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Library of Ce!sg?ii|i 
Offlaa of tks 

m^ 1 1900 

Keglstsr of Copyrli^hti^ 


Copyright, igoo 
By Dana Estes & Company 


Colonial ^rc0S : 
Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co, 

Boston, U. S. A. ^. ^ ,{— » yK 

Ouyw. N\ ,>9i c?c? 



TcHABOD Crane in the Schoolroom . Frontisjnece 
" He found favour in the eyes of the mothers " 15 
"ichabod would carry on his suit with the 

daughter . . . under the great elm " . . 31 




and towering " 51 

"Just then he heard the black steed panting 
and blowing behind him " • • • - .57 



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, 
For ever flashing 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 Greensburg, 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 wood- 
pecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks in 
upon. the uniform tranquillity. 

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit 
in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees 
that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered 
into it at 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 pro- 
longed 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 pecul- 
iar 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 neighbouring 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, dur- 
ing 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 dis- 
covered by Master Hendrik Hudson. Certain it is, 
the place still continues under the sway of some witch- 
ing 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 marvellous 
beliefs ; are subject to trances and visions ; and fre- 
quently see strange sights, and hear music and voices 
in the air. The whole neighbourhood abounds with 
local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions ; 
stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the val- 
ley than in any other part of the country, and the 
nightmare, with her whole nine fold, seems to make 
it the favourite 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 name- 
less 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 church- 
yard before daybreak. 

Such is the general purport of this legendary super- 
stition, 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 inhabi- 
tants 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 

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 revolv- 


ing in their mimic harbour, 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 Connect- 
icut, 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 in- 
applicable 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 the top, with huge ears, large green 
glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked 
like a weathercock, perched upon his spindle neck, to 
tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding 
along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his 
clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might 
have mistaken him for the genius of famine descend- 
ing 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 eel-pot. 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 pupil's voices, conning 
over their lessons, might be heard in a drowsy sum- 
mer'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 jus- 
tice 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 neighbourhood, with all his 
worldly effects tied up in a cotton handkerchief. 

That all this might not be too onerous on the 
purses of his rustic patrons, who are apt to consider 


the costs of schooling a grievous burden, and school- 
masters as mere drones, he had various ways of 
rendering himself both useful and agreeable. He 
assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter 
labours 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 ingrati- 
ating. He found favour in the eyes of the mothers 
by petting the children, particularly the youngest, 
and, like the lion bold, which whilom so magnani- 
mously the lamb did hold, he would sit with a child 
on one knee, and rock a cradle with his foot for whole 
hours together. 

In addition to his other vocations, he was the sing- 
ing-master of the neighbourhood, 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 
labour of head-work, to have a wonderfully easy life 
of it. 

The schoolmaster is generally a man of some im- 
portance in the female circle of a rural neighbour- 
hood; being considered a kind of idle gentleman-like 
personage, of vastly superior taste and accomplish- 
ments to the rough country swains, and, indeed, 
inferior in learning only to the parson. His appear- 
ance, 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, per- 
adventure, the parade of a silver teapot. Our man of 
letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles 
of all the country damsels. How he would figure 
among them in the churchyard between services on 
Sundays, gathering grapes for them from the wild 
vines that overrun the surrounding trees ; reciting for 
their amusement all the epitaphs on the tombstones, 
or sauntering, with a whole bevy of them, along the 
banks of the adjacent mill-pond ; while the more bash- 
ful country bumpkins hung sheepishly back, envying 
his superior elegance and address. 

From his half-itinerant life, also, he was a kind of 
travelling gazette, carrying the whole budget of local 
gossip from house to house, so that his appearance 
was always greeted with satisfaction. He was, more- 


over, esteemed by the women as a man of great eru- 
dition, 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 shrewd- 
ness and simple credulity. His appetite for the mar- 
vellous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally 
extraordinary, and both had been increased by his 
residence in this spellbound region. No tale was too 
gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow. It 
was often his delight, after his school was dismissed 
in the afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed 
of clover bordering the little brook that whimpered 
by his schoolhouse, and there con over old Mather's 
direful tales, until the gathering dusk of the 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 hap- 
pened to be quartered, every sound of nature at that 
witching hour fluttered his excited imagination ; the 
moan of the whippoorwilP from the hillside, the bod- 
ing cry of the tree-toad, that harbinger of storm, the 
dreary hooting of the screech-owl, or the sudden rust- 
ling 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 

