I had grown up familiar with the story of the Headless Horseman, Ichabod Crane, and Sleep Hollow. However I had never actually read the story itself. Out of a 39 page story, it took about 33 pages to get to the climax where Ichabod finally goes toe to toe the Headless Horseman. I had no idea there was a such a back story, all you ever hear about is the end result.
Ichabod Crane was a schoolteacher from Connecticut and was teaching in Tarrytown, just North of New York City and just outside of Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow was described as having a dream-like quality to it with no shortage of haunting tales with ghosts and goblins running amok at the witching hour. “It breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land.” Ichabod had fallen in love with a girl who’s family owned much of the land around Sleepy Hollow (he lived just on the other side of the Hollow). Ichabod attended a party, stayed late after all the guests had left, and unfortunately he was shut down by the love of his life. Distraught he took off on his horse to head back home. It was then that he realized that he would have to ride through Sleepy Hollow during the witching hour where it was known that the Headless Horseman could appear.
Eventually he meets up with the Headless Horseman and once it was clear that the Horseman wasn’t going to leave Ichabod alone, they had an all out race for the bridge that led out of Sleepy Hollow. It is said that the Headless Horseman bursts into flames when he crosses the bridge and cannot follow you on the other side. He’s always looking for another head, so he will chase people down to try and take theirs before they reach the bridge. Just as they were approaching the bridge at full speed, the Headless Horseman wound up and threw a pumpkin at Ichabod, hitting him square in the back of the head, and knocking him out cold and off the horse.
Ichabod was never seen again. The only remnants were his horse, his cap, and a shattered pumpkin on the ground just before the bridge. Some say he moved out of town in shame of being shut down by the love of his life but most say that the Headless Horseman took his head, claiming yet another victim on the road through Sleepy Hollow.
About the Author Washington Irving:
Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”, both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of George Washington, Oliver Goldsmith and Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the Moors, and the Alhambra. Irving also served as the U.S. ambassador to Spain from 1842 to 1846. He made his literary debut in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning Chronicle, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. After moving to England for the family business in 1815, he achieved international fame with the publication of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. in… (Courtesy of Amazon.com)
To see more of the books I’ve read and reviewed, check out my virtual bookshelf from Shelfari.com: