First European to see one took it for a raurakl, believing it had immigrated from his homeland same as he had, probably packed into a crate in the belly of some rich man’s ship, intended to be hunted in the New World same as they’d been hunted in the Old. Good eating on a raurakl, if you could catch them—more cunning than a fox, more difficult to shoot out of the sky than a drake, they were the perfect sport animal. He saw it, he knew it, and he thought no more of it, not even to ask himself if anyone had ever seen a raurakl with a single horn, or with such gloriously colorful wings.
Of small dismissals is conservation sometimes made.
Second European to see one took it for a wolpertinger, and assumed much the same as the first, that it had been carried over in a ship, that it had escaped from a private zoo, that it was some kind of sport even by the admittedly odd standards of the species, giving it rainbow wings and dawn-colored fur.
First American—not Native, for they had other names for themselves, not immigrant, but colonist all the same—to see one took it for something entirely new, his ancestors having come from the British Isles, where their horned lapines had long since been hunted to extinction. He called it a marvel, and when he described it the other men at the bar deemed it both a hallucination and a jackalope.
They were wrong and they were right and the fact that they could be both at the same time is no more a contradiction than the unijackasus.
It is a wolpertinger. It is a raurakl. It is a jackalope. It is a thousand different creatures that look almost like the thing the viewer expects to see, but aren’t quiet there. It is perfect and it is strange and it is only in America, and it is happy there.
The unijackasus keeps watch over all the American chimera, however odd, and hopes they will one day be understood in all their impossible complexity.
If they aren’t, it will understand, and it will forgive.
It always does.
Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: