Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.


    Found among the papers of the late Diedrech Knickerbocker.

             A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
             Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
             And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
             Forever flushing round a summer sky.
                             Castle of Indolence.

    In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the  eastern
shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river  denominated  by
the ancient Dutch  navigators  the  Tappan  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, 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 two miles, there is a little valley or  rather  lap
of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole
world. A small brook glides through 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
    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  noontime,  when  all  nature  is
peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the 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
ninefold, 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 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 spectre, 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 spectre 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
    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 weather-cock  perched  upon  his
spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see  him  striding  along
the profile of a hill on  a  windy  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 old copybooks. 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 ease, he
would find some embarrassment in getting  out,  --an  idea  most  probably
borrowed by the architect, Yost Van Houten, from the mystery of an eelpot.
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  in  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, and 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 holiday 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 considered  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
    In addition to his other vocations, he was the singingmaster  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 headwork, to have a
wonderfully easy life of it.
    The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in the  female
circle  of  a  rural  neighborhood;  being  considered  a  kind  of  idle,
gentlemanlike personage, of vastly superior taste and  accomplishments  to
the rough country swains, and, indeed, inferior in learning  only  to  the
parson. His appearance, therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir  at
the tea-table of a farmhouse, and the addition of a supernumerary dish  of
cakes or sweetmeats, or, peradventure, the parade of a silver teapot.  Our
man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles of  all  the
country damsels. How he would figure among them in the churchyard, between
services on Sundays; gathering grapes for them from the  wild  vines  that
overran the surrounding  trees;  reciting  for  their  amusement  all  the
epitaphs on the tombstones; or sauntering, with  a  whole  bevy  of  them,
along the banks of the adjacent mill-pond; while the more bashful  country
bumpkins hung sheepishly back, envying his superior elegance and address.
    From his half-itinerant life,  also,  he  was  a  kind  of  traveling
gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house to house, so
that  his  appearance  was  always  greeted  with  satisfaction.  He  was,
moreover, esteemed by the women as a man of great erudition,  for  he  had
read several books quite through, and  was  a  perfect  master  of  Cotton
Mather's "History of New England Witchcraft," in which,  by  the  way,  he
most firmly and potently believed.
    He was, in fact, an  odd  mixture  of  small  shrewdness  and  simple
credulity. His appetite for the marvelous, and his powers of digesting it,
were equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by  his  residence
in this spell-bound region. No tale was too gross  or  monstrous  for  his
capacious swallow.  It  was  often  his  delight,  after  his  school  was
dismissed in the afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed  of  clover
bordering the little brook that whimpered by his school-house,  and  there
con over old Mather's direful tales, until the gathering dusk  of  evening
made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes. Then, as he wended  his
way by swamp and stream and awful woodland,  to  the  farmhouse  where  he
happened to be quartered, every sound of nature, at  that  witching  hour,
fluttered his excited imagination, --the moan of the  whip-poor-will  from
the hillside, the boding cry of the tree toad, that  harbinger  of  storm,
the dreary hooting of the screech owl,  to  the  sudden  rustling  in  the
thicket of birds frightened from their roost. The  fireflies,  too,  which
sparkled most vividly in the darkest places, now and then startled him, as
one of uncommon brightness would  stream  across  his  path;  and  if,  by
chance, a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging  his  blundering  flight
against him, the poor varlet was ready to give up the ghost, with the idea
that he was struck with  a  witch's  token.  His  only  resource  on  such
occasions, either to drown thought or drive away evil spirits, was to sing
psalm tunes and the good people of Sleepy Hollow, as  they  sat  by  their
doors of an evening, were often filled  with  awe  at  hearing  his  nasal
melody, "in linked sweetness long drawn out," floating  from  the  distant
hill, or along the dusky road.
    Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to  pass  long  winter
evenings with the old Dutch wives, as they sat spinning by the fire,  with
a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the hearth, and  listen  to
their marvellous tales of ghosts and  goblins,  and  haunted  fields,  and
haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and  particularly
of the headless horseman, or Galloping Hessian  of  the  Hollow,  as  they
sometimes called him. He would delight them equally by  his  anecdotes  of
witchcraft, and of the direful omens and portentous sights and  sounds  in
the air, which prevailed in the earlier times of  Connecticut;  and  would
frighten them woefully with speculations upon comets and  shooting  stars;
and with the alarming fact that the world did absolutely turn  round,  and
that they were half the time topsy-turvy!