1 The whippoorwill is a bird which is only heard at night. It 
receives its name from its note, which is thought to resemble those 


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 the 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 Hol- 
low, as they sometimes called him. He would delight 
them equally by his anecdotes of witchcraft, and of 
the direful omens and portentous sights and sounds 
in the air, which prevailed in the earlier times of 
Connecticut, and would frighten them wofully with 
speculations upon comets and shooting stars, and with 
the alarming fact that the world did absolutely turn 
around, 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 subse- 
quent walk homewards. What fearful shapes and 
shadows beset his path amidst the dim and ghastly 
glare of a snowy night ! With what wistful look did 
he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across 
the waste fields from some distant window ! How 
often was he appalled by some shrub covered with 
snow, which, like a sheeted spectre, beset his very 
path ! How often did he shrink with curdling awe 
at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust 
beneath his feet, and dread to look over his shoulder, 
lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping 
close behind him ! and how often was he thrown into 
complete dismay by some rushing blast howling among 
the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian 
on one of his nightly scourings ! 

All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, 
phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness ; and, 
though he had seen many spectres in his time, and 
been more than once beset by Satan in divers shapes 
in his lonely perambulations, yet daylight put an end 
to all these evils, and he would have passed a pleas- 
ant life of it, in despite of *he 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 instruction in 
psalmody, was Katrina Yan Tassel, the daughter and 
only child of a substantial Dutch farmer. She was 
a blooming lass of fresh eighteen, plump as a par- 
tridge, ripe and melting and rosy-cheeked as one of 
her father's peaches, and universally famed, not merely 
for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was 
withal a little of a coquette, as might be perceived 
even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient 
and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her 
charms. She wore the ornaments of pure yellow 
gold which her great-great-grandmother had brought 
over from Saardam ; the tempting stomacher of the 
olden time, and withal a provokingly short petticoat, 
to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country 

Ichabod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward 
the sex ; and it is not to be wondered at that so 
tempting a morsel soon found favour in his eyes ; 
more especially after he had visited her in her pater- 
nal 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 neighbouring brook, that bubbled along 
among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the farm- 
house 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 morn- 
ing to night; swallows and martins skimmed twit- 
tering about the eaves, and rows of pigeons, some 
with one eye turned up, as if watching the weather, 
some with their heads under their wings, or buried 
in their bosoms, and others swelling and cooing and 
bowing about their dames, were enjoying the sunshine 
on the roof. Sleek, unwieldy porkers were ginmting 
in the repose and abundance of their pens, 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 gob- 
bling through the farmyard, and guinea fowls fretting 
,p.bout it like ill-tempered housewives, with their peev- 
ish, 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 savoury 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 
Yan 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 wilder- 
ness. Nay, his busy fancy already realised his hopes, 
and presented to him the blooming Katrina, with a 
whole family of children, mounted on the top of a 
wagon, loaded with household trumpery, with pots 
and kettles dangling beneath; and he beheld himself 
bestriding a pacing mare, with a colt at her heels, 
setting out for Kentucky, Tennessee, or the Lord 
knows where. 

When he entered the house, the conquest of his 
heart was complete. It was one of those spacious 
farmhouses, with high ridged, but lowly sloping 
roofs, built in the style handed down from the first 
Dutch settlers ; the low projecting eaves forming a 
piazza along the front, capable of being closed up in 
bad weather. Under this were hung flails, harness, 
various utensils of husbandry, and nets for fishing 
in the neighbouring 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 parlour, where the claw-footed 
chairs, and dark mahogany tables, shone like mirrors ; 
andirons, with their accompanying shovel and tongs, 
glistened from their covert of asparagus tops ; mock 
oranges and conch-shells decorated the mantelpiece ; 
strings of various coloured 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 affec- 
tions 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, enchant- 
ers, 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 con- 
trary, had to win his way to the heart of a country 
coquette, beset with a labyrinth of whims and ca- 
prices, which were for ever presenting new difficul- 
ties and impediments ; and he had to encounter a 


host of fearful adversaries of real flesh and blood, the 
numerous rustic admirers, who beset every portal to 
her heart, keeping a watchful and angry eye upon 
each other, but ready to fly out in the common cause 
against any new competitor. 

