The Unicorn in Fabyn’s Cronycle

Robert Fabyan (1455? – 1512) was a draper, sheriff, and author of Fabyans cronycle. The Cronycle recounted English and French history covering the time period from the legendary first king of England Brutus of Troy to the Tudor Henry VII.

A unicorn appears in Fabyans cronycle. The early medieval king of the Salian Franks, Childeric (440-482), was exiled for seducing his followers’ wives. During his eight years in exile, he was taken in by King Bisinus of Thuringia. Over time, lusty Childeric seduced Bisinus’ queen, Basina. Childeric eventually returned to his kingdom and Basina left her husband and accompanied her new lover Childeric to Tournai.

On the night Childeric and Basina married, Basina convinced Childeric that they should “abstain from fleshly lykyng.” Instead, Childeric should watch the palace gates all night long where he would receive three visions. The first vision was of a multitude of unicorns, lions, and leopards passing by the palace gate. The second vision was of bears and wolves, and the third vision was of dogs and other ravenous small beasts.

Basina later interpreted Childeric’s visions. The first vision predicted the arrival of a son who would be noble and honorable just as unicorns, lions, and leopards are. The second vision predicted a second son who will pillage and fight. The third vision foretold of a third child or children who would destroy and attack the common people and be poor rulers.

Childeric’s first son was Chlodovechus or Clovis I, the founder of the Merovingian dynasty who would rule over Francia for 300 years. He was the noble and honorable son envisaged by the unicorn in Childeric’s vision.


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