"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a gothic story by American author Washington Irving, contained in his collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.. Written while Irving was living abroad in Birmingham, England, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was first published in 1820. Along with Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity, especially during Halloween because of a character known as the Headless Horseman believed to be a Hessian soldier who was decapitated by a cannonball in battle.
|"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"|
"Ichabod Crane pursued by the Headless Horseman",
by F.O.C. Darley, 1849
|Series||The Sketch Book|
|Published in||The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.|
|Media type||Hardback & paperback|
|Published in English||1820|
|Preceded by||"The Angler"|
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 name of Sleepy Hollow ... A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere.— Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (historical Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow is renowned for its ghosts and the haunting atmosphere that pervades the imaginations of its inhabitants and visitors. Some residents say this town was bewitched during the early days of the Dutch settlement. Other residents say an old Native American chief, the wizard of his tribe, held his powwows here before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. The most infamous spectre in the Hollow is the Headless Horseman, said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War, and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head".
The "Legend" relates the tale of Ichabod Crane, a lean, lanky and extremely superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer, Baltus Van Tassel. Ichabod Crane, a Yankee and an outsider, sees marriage to Katrina as a means of procuring Van Tassel's extravagant wealth. Bones, the local hero, vies with Ichabod for Katrina's hand, playing a series of pranks on the jittery schoolmaster, and the fate of Sleepy Hollow's fortune weighs in the balance for some time. The tension among the three is soon brought to a head. On a placid autumn night, the ambitious Crane attends a harvest party at the Van Tassels' homestead. He dances, partakes in the feast, and listens to ghostly legends told by Brom and the locals, but his true aim is to propose to Katrina after the guests leave. His intentions, however, are ill-fated.
After having failed to secure Katrina's hand, Ichabod rides home "heavy-hearted and crestfallen" through the woods between Van Tassel's farmstead and the Sleepy Hollow settlement. As he passes several purportedly haunted spots, his active imagination is engorged by the ghost stories told at Baltus' harvest party. After nervously passing under a lightning-stricken tulip tree purportedly haunted by the ghost of British spy Major André, Ichabod encounters a cloaked rider at an intersection in a menacing swamp. Unsettled by his fellow traveler's eerie size and silence, the teacher is horrified to discover that his companion's head is not on his shoulders, but on his saddle. In a frenzied race to the bridge adjacent to the Old Dutch Burying Ground, where the Hessian is said to "vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone" upon crossing it, Ichabod rides for his life, desperately goading his temperamental plow horse down the Hollow. However, to Crane's horror, the ghoul clambers over the bridge, rears his horse, and hurls his severed head into Ichabod's terrified face. The schoolmaster attempts to duck beneath the terrible missile, but is too late when it strikes his head and sends him tumbling headlong into the dust.
The next morning, Ichabod has mysteriously disappeared from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones, who was said "to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related". Indeed, the only relics of the schoolmaster's flight are his wandering horse, trampled saddle, discarded hat, and a mysterious shattered pumpkin. Although the true nature of both the Headless Horseman and Ichabod's disappearance that night are left open to interpretation, the story implies that the ghost was really Brom (an agile stunt rider) in disguise, and suggests that Crane was knocked off his horse and immediately fled Sleepy Hollow, never to return there again. Irving's narrator concludes the story, however, by stating that the old Dutch wives continue to promote the belief that Ichabod was "spirited away by supernatural means", and a legend develops around his disappearance and sightings of his melancholy spirit.
Irving wrote The Sketch Book during a tour of Europe, and parts of the tale may also be traced to European origins. Headless horsemen were staples of Northern European storytelling, featuring in German, Irish (e.g., Dullahan), Scandinavian (e.g., the Wild Hunt), and English legends, and were included in Robert Burns's poem "Tam o' Shanter" (1790) and Bürger's Der wilde Jäger, translated as The Wild Huntsman (1796). Usually viewed as omens of ill-fortune for those who chose to disregard their apparitions, these specters found their victims in proud, scheming persons and characters with hubris and arrogance. One particularly influential rendition of this folktale was recorded by the German folklorist Karl Musäus.
During the height of the American Revolutionary War, Irving writes that the country surrounding Tarry Town "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."