    But if there was a pleasure in all this, while snugly cuddling in the
chimney corner of a chamber  that  was  all  of  a  ruddy  glow  from  the
crackling wood fire, and where, of course, no spectre dared  to  show  its
face, it was dearly purchased  by  the  terrors  of  his  subsequent  walk
homewards. What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the  dim
and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what  wistful  look  did  he  eye
every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields  from  some
distant window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow,
which, like a sheeted spectre, beset his  very  path!  How  often  did  he
shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust
beneath his feet; and dread to look over  his  shoulder,  lest  he  should
behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! and how often was  he
thrown into complete dismay by  some  rushing  blast,  howling  among  the
trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly
    All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms  of  the
mind that walk in darkness; and though he had seen many  spectres  in  his
time, and been more than once beset by Satan  in  divers  shapes,  in  his
lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end to all these evils; and  he
would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil  and  all
his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being  that  causes  more
perplexity to mortal man than ghosts,  goblins,  and  the  whole  race  of
witches put together, and that was--a woman.
    Among the musical disciples who assembled, one evening in each  week,
to receive his instructions in  psalmody,  was  Katrina  Van  Tassel,  the
daughter and only child of a substantial Dutch farmer. She was  a  booming
lass of fresh eighteen;  plump  as  a  partridge;  ripe  and  melting  and
rosy-cheeked as one of her father's peaches, and  universally  famed,  not
merely for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was withal a  little
of a coquette, as might be perceived  even  in  her  dress,  which  was  a
mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as  most  suited  to  set  of  her
charms.  She  wore  the  ornaments  of  pure  yellow   gold,   which   her
great-great-grandmother had brought  over  from  Saar  dam;  the  tempting
stomacher of the olden time, and withal a provokingly short petticoat,  to
display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round.
    Ichahod Crane had a soft and foolish heart towards the sex; and it is
not to be wondered at, that so tempting a morsel soon found favor  in  his
eyes, more especially after he had visited her in  her  paternal  mansion.
Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect  picture  of  a  thriving,  contented,
liberal-hearted farmer. He seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or his
thoughts  beyond  the  boundaries  of  his  own  farm;  but  within  those
everything was snug, happy and well-conditioned. He was satisfied with his
wealth, but not proud of it; and piqued himself upon the hearty abundance,
rather than the style in which he lived. His stronghold  was  situated  on
the banks of the Hudson, in one of those green, sheltered,  fertile  nooks
in which the Dutch farmers are so fond  of  nestling.  A  great  elm  tree
spread its broad branches over it, at the  foot  of  which  bubbled  up  a
spring of the softest and sweetest water, in a little  well  formed  of  a
barrel; and then stole sparkling away through the grass, to a  neighboring
brook, that babbled along among alders and  dwarf  willows.  Hard  by  the
farmhouse was a vast barn, that might have  served  for  a  church;  every
window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth with  the  treasures  of
the farm; the flail was busily resounding within it from morning to night;
swallows and martins skimmed  twittering  about  the  eaves;  an  rows  of
pigeons, some with one eye turned up, as if  watching  the  weather,  some
with their heads under their wings or buried in their bosoms,  and  others
swelling, and cooing, and bowing about  their  dames,  were  enjoying  the
sunshine on the roof. Sleek unwieldy porkers were grunting in  the  repose
and abundance of their pens, from whence  sallied  forth,  now  and  then,
troops of sucking pigs, as if to snuff the  air.  A  stately  squadron  of
snowy geese were riding in an adjoining pond, convoying  whole  fleets  of
ducks; regiments of turkeys were gobbling through the farmyard, and Guinea
fowls fretting about it, like ill-tempered housewives, with their peevish,
discontented cry. Before the barn door strutted  the  gallant  cock,  that
pattern of a husband,  a  warrior  and  a  fine  gentleman,  clapping  his
burnished wings and crowing in  the  pride  and  gladness  of  his  heart,
--sometimes tearing up the  earth  with  his  feet,  and  then  generously
calling his ever-hungry family of wives and children  to  enjoy  the  rich
morsel which he had discovered.
