Abath is a female Unicorn, which derives from accounts made by mid 16th century European travellers of the Malay Peninsular. Like most Unicorns the horn was most valued as it had special medicinal properties. The Arabic people traded the horns for a great deal of money and some businessmen fought to gain a monopoly over the situation. The descriptions of the Abath are remarkably similar to the present-day rhinoceros of Malaysia and as such many skeptics claim that the ‘Unicorn’ was simply the common rhinoceros.

Characterized as a feminine entity adorned with a solitary, gracefully elongated horn emerging from its brow, the enigmatic Abath is widely posited to be nothing more than a brief encounter with the elusive Javan or Sumatran Rhino. Much like the legendary Unicorn, folklore surrounding the Abath suggests that its powdered horn held reputed aphrodisiacal properties and was considered a panacea for various ailments.

The origins of the term “Abath” can be traced back to the Malay language, where the Sumatran or Javan rhinoceros is referred to as “بادق‎ bādaḳ.” The silent qaf sound in the word led Portuguese travelers to coin the simpler term “bada.” The word’s feminine resonance, ending with the letter ‘a,’ appealed to their sensibilities and prompted the assignment of the feminine article “la bada,” occasionally misinterpreted as “l’abada.” “Abath” subsequently emerged as a variant of this term.

In the tales of the Brothers Grimm, the Abath was depicted as a mysterious creature known for impaling its horn into unsuspecting human children before consuming them. These stories further asserted that the Abath exhibited a preference for the cover of darkness, despite being observable and audible.

Although many argue that the Abath was likely a real-world rhinoceros, discussions persist regarding potential disparities between the creature’s descriptions in folklore and its actual counterpart. Regardless of these debates, the Abath remains firmly classified as a mythological entity and, for some, has been rigorously scrutinized and dismissed as such.