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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

By WASHINGTON IRVING

(FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LATE DIEDRICH 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 Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated
by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappaan Zee, and where they always
prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas
when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which
by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly
known by the name of Tarry Town.  This name was given it, we are told,
in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from
the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village
tavern on market days.  Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact,
but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic.
Not far from this village, perhaps about three 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 it,
with 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 that, when a stripling, my 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 noon-time, when all
nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by roar of my own gun, as
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 distractions, and dream
quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more
promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place and the peculiar character of its
inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this
sequestered glen has long been known by the name of Sleepy Hollow, and
its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the
neighboring country.  A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the
land and to pervade the very atmosphere.  Some say that the place was
bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of the
settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of
his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by
Master Hendrick Hudson.  Certain it is, the place still continues under
the sway of some witching power that holds a spell over the minds of
the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie.  They are
given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs; are subject to trances and
visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices
in the air.  The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted
spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare
oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and
the nightmare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make it the favorite
scene of her gambols.

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region and
seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the
apparition of a figure on horseback without a head.  It is said by some
to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away
by a cannon-ball in some nameless battle during the revolutionary war,
and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk, hurrying along in
the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind.  His haunts are not
confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and
especially to the vicinity of a church that is at no great distance.
Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who
have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts
concerning this specter, allege that, the body of the trooper having
been buried in the churchyard, the 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 hollow like a midnight blast, is
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 specter is known at all the country firesides by 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 valley, but is unconsciously
imbibed by every one who resides there for a time.  However wide awake
they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are
sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air,
and begin to grow imaginative–to dream dreams and see apparitions.

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud; for it is in such
little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there embosomed in the
great State of New York, that population, manners and customs remain
fixed, while the great torrent of migration and improvement, which is
making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country,
sweeps by them unobserved.  They are like those little nooks of still
water which border a rapid stream, where we may see the straw and
bubble riding quietly at anchor, or slowly revolving in their mimic
harbor, undisturbed by the rush of the passing current.  Though many
years have elapsed since I trod the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow, yet
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 abode, in a remote period of American
history, that is to say, some thirty years since, a worthy wight of the
name of Ichabod Crane, who sojourned, or, as he expressed it,
“tarried,” in Sleepy Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the
children of the vicinity.  He was a native of Connecticut, a State
which supplies the Union with pioneers for the mind as well as for the
forest, and sends forth yearly its legions of frontier woodmen and
country schoolmasters.

The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person.  He was tall,
but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands
that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for
shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together.  His head was
small and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a
long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock 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 day, with his clothes bagging
and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of
famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a
cornfield.

His schoolhouse was a low building of one large room, rudely
constructed of logs, the windows partly glazed and partly patched with
leaves of copy-books.  It was most ingeniously secured at vacant hours
by a withe twisted in the handle of the door, and stakes set against
the window-shutters; so that, though a thief might get in with perfect
case, he would find some embarrassment in getting out–an idea most
probably borrowed by the architect, Yost Van Houten, from the mystery
of an ellpot.  The schoolhouse stood in a rather lonely but pleasant
situation, just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close
by and a formidable birch-tree growing at one end of it.  From hence
the low murmur of his pupils’ voices, conning over their lessons, might
be heard of a drowsy summer’s day, like the hum of a beehive;
interrupted now and then by the authoritative voice of the master in
the tone of menace or command; or, peradventure, by the appalling sound
of the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along the flowery path of
knowledge.  Truth to say, he was a conscientious man, that 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 imagined, however, that he was one of those cruel
potentates of the school who joy in the smart of their subjects; on the
contrary, he administered justice with discrimination rather than
severity, taking the burden off the backs of the weak and laying it on
those of the strong.  Your mere puny stripling, that winced at the
least flourish of the rod, was passed by with indulgence; but the
claims of justice were satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some
little, tough, wrong headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who 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 assurance, so consolatory to
the smarting urchin, that “he would remember it and thank him for it
the longest day he had to live.”

When school hours were over, he was even the companion and playmate of
the larger boys; and on holyday afternoons would convoy some of the
smaller ones home, who happened to have pretty sisters, or good
housewives for mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard.
Indeed, it 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 bread, for he was a huge feeder,
and, though lank, had the dilating powers of an anaconda; but to help
out his maintenance, he was, according to country custom in those
parts, boarded and lodged at the houses of the farmers whose children
he instructed.  With these he lived successively a week at a time, thus
going the rounds of the neighborhood with all his worldly effects tied
up in a cotton handkerchief.