    The pedagogue's mouth  watered  as  he  looked  upon  this  sumptuous
promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring mind's eye, he pictured
to himself every roasting-pig running about with a pudding in  his  belly,
and an apple in his mouth; the  pigeons  were  snugly  put  to  bed  in  a
comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust;  the  geese  were
swimming in their own gravy; and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes,  like
snug married couples, with a decent competency  of  onion  sauce.  In  the
porkers he saw carved out the  future  sleek  side  of  bacon,  and  juicy
relishing ham; not a turkey but he beheld daintily trussed  up,  with  its
gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a necklace of savory  sausages;
and even bright chanticleer himself lay sprawling on his back, in  a  side
dish, with uplifted claws, as if craving that quarter which his chivalrous
spirit disdained to ask while living.
    As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this,  and  as  he  rolled  his
great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the rich fields of  wheat,  of
rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards burdened  with  ruddy
fruit, which surrounded the warm tenement of Van Tassel, his heart yearned
after the damsel who was to inherit these  domains,  and  his  imagination
expanded with the idea, how they might be readily turned  into  cash,  and
the money invested in immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces  in
the wilderness. Nay, his  busy  fancy  already  realized  his  hopes,  and
presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a whole  family  of  children,
mounted on the top of a wagon loaded with household  trumpery,  with  pots
and kettles dangling beneath; and he beheld himself  bestriding  a  pacing
mare, with a colt at her heels, setting out for Kentucky, Tennessee,  --or
the Lord knows where!
    When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart was complete. It
was one of those spacious farmhouses, with highridged  but  lowly  sloping
roofs, built in the style handed down from the first Dutch  settlers;  the
low projecting eaves forming a piazza along the front,  capable  of  being
closed up in bad weather. Under this were hung  flails,  harness,  various
utensils of husbandry, and nets for  fishing  in  the  neighboring  river.
Benches  were  built  along  the  sides  for  summer  use;  and  a   great
spinning-wheel at one end, and a churn at the other,  showed  the  various
uses to which this important porch might be devoted. From this piazza  the
wondering Ichabod entered  the  hall,  which  formed  the  centre  of  the
mansion, and the place  of  usual  residence.  Here  rows  of  resplendent
pewter, ranged on a long dresser, dazzled his eyes. In one corner stood  a
huge  bag  of  wool,  ready  to  be  spun;  in  another,  a  quantity   of
linsey-woolsey just from the loom; ears of Indian  corn,  and  strings  of
dried apples and peaches, hung in gay festoons along  the  walls,  mingled
with the gaud of red peppers; and a door left ajar gave him  a  peep  into
the best parlor, where the claw-footed chairs  and  dark  mahogany  tables
shone like mirrors; andirons, with their accompanying  shovel  and  tongs,
glistened from their covert of asparagus tops;  mockoranges  and  conch  -
shells decorated the mantelpiece; strings of  various-colored  birds  eggs
were suspended above it; a great ostrich egg was hung from the  centre  of
the room, and a corner cupboard, knowingly left  open,  displayed  immense
treasures of old silver and well-mended china.
    From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of  delight,
the peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study was  how  to  gain
the affections of the peerless daughter of Van Tassel. In this enterprise,
however, he had more real difficulties than generally fell to the lot of a
knight-errant of yore, who seldom had  anything  but  giants,  enchanters,
fiery dragons, and such like easily conquered adversaries, to contend with
and had to make his way merely through gates of iron and brass, and  walls
of adamant to the castle keep, where the lady of his heart  was  confined;
all which he achieved as easily as a man would carve his way to the centre
of a Christmas pie; and then the lady gave him her hand  as  a  matter  of
course. Ichabod, on the contrary, had to win his way to  the  heart  of  a
country coquette, beset with a labyrinth of whims and caprices, which were
forever presenting  new  difficulties  and  impediments;  and  he  had  to
encounter a host of fearful adversaries  of  real  flesh  and  blood,  the
numerous rustic admirers, who beset every portal to her heart,  keeping  a
watchful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to fly out in the common
cause against any new competitor.
