The Unicorn in the Garden
by James Thurber
|Once upon a sunny morning a man who sat in a
breakfast nook looked up from his scrambled eggs to see a
white unicorn with a gold horn quietly cropping the roses
in the garden. The man went up to the bedroom where his
wife was still asleep and woke her. "There's a
unicorn in the garden," he said. "Eating
roses." She opened one unfriendly eye and looked at
him. "The unicorn is a mythical beast," she
said, and turned her back on him. The man walked slowly
downstairs and out into the garden. The unicorn was still
there: he was now browsing among the tulips. "Here,
unicorn," said the man, and pulled up a lily and
gave it to him. The unicorn ate it gravely. With a high
heart, because there was a unicorn in his garden, the man
went upstairs to rouse his wife again. "The
unicorn," he said, "ate a lily." His wife
sat up in bed and looked at him coldly. "You are a
booby," she said, "and I am going to have you
put in the booby-hatch." The man, who never liked
the words "booby" and "booby-hatch,"
and who liked them even less on a shining morning when
there was a unicorn in the garden, thought for a moment.
"We'll see about that," he said. He walked over
to the door. "He has a golden horn in the middle of
his forehead," he told her. Then he went back to the
garden to watch the unicorn: but the unicorn had gone
away. The man say down among the roses and went to sleep.
As soon as the husband had gone out of the house, the wife got up and dressed as fast as she could. She was very excited and there was a gloat in her eye. She telephoned the police, and she telephoned a psychiatrist. She told them to hurry to her house and bring a strait-jacket. When the police and the psychiatrist arrived they sat down in chairs and looked at her, with great interest. "My husband," she said, "saw a unicorn this morning." The police looked at the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist looked at the police. "He told me it ate a lily," she said. The psychiatrist looked at the police, and the police looked at the psychiatrist. "He told me it had a golden horn in the middle of its forehead," she said. At a solemn signal from the psychiatrist, the police leaped from their chairs and siezed the wife. They had a hard time subduing her, for she put up a terrific struggle, but they finally subdued her. Just as they got her into the strait-jacket, the husband came back into the house.
"Did you tell your wife you saw a unicorn?" asked the police. "Of course not," said the husband. "The unicorn is a mythical beast." "That's all I wanted to know," said the psychiatrist. "Take her away. I'm sorry sir, but your wife is as crazy as a jay bird." So, they took her away, cursing and screaming, and shut her up in an institution. The husband lived happily ever after.
Moral: Don't count your boobies until they are hatched.