That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his rustic
patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of schooling a grievous
burden and 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 farms; helped to make hay;
mended the fences; took the horses to water; drove the cows from
pasture, and cut wood for the winter fire.  He laid aside, too, all the
dominant dignity and absolute sway with which he lorded it in his
little empire, the school, and became wonderfully gentle and
ingratiating.  He found favor in the eyes of the mothers, by petting
the children, particularly the youngest; and like the lion bold, which
whilom so magnanimously the lamb did hold, he would sit with a child on
one knee and rock a cradle with his foot for whole hours together.

In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing-master of the
neighborhood, and picked up many bright shillings by instructing the
young folks in psalmody.  It was a matter of no little vanity to him on
Sundays to take his station in front of the church gallery, with a band
of chosen singers; where, in his own mind, he completely carried away
the palm from the parson.  Certain it is, his voice resounded far above
all the rest of the congregation, and there are peculiar quavers still
to be heard in that church, and which may even be heard half a mile
off, quite to the opposite side of the mill-pond, on a still Sunday
morning, which are said to be legitimately descended from the nose of
Ichabod Crane.  Thus by divers little makeshifts, in 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 head-work, 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
gentleman-like 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 overrun 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
schoolhouse, 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[1] from the hill-side; the
boding cry of the tree-toad, that harbinger of storm; the dreary
hooting of the screech-owl, or the sudden rustling in the thicket of
birds frightened from their roost.  The fire-flies, 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 sputtering along the hearth, and
listen to their marvelous 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 wofully 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 specter dared to show its
face, it was dearly purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk
homeward.  What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amid 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 specter, 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 specters in
his time, and had 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
blooming 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 off
her charms.  She wore the ornaments of pure yellow gold which her
great-great-grandmother had brought over from Saardam; the tempting
stomacher of the olden time, and withal a provokingly short petticoat,
to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward 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 these,
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; and 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 its belly
and an apple in its 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 high-ridged, 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 wonderful Ichabod entered the hall, which formed
the center 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 mantel-piece; strings of
various colored birds’ eggs were suspended above it; a great ostrich
egg was hung from the center 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 center 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, roistering
blade, of the name of Abraham, or, according to the Dutch abbreviation,
Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the country round, which rung 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 ascendency 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; 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 of
his own stamp, 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, “Ay, there goes
Brom Bones and his gang!”  The neighbors looked upon him with a mixture
of awe, admiration, and good-will; and when any madcap prank or rustic
brawl occurred in the vicinity, always shook their heads, and 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 gallantries, and though his amorous
toyings were something like the gentle caresses and endearments of a
bear, yet it was whispered that she did not altogether discourage his
hopes.  Certain it is, his advances were signals for rival candidates
to retire, who felt no inclination to cross a lion in his amours;
insomuch, that when his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel’s paling, on
a Sunday night, a sure sign that his master was courting, or, as it is
termed, “sparking,” within, all other suitors passed by in despair and
carried the war into other quarters.

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to contend,
and considering all things, a stouter man than he would have shrunk
from the competition, and a wiser man would have despaired.  He had,
however, a happy mixture of pliability and perseverance in his nature;
he was in form and spirit like a supple-jack–yielding, but tough;
though he bent, he never broke; and though he bowed beneath the
slightest pressure, yet, the moment it was away–jerk!–he was as erect
and 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 lover, Achilles.  Ichabod, therefore, made his
advances in a quiet and gently-insinuating manner.  Under cover of his
character of singing-master, he made frequent visits at the farmhouse;
not that he had anything to apprehend from the meddlesome interference
of parents, which 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 pipe, and like a reasonable man, and an excellent
father, let her have her way in everything.  His notable little wife,
too, had enough to do to attend to her housekeeping and manage the
poultry; for, as she sagely observed, ducks and geese are foolish
things, and must be looked after, but girls can take care of
themselves.  Thus, while the busy dame bustled about the house, or
plied her spinning-wheel at one end of the piazza, honest Balt would
sit smoking his evening pipe at the other, watching the achievements of
a little wooden warrior, who, armed with a sword in each hand, was most
valiantly fighting the wind on the pinnacle of the barn.  In the
meantime, Ichabod would carry on his suit with the daughter by the side
of the spring under the great elm, or sauntering along in the twilight,
that 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 point, or door of access; while others have a
thousand avenues, and may be captured in a thousand different ways.  It
is a great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater
proof of generalship to maintain possession of the latter, for a man
must battle for his fortress at every door and window.  He that 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 is, this was not the case with the redoubtable Brom
Bones; and from the moment Ichabod Crane made his advances, the
interests of the former evidently declined: his horse was no longer
seen tied at the palings on Sunday nights, and a deadly feud gradually
arose between him and the preceptor of Sleepy Hollow.

Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature, would fain have
carried matters to open warfare, and settled their pretensions to the
lady according to the mode of those most concise and simple reasoners,
the knights-errant of yore–by single combat; but Ichabod was too
conscious of the superior might of his adversary to enter the lists
against him; he had overheard the boast of Bones, that he would “double
the schoolmaster up, and put him on a shelf”; and he was too wary to
give him an opportunity.  There was something extremely provoking in
this obstinately pacific system; it left Brom no alternative but to
draw upon the funds of rustic waggery in his disposition, and 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 domains; smoked out his singing-school,
by stopping up the chimney; broke into the schoolhouse at night, in
spite of its formidable fastenings of withe and window stakes, and
turned everything topsy-turvy; so that the poor schoolmaster began to
think all the witches in the country held their meetings there.  But
what was still more annoying, Brom took all opportunities of turning
him into ridicule in presence of his mistress, and had a scoundrel dog
whom he taught to whine in the most ludicrous manner, and introduced as
a rival of Ichabod’s, to instruct her in psalmody.

In this way, matters went on for some time, without producing any
material effect on the relative situations of the contending powers.
On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod, in 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 ferule, that
scepter of despotic power; the birch of justice reposed on three nails,
behind the throne, a constant terror to evil doers; while on the desk
before him might be seen sundry contraband articles and prohibited
weapons, detected upon the persons of idle urchins, such as
half-munched apples, popguns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and whole legions
of rampant little paper game-cocks.  Apparently there had been some
appalling act of justice recently inflicted, for his scholars were all
busily intent upon their books, or 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 trousers, a round crowned
fragment of a hat, like the cap of Mercury, and mounted on the back of
a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which 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 looks 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 knight-errant 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 his 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 burrs; 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 his
name, which was 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 scepter, and as the 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 horse’s 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 hickory-nuts, 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 cock-robin, 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-tipped wings and yellow-tipped 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.  Further 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 hasty-pudding; 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 into the west.  The wide
bosom of the Tappaan Zee lay motionless and glassy, excepting that here
and there a gentle undulation waved and prolonged the blue shadow 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 mid-heaven.  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 leathern-faced 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 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 innovations.  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 well-broken 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 oly-koek, 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 higgledy-piggledy, 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 good-humor, 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 room, or hall, summoned
to the dance.  The musician was an old gray-headed negro, who 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 away on two or three strings,
accompanying every movement of the bow with a motion of the head;
bowing almost to the ground, and 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 limb, not a fiber about him was idle; and to have seen
his loosely hung frame in full motion, and clattering about the room,
you would have thought St. Vitus himself, that blessed patron of the
dance, was figuring before you in person.  He was the admiration of all
the negroes; who, having gathered, of all ages and sizes, from the farm
and the neighborhood, stood forming a pyramid of shining black faces at
every door and window, gazing with delight at the scene, rolling their
white eyeballs, and 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 dance, and
smiling graciously in reply to all his amorous oglings; while Brom
Bones, sorely smitten with love and jealousy, sat brooding by himself
in one corner.

When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted to a knot of the
sager folks, who, with Old Van Tassel, sat smoking at one end of the
piazza, gossiping over former times, and drawling out long stories
about the war.

This neighborhood, at the time of which I am speaking, was 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 had,
therefore, been the scene of marauding, and infested with refugees,
cowboys, and all kind of border chivalry.  Just sufficient time had
elapsed to enable each story-teller to dress up his tale with a little
becoming fiction, and, in the indistinctness of his recollection, to
make himself the hero of every exploit.