    Among these, the most formidable was  a  burly,  roaring,  roystering
blade, of the name of Abraham, or, according to  the  Dutch  abbreviation,
Brom Van Brunt, the hero of the country round which rang with his feats of
strength and hardihood. He was broad-shouldered and  double-jointed,  with
short curly black hair, and a bluff but not unpleasant countenance, having
a mingled air of fun and arrogance From  his  Herculean  frame  and  great
powers of limb he had received the nickname of BROM BONES, by which he was
universally  known.  He  was  famed  for  great  knowledge  and  skill  in
horsemanship, being as dexterous on horseback as a Tartar. He was foremost
at all races and cock  fights;  and,  with  the  ascendancy  which  bodily
strength always acquires in rustic life, was the umpire in  all  disputes,
setting his hat on one side, and giving his decisions with an air and tone
that admitted of no gainsay or appeal. He was always ready  for  either  a
fight or a frolic; but had more mischief than ill-will in his composition;
and with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dash of waggish
good humor at bottom. He had three or four boon companions,  who  regarded
him as their model, and at the  head  of  whom  he  scoured  the  country,
attending every scene of feud  or  merriment  for  miles  round.  In  cold
weather he was distinguished by a fur cap,  surmounted  with  a  flaunting
fox's tail; and when the  folks  at  a  country  gathering  descried  this
well-known crest at a distance, whisking  about  among  a  squad  of  hard
riders, they always stood by for a squall. Sometimes  his  crew  would  be
heard dashing along past  the  farmhouses  at  midnight,  with  whoop  and
halloo, like a troop of Don Cossacks; and the old dames, startled  out  of
their sleep, would listen for a moment till the hurry-scurry had clattered
by, and then exclaim, "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 ofa  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-jackДyielding, 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 her 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 mean time,
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 man must battle  for
his fortress at every door and window.  He  who  wins  a  thousand  common
hearts is therefore entitled to some renown; but he who  keeps  undisputed
sway over the heart of a coquette is indeed a hero. Certain  it  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  to  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 have 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 lchabod  was
too conscious of the superior might of his adversary to  enter  the  lists
against him; he had overheard a boast of Bones, that he would "double  the
schoolmaster up, and lay him on a shelf of his own  schoolhouse;"  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  singingschool  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 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,  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 trowsers.
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 locks by a bit of broken looking-glass that  hung
up in the schoolhouse. That  he  might  make  his  appearance  before  his
mistress in the true style of a cavalier, he borrowed  a  horse  from  the
farmer with whom he was domiciliated, a choleric old Dutchman of the  name
of Hans Van Ripper, and, thus  gallantly  mounted,  issued  forth  like  a
knighterrant in quest of adventures. But it is meet I should, in the  true
spirit of romantic story, give some account of the looks and equipments of
my  hero  and  his  steed.  The  animal  he  bestrode  was  a  broken-down
plow-horse, that had outlived almost everything but  its  viciousness.  He
was gaunt and shagged, with a ewe neck, and a  head  like  a  hammer;  his
rusty mane and tail were tangled and knotted with burs; one eye  had  lost
its pupil, and was glaring and spectral, but the other had the gleam of  a
genuine devil in it. Still he must have had fire and mettle in his day, if
we may judge from the name he bore of Gunpowder. He had, in fact,  been  a
favorite steed of his master's, the choleric Van Ripper, who was a furious
rider, and had infused, very probably, some of his  own  spirit  into  the
animal; for, old and broken-down as he  looked,  there  was  more  of  the
lurking devil in him than in any young filly in the country.
    Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed . He rode  with  short
stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pommel of  the  saddle;
his sharp elbows  stuck  out  like  grasshoppers';  he  carried  his  whip
perpendicularly in his hand, like a sceptre, and as his horse  jogged  on,
the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of  wings.  A
small wool hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his scanty  strip  of
forehead might be called, and the skirts of his black coat  fluttered  out
almost to the horses tail. Such was the  appearance  of  Ichabod  and  his
steed as they shambled out of the gate of Hans  Van  Ripper,  and  it  was
altogether such an apparition as  is  seldom  to  be  met  with  in  broad
    It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky  was  clear  and
serene, and nature wore that  rich  and  golden  livery  which  we  always
associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on  their  sober
brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by
the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and  scarlet.  Streaming
files of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in  the  air;  the
bark of the  squirrel  might  be  heard  from  the  groves  of  beech  and
hickorynuts, and the pensive whistle of the quail at  intervals  from  the
neighboring stubble field.
