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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
WASHINGTON IRVING*
FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LA TE DIE DRICH KNICKE R-
BOCKER.
A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever ?ushing round a summer sky.
CAS TLE OF INDOLENCE.
In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the
eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river
denominated by the ancient Dutch navigat ors the Tappan Zee, and
where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the
protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small
market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh,
but which is more generally and properly known by the name of
Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by
the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the invet erate
propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern
on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact,
but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and
authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles,
there is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills,
which is one of the quiet est places in the whole world. A small
brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to
repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a
woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the
uniform tranquillity.
I recollect that, when a stripling, my ?rst exploit in
squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut -trees that shades
one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when
all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of
my own gun, as it broke the Sabbat h stillness around and was
prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. 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.
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1From 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 the name of SLEEPY HOL LOW, and its rustic lads are
called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring
country. A drowsy, dreamy in?uence seems to hang over the land,
and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was
bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days of the
settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or
wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country
was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain 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
marvellous beliefs, are sub ject to trances and visions, and
frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the
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