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THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

by Washington Irving

Found among the papers of the late Diedrech Knickerbocker.

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was

Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;

And of gay castles in the clouds that pass

Forever flushing round a summer sky.

Castle of Indolence.

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the
eastern shore of the Hudsonat that broad expansion of the river
denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zeeand
where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the
protection of St. Nicholas when they crossedthere lies a small
market town or rural portwhich by some is called Greensburgh
but which is more generally and properly known by the name of
Tarry Town. This name was givenwe are toldin former daysby
the good housewives of the adjacent countryfrom the inveterate
propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern
on market days. Be that as it mayI do not vouch for the fact
but merely advert to itfor the sake of being precise and
authentic. Not far from this villageperhaps about two miles
there is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills
which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small
brook glides through itwith just murmur enough to lull one to
repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a
woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the
uniform tranquillity.

I recollect thatwhen a striplingmy first exploit in
squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades
one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontimewhen
all nature is peculiarly quietand was startled by the roar of
my own gunas it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was
prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should
wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its
distractionsand dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled
lifeI know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the placeand the peculiar
character of its inhabitantswho are descendants from the
original Dutch settlersthis sequestered glen has long been
known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOWand its rustic lads are
called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring
country. A drowsydreamy influence seems to hang over the land
and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was
bewitched by a High German doctorduring the early days of the
settlement; othersthat an old Indian chiefthe prophet or


wizard of his tribeheld his powwows there before the country
was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it isthe
place still continues under the sway of some witching powerthat
holds a spell over the minds of the good peoplecausing them to
walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of
marvelous beliefs; are subject to trances and visionsand
frequently see strange sightsand hear music and voices in the
air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local taleshaunted
spotsand twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare
oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country
and the nightmarewith her whole ninefoldseems to make it the
favorite scene of her gambols.

The dominant spirithoweverthat haunts this enchanted
regionand seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of
the airis the apparition of a figure on horsebackwithout a
head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper
whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ballin some
nameless battle during the Revolutionary Warand who is ever and
anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of
nightas if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not
confined to the valleybut extend at times to the adjacent
roadsand especially to the vicinity of a church at no great
distance. Indeedcertain of the most authentic historians of
those partswho have been careful in collecting and collating
the floating facts concerning this spectreallege that the body
of the trooper having been buried in the churchyardthe ghost
rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head
and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along
the Hollowlike a midnight blastis owing to his being belated
and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.

Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition
which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that
region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country
firesidesby the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have
mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the
valleybut is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides
there for a time. However wide awake they may have been before
they entered that sleepy regionthey are surein a little time
to inhale the witching influence of the airand begin to grow
imaginativeto dream dreamsand see apparitions.

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud for it
is in such little retired Dutch valleysfound here and there
embosomed in the great State of New Yorkthat population
mannersand customs remain fixedwhile the great torrent of
migration and improvementwhich is making such incessant changes
in other parts of this restless countrysweeps by them
unobserved. They are like those little nooks of still water
which border a rapid streamwhere we may see the straw and
bubble riding quietly at anchoror slowly revolving in their
mimic harborundisturbed by the rush of the passing current.
Though many years have elapsed since I trod the drowsy shades of
Sleepy Hollowyet I question whether I should not still find the
same trees and the same families vegetating in its sheltered
bosom.

In this by-place of nature there abodein a remote period
of American historythat is to saysome thirty years sincea
worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Cranewho sojournedoras
he expressed ittarried,in Sleepy Hollowfor the purpose of


instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a native of
Connecticuta State which supplies the Union with pioneers for
the mind as well as for the forestand sends forth yearly its
legions of frontier woodmen and country schoolmasters. The
cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was
tallbut exceedingly lankwith narrow shoulderslong arms and
legshands that dangled a mile out of his sleevesfeet that
might have served for shovelsand his whole frame most loosely
hung together. His head was smalland flat at topwith huge
earslarge green glassy eyesand a long snipe noseso that it
looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell
which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of
a hill on a windy daywith his clothes bagging and fluttering
about himone might have mistaken him for the genius of famine
descending upon the earthor some scarecrow eloped from a
cornfield.

His schoolhouse was a low building of one large roomrudely
constructed of logs; the windows partly glazedand partly
patched with leaves of old copybooks. It was most ingeniously
secured at vacant hoursby a *withe twisted in the handle of the
doorand stakes set against the window shutters; so that though
a thief might get in with perfect easehe would find some
embarrassment in getting out--an idea most probably borrowed by
the architectYost Van Houtenfrom the mystery of an eelpot.
The schoolhouse stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation
just at the foot of a woody hillwith a brook running close by
and a formidable birch-tree growing at one end of it. From hence
the low murmur of his pupils' voicesconning over their lessons
might be heard in a drowsy summer's daylike the hum of a
beehive; interrupted now and then by the authoritative voice of
the masterin the tone of menace or commandorperadventure
by the appalling sound of the birchas he urged some tardy
loiterer along the flowery path of knowledge. Truth to sayhe
was a conscientious manand ever bore in mind the golden maxim
Spare the rod and spoil the child.Ichabod Crane's scholars
certainly were not spoiled.

I would not have it imaginedhoweverthat he was one of
those cruel potentates of the school who joy in the smart of
their subjects; on the contraryhe administered justice with
discrimination rather than severity; taking the burden off the
backs of the weakand laying it on those of the strong. Your
mere puny striplingthat winced at the least flourish of the
rodwas passed by with indulgence; but the claims of justice
were satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some little
tough wrong headedbroad-skirted Dutch urchinwho sulked and
swelled and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All this he
called "doing his duty by their parents;" and he never inflicted
a chastisement without following it by the assuranceso
consolatory to the smarting urchinthat "he would remember it
and thank him for it the longest day he had to live."

When school hours were overhe was even the companion and
playmate of the larger boys; and on holiday afternoons would
convoy some of the smaller ones homewho happened to have pretty
sistersor good housewives for mothersnoted for the comforts
of the cupboard. Indeedit behooved him to keep on good terms
with his pupils. The revenue arising from his school was small
and would have been scarcely sufficient to furnish him with daily
breadfor he was a huge feederandthough lankhad the
dilating powers of an anaconda; but to help out his maintenance
he wasaccording to country custom in those partsboarded and
lodged at the houses of the farmers whose children he instructed.


