The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a gothic short story written by Washington Irving and published in 1820 in the collection of short stories The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon.
The story takes place in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (near New York) in 1784, in a valley called Sleepy Hollow, which is well known for its horror and ghost stories and the mysterious atmosphere that surrounds it. In this valley there is a legend that there is a ghost of an old soldier, who is called Headless Horseman, who lost his life by a gunshot to the head during the War of Independence of the United States. It is said that every night he rides to the site of the battle in search of his head.
Ichabod Crane is a Connecticut professor who falls in love with the beauty and wealth of young Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of a wealthy Tarry Town farmer. Ichabod attends a party at the Van Tassels' house with the purpose of proposing to Katrina after the party. During the festival, enjoy the feast and listen to the stories of the land told by the town's inhabitants.
The statement is unsatisfying and Ichabod rides home through the eerie and gloomy woods of Sleepy Hollow, recognizing places that had featured in the horror stories told by the locals at the party. After riding for a while, the Headless Horseman appears to him chasing the frightened professor.
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Balt Van Tassel was an easy indulgent soul; he loved his daughter better even than his pipe, and, like a reasonable man and an excellent father, let her have her way in everything.
Besides, there is no encouragement for ghosts in most of our villages, for, they have scarcely had time to finish their first nap, and turn themselves in their graves, before their surviving friends have travelled away from the neighborhood; so that when they turn out at night to walk their rounds, they have no acquaintance left to call upon.
He must have had fire and mettle in his day, if we may judge from the name he bore of Gunpowder. He had, in fact, been a favorite steed of his master’s, the choleric Van Ripper, who was a furious rider, and had infused, very probably, some of his own spirit into the animal; for, old and broken-down as he looked, there was more of the lurking devil in him than in any young filly in the country.
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.