Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Pictured: John Quidor, 1801–81, The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, 1858, oil, 26 7/8 x 33 7/8 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum

Sleepy Hollow is the small burg in Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was a short story written by Washington Irving, one of America's earliest authors who also wrote "Rip Van Winkle." Both of these stories took place in colonial upstate New York.

Plot Summary from Wikipedia:
The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarrytown, New York, in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a priggish schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, daughter of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel home on an autumn night, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who lost his head during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head." Crane disappears from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones, who was "to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related."

"Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast; dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod.… An inquiry was set on foot, and after diligent investigation they came upon his traces. In one part of the road leading to the church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented in the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin. The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered."
— Washington Irving
A reading of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

duration: 83 minutes

plez sez: I grew up in Sleepy Hollow (the name of the town was changed from North Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow in 1996), which is a small town about 20 miles north of New York City. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was trotted out every Halloween to scare the bejesus out of us in elementary school; what better way to get a good fright than to actually live and go Trick or Treating by the Old Dutch Church or near the old wooden bridge where Icabod Crane met his fateful end at the hand (or pumpkin) of the Headless Horseman.

The ability to see and walk upon the actual sites in the legend made the story so much scarier to a young 7- or 8-year old kid while tagging along with my older brothers on Halloween night. Imagine being able to walk by the Old Dutch Church (which still stands), or Van Tassel, or the Tappan Zee Bridge, or Phillipsburg Manor (where my mother worked as a hostess). The name of the high school is Sleepy Hollow and their mascot is - you got it - the Headless Horseman (complete with pumpkin in hand). I attended Washington Irving Junior High School and Washington Irving's home (Sunnyside) was just up the road in Irvington, New York.

Many a Halloween night, I could hear the Headless Horseman's steed's galloping hooves as they crossed the wooden bridge by the Old Dutch Church. I hope you enjoy the scare as much as I did.



David Sullivan said...

That is one of my favorite Halloween type tales along with Ray Bradbury's "Halloween Tree".

Happy Halloween

JHow said...
Jack and Jill politics has covered... read this, Senator Dodd, while running for President, is at the same time screwing Blacks and minorities big time by backing Bush

Presidential hopeful Chris Dodd, Chairman of Banking, Housing & Urban
Affairs Committee, is making the remarkable move of closing down a
Federal program that has historically helped hundreds of thousands of
disadvantaged groups and the poor achieve first time homeownership.

Dodd is siding with Senate Republicans (like Senator Richard Shelby,
R-AL no less) to give a slap in the face to minorities across the
country. Dodd is supporting Bush's HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson in
his move to eliminate downpayment assistance programs. According to
the GAO, the move to get rid of downpayment assistance programs will
bar approximately 40% of African-American homebuyers from utilizing
Federal Housing Administration insured loans. Also affected are
potentially 30% of Latinos.

While I appreciate the work Senator Dodd has done in regards to
working to restore habeas corpus rights and stopping telecom companies
from having complete amnesty for their crimes…right needs to be told
he will lose all effective support he has from the blogosphere if this
program is shut down! What Senator Dodd is doing will screw the poor,
minorities, and many single parent mothers from ever owning a home.
True progressives Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. Barney Frank have showed
their leadership in securing a bill in the House to protect this
program. In the Senate, Senator Dodd holds the keys. Sign this
petition and call Senator Dodd now. For more information on this
issue, see below.

Downpayment assistance programs allow nonprofits to assist home buyers
in providing the minimum down payment required for Federal Housing
Authority (FHA) loans. Shutting down this program will effectively
destroy the nonprofits seeking to help first time home buyers achieve
their dreams of home ownership. From 2000 through 2006, more than
650,000 buyers got their down payments through nonprofits. HUD
Secretary Alphonso Jackson believes with the recent foreclosures
occurring because of subprime loans, an increased number of borrowers
will seek downpayment assistance and place enormous fiscal stress on
the FHA. However, Secretary Jackson is overlooking the fact that if
downpayment assistance programs are shut out, even more borrowers will
be FORCED into predatory loan agreements and subprime loans. The
reality is, downpayment assistance programs are needed more than ever
now, and to remove the program is to put families onto the street and
to keep an entire segment of the population continually renting from

According to GAO study published earlier this year, the imposition of
risk-based pricing will bar approximately 40% of African-American
homebuyers from utilizing FHA and potentially 30% of Latinos.

Many other disadvantaged groups and the poor will be severely
affected. How will these people ever qualify for home mortgages? Will
they ever own their own assets? Will they ever build their own wealth?
If the government intends for people to stay indebted to landlords and
housed in apartment buildings, how can we expect minorities to build
their own businesses and raise their children in healthy
self-sustaining communities?

Right now, the House of Representatives passed a bill to prevent HUD
from closing this program. The bipartisan support of Rep. Maxine
Waters, Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Gary Miller made this effort
possible. However, in the Senate, the Banking, Housing, and Urban
Affairs Committee is apparently siding with HUD to shut down
downpayment assistance. We must act now!
This petition urges the Senate to follow the bold leadership in the
House. Do not shut down this program to help Americans achieve first
time home ownership. Help ALL Americans reach the American dream.

Write or Call Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman
Chris Dodd to tell him:

"Please do not shut down the downpayment assistance program. This
program helps hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged families across
the country achieve the American dream of homeownership."

Banking Committee Contact:
534 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
P: (202) 224-7391
F: (202) 224-5137

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd Contact:
448 Russell Building | Washington D.C., 20510
Tel: (202) 224-2823 | Fax: (202) 224-1083