With these he lived successively a week at a timethus going the
rounds of the neighborhoodwith all his worldly effects tied up
in a cotton handkerchief.

That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his
rustic patronswho are apt to considered the costs of schooling
a grievous burdenand schoolmasters as mere drones he had
various ways of rendering himself both useful and agreeable.
He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors of
their farmshelped to make haymended the fencestook the
horses to waterdrove the cows from pastureand cut wood
for the winter fire. He laid asidetooall the dominant
dignity and absolute sway with which he lorded it in his
little empirethe schooland became wonderfully gentle
and ingratiating. He found favor in the eyes of the mothers
by petting the childrenparticularly the youngest; and like
the lion boldwhich whilom so magnanimously the lamb did hold
he would sit with a child on one kneeand rock a cradle with
his foot for whole hours together.

In addition to his other vocationshe was the singingmaster
of the neighborhoodand picked up many bright shillings
by instructing the young folks in psalmody. It was a matter of no
little vanity to him on Sundaysto take his station in front of
the church gallerywith a band of chosen singers; wherein his
own mindhe completely carried away the palm from the parson.
Certain it ishis voice resounded far above all the rest of the
congregation; and there are peculiar quavers still to be heard in
that churchand which may even be heard half a mile offquite
to the opposite side of the mill-pondon a still Sunday morning
which are said to be legitimately descended from the nose of
Ichabod Crane. Thusby divers little makeshiftsin that
ingenious way which is commonly denominated "by hook and by
crook the worthy pedagogue got on tolerably enough, and was
thought, by all who understood nothing of the labor of headwork,
to have a wonderfully easy life of it.

The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in
the female circle of a rural neighborhood; being considered a
kind of idle, gentlemanlike personage, of vastly superior taste
and accomplishments to the rough country swains, and, indeed,
inferior in learning only to the parson. His appearance,
therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir at the tea-table
of a farmhouse, and the addition of a supernumerary dish of cakes
or sweetmeats, or, peradventure, the parade of a silver teapot.
Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles
of all the country damsels. How he would figure among them in the
churchyard, between services on Sundays; gathering grapes for
them from the wild vines that overran the surrounding trees;
reciting for their amusement all the epitaphs on the tombstones;
or sauntering, with a whole bevy of them, along the banks of the
adjacent mill-pond; while the more bashful country bumpkins hung
sheepishly back, envying his superior elegance and address.

From his half-itinerant life, also, he was a kind of
traveling gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from
house to house, so that his appearance was always greeted with
satisfaction. He was, moreover, esteemed by the women as a man of
great erudition, for he had read several books quite through, and
was a perfect master of Cotton Mather's History of New England
Witchcraft in which, by the way, he most firmly and potently
believed.

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and


simple credulity. His appetite for the marvelous, and his powers
of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both had been
increased by his residence in this spell-bound region. No tale
was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow. It was
often his delight, after his school was dismissed in the
afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed of clover bordering
the little brook that whimpered by his school-house, and there
con over old Mather's direful tales, until the gathering dusk of
evening made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes. Then,
as he wended his way by swamp and stream and awful woodland, to
the farmhouse where he happened to be quartered, every sound of
nature, at that witching hour, fluttered his excited
imagination, --the moan of the whip-poor-will from the hillside,
the boding cry of the tree toad, that harbinger of storm, the
dreary hooting of the screech owl, to the sudden rustling in the
thicket of birds frightened from their roost. The fireflies, too,
which sparkled most vividly in the darkest places, now and then
startled him, as one of uncommon brightness would stream across
his path; and if, by chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came
winging his blundering flight against him, the poor varlet was
ready to give up the ghost, with the idea that he was struck with
a witch's token. His only resource on such occasions, either to
drown thought or drive away evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes
and the good people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their doors
of an evening, were often filled with awe at hearing his nasal
melody, in linked sweetness long drawn out floating from the
distant hill, or along the dusky road.

Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long
winter evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by
the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the
hearth, and listen to their marvellous tales of ghosts and
goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted
bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless
horseman, or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes
called him. He would delight them equally by his anecdotes of
witchcraft, and of the direful omens and portentous sights and
sounds in the air, which prevailed in the earlier times of
Connecticut; and would frighten them woefully with speculations
upon comets and shooting stars; and with the alarming fact that
the world did absolutely turn round, and that they were half the
time topsy-turvy!

But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly
cuddling in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of a
ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of course, no
spectre dared to show its face, it was dearly purchased by the
terrors of his subsequent walk homewards. What fearful shapes and
shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a
snowy night! With what wistful look did he eye every trembling
ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant
window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with
snow, which, like a sheeted spectre, beset his very path! How
often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own
steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look
over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being
tramping close behind him! and how often was he thrown into
complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees,
in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his
nightly scourings!

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms
of the mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many
spectres in his time, and been more than once beset by Satan in


divers shapes, in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an
end to all these evils; and he would have passed a pleasant life
of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had
not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal
man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put
together, and that was--a woman.

Among the musical disciples who assembled, one evening in
each week, to receive his instructions in psalmody, was Katrina
Van Tassel, the daughter and only child of a substantial Dutch
farmer. She was a booming lass of fresh eighteen; plump as a
partridge; ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of her
father's peaches, and universally famed, not merely for her
beauty, but her vast expectations. She was withal a little of a
coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a
mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set of
her charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold, which her
great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saar dam; the
tempting stomacher of the olden time, and withal a provokingly
short petticoat, to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the
country round.

