The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Happy Halloween! Tomorrow I’ll have some pictures to share, but needless to say, Amber got quite a haul of candy this evening. And I handed out candy to batches of ghouls and ghosts and witches.

This year, for October, I finally got around to reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. It’s one of those classics that I know the basic plot of, but had never actually read.

It’s the story of a schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, who is courting one of the local lasses, a pretty girl who is a bit of a flirt. His rival, Brom Bones, is one of those rough, mischievous young men who, whenever there’s trouble in the area, all the neighbors and smile and say it must have been Brom Bones and his friends.

I love the descriptions of the area and the locals. It really sets the stage for the story.

They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequesntly see strange sights and hear music and voices inย  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.

Crane listen toย  all the stories, absorbed, delighting in the chills they send down his spine. The story ends, as we know, with Crane fleeing down the road on an old horse, pursued by “The Headless Horseman,” but maybe it wasn’t a ghost after all. While the whole story has touches of the creepy and ghostly, it’s not really scary, at least I didn’t find it so. It’s atmospheric and I can picture how Crane, after hearing the stories would feel nervous at every little sound when walking home in the evening, it’s still a story I could read aloud with my daughter, who even though she’s 10 is easily frightened by “spooky.”It a good Halloween story, but not one that will keep you awake at night.

I am glad that I read this short classic. The writing is lovely and descriptive and it’s a glimpse at a different time. I love the bits of humor. The story can be read on-line at Project Gutenberg and is free for the kindle at Amazon. The version I read, though had the wonderful illustrations that were done by Arthur Rackham in the early 1900s. In my library it’s classified as young adult, but I think it’s definitely appropriate for anyone ages 10 to 110.

Challenges: 100+, A to Z

I borrowed my copy from the library and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.