    The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In the  fullness
of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping and  frolicking  from  bush  to
bush, and tree to tree, capricious from the  very  profusion  and  variety
around them.  There  was  the  honest  cockrobin,  the  favorite  game  of
stripling sportsmen, with its loud  querulous  note;  and  the  twittering
blackbirds flying in sable clouds, and the golden- winged woodpecker  with
his crimson crest, his broad black gorget, and splendid plumage;  and  the
cedar-bird, with its red tipt wings and yellow-tipt tail  and  its  little
monteiro cap of feathers; and the blue jay, that noisy coxcomb, in his gay
light blue coat and white underclothes, screaming and chattering,  nodding
and bobbing and bowing, and pretending to be  on  good  terms  with  every
songster of the grove.
    As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his  eye,  ever  open  to  every
symptom of culinary abundance, ranged with delight over the  treasures  of
jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld vast store of apples: some hanging in
oppressive opulence on the trees; some gathered into baskets  and  barrels
for the market; others heaped  up  in  rich  piles  for  the  cider-press.
Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn,  with  its  golden  ears
peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out the promise of cakes and
hastypudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up their
fair round bellies to the sun, and giving  ample  prospects  of  the  most
luxurious of pies; and  anon  he  passed  the  fragrant  buckwheat  fields
breathing  the  odor  of  the  beehive,  and  as  he  beheld  them,   soft
anticipations stole over his mind of dainty slap-jacks, well buttered, and
garnished with honey or treacle, by the delicate little  dimpled  hand  of
Katrina Van Tassel.
    Thus  feeding  his  mind  with  many  sweet  thoughts  and   "sugared
suppositions," he journeyed along the sides of a range of hills which look
out upon some of the goodliest  scenes  of  the  mighty  Hudson.  The  sun
gradually wheeled his broad disk down in the west. The wide bosom  of  the
Tappan Zee lay motionless and glassy, excepting  that  here  and  there  a
gentle undulation waved and prolonged the  blue  shallow  of  the  distant
mountain. A few amber clouds floated in the sky, without a breath  of  air
to move them. The horizon was of a fine golden  tint,  changing  gradually
into a pure apple  green,  and  from  that  into  the  deep  blue  of  the
midheaven. A slanting ray lingered on the woody crests of  the  precipices
that overhung some parts of the river, giving greater depth  to  the  dark
gray and purple of their  rocky  sides.  A  sloop  was  loitering  in  the
distance, dropping slowly down with the tide, her sail  hanging  uselessly
against the mast; and as the reflection of the sky gleamed along the still
water, it seemed as if the vessel was suspended in the air.
    It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle of the  Heer
Van Tassel, which he found thronged with  the  pride  and  flower  of  the
adjacent country Old farmers, a  spare  leathernfaced  race,  in  homespun
coats and breeches, blue stockings, huge  shoes,  and  magnificent  pewter
buckles. Their brisk, withered little dames, in close crimped  caps,  long
waisted short-gowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors and  pin-cushions,
and gay calico pockets hanging on the outside.  Buxom  lasses,  almost  as
antiquated as their mothers, excepting where a straw hat, a  fine  ribbon,
or perhaps a white frock, gave symptoms of city innovation. The  sons,  in
short square-skirted coats, with rows of  stupendous  brass  buttons,  and
their hair generally queued in the fashion of  the  times,  especially  if
they  could  procure  an  eelskin  for  the  purpose,  it  being  esteemed
throughout the country as a potent nourisher and strengthener of the hair.
    Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having  come  to  the
gathering on his favorite steed Daredevil, a creature, like himself,  full
of mettle and mischief, and which no one but himself could manage. He was,
in fact, noted for preferring vicious  animals,  given  to  all  kinds  of
tricks which kept the rider in constant risk of his neck, for  he  held  a
tractable, wellbroken horse as unworthy of a lad of spirit.
    Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of charms that burst  upon
the enraptured gaze of my hero, as he entered  the  state  parlor  of  Van
Tassel's mansion. Not those of  the  bevy  of  buxom  lasses,  with  their
luxurious display of red and white; but the  ample  charms  of  a  genuine
Dutch country tea-table, in the sumptuous time of autumn. Such  heaped  up
platters of cakes of various and almost indescribable kinds, known only to
experienced Dutch housewives! There was the doughty doughnut,  the  tender
olykoek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes,
ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole  family  of  cakes.  And  then
there were apple pies, and peach pies, and pumpkin pies; besides slices of
ham and smoked beef; and moreover delectable dishes  of  preserved  plums,
and peaches, and pears, and quinces;  not  to  mention  broiled  shad  and
roasted chickens; together with bowls  of  milk  and  cream,  all  mingled
higgledypigglely, pretty much as I have enumerated them, with the motherly
teapot sending up its clouds of vapor  from  the  midst-Heaven  bless  the
mark! I want breath and time to discuss this banquet as it  deserves,  and
am too eager to get on with my story. Happily, Ichabod Crane was not in so
great a hurry as his historian, but did ample justice to every dainty.
    He  was  a  kind  and  thankful  creature,  whose  heart  dilated  in
proportion as his skin was filled with good cheer, and whose spirits  rose
with eating, as some men's do with drink. He could not help, too,  rolling
his large eyes round him as he ate, and  chuckling  with  the  possibility
that he might one day be lord of all this  scene  of  almost  unimaginable
luxury and splendor. Then, he thought, how soon he 'd turn his  back  upon
the old schoolhouse; snap his fingers in the face of Hans Van Ripper,  and
every other niggardly patron, and kick  any  itinerant  pedagogue  out  of
doors that should dare to call him comrade!
    Old Baltus Van Tassel moved  about  among  his  guests  with  a  face
dilated with content and goodhumor, round and jolly as the  harvest  moon.
His hospitable attentions were brief, but expressive, being confined to  a
shake of the hand, a slap on the shoulder, a loud laugh,  and  a  pressing
invitation to "fall to, and help themselves."
    And now the sound of  the  music  from  the  common  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 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;  rolling  their  white
eye-balls, 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 V an Tassel, sat smoking  at  one  end  of  the
piazza, gossiping over former times, and drawing 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,
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  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 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  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 travelled 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
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 spectre of Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman, who had
been heard several times of late, patrolling  the  country;  and,  it  was
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 tree-tops with a clap of thunder.
    This story was immediately matched by a thrice  marvellous  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
    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, sank deep in the mind  of  Ichabod.
He repaid them in kind with large extracts  from  his  invaluable  author,
Cotton Mather, and added many marvellous 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
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  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 crest-fallen, pursued his travels homewards, 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 Tappan 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 watchdog from the opposite shore of the Hudson; but it  was  so  vague
and faint as only to give an idea  of  his  distance  from  this  faithful
companion of man. Now and 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 bull-frog 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 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, 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 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  illstarred
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  Andre  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  the
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 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 and towering. It  stirred  not,
but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster  ready  to
spring upon the traveller.
    The hair of the affrighted pedagogue rose upon his head with  terror.
What was to be done? To turn and fly was now too late; and  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  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  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-traveller  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  spectre
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 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  unskilful  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
(unskilful 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' ghostly competitor had disappeard. "If I can  but  reach
that bridge," thought Ichabod, " I am safe." Just then he heard the  black
steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that  he  felt
his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the  ribs,  and  old  Gunpowder
sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he gained
the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast  a  look  behind  to  see  if  his
pursuer should  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 oњ 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 smallclothes; a rusty razor; a book  of
psalm tunes full of dog's-ears; and a broken pitch-pipe. As to  the  books
and  furniture  of  the  schoolhouse,  they  belonged  to  the  community,
excepting Cotton Mather's History of Witchcraft, a  New  England  Almanac,
and book of dreams and fortune-telling; in  which  last  was  a  sheet  of
foolscap much scribbled and blotted in several fruitless attempts to  make
a copy of verses in honor of the heiress of Van Tassel. These magic  books
and the poetic scrawl were forthwith consigned to the flames by  Hans  Van
Ripper; 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 chat 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
    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  plough-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.

Яндекс цитирования