Ichahod Crane had a soft and foolish heart towards the sex;
and it is not to be wondered at, that so tempting a morsel soon
found favor in his eyes, more especially after he had visited her
in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect
picture of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted farmer. He
seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or his thoughts beyond
the boundaries of his own farm; but within those everything was
snug, happy and well-conditioned. He was satisfied with his
wealth, but not proud of it; and piqued himself upon the hearty
abundance, rather than the style in which he lived. His
stronghold was situated on the banks of the Hudson, in one of
those green, sheltered, fertile nooks in which the Dutch farmers
are so fond of nestling. A great elm tree spread its broad
branches over it, at the foot of which bubbled up a spring of the
softest and sweetest water, in a little well formed of a barrel;
and then stole sparkling away through the grass, to a neighboring
brook, that babbled along among alders and dwarf willows. Hard
by the farmhouse was a vast barn, that might have served for a
church; every window and crevice of which seemed bursting
forth with the treasures of the farm; the flail was busily
resounding within it from morning to night; swallows and martins
skimmed twittering about the eaves; an rows of pigeons, some with
one eye turned up, as if watching the weather, some with their
heads under their wings or buried in their bosoms, and others
swelling, and cooing, and bowing about their dames, were enjoying
the sunshine on the roof. Sleek unwieldy porkers were grunting in
the repose and abundance of their pens, from whence sallied
forth, now and then, troops of sucking pigs, as if to snuff the
air. A stately squadron of snowy geese were riding in an
adjoining pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks; regiments of
turkeys were gobbling through the farmyard, and Guinea fowls
fretting about it, like ill-tempered housewives, with their
peevish, discontented cry. Before the barn door strutted the
gallant cock, that pattern of a husband, a warrior and a fine
gentleman, clapping his burnished wings and crowing in the pride
and gladness of his heart, --sometimes tearing up the earth with
his feet, and then generously calling his ever-hungry family of
wives and children to enjoy the rich morsel which he had
discovered.

The pedagogue's mouth watered as he looked upon this
sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring


mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting-pig running
about with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth; the
pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and tucked
in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in their own
gravy; and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like snug married
couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers
he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy
relishing ham; not a turkey but he beheld daintily trussed up,
with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a necklace of
savory sausages; and even bright chanticleer himself lay
sprawling on his back, in a side dish, with uplifted claws, as if
craving that quarter which his chivalrous spirit disdained to ask
while living.

As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled
his great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the rich fields
of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards
burdened with ruddy fruit, which surrounded the warm tenement of
Van Tassel, his heart yearned after the damsel who was to inherit
these domains, and his imagination expanded with the idea, how
they might be readily turned into cash, and the money invested in
immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces in the
wilderness. Nay, his busy fancy already realized his hopes, and
presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a whole family of
children, mounted on the top of a wagon loaded with household
trumpery, with pots and kettles dangling beneath; and he beheld
himself bestriding a pacing mare, with a colt at her heels,
setting out for Kentucky, Tennessee, --or the Lord knows where!

When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart was
complete. It was one of those spacious farmhouses, with highridged
but lowly sloping roofs, built in the style handed down
from the first Dutch settlers; the low projecting eaves forming a
piazza along the front, capable of being closed up in bad
weather. Under this were hung flails, harness, various utensils
of husbandry, and nets for fishing in the neighboring river.
Benches were built along the sides for summer use; and a great
spinning-wheel at one end, and a churn at the other, showed the
various uses to which this important porch might be devoted. From
this piazza the wondering Ichabod entered the hall, which formed
the centre of the mansion, and the place of usual residence. Here
rows of resplendent pewter, ranged on a long dresser, dazzled his
eyes. In one corner stood a huge bag of wool, ready to be spun;
in another, a quantity of linsey-woolsey just from the loom; ears
of Indian corn, and strings of dried apples and peaches, hung in
gay festoons along the walls, mingled with the gaud of red
peppers; and a door left ajar gave him a peep into the best
parlor, where the claw-footed chairs and dark mahogany tables
shone like mirrors; andirons, with their accompanying shovel and
tongs, glistened from their covert of asparagus tops; mock-
oranges and conch - shells decorated the mantelpiece; strings of
various-colored birds eggs were suspended above it; a great
ostrich egg was hung from the centre of the room, and a corner
cupboard, knowingly left open, displayed immense treasures of old
silver and well-mended china.

From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of
delight, the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study
was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van
Tassel. In this enterprise, however, he had more real
difficulties than generally fell to the lot of a knight-errant of
yore, who seldom had anything but giants, enchanters, fiery
dragons, and such like easily conquered adversaries, to contend
with and had to make his way merely through gates of iron and


brass, and walls of adamant to the castle keep, where the lady of
his heart was confined; all which he achieved as easily as a man
would carve his way to the centre of a Christmas pie; and then
the lady gave him her hand as a matter of course. Ichabod, on the
contrary, had to win his way to the heart of a country coquette,
beset with a labyrinth of whims and caprices, which were forever
presenting new difficulties and impediments; and he had to
encounter a host of fearful adversaries of real flesh and blood,
the numerous rustic admirers, who beset every portal to her
heart, keeping a watchful and angry eye upon each other, but
ready to fly out in the common cause against any new competitor.

Among these, the most formidable was a burly, roaring,
roystering blade, of the name of Abraham, or, according to the
Dutch abbreviation, Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the country round
which rang with his feats of strength and hardihood. He was
broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with short curly black hair,
and a bluff but not unpleasant countenance, having a mingled air
of fun and arrogance From his Herculean frame and great powers of
limb he had received the nickname of BROM BONES, by which he was
universally known. He was famed for great knowledge and skill in
horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. He was
foremost at all races and cock fights; and, with the ascendancy
which bodily strength always acquires in rustic life, was the
umpire in all disputes, setting his hat on one side, and giving
his decisions with an air and tone that admitted of no gainsay or
appeal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; but
had more mischief than ill-will in his composition; and with all
his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dash of waggish
good humor at bottom. He had three or four boon companions, who
regarded him as their model, and at the head of whom he scoured
the country, attending every scene of feud or merriment for
miles round. In cold weather he was distinguished by a fur cap,
surmounted with a flaunting fox's tail; and when the folks at a
country gathering descried this well-known crest at a distance,
whisking about among a squad of hard riders, they always stood by
for a squall. Sometimes his crew would be heard dashing along
past the farmhouses at midnight, with whoop and halloo, like a
troop of Don Cossacks; and the old dames, startled out of their
sleep, would listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had
clattered by, and then exclaim, Aythere goes Brom Bones
and his gang!" The neighbors looked upon him with a mixture
of aweadmirationand good-will; andwhen any madcap prank
or rustic brawl occurred in the vicinityalways shook their
headsand warranted Brom Bones was at the bottom of it.