Among these the most formidable was a burly, 
roaring, roistering blade, of the name of Abraham, 
or, according to the Dutch abbreviation, Brom Van 
Brunt, the hero of the country round, which 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 counte- 
nance, 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 fore- 
most in all races and cock-fights, and, with the 
ascendency which bodily strength 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 admitting 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-humour 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 around. In cold weather he was distin- 
guished 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, whisk- 
ing 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 neighbours^ 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 war- 
ranted Brom Bones was at the bottom of it. 

This rantipole hero had for some time singled out 
the blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth 
gallantries, and though his amorous toyings were 
something like the gentle caresses and endearments 
of a bear, yet it was whispered that she did not 
altogether discourage his hopes. Certain it is, his 
advances were signals for rival candidates to retire, 
who felt no in6lination 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, " spark- 
ing," within, all other suitors passed by in despair, 
and carried the war into other quarters. 

Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod 


Crane had to contend, and, considering all things, a 
stouter man than he would have shrunk from the 
competition, and a wiser man would have despaired. 
He had, however, a happy mixture of pliability and 
perseverance in his nature ; he was in form and spirit 
like a supple-jack, — yielding, but tough; though he 
bent, he never broke, and though he bowed beneath 
the slightest pressure, yet the moment it was away — 
jerk ! he was as erect, and carried his head as high 
as ever. 

To have taken the field openly against his rival 
would have been madness, for he was not a man to 
be thwarted in his amours, any more than that stormy 
lover, Achilles. Ichabod, therefore, made his ad- 
vances 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. Bait Yan 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 every- 
thing. His notable little wife, too, had enough to do 
to attend to her housekeeping and manage her poul- 
try, 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 Bait would sit smok- 


ing 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 fight- 
ing the wind on the pinnacle of the barn. In the 
meantime, Ichabod would carry on his suit with the 
daughter, by the side of the spring, under the great 
elm, or sauntering along in the twilight, that hour so 
favourable to the lover's eloquence. 

I profess not to know how women's hearts are 
wooed and won. To me they have always been 
matters of riddle and admiration. Some seem to 
have but one vulnerable point, or door of access, 
while others have a thousand avenues, and may be 
captured in a thousand different ways. It is a great 
triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater 
proof of generalship to maintain possession of the 
latter, for a man must battle for his fortress at every 
door and window. He 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 Sun- 
day 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 war- 
fare, and have settled their pretensions to the lady 


according to the mode of those most concise and 
simple reasoners, the knight-errants 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 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 some- 
thing extremely provoking in this obstinately pacific 
system ; it left Broni no alternative but to draw upon 
the funds of rustic waggery in his disposition, and 
to play off boorish practical jokes upon his rival. 
Ichabod became the object of whimsical persecution 
to Bones and his gang of rough riders. They harried 
his hitherto peaceful domains ; smoked out his singing- 
school, by stopping up the chimney ; broke into the 
schoolhouse at night, in spite of its formidable fasten- 
ings of withe and window-stakes, and turned every- 
thing topsy-turvy, so that the poor schoolmaster began 
to think all the witches in the country held their 
meetings there. But what w^as still more annoying, 
Brom took all opportunities of turning him into ridi- 
cule 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 situation 
of the contending powers. On a fine autumnal after- 
noon, Ichabod, in pensive mood, sat enthroned on 






H -* 
^ K 
H H 

M < 

«5 ^ 


the lofty stool 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 
a desk before him might be seen sundry contraband 
articles and prohibited weapons, detected upon the 
persons of idle urchins, such as half-munched apples, 
pop-guns, whirligigs, fly-cages, and whole legions of 
rampant little paper game-cocks. Apparently, there 
had been some appalling act of justice recently in- 
flicted, for his scholars were all busily intent upon 
their books, or slyly whispering behind them, with 
one eye kept upon the master, and a kind of buzzing 
stillness reigned throughout the schoolroom. It was 
suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a negro, 
in tow-cloth jacket and trousers, a round crowned 
fragment of a hat, like the cap of Mercury, and 
mounted on the back of a ragged, wild, half-broken 
colt, which he managed with a rope, by way of halter. 
He came clattering up to the school door with an 
invitation to Ichabod to attend a merry-making, or 
" quilting frolic," to be held that evening at Mynheer 
Van Tassel's, and having delivered his message with 
that air of iniportance, 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 impor- 
tance and hurry of his mission. 

