Fidelis et Fortis

Right, let’s start by clearing up any misconceptions, if you’ll pardon the expression. There’s a lot of really crazy stuff, unicorns being captured after laying their heads in the laps of maidens, I mean, how lame is that as symbolism?

And how can you possibly make it gender-specific? I think it’s pretty obvious I’m not male. And I hope it’s pretty obvious I’m a good feminist. I love that line: “A female unicorn needs a male unicorn like a sphinx needs a chimera.” It makes you laugh, but it makes you think as well.

Anyway, this is my area of responsibility, this girls’ school. That’s me on the badge, in profile. I’m looking very serious, but that’s appropriate when you’re promoting the mission statement. “Fidelis et Fortis,” which is Latin for “Faithful and Strong”. You should have seen my hooves, though! I was so proud while I was getting my portrait painted that my hooves couldn’t stay still: the sparks off the stone floor were like a firework display.

The little ones can all see me, and that’s where the scarves come in. Nothing to do with capturing me. I take health and safety very seriously, and I wouldn’t take them for a gallop unless they were hanging on with their school scarf round my neck.

You hear all the patriarchal nonsense about feminine purity, and then people get the wrong impression. They think if the older girls can’t see me, it’s because they’ve been at it. I get so mad at the way men are constantly trying to control female sexuality, to keep women in line: “If you sleep around, nobody will want to marry you, you’ll catch a disease, you won’t see any unicorns.”

It’s not that they can’t see me, it’s just that they generally don’t notice me, because they’re busy with other things. And there’s no need to snicker. If it’s okay for boys, it’s okay for girls.

I was doing a little bit of mambo round the schoolyard at the end of the day, back-two-three, five-six-seven, forward-two-three, five-six-seven, when I realized one of the older girls was watching me. Unusual, but definitely to be encouraged. I trotted over to say hello.

“It’s you, isn’t it?” she said. “Fidelis et Fortis.”

When she glanced down at the embroidered badge on her school blazer to check, I saw she had been crying.

“Oh, don’t tell me,” I said. “It’s a boy, isn’t it?”

She nodded. “We’d been dating for more than a month. We were going to get engaged.”

I nuzzled up to her, and let her stroke my mane.

“Come on,” I said. “Let’s go find him.”

She didn’t have a scarf, so I made her use her school tie as reins. They think they’ll be okay, and then they’re sliding all over the place when we make a sharp turn.

We found him in minutes: he was with another of my girls.

“It’s that slut Abigail Weavers!” my rider hissed.

I explained about how that was inappropriate language to use about a sister and how she was just another victim of male oppression.

“She’s not the enemy – he is,” I said. “Now off you get and let me deal with him.”

The lovebirds were so engrossed in one another, there was no danger of them seeing me. They were walking towards me, and my hooves were getting into that mambo rhythm, back-two-three, five-six-seven, forward –

He doubled up in a most satisfactory way. Even though it’s my motto, I’m sometimes surprised by my own strength.

I went back to my girl and said: “Come on, then, let’s go get some French fries.”

But she rushed past me to get to the boy.

“I think he’s had enough,” I said, but she had her arms round him, and was stroking his hair, and the next thing, this Abigail Weavers person had her arms round him, and then my girl and Abigail Weavers started swatting and scratching at one another.

“Ladies,” I said, “ladies!” and got a very nasty smack on the croup for my trouble.

Never again, I said to myself as I headed home. And then I thought, what am I saying? I’m not male, I’m faithful. And I started to dance, leaving a trail of multi-colored sparks behind me.

Note: The motto Fidelis et Fortis and the unicorn monogram were adopted in 1932 by James Gillespie’s High School for Girls in Edinburgh, Scotland.