Schmendrick is a bumbling magician who travels with Mommy Fortuna's traveling carnival out of pure necessity. Reduced to entertaining the sightseers who come to the carnival, Schmendrick wants nothing more than to become a true, powerful magician who does not rely on card tricks and cheap illusions. He sees Mommy Fortuna as an opportunity to gain experience, but when he sees the captured Unicorn for what she is, he decides to free her and join her on her quest. Schmendrick was a character Beagle had initially made up for his children's bedtime stories, and was called the world's worst magician. His name means Fool in Yiddish.
In the novel, Schmendrick's backstory is more detailed, and it is revealed that he has been rendered immortal until he can master the art of magic.
- Schmendrick frees the Unicorn from the enchanted cage Mommy Fortuna held her in.
- He calls forth his magic to summon illusions of Robin Hood and his merry men to distract Captain Cully and his men, allowing the Unicorn her chance to escape.
- He uses his magic to transform the Unicorn into a human form, making the Red Bull abandon its pursuit of her.
- He becomes King Haggard's personal magician, and also serves to find a way to free the other unicorns from the sea.
- He finds a way to persuade the skeleton to confess how to get through the clock by means of giving him wine. He ends up getting them stuck in the Red Bull's lair when King Haggard destroys the clock.
- He considers the Unicorn a friend, though she doesn't truly care for him in return. However, she does grow to appreciate him to a degree, and becomes an almost-friend with him.
- Molly Grue eventually befriends Schmendrick, although she doesn't really like him at first.
- He is also friends with Lir, although they have a tense relationship, and don't really get along.
- He mentions a group called The Red Hot Swamis, though he is the last remaining member of them.
- There are many suggestions of a relationship between him and Molly Grue, though not confirmed.
- He is briefly tied to a tree, which he accidentally brings to life, and it falls in love with him, much to his dismay.