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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 na-
ture, 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 ex-
tremely provoking in this obstinately pacific system ; it
left Brom no alternative but to draw upon the funds of

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rustic waggery in his disposition, and to play off boorish
practical jokes upon his rival. Ichabod became the ob-
ject of whimsical persecutions 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 school-house 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 literary realm. In his hand he swayed a ferule, that
sceptre 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, de-
tected upon the persons of idle urchins; such as half-
munched apples, popguns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and
whole legions of rampant little paper game-cocks. Ap-
parently there had been some appalling act of justice re-
cently inflicted, for the scholars were all busily intent
upon their books, or slyly whispering behind them with
one eye kept upon the master; and a kink 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 frag-
ment of a hat, like a cap of Mercury, and mounted on

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THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken colt, which he
managed with a rope by way of halter. He came clatter-
ing 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 school-
room. 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 furnishing 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 plough-horse, that had outlived almost

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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 perpendicu-
larly 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 al-
most 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 ap-
parition 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 abund-
ance. 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-

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THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

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 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 stores 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 hasty-pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying be-
neath 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

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"sugared suppositions," he journeyed along the sides of
a range of hills which look out upon some of the good-
liest 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, ex-
cepting 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 slant-
ing gray 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 Herr 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-waistcd gowns, homespun pet-
ticoats, 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, espe-
cially if they could procure an eelskin for the purpose, it
being esteemed throughout the country as a potent nour-
isher and strengthener of the hair.

290



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, hav-
ing come to the gathering on his favorite steed Dare-
devil, a creature, like himself, full of mettle and mis-
chief, 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 en-
tered 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 experi-
enced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty
doughnut, the tender olykoek, and the crisp and crumb-
ling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes
and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. And
then there were apple 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 chick-
ens; together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled
higgledy-piggledy, pretty much as I have enumerated
them, with the motherly tea-pot sending up its clouds
of vapor from the midst— Heaven bless the mark! I
want breath and time to discuss this banquet as it de-
serves, 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 spirit rose with eating, as some men's
do with drink. He could not help, too, rolling his large

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eyes round him as he ate, and chuckling with the possi-
bility 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
school-house ; 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 cen-
tury. His instrument was as old and battered as him-
self. 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 fibre 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; roll-
ing their white eye-balls, and showing grinning rows of
ivory from ear to ear. How could the flogger of



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THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

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 speak-
ing, was one of those highly favored places which
abound 'vith chronicle and great men. The British and
American line had run near it during the war ; it had,
therefore, been the scene of maurading, and infested with
refugees, cow-boys, and all kinds 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 Doflfue 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 dis-
charge. And there was an old gentleman who shall be
nameless, being too rich a mynheer to be lightly men-
tioned, who in the battle of Whiteplains, being an ex-
cellent master of defence, 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



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apparitions that succeeded. The neighborhood is rich in
legendary treasures of the kind. Local tales and super-
stitions thrive best in these sheltered, long-settled re-
treats ; 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 in-
fecting all the land. Several of the Sleepy Hollow peo-
ple were present at Van Tassel's and, as usual, were
doling out their wild and wonderful legends. Many dis-
mal tales were told about funeral trains, and mourning
cries and wailings heard and seen about the great tree
where the unfortunate Major Andre 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



294



THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW

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 de-
scends 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 former-
ly 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 day-time ;
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 dis-
believer 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 tree-
tops with a clap of thunder.

This story was immediately matched by a thrice mar-
velous 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 a midnight
trooper; that he had offered to race 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



295



COMEDY

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 clattering 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 suc-
cess. 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 sal-
lied 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 coquetish tricks? — Was her encour-
agement 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 henroost, 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

296



















THE


LEGEND


OF


SLEEPY


HOLLOW





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 hour of night that Ichabod,
heavy-hearted, and crest-fallen, pursued his travel home-
wards, 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 Tappen Zee spread its dusky and indis-
tinct 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 bark-
ing 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 farm-house away among the hills — but it was
like a dreaming sound in his ear. No sign of life oc-
curred near him, but occasionally the melancholy chirp
of a cricket, or perhaps the guttural twang of a bull-
frog from a neighboring marsh, as if sleeping uncom-
fortably, 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 recollec-
lection.— The night grew darker and darker; the stars
seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds oc-
casionally 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 centre 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,



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