This was a fun story to read during October. I don’t believe I have ever actually read the story of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane before, even though I knew the story well. I had watched the old Disney cartoon many times as a child, and images of it popped up in my head while I was reading this short story.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving
Pages: 48 Genre: Classic, Gothic, Short Story Published: 1820
While parts of this short story were difficult for me to read because I wasn’t used to the words or phrases that were more popular centuries ago, but I did love the descriptions of people and food. First, that description of Ichabod Crane was perfect:
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 flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew.
That’s how I remembered him from the cartoon!
Then, I became hungry just reading about Ichabod’s fascination with all sorts of food:
The pedagogue’s mouth watered, as he looked upon this sumptuous promise of luxurious winter fare. In his devouring mind’s eye, he pictured to himself every roasting pig running about with a pudding in his belly, and an apple in his mouth; the pigeons were snugly put to bed in a comfortable pie, and tucked in with a coverlet of crust; the geese were swimming in their own gravy; and the ducks pairing cosily in dishes, like snug married couples, with a decent competency of onion sauce, in the porkers he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy relishing ham; not a turkey, but he beheld daintily trussed up, with its gizzard under its wing, and, peradventure, a necklace of savory sausages; and even bright chanticleer himself lay sprawling on his back, in a side dish, with uplifted claws, as if craving that quarter, which his chivalrous spirit disdained to ask while living.
The entire story is about Ichabod Crane trying to woo the daughter of a farmer while there is also a burly guy in town vying for her attention. While all of this is happening, there is also the mention of spooky stories told about the headless horseman. When Crane finally encounters him though, it is over so quickly! There was so much build up that I wanted it to be longer and maybe a bit scary. It was exciting, but then it was over. I did like the way it ended with a bit of a mystery and wink to what could have happened that wasn’t so supernatural.