Ichabod Crane goes for a wild ride.Washington Irving first published The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in 1820 Besides being an iconic story and a fine example of early American literature, this is also a revealing historic illustration of life in the Dutch portions of early nineteenth century New York We get to spend some time with the corpulent and satisfied Dutch farmers and glimpse early American culture.Irving s language is typical of narrative fiction from his time, but is also resplendent as very early speculative fiction.Ichabod s fear of the occult is well placed but fans of Disney s 1949 animation will be pleased to note a charming andsophisticated original vision. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is the old school classic read in catching up on classics for October 2016 I read an illustrated version of the Washington Irving s tale, which I finished in under an hour, and for which I rate three stars I was familiar with the story of the Headless Horseman, especially as it has been used in Harry Potter in the form of the ghost Nearly Headless Nick Consequently, I was looking for an action packed story featuring the aforementioned headless horse Even though the horseman does play a small role in the tale, he is not the central part of the story or even the prose Irving s story, however, is the tale of Ichabod Crane the schoolmaster in his attempt to woo heiress Katrina Van Tassel in Sleephollow, also known as Tarrytown, New York The story focuses on Crane s futile attempt to win Van Tassel away from Brom Bones, which only angers Brom, causing him to woo Van Tassel as well The climax is the tale that has survived over time the myth of the headless horseman Is there a horseman or not No one knows Unfortunately, the scene with the horseman is only a page long and for me not scary at all Because I was looking forward to a scary ghost story, this was a major letdown for me The best part of the tale Irving s prose and descriptions of life in Tarrytown which have survived the test of time and made Irving into one of America s original master story tellers Perhaps I will enjoy his other stories better, especially the adult version of Rip Van Winkle, another story I am already familiar with In the meantime I am looking forward to discussing this ghost story in group. Headless Horsemen Were Staples Of Northern European Storytelling, Featuring In German, Irish Eg Dullahan , Scandinavian Eg The Wild Hunt And English Legends And Were Included In Robert Burns S Tam O Shanter, And Burger S Der Wilde Jager, Translated As The Wild HuntsmanUsually 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 The Chief Part Of The Stories, However, Turned Upon The Favorite Specter Of Sleepy Hollow, The Headless Horseman, Who Had Been Heard Several Times Of Late, Patrolling The Country And, It Was Said, Tethered His Horse Nightly Among The Graves In The Churchyard The Story Was Immediately Matched By A Thrice Marvelous 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 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 In The Mind Of Ichabod This little treasure was simply delightful Quite honestly, I didn t expect to enjoy it quite so much I ve seen the various movie adaptations over the years and figured there wasn t really anythingto be gained by reading this short story I was wrong the eloquence of the written word brought the legend up to a whole other level for me Everyone is probably familiar with the tale of the Headless Horseman and the little valley of Sleepy Hollow, situated near the small town of Tarry Town, New York The descriptions of the countryside were remarkably vivid and evoked such a lovely image and feeling of autumn in New York, a personal favorite time of year Ichabod Crane is well known to those familiar with early American literature You need not have seen the Disney movie to picture this oddball of a figure Washington Irving draws an image of a somewhat ungainly fellow who is a bit of a freeloader and a fortune hunter He is well versed in Cotton Mather s History of New England Witchcraft , and, like the rest of the village folk, is not immune to superstitions and the thrill of tall tales A wonderful description of Sleepy Hollow and its inhabitants really exemplifies the expressiveness of the proseCertain 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 What happens to those with a lively imagination You ll have to take this wild ride through the valley with Ichabod to find out You most likely won t tremble with fear, but you may become just a wee bit spooked by the dark phantom Even if you don t feel the least bit rattled, you will be entertained You may even muster up a little chuckle, just like my old pal Brom Bones who always managed a laugh whenever this story was re told. Though I ve seen the movie versions countless times and listened to Bing Crosby croon about Brom Bones every Halloween for decades, this was my first time reading the story and it was MAGICAL I really enjoyed Irving s style His descriptions paint joyful pictures without being too wordy or grandiose The passages about Icabod s boundless appetite and his lust for Katrina s hugetracts of land are priceless.Reading this story has given me a new appreciation for Irving My goals now are 1 Read Rip Van Winkle and Tales of the Alhambra posthaste.and 2 Win millions of dollars ASAP so I can buy a farm in the Hudson River Valley I feel the need for my own picturesque tracts of land.Sleepy Hollow, New York Fun read and a great way to kick off my month of Halloween reads I know the story, watched countless movie versions of the story, but never actually read the book Still didn t.I listed to this one via audio A fun read, but I wantedgothic, creepy ness I wantedHeadless Horseman The audio narration was wonderful The narrator s voice had an edge of spookiness to it a very good thing Glad I read this one but yeah, I prefer the movie version Sleepy Hollow , which I watch every Halloween. A reread for me, quite a humdinger of a little story with the silly, scarecrow of a school teacher and his stupendous imagination getting the best of him and leaving the girl as a prize for his clever rival. I spent a few weeks every summer in the Catskill Mountains at a resort with my godparents, parents and grandparents I used to walk around the forest, searching for the headless horsemen The cottages we always stayed in were either Rip Van Winkle or Legend of Sleepy Hollow Such good memories on the place and this book Even before the movie, it launched my thirst for mystery and the hunt And when they used this to make a few movies and then the TV show, I loved the whole concept A must read for folks interested in mystery and a little bit of the gothic in the classics realmAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by. Pull up a chair and have seat Do you want a drink Please, I insist I ve been drinking for hours As you can see, I have a fire going in the fireplace, to ward off the chill of a winter you can already sense around the corner It is dark outside the window The nights come fast as the days shorten The wind is howling That is the wind right Its shriek sounds almost alive, almost human Here, have another drink Scoot closer to the fire I want to tell you a terrifying story The 2016 election cycle Wake up Are you okay You lost consciousness and fell out of your chair No, I