There was the story of Doffue Martling, a large blue-bearded Dutchman,
who had nearly taken a British frigate with an old iron nine-pounder
from a mud breastwork, only that his gun burst at the sixth discharge.
And there was an old gentleman who shall be nameless, being too rich a
mynheer to be lightly mentioned, who, in the battle of White Plains,
being an excellent master of defense, parried a musket-ball with a
small-sword, insomuch that he absolutely felt it whiz round the blade
and glance off at the hilt; in proof of which he was ready at any time
to show the sword, with the hilt a little bent.  There were several
more that had been equally great in the field, not 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 sheltered
long-settled retreats; but are trampled under foot by the shifting
throng that forms the population of most of our country places.
Besides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our villages,
for they have scarcely had time to finish their first nap, and turn
themselves in their graves, before their surviving friends have
traveled away from the neighborhood: so that when they turn out at
night to walk their rounds, they 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 cause, however, of the prevalence of supernatural stories
in these parts was 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’s, and, as usual, were doling out their wild and wonderful
legends.  Many dismal tales were told about funeral trains, and
mourning cries and wailings heard and seen about the great tree where
the unfortunate Major André was taken, and which stood in the
neighborhood.  Some mention was made also of the woman in white, that
haunted the dark glen at Raven Rock, and was often heard to shriek on
winter nights before a storm, having perished there in the snow.  The
chief part of the stories, however, turned upon the favorite specter of
Sleepy Hollow, the headless horseman, who had been heard several times
of late, patrolling the country, and, it is said, tethered 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 knoll, surrounded
by locust trees and lofty elms, from among which its decent,
whitewashed walls shine modestly forth, like Christian purity, beaming
through the shades of retirement.  A gentle slope descends from it to a
silver sheet of water, bordered by high trees, between which peeps may
be caught at the blue hills of the Hudson.  To look upon its
grass-grown yard, where the sunbeams seem to sleep so quietly, one
would think that there at least the dead might rest in peace.  On one
side of the church extends a wide woody dell, along which raves a large
brook among broken rocks and trunks of fallen trees.  Over a deep black
part of the stream, not far from the church, was formerly thrown a
wooden bridge; the road that led to it, and the bridge itself, were
thickly shaded by overhanging trees, which cast a gloom about it, even
in the daytime; but occasioned a fearful darkness at night.  Such was
one of the favorite haunts of the headless horseman, and the place
where he was most frequently encountered.  The tale was told of old
Brouwer, a most heretical disbeliever in ghosts, how he met the
horseman returning from his foray into Sleepy Hollow, and was obliged
to get up behind him; how they galloped over bush and brake, over hill
and swamp, until they reached the bridge; when the horseman suddenly
turned into a skeleton, threw old Brouwer into the brook, and sprang
away over the treetops with a clap of thunder.

This story was immediately matched by a thrice marvelous adventure of
Brom Bones, who made light of the galloping Hessian as an arrant
jockey.  He affirmed that, on returning one night from the neighboring
village of Sing Sing, he had been overtaken by this midnight trooper;
that he had offered to race with him for a bowl of punch, and should
have won it too, for Daredevil beat the goblin horse all hollow, but
just as they came to the church bridge the Hessian bolted, and vanished
in a flash of fire.

All these tales, told in that drowsy undertone with which men talk in
the dark, the countenances of the listeners only now and then receiving
a casual gleam from the glare of a pipe, sunk deep in the mind of
Ichabod.  He repaid them in kind with large extracts from his
invaluable author, Cotton Mather, and added many marvelous events that
had taken place in his native State of Connecticut, and 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 wagons, and were heard for some time rattling
along the hollow roads, and over the distant hills.  Some of the
damsels mounted on pillions behind their favorite swains, and their
light-hearted laughter, mingling with the clatter of hoofs, echoed
along the silent woodlands, sounding fainter and fainter, until they
gradually died away–and the late scene of noise and frolic was all
silent and deserted.  Ichabod only lingered behind, according to the
custom of country lovers, to 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 say, for in fact I do not know.
Something, however, I fear me, must have gone wrong, for he certainly
sallied forth, after no very great interval, with an air quite desolate
and chapfallen.–Oh, these 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 knows, not I!–Let it suffice to say, Ichabod stole
forth with the air of one who had been sacking a hen-roost, rather than
a fair lady’s heart.  Without looking to the right or left to notice
the scene of rural wealth on which he had so often gloated, he went
straight to the stable, and with several hearty cuffs and kicks roused
his steed most uncourteously from the comfortable quarters in which he
was soundly sleeping, dreaming of mountains of corn and oats, and whole
valleys of timothy and clover.