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out the
blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallantriesand
though his amorous toyings were something like the gentle
caresses and endearments of a bearyet it was whispered that she
did not altogether discourage his hopes. Certain it ishis
advances were signals for rival candidates to retirewho felt no
inclination to cross a lion in his amours; insomuchthat when
his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel's palingon a Sunday
nighta sure sign that his master was courtingoras it is
termed sparking,withinall other suitors passed by in
despairand carried the war into other quarters.

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to
contendandconsideringall thingsa stouter man than he
would have shrunk from the competitionand a wiser man would
have despaired. He hadhowevera happy mixture of pliability
and perseverance in his nature; he was in form and spirit like a
supple-jackÄyieldingbut tough; though he benthe never broke;


and though he bowed beneath the slightest pressureyetthe
moment it was away--jerk!--he was as erectand carried his
head as high as ever.

To have taken the field openly against his rival would have
been madness; for he was not a man to be thwarted in his amours
any more than that stormy loverAchilles. Ichabodtherefore
made his advances in a quiet and gently insinuating manner. Under
cover of his character of singing-masterhe made frequent visits
at the farmhouse; not that he had anything to apprehend from the
meddlesome interference of parentswhich is so often a
stumbling-block in the path of lovers. Balt Van Tassel was an
easy indulgent soul; he loved his daughter better even than his
pipeandlike a reasonable man and an excellent fatherlet her
have her way in everything. His notable little wifetoohad
enough to do to attend to her housekeeping and manage her
poultry; foras she sagely observedducks and geese are foolish
thingsand must be looked afterbut girls can take care of
themselves. Thuswhile the busy dame bustled about the houseor
plied her spinning-wheel at one end of the piazzahonest Balt
would sit smoking his evening pipe at the otherwatching the
achievements of a little wooden warriorwhoarmed with a sword
in each handwas most valiantly fighting the wind on the
pinnacle of the barn. In the mean timeIchabod would carry on
his suit with the daughter by the side of the spring under the
great elmor sauntering along in the twilightthat hour so
favorable to the lover's eloquence.

I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and won.
To me they have always been matters of riddle and admiration.
Some seem to have but one vulnerable pointor door of access;
while others have a thousand avenuesand may be captured in a
thousand different ways. It is a great triumph of skill to gain
the formerbut a still greater proof of generalship to maintain
possession of the latterfor man must battle for his fortress at
every door and window. He who wins a thousand common hearts is
therefore entitled to some renown; but he who keeps undisputed
sway over the heart of a coquette is indeed a hero. Certain it
isthis was not the case with the redoubtable Brom Bones; and
from the moment Ichabod Crane made his advancesthe interests of
the former evidently declined: his horse was no longer seen tied
to the palings on Sunday nightsand a deadly feud gradually
arose between him and the preceptor of Sleepy Hollow.

Bromwho had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature
would fain have carried matters to open warfare and have settled
their pretensions to the ladyaccording to the mode of those
most concise and simple reasonersthe knights-errant of yore-by
single combat; but lchabod was too conscious of the superior
might of his adversary to enter the lists against him; he had
overheard a boast of Bonesthat he would "double the
schoolmaster upand lay him on a shelf of his own schoolhouse;"
and he was too wary to give him an opportunity. There was
something extremely provokingin this obstinately pacific
system; it left Brom no alternative but to draw upon the funds of
rustic waggery in his dispositionand to play off boorish
practical jokes upon his rival. Ichabod became the object of
whimsical persecution to Bones and his gang of rough riders. They
harried his hitherto peaceful domainssmoked out his singingschool
by stopping up the chimneybroke into the schoolhouse at
nightin spite of its formidable fastenings of withe and window
stakesand turned everything topsy-turvyso that the poor
schoolmaster began to think all the witches in the country held
their meetings there. But what was still more annoyingBrom took


all Opportunities of turning him into ridicule in presence of his
mistressand had a scoundrel dog whom he taught to whine in the
most ludicrous mannerand introduced as a rival of Ichabod'sto
instruct her in psalmody.

In this way matters went on for some timewithout producing
any material effect on the relative situations of the contending
powers. On a fine autumnal afternoonIchabodin pensive mood
sat enthroned on the lofty stool from whence he usually watched
all the concerns of his little literary realm. In his hand he
swayed a ferulethat sceptre of despotic power; the birch of
justice reposed on three nails behind the thronea constant
terror to evil doerswhile on the desk before him might be seen
sundry contraband articles and prohibited weaponsdetected upon
the persons of idle urchinssuch as half-munched apples
popgunswhirligigsfly-cagesand whole legions of rampant
little paper game-cocks. Apparently there had been some appalling
act of justice recently inflictedfor his scholars were all
busily intent upon their booksor slyly whispering behind them
with one eye kept upon the master; and a kind of buzzing
stillness reigned throughout the schoolroom. It was suddenly
interrupted by the appearance of a negro in tow-cloth jacket and
trowsers. a round-crowned fragment of a hatlike the cap of
Mercuryand mounted on the back of a raggedwildhalf-broken
coltwhich he managed with a rope by way of halter. He came
clattering up to the school-door with an invitation to Ichabod to
attend a merry - making or "quilting-frolic to be held that
evening at Mynheer Van Tassel's; and having, delivered his
message with that air of importance and effort at fine language
which a negro is apt to display on petty embassies of the kind,
he dashed over the brook, and was seen scampering, away up the
Hollow, full of the importance and hurry of his mission.

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet schoolroom.
The scholars were hurried through their lessons without stopping
at trifles; those who were nimble skipped over half with
impunity, and those who were tardy had a smart application now
and then in the rear, to quicken their speed or help them over a
tall word. Books were flung aside without being put away on the
shelves, inkstands were overturned, benches thrown down, and the
whole school was turned loose an hour before the usual time,
bursting forth like a legion of young imps, yelping and racketing
about the green in joy at their early emancipation.