didn t rifle through your pockets No, you aren t missing a ten dollar bill Moving on I probably should have given youwarning, since the political theater we have experienced these past months years has filled me withdread than anything Stephen King could ever conjure Just recently, I attempted to watch the evening news, which is silly, I know, but I am old fashioned in some ways Specifically, I like it when someone tells me the weather it makes me feel someone is accountable With the exception of a couple Viagra commercials, dispiriting in and of themselves, every commercial was a political ad They were run in sequence, the first candidate calling the second candidate a tax lover, followed by the second calling the first a terrorist lover, and then circling back to the first calling the second a liar Since I live near the border of two states, my misery is compounded Strikingly, not a single advertisement referenced any positive position statement It was all grossly negative hyperbolic attacks If you were to get all your political information from watching the ads sandwiching the evening newscast, you would come to a shocking revelation Everyone running for elected office this year is in cahoots with ISISMy advice Take a break Take a drink There are so many things to mix Baileys with Read a book Better yet, read a seasonal book, one that puts you in the mood for the finer things of fall Forget about politics It s time to focus on pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin beer It s time to read or in my case reread Washington Irving s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Irving s short story is familiar to most Even if you ve never read it, you ve probably consumed some of it by cultural osmosis It concerns a love triangle between itinerant school teacher Ichabod Crane the lovely Katrina van Tassel, daughter of a wealthy planter and local big man on campus Brom van Brunt, who goes by the baller nickname of Bram Bones The setting is rural New York State, in the years following the American Revolution The exact year is unclear, though I ve seen it placed in the 1790s Ichabod, a striving pedagogue with a taste for the high life, has come to teach in the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow As drawn by Irving, Crane is a memorably awkward figure 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 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 descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.This sketch gives you a good idea of Irving s excellent powers of description He masterfully renders his setting The farms, the forests, the babbling brooks, are all made vivid in your imagination The great fields of Indian corn, the golden ears peeking from leafy coverts A sloop loitering on the river, dropping slowly down with the tide, her sail hanging uselessly against the mast The hues of the forest in their sober brown and yellow some trees of the tenderer kind nipped by the frost into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet Irving paints this beauty with color and detail, with sound and scent Imbedded in these descriptions is a sense of the vastness of the wilderness, and how its trackless depth gave rise to superstitions, to tales of spooks and goblins and galloping Hessians lacking heads.The dominant spirit that haunts this enchanted region 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 has 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 File Photo The Headless Horseman, as captured in this undated photo that was definitely not taken in my front yard, but rather in Sleepy HollowThis is not a scary story It only borders on the spooky The achievement of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is in its near perfect atmospherics Irving delivers Sleepy Hollow in all its rustic glory the sweep of her fields the wend of her roads the beliefs of her people.And the food Oh, the descriptions of the food 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 these of the bevy of lasses 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 doughy dough nut, the tenderer oly koek, 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 over delectable dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens 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.You just gained five pounds reading that I probably should have warned you The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has become a timeless American classic since its publication in 1820 It has been adapted often terribly into plays, musicals, cartoons, movies, and television shows The original remains deceptively simple, a good naturedly mythologized vision of pastoral America In a few short pages, it wonderfully evokes a time, a place, and a season Year after year, it never fails to inject me with the spirit of the fall It leaves me with comforting visions of turning leaves, sharpening weather, roaring fires, hot drinks, and warm pies Right now, that is exactly the type of escape I need. I thought this story and I were Meant To Be.A few days before reading this, I read and reviewed Washington Irving s other famous story, Rip Van Winkle, and really enjoyed it And then I read The Fold, which has this exchange between a high school student and his teacher in the first few pages Ichabod Crane isn t really the hero of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Explain He s, like, the British You told us that when you said we couldn t just watch the TV show to learn the story You said that sometimes the bad guy is right there in front of us And I really love symbolism, so I was all set to love this story It just didn t quite work out the way I d envisioned.Ichabod Crane, a schoolteacher, is an outsider in the beautiful New York valley of Sleepy Hollow, but he s a native of Connecticut, not England When you Google Ichabod Crane nowadays, you get mostly thiswhich, nice as he is to look at, is not the real Ichabod Washington Irving writes 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 snip nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew.Disney got this one right.What Disney also got right was distilling Irving s story down to the the good stuff Irving just spends too long describing the countryside, Ichabod and his avarice and questionable habits, the coquettish Katrina and her family farm Ichabod wants to wed Katrina, but mostly because she s beautiful, she s rich, and she s got huge tracts of land , and Brom Bones and his jealousy All of these descriptions were nicely done, but didn t hold my interest like I had hoped And if there was any symbolism of post Revolutionary War Great Britain in Ichabod, other than just his greed, I couldn t find it He s not at all admirable as well as being greedy, he s pompous, self absorbed and superstitious but I also found him kind of pitiful.When the Headless Horseman aka Galloping Hessian of the Hollow finally appears, the excitement ramps up And there s the enduring mystery What really happened that night And what became of Ichabod Crane Actually, I think the story itself makes it fairly clear what happened view spoiler Brom pretended to be the Headless Horseman, threw a pumpkin at Ichabod and knocked him off his horse, and Ichabod, between his superstitions and cowardice and his disappointment and humiliation that Katrina had just dumped him, slipped away during the night hide spoiler