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted and
crestfallen, pursued his travel homeward, along the sides of the lofty
hills which rise above Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so
cheerily in the afternoon.  The hour was as dismal as himself.  Far
below him the Tappaan Zee spread its dusky and indistinct waste of
waters, with here and there the tall mast of a sloop, riding quietly at
anchor under the land.  In the dead hush of midnight he could even hear
the barking of the watch-dog 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 then, too, the long-drawn
crowing of a cock, accidentally awakened, would sound far, far off,
from 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 cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of a
bullfrog from a neighboring marsh, as 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 sky, and
driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight.  He had never felt
so lonely and dismal.  He was, moreover, approaching the very place
where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid.  In the
center of the road stood an enormous tulip tree, which towered like a
giant above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a kind
of landmark.  Its limbs were gnarled and fantastic, large enough to
form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and
rising again into the air.  It was connected with the tragical story of
the unfortunate André, who had been taken prisoner hard by; and was
universally known by the name of Major André’s tree.  The common people
regarded it with a mixture of respect and superstition, partly out of
sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake, and partly from the
tales of strange sights and doleful lamentations told concerning it.

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree he 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 nearer, he thought he saw
something white hanging in the midst of the tree: he paused, and ceased
whistling; but, on looking more narrowly, perceived that it was a place
where the tree had been scathed by lightning and the white wood laid
bare.  Suddenly he heard a groan–his teeth chattered, and his knees
smote against the saddle: it was but the rubbing of one huge bough upon
another, as they were swayed about by the breeze.  He passed the tree
in safety, but new perils lay before him.

About two hundred yards from the tree a small brook crossed the road,
and ran into a marshy and thickly wooded glen known by the name of
Wiley’s Swamp.  A few rough logs, laid side by side, served for a
bridge over this stream.  On that side of the road where the brook
entered the wood a group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild
grape-vines, threw a cavernous gloom over it.  To pass this bridge was
the severest trial.  It was at this identical spot that the unfortunate
André was captured, and under the covert of those chestnuts and vines
were the sturdy yeomen concealed who surprised him.  This has ever
since been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are the feelings of
a schoolboy who has to pass it alone after dark.

As he approached the stream his heart began to thump; he summoned up,
however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in
the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead
of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement,
and ran broadside against the fence.  Ichabod, whose fears increased
with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily
with the contrary foot.  It was all in vain; his steed started, it is
true, but 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 Gunpowder, who
dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the
bridge with 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 grove,
on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen, black
and towering.  It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom,
like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler.

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 besides,
what chance was there of escaping ghost or goblin, if such it was,
which could ride upon the wings of the wind?  Summoning up, therefore,
a show of courage, he 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 cudgeled the sides of
the inflexible Gunpowder, and shutting his eyes, broke forth with
involuntary fervor into a psalm tune.  Just then the shadowy object of
alarm put itself in motion, and with a scramble and a bound stood at
once in the middle of the road.  Though the night was dark and dismal,
yet 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
sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on
the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright and
waywardness.

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion, and
bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the galloping
Hessian, now quickened his steed, in hopes of leaving him behind.  The
stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace.  Ichabod
pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind–the other did
the same.  His heart began to sink within him; he endeavored to resume
his psalm tune, but his parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth,
and 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
ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveler in relief
against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod
was horror-struck, on perceiving that he was headless! but his horror
was still more increased, on observing that the head, which should have
rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his
saddle!  His terror rose to desperation; he rained a shower of kicks
and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping, by a sudden movement, to give his
companion the slip–but the specter started full jump with him.  Away,
then, they dashed through thick and thin; stones flying and sparks
flashing at every bound.  Ichabod’s flimsy garments fluttered in the
air, as he stretched his long lank body away over his horse’s head, in
the eagerness of his flight.

They had now reached the road which turns off to Sleepy Hollow; but
Gunpowder, who seemed possessed with a demon, instead of keeping up it,
made an opposite turn, and plunged headlong downhill to the left.  This
road leads through a sandy hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter
of a mile, where 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 unskillful rider an
apparent advantage in the chase; but just as he had got half-way
through the hollow, the girths of the saddle gave way, and he felt it
slipping from under him.  He seized it by the pommel, and endeavored to
hold it firm, but in vain; and had just time to save himself by
clasping old Gunpowder round the neck, when the saddle fell to the
earth, and 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 (unskillful rider that
he was!) he had much ado to maintain his seat; sometimes slipping on
one side, sometimes 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 opening in 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’s ghostly competitor had disappeared.  “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
ribs, and old Gunpowder sprung 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 vanish, according to rule, in
a flash of fire and brimstone.  Just then he saw the goblin rising in
his stirrups, and 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
dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by
like a whirlwind.