The gallant Ichabod now spent at least an extra half hour at
his toilet, brushing and furbishing up his best, and indeed only
suit of rusty black, and arranging his locks by a bit of broken
looking-glass that hung up in the schoolhouse. That he might make
his appearance before his mistress in the true style of a
cavalier, he borrowed a horse from the farmer with whom he was
domiciliated, a choleric old Dutchman of the name of Hans Van
Ripper, and, thus gallantly mounted, issued forth like a knighterrant
in quest of adventures. But it is meet I should, in the
true spirit of romantic story, give some account of the looks and
equipments of my hero and his steed. The animal he bestrode was a
broken-down plow-horse, that had outlived almost everything but
its viciousness. He was gaunt and shagged, with a ewe neck, and a
head like a hammer; his rusty mane and tail were tangled and
knotted with burs; one eye had lost its pupil, and was glaring
and spectral, but the other had the gleam of a genuine devil in
it. Still he must have had fire and mettle in his day, if we may
judge from the name he bore of Gunpowder. He had, in fact, been a
favorite steed of his master's, the choleric Van Ripper, who was
a furious rider, and had infused, very probably, some of his own


spirit into the animal; for, old and broken-down as he looked,
there was more of the lurking devil in him than in any young
filly in the country.

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed . He rode
with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the
pommel of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like
grasshoppers'; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand,
like a sceptre, and as his horse jogged on, the motion of his
arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. A small wool
hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his scanty strip of
forehead might be called, and the skirts of his black coat
fluttered out almost to the horses tail. Such was the appearance
of Ichabod and his steed as they shambled out of the gate of Hans
Van Ripper, and it was altogether such an apparition as is seldom
to be met with in broad daylight.

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was
clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery
which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests
had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the
tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes
of orange, purple, and scarlet. Streaming files of wild ducks
began to make their appearance high in the air; the bark of the
squirrel might be heard from the groves of beech and hickorynuts,
and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from the
neighboring stubble field.

The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In the
fullness of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping and
frolicking from bush to bush, and tree to tree, capricious from
the very profusion and variety around them. There was the honest
cockrobin, the favorite game of stripling sportsmen, with its
loud querulous note; and the twittering blackbirds flying in
sable clouds, and the golden- winged woodpecker with his crimson
crest, his broad black gorget, and splendid plumage; and the
cedar-bird, with its red tipt wings and yellow-tipt tail and its
little monteiro cap of feathers; and the blue jay, that noisy
coxcomb, in his gay light blue coat and white underclothes,
screaming and chattering, nodding and bobbing and bowing, and
pretending to be on good terms with every songster of the grove.

As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open to
every symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with delight over the
treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld vast store of
apples: some hanging in oppressive opulence on the trees; some
gathered into baskets and barrels for the market; others heaped
up in rich piles for the cider-press. Farther on he beheld great
fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears peeping from their
leafy coverts, and holding out the promise of cakes and hastypudding;
and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up
their fair round bellies to the sun, and giving ample prospects
of the most luxurious of pies; and anon he passed the fragrant
buckwheat fields breathing the odor of the beehive, and as he
beheld them, soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty
slap-jacks, well buttered, and garnished with honey or treacle,
by the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel.

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and sugared
suppositions he journeyed along the sides of a range of hills
which look out upon some of the goodliest scenes of the mighty
Hudson. The sun gradually wheeled his broad disk down in the
west. The wide bosom of the Tappan Zee lay motionless and glassy,
excepting that here and there a gentle undulation waved and


prolonged the blue shallow of the distant mountain. A few amber
clouds floated in the sky, without a breath of air to move them.
The horizon was of a fine golden tint, changing gradually into a
pure apple green, and from that into the deep blue of the midheaven.
A slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of the
precipices that overhung some parts of the river, giving greater
depth to the dark gray and purple of their rocky sides. A sloop
was loitering in the distance, dropping slowly down with the
tide, her sail hanging uselessly against the mast; and as the
reflection of the sky gleamed along the still water, it seemed as
if the vessel was suspended in the air.

It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle of
the Heer Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the pride and
flower of the adjacent country Old farmers, a spare leathernfaced
race, in homespun coats and breeches, blue stockings, huge
shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. Their brisk, withered
little dames, in close crimped caps, long waisted short-gowns,
homespun petticoats, with scissors and pin-cushions, and gay
calico pockets hanging on the outside. Buxom lasses, almost as
antiquated as their mothers, excepting where a straw hat, a fine
ribbon, or perhaps a white frock, gave symptoms of city
innovation. The sons, in short square-skirted coats, with rows of
stupendous brass buttons, and their hair generally queued in the
fashion of the times, especially if they could procure an eelskin
for the purpose, it being esteemed throughout the country as a
potent nourisher and strengthener of the hair.

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having come
to the gathering on his favorite steed Daredevil, a creature,
like himself, full of mettle and mischief, and which no one but
himself could manage. He was, in fact, noted for preferring
vicious animals, given to all kinds of tricks which kept the
rider in constant risk of his neck, for he held a tractable,
wellbroken horse as unworthy of a lad of spirit.

Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms that
burst upon the enraptured gaze of my hero, as he entered the
state parlor of Van Tassel's mansion. Not those of the bevy of
buxom lasses, with their luxurious display of red and white; but
the ample charms of a genuine Dutch country tea-table, in the
sumptuous time of autumn. Such heaped up platters of cakes of
various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to experienced
Dutch housewives! There was the doughty doughnut, the tender
olykoek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and
short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family
of cakes. And then there were apple pies, and peach pies, and
pumpkin pies; besides slices of ham and smoked beef; and moreover
delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and
quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens;
together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledypigglely,
pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the
motherly teapot sending up its clouds of vapor from the midst--
Heaven bless the mark! I want breath and time to discuss this
banquet as it deserves, and am too eager to get on with my story.
Happily, Ichabod Crane was not in so great a hurry as his
historian, but did ample justice to every dainty.

He was a kind and thankful creature, whose heart dilated in
proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer, and whose
spirits rose with eating, as some men's do with drink. He could
not help, too, rolling his large eyes round him as he ate, and
chuckling with the possibility that he might one day be lord of
all this scene of almost unimaginable luxury and splendor. Then,


he thought, how soon he 'd turn his back upon the old
schoolhouse; snap his fingers in the face of Hans Van Ripper, and
every other niggardly patron, and kick any itinerant pedagogue
out of doors that should dare to call him comrade!