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late quiet 


schoolroom. The scholars were hurried through 
then' 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 with- 
out 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, burst- 
ing forth like a legion of young imps, yelping and 
racketing about the green, in joy at their early 

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 arrang 
ing 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 Dutch- 
man, 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 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 the name he bore 
of Gunpowder. He had, in fact, been a favourite 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 
horse's tail. Such was the appearance of Ichabod 
and his steed, as they shambled out of the gate of 
Hans Van Ripper, and it was altogether such an 
apparition as is seldom to be met with in broad 

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 frost into 
brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet. Stream- 
ing files of wild ducks began to make their appear- 
ance high in the air ; the bark of the squirrel might 
be heard from the groves of beech and hickory nuts, 
and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from 
the neighbouring stubble field. 

The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. 
In the fullness of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping 
and frolicking, from bush to bush, and tree to tree, 
capricious from the very profusion and variety around 
them. There was the honest cock-robin, the favourite 
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/liis 
gay light blue coat and white underclothes, screaming 
and chattering, nodding, and bobbing, and bowing, 
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. Further on he 


beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden 
ears peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out 
the promise of cakes and hasty pudding, and the 
yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up their 
fair round bellies to the sun, and giving ample pros- 
pects of the most luxurious of pies ; and anon he 
passed the fragrant buckwheat fields, breathing the 
odour of the beehive, and as he beheld them, soft antici- 
pations stole over his mind of dainty slapjacks, well 
buttered, and garnished with honey or treacle, by the 
delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Yan Tassel. 

Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts 
and " sugared suppositions," he journeyed along the 
sides of a range of hills which look out upon some 
of the goodliest scenes of the mighty Hudson. The 
sun gradually wheeled his broad disk down into the 
west. The wide bosom of the Tappan Zee lay motion- 
less and glassy, excepting that here and there a gentle 
undulation waved and prolonged the blue shadow of 
the distant mountain. A few amber clouds floated 
in the sky, without a breath of air to move them. 
The horizon was of a fine golden tint, changing 
gradually into a pure apple green, and from that into 
the deep blue of the mid-heaven. A slanting ray 
lingered on the woody crests of the precipices that 
overhung some parts of the river, giving greater 
depth to the dark gray and purple of their rocky 
sides. A sloop was loitering in the distance, drop- 
ping 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 Icliabod arrived at 
the castle of the Heer Van Tassel, which he found 
thronged with the pride and flower of the adjacent 
country. Old farmers, a spare leathern-faced race, 
in homespun coats and breeches, blue stockings, huge 
shoes, and magnificent pewter buckles. Their brisk 
withered little dames, in close crimped caps, long- 
waisted shortgowns, homespun petticoats, with scissors 
and pincushions, and gay calico pockets hanging on 
the outside. Buxom lasses, almost as antiquated as 
their mothers, excepting where a straw hat, a fine 
riband, 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 favourite 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 ani- 
mals, given to all kinds of tricks, which kept the rider 
in constant risk of his neck, for he held a tractable, 
well-broken horse as unworthy of a lad of spirit. 

Fain would I pause to dwell upon the world of 
charms that burst upon the enraptured gaze of my 


hero, as he entered the state parlour 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 
tenderer oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling crul- 
ler ; 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 pump- 
kin pies ; besides slices of ham and smoked beef ; and, 
moreover, delectable dishes of preserved plums, and 
peaches, and pears, and quinces ; not to mention broiled 
shad and roasted chickens ; together with bowls of 
milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy, pretty 
much as I have enumerated them, with the motherly 
teapot sending up its clouds of vapour 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 around 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 splen- 
dour. Then he thought how soon he'd turn his back 
upon the old schoolhouse, snap his fingers in the face 
of Hans Van Ripper, and every other niggardly patron, 
and kick any itinerant pedagogue out-of-doors that 
should dare to call him comrade ! 

