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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


legions of frontier woodmen and count ry schoolmasters. The
cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. 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 ?at at top, with huge
ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it
looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell
which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the pro?le of
a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and ?uttering
about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine
descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a
corn?eld.
His schoolhouse was a low building of one large room, rudely
constructed of logs; the windows partly glazed, and partly
patched with leaves of old copybooks. It was most ingeniously
secured at vacant hours, by a withe twisted in the handle of the
door, and stakes set against the window shutters; so that though
a thief might get in with perfect ease, he would ?nd some
embarrassment in getting out,–an idea most probably borrowed by
the architect, Yost Van Hout en, from the mystery of an eelpot.
The schoolhouse stood in a rather lonely but pleas ant situation,
just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by,
3and a formidable birch-t ree growing at one end of it. From hence
the low murmur of his pupils’ voices, conning over their lessons,
might be heard in a drowsy summer’s day, like the hum of a
beehive; interrupted now and then by the authoritative voice of
the master, in the tone of menace or command, or, peradventure,
by the appalling sound of the birch, as he urged some tardy
loiterer along the ?owery path of knowledge. Truth to say, he
was a conscientious man, and ever bore in mind the golden maxim,
”Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Ichabod Crane’s scholars
certainly were not spoiled.
I would not have it imagined, however, that he was one of
those cruel potentat es of the school who joy in the smart of
their sub jects; on the contrary, he administered justice with
discrimination rather than severity; taking the burden o? the
backs of the weak, and laying it on those of the strong. Your
mere puny stripling, that winced at the least ?ourish of the
rod, was passed by with indulgence; but the claims of justice
were satis?ed by in?icting a double portion on some little
tough wrong-headed, broad-skirted Dutch urchin, who sulked and
swelled and grew dogged and sullen beneath the birch. All this he
called ”doing his duty by their parents;” and he never in?icted
a chastisement without following it by the assurance, so
consolatory to the smarting urchin, that ”he would remember it
and thank him for it the longest day he had to live.”
When school hours were over, he was even the companion and
playmate of the larger boys; and on holiday afternoons would
convoy some of the smaller ones home, who happ ened to have pretty
sisters, or good housewives for mothers, noted for the comforts
of the cupboard. Indeed, it behooved him to keep on good terms
with his pupils. The revenue arising from his school was small,
and would have been scarcely su?cient to furnish him with daily
bread, for he was a huge feeder, and, though lank, had the
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