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his guests with a
face dilated with content and goodhumor, round and jolly as the
harvest moon. His hospitable attentions were brief, but
expressive, being confined to a shake of the hand, a slap on the
shoulder, a loud laugh, and a pressing invitation to fall to
and help themselves."

And now the sound of the music from the common roomor
hallsummoned to the dance. The musician was an old gray-headed
negrowho had been the itinerant orchestra of the neighborhood
for more than half a century. His instrument was as old and
battered as himself. The greater part of the time he scraped on
two or three stringsaccompanying every movement of the bow with
a motion of the head; bowing almost to the groundand stamping
with his foot whenever a fresh couple were to start.

Ichabod prided himself upon his dancing as much as upon his
vocal powers. Not a limbnot a fibre about him was idle; and to
have seen his loosely hung frame in full motionand clattering
about the roomyou would have thought St. Vitus himselfthat
blessed patron of the dancewas figuring before you in person.
He was the admiration of all the negroes; whohaving gathered
of all ages and sizesfrom the farm and the neighborhoodstood
forming a pyramid of shining black faces at every door and
window; gazing with delight at the scene; rolling their white
eye-ballsand showing grinning rows of ivory from ear to ear.
How could the flogger of urchins be otherwise than animated and
joyous? the lady of his heart was his partner in the danceand
smiling graciously in reply to all his amorous oglings; while
Brom Bonessorely smitten with love and jealousysat brooding
by himself in one corner.

When the dance was at an endIchabod was attracted to a
knot of the sager folkswhowith Old V an Tasselsat smoking
at one end of the piazzagossiping over former timesand
drawing out long stories about the war.
This neighborhoodat the time of which I am speakingwas one of
those highly favored places which abound with chronicle and great
men. The British and American line had run near it during the
war; it hadtherefore]been the scene of marauding and infested
with refugeescow-boysand all kinds of border chivalry. Just
sufficient time had elapsed to enable each story-teller to dress
up his tale with a little becoming fictionandin the
indistinctness of his recollectionto make himself the hero of
every exploit.

There was the story of Doffue Martlinga large blue-bearded
Dutchmanwho had nearly taken a British frigate with an old iron
nine-pounder from a mud breastworkonly that his gun burst at
the sixth discharge. And there was an old gentleman who shall be
namelessbeing too rich a mynheer to be lightly mentionedwho
in the battle of White Plainsbeing an excellent master of
defenceparried a musket-ball with a small-swordinsomuch that
he absolutely felt it whiz round the bladeand glance off at the
hilt; in proof of which he was ready at any time to show the
swordwith the hilt a little bent. There were several more that
had been equally great in the fieldnot one of whom but was
persuaded that he had a considerable hand in bringing the war to
a happy termination.


But all these were nothing to the tales of ghosts and
apparitions that succeeded. The neighborhood is rich in legendary
treasures of the kind. Local tales and superstitions thrive best
in these shelteredlong settled retreats; but are trampled under
foot by the shifting throng that forms the population of most of
our country places. Besidesthere is no encouragement for ghosts
in most of our villagesfor they have scarcely had time to
finish their first nap and turn themselves in their graves
before their surviving friends have travelled away from the
neighborhood; so that when they turn out at night to walk their
roundsthey have no acquaintance left to call upon. This is
perhaps the reason why we so seldom hear of ghosts except in our
long-established Dutch communities.

The immediate causehoweverof the prevalence of
supernatural stories in these partswas doubtless owing to the
vicinity of Sleepy Hollow. There was a contagion in the very air
that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an
atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land. Several
of the Sleepy Hollow people were present at Van Tassel'sandas
usualwere doling out their wild and wonderful legends. Many
dismal tales were told about funeral trainsand mourning cries
and wailings heard and seen about the great tree where the
unfortunate Major Andre was takenand which stood in the
neighborhood. Some mention was made also of the woman in white
that haunted the dark glen at Raven Rockand was often heard to
shriek on winter nights before a stormhaving perished there in
the snow. The chief part of the storieshoweverturned upon the
favorite spectre of Sleepy Hollowthe Headless Horsemanwho had
been heard several times of latepatrolling the country; andit
was saidtethered his horse nightly among the graves in the
churchyard.

The sequestered situation of this church seems always to
have made it a favorite haunt of troubled spirits. It stands on a
knollsurrounded by locusttrees and lofty elmsfrom among
which its decentwhitewashed walls shine modestly forthlike
Christian purity beaming through the shades of retirement. A
gentle slope descends from it to a silver sheet of water
bordered by high treesbetween whichpeeps may be caught at the
blue hills of the Hudson. To look upon its grass-grown yard
where the sunbeams seem to sleep so quietlyone would think that
there at least the dead might rest in peace. On one side of the
church extends a wide woody dellalong which raves a large brook
among broken rocks and trunks of fallen trees. Over a deep black
part of the streamnot far from the churchwas formerly thrown
a wooden bridge; the road that led to itand the bridge itself
were thickly shaded by overhanging treeswhich cast a gloom
about iteven in the daytime; but occasioned a fearful darkness
at night. Such was one of the favorite haunts of the Headless
Horsemanand the place where he was most frequently encountered.
The tale was told of old Brouwera most heretical disbeliever in
ghostshow he met the Horseman returning from his foray into
Sleepy Hollowand was obliged to get up behind him; how they
galloped over bush and brakeover hill and swampuntil they
reached the bridge; when the Horseman suddenly turned into a
skeletonthrew old Brouwer into the brookand sprang away over
the tree-tops with a clap of thunder.

This story was immediately matched by a thrice marvellous
adventure of Brom Boneswho made light of the Galloping Hessian
as an arrant jockey. He affirmed that on returning one night from
the neighboring village of Sing Singhe had been overtaken by


this midnight trooper; that he had offered to race with him for a
bowl of punchand should have won it toofor Daredevil beat the
goblin horse all hollowbut just as they came to the church
bridgethe Hessian boltedand vanished in a flash of fire.