Old Baltus Van Tassel moved about among his 
guests with a face dilated with content and good- 
humour, 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 shoul- 
der, 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 itin- 
erant orchestra of the neighbourhood for more than 
half a century. His instrument was as old and bat- 
tered 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 neighbourhood, stood forming a pyramid 
of shining black faces at every door and window, gaz- 
ing with delight at the scene, rolling their white eye- 
balls, and showing grinning rows of ivory from ear to 
ear. How could the fiogger of urchins be otherwise 
than animated and joyous ? The lady of his heart 
was his partner in the dance, and smiling graciously 
in reply to all his amorous oglings ; while Brom 
Bones, sorely smitten with love and jealousy, sat 
brooding by himself in one corner. 

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

This neighbourhood, at the time of which I am 
speaking, was one of those highly favoured 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 maraud- 
ing, and infested with refugees, cowboys, 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 indis- 
tinctness of his recollection, to make himself the hero 
of every exploit. 

There was the story of Duffue 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 around 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 neighbourhood 
is rich in legendary treasures of the kind. Local tales 
and superstitions thrive best in these sheltered, long- f 

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 encourage- 
ment 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 neighbour- 
hood ; 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 

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 unfor- 
tunate Major Andre was taken, and which stood in 
the neighbourhood. 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 favourite 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 

The sequestered situation of this church seems 
always to have made it a favourite 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 Chris- 
tian 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 day- 
time, but occasioned a fearful darkness at night. 
Such was one of the favourite haunts of the head- 
less 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 jBrom Bones, who made light 
of the galloping Hessian as an arrant jockey. He 
affirmed that, on returning one night from the neigh- 
bouring 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 Hes- 
sian 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, sank deep into 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 farm- 
ers 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 favour- 
ite 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. Some- 
thing, however, I fear me, must have gone wrong, for 
he certainly sallied forth, after no very great interval, 
with an air quite desolate and chopfallen. Oh, these 
women ! these women ! Could that girl have been 


playing off any of her coquettish tricks ? Was her 
encouragement of the poor pedagogue all a mere 
sham to secure her conquest of his rival ? Heaven 
only knows, not I ! Let it suffice to say, Ichabod 
stole forth with the air of one who had been sacking 
a hen-roost rather than a fair lady's heart. Without 
looking to the right or left to notice the scene of rural 
wealth, on which he had so often gloated, he went 
straight to the stable, and, with several hearty cuffs 
and kicks, roused his steed most uncourteously from 
the comfortable quarters in which he was soundly 
sleeping, dreaming of mountains of corn and oats, 
and whole valleys of timothy and clover. 

It was the very witching time of night that Icha- 
bod, heavy-hearted and crestfallen, pursued his travel 
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 watch-dog from 
the opposite shore of the Hudson ; but it was so 
vague and faint as only to give an idea of his dis- 
tance from this faithful companion of man. Now and 
then, too, the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accident- 
ally 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 neighbouring marsh, as if sleeping un- 
comfortably, 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 baen laid. In the centre of 
the road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which tow- 
ered like a giant above all the other trees of the 
neighbourhood, 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 ill-starred namesake, and partly from 
the tales of strange sights and doleful lamentations 
told concerning it. 

As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began 
to whistle : he thought his whistle was answered — it 
was but a blast sweeping sharply through the dry 
branches. As he approached a little nearer, he 


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

About two hundred yards from the tree a small 
brook crossed the road, and ran into a marshy and 
thickly -wooded glen, known by the name of Wiley's 
swamp. A few rough logs, laid side by side, served 
for a bridge over this stream. On that side of the 
road where the brook entered the wood, a group of 
oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grape- 
vines, threw a cavernous gloom over it. To pass this 
bridge was the severest trial. It was at this identical 
spot that the unfortunate 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, snuffmg 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, mis- 
shapen, black, 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 ? Sum- 
moning up, therefore, a show of courage, he demanded 
in stammering accents — " Who are you ? " He re- 
ceived 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 fervour 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 

Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange mid- 
night companion, and bethought himself of the adven- 
ture 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 endeavoured 
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 fear- 
fully 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 the saddle : his terror rose to des- 
peration; 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 pos- 
sessed 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 unskil- 
ful 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 
endeavoured to hold it firm, but in vain ; and had 
just time to save himself by clasping old Gunpowder 
around 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 back-bone, with a violence that he verily feared 
would cleave him asunder. 