The next morning the old horse was found without his saddle, and with
the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the grass at his master’s
gate.  Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast–dinner-hour
came, but no Ichabod.  The boys assembled at the schoolhouse, and
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
Ichabod, and his saddle.  An inquiry was set on foot, and 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 road, and evidently at
furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of
a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was
found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a
shattered pumpkin.

The brook was searched, but 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 small-clothes; 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 schoolhouse, they belonged to the community,
excepting Cotton Mather’s “History of Witchcraft,” a New England
Almanac, and a book of dreams and fortune-telling; in which last was a
sheet of foolscap much scribbled and blotted, by 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; who, from 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 possessed, and he had received his
quarter’s pay but a day or two before, he 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
churchyard, at the bridge, and at the spot where the hat and pumpkin
had been found.  The stories of Brouwer, of Bones, and a whole budget
of others, were called to mind; and when they had diligently considered
them all, and compared them with the symptoms of the present case, they
shook their heads, and came to the conclusion that Ichabod had been
carried off by the galloping Hessian.  As he was a bachelor, and in
nobody’s debt, nobody troubled his head any more about him; the school
was removed to a different quarter of the Hollow, and another pedagogue
reigned in his stead.

It is true, an old farmer, who had been down to New York on a visit
several years after, and from whom this account of the ghostly
adventure was received, brought home the intelligence that Ichabod
Crane was still alive; that he had left the neighborhood partly through
fear of the goblin and Hans Van Ripper, and 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 Bones too, who, shortly after his
rival’s disappearance, conducted the blooming Katrina in triumph to the
altar, was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of
Ichabod was related, and 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 wives, however, who are the best judges of these
matters, maintain 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 years, so as to approach the
church by the border of the mill-pond.  The schoolhouse being deserted,
soon fell to decay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the
unfortunate pedagogue; and the plow-boy, loitering homeward of a still
summer evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chanting a
melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow.

POSTSCRIPT

FOUND IN THE HANDWRITING OF MR. KNICKERBOCKER

The preceding Tale is given, almost in the precise words in which I
heard it related at a Corporation meeting of the ancient city of the
Manhattoes,[2] at which were present many of its sagest and most
illustrious burghers.  The narrator was a pleasant, shabby, gentlemanly
old fellow in pepper-and-salt clothes, with a sadly humorous face; and
one whom I strongly suspected of being poor–he made such efforts to be
entertaining.  When his story was concluded there was much laughter and
approbation, particularly from two or three deputy aldermen, who had
been asleep the greater part of the time.  There was, however, one
tall, dry-looking old gentleman, with beetling eyebrows, who maintained
a grave and rather severe face throughout; now and then folding his
arms, inclining his head, and looking down upon the floor, as if
turning a doubt over in his mind.  He was one of your wary men, who
never laugh but upon good grounds–when they have reason and the law on
their side.  When the mirth of the rest of the company had subsided,
and silence was restored, he leaned one arm on the elbow of his chair,
and sticking the other a-kimbo, demanded, with a slight but exceedingly
sage motion of the head and contraction of the brow, what was the moral
of the story, and what it went to prove.

The story-teller, who was just putting a glass of wine to his lips, as
a refreshment after his toils, paused for a moment, looked at his
inquirer with an air of infinite deference, and lowering the glass
slowly to the table, observed that the story was intended most
logically to prove:

“That there is no situation in life but has its advantages and
pleasures–provided we will but take a joke as we find it;

“That, therefore, he that runs races with goblin troopers is likely to
have rough riding of it;

“Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the hand of a Dutch
heiress is a certain step to high preferment in the State.”

The cautious old gentleman knit his brows tenfold closer after this
explanation, being sorely puzzled by the ratiocination of the
syllogism; while, methought, the one in pepper-and-salt eyed him with
something of a triumphant leer.  At length he observed, that all this
was very well, but still he thought the story a little on the
extravagant–there were one or two points on which he had his doubts:

“Faith, sir,” replied the story-teller, “as to that matter, I don’t
believe one-half of it myself.”

D. K.

[1] The whip-poor-will is a bird which is only heard at night.  It
receives its name from its note, which is thought to resemble those
words.

[2] New York.

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