All these talestold in that drowsy undertone with which
men talk in the darkthe countenances of the listeners only now
and then receiving a casual gleam from the glare of a pipesank
deep in the mind of Ichabod. He repaid them in kind with large
extracts from his invaluable authorCotton Matherand added
many marvellous events that had taken place in his native State
of Connecticutand fearful sights which he had seen in his
nightly walks about Sleepy Hollow.

The revel now gradually broke up. The old farmers gathered
together their families in their wagonsand were heard for some
time rattling along the hollow roadsand over the distant hills.
Some of the damsels mounted on pillions behind their favorite
swainsand their light-hearted laughtermingling with the
clatter of hoofsechoed along the silent woodlandssounding
fainter and fainteruntil they gradually died away--and the
late scene of noise and frolic was all silent and deserted.
Ichabod only lingered behindaccording to the custom of country
loversto have a tete-a-tete with the heiress; fully convinced
that he was now on the high road to success. What passed at this
interview I will not pretend to sayfor in fact I do not know.
SomethinghoweverI fear memust have gone wrongfor he
certainly sallied forthafter no very great intervalwith an
air quite desolate and chapfallen. Ohthese women! these women!
Could that girl have been playing off any of her coquettish tricks?
Was her encouragement of the poor pedagogue all a mere sham to
secure her conquest of his rival? Heaven only knowsnot I!
Let it suffice to sayIchabod stole forth with the air of
one who had been sacking a henroostrather than a fair lady's
heart. Without looking to the right or left to notice the scene
of rural wealthon which he had so often gloatedhe went
straight to the stableand with several hearty cuffs and kicks
roused his steed most uncourteously from the comfortable quarters
in which he was soundly sleepingdreaming of mountains of corn
and oatsand whole valleys of timothy and clover.

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabodheavy
hearted and crest-fallenpursued his travels homewardsalong
the sides of the lofty hills which rise above Tarry Townand
which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour was
as dismal as himself. Far below him the Tappan Zee spread its
dusky and indistinct waste of waterswith here and there the
tall mast of a sloopriding quietly at anchor under the land. In
the dead hush of midnighthe could even hear the barking of the
watchdog from the opposite shore of the Hudson; but it was so
vague and faint as only to give an idea of his distance from this
faithful companion of man. Now and thentoothe long-drawn
crowing of a cockaccidentally awakenedwould sound farfar
offfrom some farmhouse away among the hills--but it was like a
dreaming sound in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him
but occasionally the melancholy chirp of a cricketor perhaps
the guttural twang of a bull-frog from a neighboring marshas if
sleeping uncomfortably and turning suddenly in his bed.

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in
the afternoon now came crowding upon his recollection. The night
grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the
skyand driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He
had never felt so lonely and dismal. He wasmoreover


approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost
stories had been laid. In the centre of the road stood an
enormous tulip-treewhich towered like a giant above all the
other trees of the neighborhoodand formed a kind of landmark.
Its limbs were gnarled and fantasticlarge enough to form trunks
for ordinary treestwisting down almost to the earthand rising
again into the air. It was connected with the tragical story of
the unfortunate Andrewho had been taken prisoner hard by; and
was universally known by the name of Major Andre's tree. The
common people regarded it with a mixture of respect and
superstitionpartly out of sympathy for the fate of its illstarred
namesakeand partly from the tales of strange sights
and doleful lamentationstold concerning it.

As Ichabod approached this fearful treehe began to
whistle; he thought his whistle was answered; it was but a blast
sweeping sharply through the dry branches. As he approached a
little nearerhe thought he saw something whitehanging in the
midst of the tree: he pausedand ceased whistling buton
looking more narrowlyperceived that it was a place where the
tree had been scathed by lightningand the white wood laid bare.
Suddenly he heard a groan--his teeth chatteredand his knees
smote against the saddle: it was but the rubbing of one huge
bough upon anotheras they were swayed about by the breeze. He
passed the tree in safetybut new perils lay before him.

About two hundred yards from the treea small brook crossed
the roadand ran into a marshy and thickly-wooded glenknown by
the name of Wiley's Swamp. A few rough logslaid side by side
served for a bridge over this stream. On that side of the road
where the brook entered the wooda group of oaks and chestnuts
matted thick with wild grape-vinesthrew a cavernous gloom over
it. To pass this bridge was the severest trial. It was at this
identical spot that the unfortunate Andre was capturedand under
the covert of those chestnuts and vines were the sturdy yeomen
concealed who surprised him. This has ever since been considered
a haunted streamand fearful are the feelings of the school-boy
who has to pass it alone after dark.

As he approached the streamhis heart began to thump he
summoned uphoweverall his resolutiongave his horse half a
score of kicks in the ribsand attempted to dash briskly across
the bridge; but instead of starting forwardthe perverse old
animal made a lateral movementand ran broadside against the
fence. Ichabodwhose fears increased with the delayjerked the
reins on the other sideand kicked lustily with the contrary
foot: it was all in vain; his steed startedit is truebut it
was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a
thicket of brambles and alder-bushes. The schoolmaster now
bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old
Gunpowderwho dashed forwardsnuffling and snortingbut came
to a stand just by the bridgewith a suddenness that had nearly
sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a
plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear
of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the groveon the margin of the
brookhe beheld something hugemisshapen and towering. It
stirred notbut seemed gathered up in the gloomlike some
gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveller.

The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head with
terror. What was to be done? To turn and fly was now too late;
and besideswhat chance was there of escaping ghost or goblin
if such it waswhich could ride upon the wings of the wind?
Summoning upthereforea show of couragehe demanded in


stammering accents Who are you?He received no reply. He
repeated his demand in a still more agitated voice. Still there
was no answer. Once more he cudgelled the sides of the inflexible
Gunpowderandshutting his eyesbroke forth with involuntary
fervor into a psalm tune. Just then the shadowy object of alarm
put itself in motionand with a scramble and a bound stood at
once in the middle of the road. Though the night was dark and
dismalyet the form of the unknown might now in some degree be
ascertained. He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions
and mounted on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no offer
of molestation or sociabilitybut kept aloof on one side of the
roadjogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowderwho had
now got over his fright and waywardness.