An opening in the trees now cheered him with the 
hopes that the church bridge was at hand. The 
wavering reflection of a silver star in the bosom of 
the brook told him that he was not mistaken. He 
saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the 
trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom 
Bones's ghostly competitor had disappeared. "If I 
can but reach that bridge," thought Ichabod, " I am 
safe." Just then he heard the black steed panting 
and blowing close behind him ; he even fancied that 
he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in 
the ribs, and old Gunpowder 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 stirrup, and in the very act 
of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to 
dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encoun- 
tered 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 


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 evi- 
dently 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 of worsted stockings, an old pair of corduroy 
small-clothes, a rusty razor, a book of psalm-tunes, 
full of dog's ears, and a broken pitch-pipe. As to the 
books and furniture of the schoolhouse, they belonged 
to the community, except 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, in several 
fruitless attempts to make a copy of verses in honour 
of the heiress of Van Tassel. These magic books and 
the poetic scrawl were forthwith consigned to the 
flames by Hans Van Ripper, who, from that time 
forward, determined to send his children no more to 
school, observing that he never knew any good come 
of this same reading and writing. Whatever money 
the schoolmaster possessed, and he had received his 
quarter's pay but a day or two before, he must have 
had about his person at the time of his disappearance. 

The mysterious event caused much speculation at 
the church on the following Sunday. Knots of gazers 
and . gossips were collected in the churchyard, at the 
bridge, and at the spot where the hat and pumpkin 
had been found. The stories of Brouwer, of Bones, 
and a whole budget of others, were called to mind, 
and when they had diligently considered them all, and 
compared them with the symptoms of the present case, 
they shook their heads, and came to the conclusion 
that Ichabod had been carried off by the Galloping 
Hessian. As he was a bachelor, and in nobody's debt, 
nobody troubled his head any more about him ; the 
school was removed to a different quarter of the hol- 
low, 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 re- 
ceived, brought home the intelligence that Ichabod 
Crane was still alive ; that he had left the neighbour- 


hood, 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, elec- 
tioneered, 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 
al-tar, was observed to look exceedingly knowing when- 
ever the story of Ichabod was related, and always 
burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pump- 
kin, 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 favourite story often told about the neigh- 
bourhood around 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 ploughboy, loitering homeward of a still sum- 
mer evening, has often fancied his voice at a dis- 
tance, chanting a melancholy psalm-tune among the 
tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow. 



THE preceding tale is given almost in the precise 
words in which I heard it related at a Corpora- 
tion meeting at the ancient city of Manhattoes, at 
which were present many of its sages t and most 
illustrious burghers. The narrator was a pleasant, 
shabby, gentlemanly old fellow, in pepper-and-salt 
clothes, with a sadly humourous face, and one whom 1 
strongly suspected of being poor — he made such ef- 
forts to be entertaining. When his story was con- 
cluded, there was much laughter and approbation, 
particularly from two or three deputy aldermen, who 
had been asleep the greater part of the time. There 
was, however, one tall, dry-looking old gentleman, 
with beetling eyebrows, who maintained a grave and 
rather severe face throughout, now and then folding 
his arms, inclining his head, and looking down upon 
the floor, as if turning a doubt over in his mind. He 
was one of your wary men, who never laugh but upon 
good grounds — when they have reason and law on 
their side. When the mirth of the rest of the com- 
pany had subsided, and silence was restored, he leaned 
one arm on the elbow of his chair, and sticking the 



other akimbo, demanded, with a slight, but exceed- 
ingly sage motion of the head, and contraction of the 
brow, what was the moral of the story, and what it 
went to prove ? 

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

" That there is no situation in life but has its 
advantages and pleasures — provided we will but take 
a joke as we find it : 

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

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

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

'' Faith, sir," replied the story-teller, " as to that 
matter, I don't believe one-half of it myself." d. k,