The popular legend is that the unicorns all perished in the Great Flood because they hid from Noah when he went to gather the animals into the ark.
That's actually not true. Here's what really happened:
But one day the unicorn wandered through the Garden looking for Adam and Eve, but they were nowhere to be found. Puzzled, he asked the monkeys if they knew where his friends were. The monkeys didn't know.
Then the unicorn asked the birds, who surely would have seen them while flying through the air. The birds hadn't seen them.
The unicorn asked the mice, who often picked up the crumbs that fell from Adam and Eve's food as they ate, but the mice hadn't found any crumbs lately.
Getting worried, the unicorn wandered everywhere in the Garden, asking the tortoises and the deer and the bears, but none of the animals could tell him where his friends had gone.
Fearful for Adam and Eve, the unicorn decided to ask God where they were, but was interrupted by the serpent.
"Pssssst," said the belly-crawler. "It's probably best not to talk to God right now, but I can tell you why you can't find your friends. I don't know what they did to make God so angry, but He drove them out of the Garden and forbade them to return."
Horrified, the unicorn wept. "That's horrible! I have to find them and guide them back!"
"You should do no such thing," chided the serpent. "If you do, God will not only reject them, but you as well."
"But they're my friends. I'll be so lonely without them. If going with them means I can't come back to the Garden, then so be it."
"You'll never find them," warned the serpent. "God has erased their tracks to make sure they can't find their way back, and that means you won't be able to follow them."
"I don't care. I have to do something."
Seeing that the unicorn was determined, the serpent sighed, and wished it had hands to throw up in the air. "If that's how you feel, I guess you have to go, but I am afraid for you, wandering alone in the wilderness with no idea where to look for them." Then the serpent looked at a nearby tree. "But maybe there is a way to know."
Stretching its body toward the tree the serpent said, "I have heard that tree bears a fruit that is called Knowledge. Maybe if you eat that fruit you will know where your friends have gone, and be able to find them."
The unicorn knew the tree's fruit was forbidden, and was afraid. "God has told us all not to eat of that fruit. He will be angry."
"True," agreed the serpent, "but you're leaving the Garden anyway. What could He do to punish you?"
This made sense to the unicorn, who gathered up his courage and walked over to the tree. Reaching high with his graceful neck, he plucked a fruit from its branches.
But before the unicorn could even taste the juice on his lips, lightning flashed and thunder boomed, and God appeared before him, His eyes afire with divine wrath.
"This is getting intolerable. Obviously I must be sterner with you than I was with Adam and Eve." And God imposed His punishment on the unicorn, who dropped the fruit, uneaten, and fled the Garden, never to return.
He never did find his friends, nor would they have recognized him if he had. No longer was he the graceful white creature with beautiful, lustrous eyes, dainty hooves and gleaming alabaster horn; rather, he had been transformed into a bulky, ugly beast with lumpy body, weak eyes and stubby toes, and his horn had moved from his forehead to the end of his nose.
Back in the Garden the serpent waited until God had returned to Heaven, then snickered softly. "Oh yeah. That's never getting old."
And for the serpent it didn't, which is how the world got such creatures as the dodo, the camel, the giraffe, and the duck-billed platypus. Though, after the platypus incident the animals finally got the message and stopped letting themselves be talked into trying to eat the forbidden fruit.