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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 unfortu-
nate Andre, who had been taken prisoner hard by, and
was universally known by the name of Major Andre's
tree. The common people regarded it with a mixture of
respect and 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 concern-
ing 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, per-
ceived that it was a place where the tree had been
scathed by lightning, and the white wood laid bare. Sud-
denly 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 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 Andr6
was captured, and under the covert of those chestnuts
and vines were the sturdy yoemen concealed who sur-
prised him. This has ever since been considered a



haunted stream, and fearful are the feeHngs of a school-
boy 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 at-
tempted 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 of the road into a
thicket of brambles and alderbushes. The schoolmaster
now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling
ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forwards, snuffing
and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge,
with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawl-
ing over his head. Just at this moment a splashy 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, mis-
shapen, 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 stam-
mering accents — "Who are you?" He received no reply.
He repeated his demand in a still more agitated voice.
Still there was no answer. Once more he cudgelled the
sides of the inflexible 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 horse-
man of large dimensions, and mounted on a black horse
of powerful frame. He made no ofifer of molestation or
sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogg-
ing 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 fearful-
ly 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 ob-
serving 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 gar-
ments fluttered in the air, as he stretched his long lank



body away over his horse's head, in the eagerness of his

They had now reached the road which turns oflf to
Sleepy Hollow; but Gunpowder, who seemed possessed
with a demon, instead of keeping up it, made an opposite
turn, and plunged headlong down hill 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 (unskilled 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 waver-
ing reflection of a silver star in the bosom of the brook
told him that he was not mistaken. He saw the walls
of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He
recollected the place where Brom Bones' ghostly com-
petitor 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 con-
vulsive 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 head-
long 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 school-house,
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 school-
master 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 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 school-house, 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 dis-

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 differ-
ent 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 mortifi-

Vol. i8 — 20 303


cation 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 disap-
pearance, 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 school-house being deserted, soon fell to decay, and
was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortu-
nate pedagogue ; and the ploughboy, 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.


Portrait of Robert Burns

gmua :f-i9doH to liBiJiol




By Robert Burns.

Of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this Buke.

Gawin Douglas.

TTiHEN chapman billies leave the street,
^M And drouthy neebors, neebors meet,
As market days are wearing late.
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles.
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky sullen dame.
Gathering her brows like gathering storm.
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam O'Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses.
For honest men and bonnie lasses.)

O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise,
As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice !
She tauld thee weel thou wast a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was na sober;



That ilka melder, wi' the miller,

Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;

That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on,

The smith and thee gat roaring fou on ;

That at the Lord's house, ev'n on Sunday,

Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday.

She prophesy'd that, late or soon.

Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon ;

Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk.

By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.

Ah, gentle dames ! it gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthen'd, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises !

But to our tale : Ae market night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, Souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony ;
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The nights drave on wi' sangs and clatter ;
And aye the ale was growing better:
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi' favors, secret, sweet, and precious :
The souter tauld his queerest stories ;
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus :
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E'en drown'd himsel amang the nappy:
As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure;
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O'er a' the ills o' life victorious !




But pleasures are like poppies spread.
You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed ;
Or like the snow-falls in the river,
A moment white — then melts forever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place ;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm. —
Nae man can tether time or tide; —
The hour approaches Tarn maun ride ;
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in ;
And sic a night he taks the road in,
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
The rattling show'rs rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd;
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd:
That night, a child might understand,
The Deil had business on his hand.

Weel mounted on his gray mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet ;
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet;
Whiles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares.
Lest bogles catch him unawares ;
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh.
Where ghaists and houlets nightly cry. —

By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw, the chapman smoor'd;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck-bane;
And thro' the whins, and by the cairn,
Where hunters fand the murder'd bairn;



And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel. —
Before him Doon pours all his floods ;
The doubling storm roars thro' the woods;
The lightning's flash from pole to pole ;
Near and more near the thunders roll :
When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze ;
Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancing;
And loud resounded mirth and dancing. —

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn !
What dangers thou canst make us scorn !
Wi' tippeny, we fear nae evil ;
Wi' usquebae, we'll face the devil ! —
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
Fair play, he car'd na deils a doddle,
But Maggie stood right sair astonish'd,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd.
She ventur'd forward on the light ;
And, vow ! Tam saw an unco sight !
Warlocks and witches in a dance;
Nae cotillion brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east.
There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large.
To gie them music was his charge :
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl. —
Coffins stood round like open presses.
That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses;
And by some devilish cantrip slight
Each in its cauld hand held a light, —
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,



A murderer's banes in gibbet aims;

Twa spang-lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns;

A thief, new-cutted frae the rape,

Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;

Five tomahawks, wi' blude red rusted;

Five scymitars, wi' murder crusted;

A garter, which a babe had strangled;

A knife, a father's throat had mangled.

Whom his ain son o' life bereft,

The gray hairs yet stack to the heft ;

Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',

Which ev'n to name wad be unlawfu'.
As Tammie glowr'd, amaz'd, and curious,

The mirth and fun grew fast and furious:

The piper loud and louder blew ;

The dancers quick and quicker flew ;

They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit.
And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linket at it in her sark !

Now Tam, O Tam ! had they been queans,
A' plump and strapping in their teens;
Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flannen,^
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linnen !
Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush, o' gude blue hair,
I wad hae gi'en them off my hurdles.
For ae blink o' the bonnie burdies !

But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,
Lowping and flinging on a crummock,
I wonder didna turn thy stomach.

But Tam kend what was what fu' brawlie.
There was ae winsome wench and walie.
That night enlisted in the core,
(Lang after kend on Carrick shore;


For mony a beast to dead she shot,
And perish'd mony a bonnie boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and bear.
And kept the country-side in fear,)
Her cutty sark, o' Paisley ham.
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude the' sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie. —
Ah ! little kend thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nanni,
Wi' twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches),
Wad ever grac'd a dance of witches !

But here my muse her wing maun cour;
Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r;
To sing how Nannie lap and flang,
(A souple jade she was, and Strang.)
And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch'd,
And thought his very een enrich 'd;
Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain,
And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main:
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a' thegither.
And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark !"
And in an instant all was dark:
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied.
When out the hellish legion sallied.

As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke.
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie's mortal foes,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd.
When, "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi' monie an eldritch skreech and hollow,

Ah, Tam ! ah, Tam ! thou'll get thy fairin !
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin !



In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin !
Kate soon will be a wofu' woman !
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane of the brig:
There at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they darena cross.
But ere the key-stane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake !
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tarn wi' furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie's mettle —
Ae spring brought off her master hale.
But left behind her ain gray tail :
The carlin caught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother's son, take heed,
Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd.
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind.
Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear,
Remember Tam O'Shanter's mare.



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Online LibraryUnknownClassic tales by famous authors (Volume 18) → online text (page 20 of 20)