After the Battle of White Plains in October 1776, the country south of the Bronx River was abandoned by the Continental Army and occupied by the British. The Americans were fortified north of Peekskill, leaving Westchester County a 30-mile stretch of scorched and desolated no-man's land, vulnerable to outlaws, raiders, and vigilantes. Besides droves of Loyalist rangers and British light infantry, Hessian Jägers—renowned sharpshooters and horsemen—were among the raiders who often skirmished with Patriot militias. The Headless Horseman, said to be a decapitated Hessian soldier, may have indeed been based loosely on the discovery of just such a Jäger's headless corpse found in Sleepy Hollow after a violent skirmish, and later buried by the Van Tassel family, in an unmarked grave in the Old Dutch Burying Ground. The dénouement of the fictional tale is set at the bridge over the Pocantico River in the area of the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground in Sleepy Hollow.
Irving, while he was an aide-de-camp to New York Gov. Daniel D. Tompkins, met an army captain named Ichabod Crane in Sackets Harbor, New York during an inspection tour of fortifications in 1814. Irving may have patterned the character in "The Legend" after Jesse Merwin, who taught at the local schoolhouse in Kinderhook, further north along the Hudson River, where Irving spent several months in 1809. The inspiration for the character of Katrina Van Tassel was based on an actual young woman named Katrina Van Tassel. Washington Irving stayed with her family for a short time, and asked permission to use her name, and loosely base the character on her. He told her and her family he liked to give his characters the names of people he had met. 
The story was the longest one published as part of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (commonly referred to as The Sketch Book), which Irving issued serially throughout 1819 and 1820, using the pseudonym "Geoffrey Crayon". With "Rip Van Winkle", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is one of Irving's most anthologized, studied, and adapted sketches. Both stories are often paired together in books and other representations, and both are included in surveys of early American literature and Romanticism. Irving's depictions of regional culture and his themes of progress versus tradition, supernatural intervention in the commonplace, and the plight of the individual outsider in an homogeneous community permeate both stories and helped to develop a unique sense of American cultural and existential selfhood during the early 19th century.
Notable film and television variations include:
On the Far North Coast of New South Wales lies the Sleepy Hollow rest stop. There is a stop located either side of the road so that North- and South-bound traffic is able to stop. The northbound stop is located 58 km north of Ballina and the southbound stop is located 32 km south of Tweed Heads.
The Headless Horseman is a fictional character from the short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by American author Washington Irving. The story, from Irving's collection of short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., has worked itself into known American folklore/legend through literature and film.Ichabod – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Ichabod – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a studio album of phonograph records by Bing Crosby released in 1949 narrating the famous Washington Irving story of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.Tall Tales
Tall Tales may refer to:
Tall Tales (Royal Wood album), 2004
Tall Tales (Hot Club of Cowtown album), by American band The Hot Club of Cowtown
"Tall Tales" (Supernatural), an episode of the television series SupernaturalThe Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is a 1949 American animated package film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film consists of two segments — the first of which is based on the 1908 children's novel The Wind in the Willows by Scottish author Kenneth Grahame, and the second is based on the 1820 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," called Ichabod Crane in the film, by American author Washington Irving.
The film is the 11th Disney animated feature film, and the last of the studio's package film era of the 1940s, following Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, and Melody Time, until The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in March 1977.
Beginning in 1955, the two portions of the film were separated, and televised as part of the Disneyland television series. They were later marketed and sold separately on home video.The Hollow (2004 film)
The Hollow is a 2004 teen horror film, starring Kevin Zegers, Kaley Cuoco, Nick Carter and Stacy Keach. The film premiered on the ABC Family Channel, on October 24, 2004.The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1980 film)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a 1980 television film on NBC filmed in Utah, loosely based on Washington Irving's short story. It starred Jeff Goldblum as Ichabod Crane, Meg Foster as Katrina von Tassel, and Dick Butkus as Brom Bones. The film is also known as La leggenda di Sleepy Hollow in Italy. It was directed by Henning Schellerup. Executive producer Charles Sellier was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the movie..
In a departure from the original story, the film ends with Ichabod arriving at Katrina's house and the Headless Horseman returning to the dark forest. It also introduces an original character, widow Thelma Dumkey; while Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane are rivals for Katrina, Thelma is Katrina's rival for Brom Bones. Thelma and Brom become engaged at the end of the film.
Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820)
|In film and television|