Ichabodwho had no relish for this strange midnight
companionand bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones
with the Galloping Hessiannow quickened his steed in hopes of
leaving him behind. The strangerhoweverquickened his horse to
an equal pace. Ichabod pulled upand fell into a walkthinking
to lag behind--the other did the same. His heart began to sink
within him; he endeavored to resume his psalm tunebut his
parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouthand he could not
utter a stave. There was something in the moody and dogged
silence of this pertinacious companion that was mysterious and
appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On mounting a
rising groundwhich brought the figure of his fellow-traveller
in relief against the skygigantic in heightand muffled in a
cloakIchabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was
headless! but his horror was still more increased on observing
that the headwhich should have rested on his shoulderswas
carried before him on the pommel of his saddle! His terror rose
to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks and blows upon
Gunpowderhoping by a sudden movement to give his companion the
slip; but the spectre started full jump with him. Awaythen
they dashed through thick and thin; stones flying and sparks
flashing at every bound. Ichabod's flimsy garments fluttered in
the airas he stretched his long lank body away over his horse's
headin the eagerness of his flight.

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy
Hollow; but Gunpowderwho seemed possessed with a demoninstead
of keeping up itmade an opposite turnand plunged headlong
down hill to the left. This road leads through a sandy hollow
shaded by trees for about a quarter of a milewhere it crosses
the bridge famous in goblin story; and just beyond swells the
green knoll on which stands the whitewashed church.

As yet the panic of the steed had given his unskilful rider
an apparent advantage in the chasebut just as he had got half
way through the hollowthe girths of the saddle gave wayand he
felt it slipping from under him. He seized it by the pommeland
endeavored to hold it firmbut in vain; and had just time to
save himself by clasping old Gunpowder round the neckwhen the
saddle fell to the earthand he heard it trampled under foot by
his pursuer. For a moment the terror of Hans Van Ripper's wrath
passed across his mind--for it was his Sunday saddle; but this
was no time for petty fears; the goblin was hard on his haunches;
and (unskilful rider that he was!) he had much ado to maintain
his seat; sometimes slipping on one sidesometimes on another
and sometimes jolted on the high ridge of his horse's backbone
with a violence that he verily feared would cleave him asunder.

An openingin the trees now cheered him with the hopes that
the church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflection of a


silver star in the bosom of the brook told him that he was not
mistaken. He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the
trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones' ghostly
competitor had disappeard. "If I can but reach that bridge
thought Ichabod, I am safe." Just then he heard the black steed
panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he
felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribsand old
Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the
resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod
cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanishaccording
to rulein a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the
goblin rising in his stirrupsand in the very act of hurling his
head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile
but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous
crash--he was tumbled headlong into the dustand Gunpowder
the black steedand the goblin riderpassed by like a whirlwind.

The next morning the old horse was found without his saddle
and with the bridle under his feetsoberly cropping the grass at
his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his appearance at
breakfast; dinner-hour camebut no Ichabod. The boys assembled
at the schoolhouseand strolled idly about the banks of the
brook; but no schoolmaster. Hans Van Ripper now began to feel
some uneasiness about the fate of poor Ichabodand his saddle.
An inquiry was set on footand after diligent investigation they
came upon his traces. In one part of the road leading to the
church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of
horses' hoofs deeply dented in the roadand evidently at furious
speedwere traced to the bridgebeyond whichon the bank of a
broad part ooe the brookwhere the water ran deep and blackwas
found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabodand close beside it a
shattered pumpkin.

The brook was searchedbut the body of the schoolmaster was
not to be discovered. Hans Van Ripper as executor of his estate
examined the bundle which contained all his worldly effects. They
consisted of two shirts and a half; two stocks for the neck; a
pair or two of worsted stockings; an old pair of corduroy smallclothes;
a rusty razor; a book of psalm tunes full of dog's-ears;
and a broken pitch-pipe. As to the books and furniture of the
schoolhousethey belonged to the communityexcepting Cotton
Mather's History of Witchcrafta New England Almanacand
book of dreams and fortune-telling; in which last was a sheet of
foolscap much scribbled and blotted in several fruitless attempts
to make a copy of verses in honor of the heiress of Van Tassel.
These magic books and the poetic scrawl were forthwith consigned
to the flames by Hans Van Ripper; whofrom that time forward
determined to send his children no more to school; observing that
he never knew any good come of this same reading and writing.
Whatever money the schoolmaster possessedand he had received
his quarter's pay but a day or two beforehe must have had about
his person at the time of his disappearance.

The mysterious event caused much speculation at the church
on the following Sunday. Knots of gazers and gossips were
collected in the churchyardat the bridgeand at the spot where
the hat and pumpkin had been found. The stories of Brouwerof
Bonesand a whole budget of others were called to mind; and when
they had diligently considered them alland compared them with
the symptoms of the present casethey shook their headsand
came to the conclusion chat Ichabod had been carried off by the
Galloping Hessian. As he was a bachelorand in nobody's debt
nobody troubled his head any more about him; the school was
removed to a different quarter of the Hollowand another


pedagogue reigned in his stead.

It is truean old farmerwho had been down to New York on
a visit several years afterand from whom this account of the
ghostly adventure was receivedbrought home the intelligence
that Ichabod Crane was still alive; that he had left the
neighborhood partly through fear of the goblin and Hans Van
Ripperand partly in mortification at having been suddenly
dismissed by the heiress; that he had changed his quarters to a
distant part of the country; had kept school and studied law at
the same time; had been admitted to the bar; turned politician;
electioneered; written for the newspapers; and finally had been
made a justice of the ten pound court. Brom Bonestoowho
shortly after his rival's disappearance conducted the blooming
Katrina in triumph to the altarwas observed to look exceedingly
knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was relatedand always
burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin; which
led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he
chose to tell.

The old country wiveshoweverwho are the best judges of
these mattersmaintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited
away by supernatural means; and it is a favorite story often told
about the neighborhood round the winter evening fire. The bridge
became more than ever an object of superstitious awe; and that
may be the reason why the road has been altered of late yearsso
as to approach the church by the border of the mill-pond. The
schoolhouse being deserted soon fell to decayand was reported
to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue and
the plough-boyloitering homeward of a still summer evening
has often fancied his voice at a distancechanting a melancholy
psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow.

End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow