability keeps me grounded.]

  1. I’ve barely started Many Waters now but so far it’s interesting and I like the same point you make, that the twins are a part of the big picture even though they are the pragmatists of the family. Why did she set the story back in time though? The twins are about 15 instead of in college like in A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

    Like you, I relate best to Meg.

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