Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Poor Ichabod Crane

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a classic tale written by Washington Irving in a time when Halloween wasn't celebrated as a holiday.

The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, about thirty years before it's publication date of 1820. In a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow, we met three characters in what we describe today as a bit of a "love triange." Our underdog is Ichabod Crane a lanky, and extremely superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes for the attention of Katrina Van Tassel with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town's more popular eligible bachelor.

One Autumn night, after attending a party hosted at the Van Tassel home, Crane leaves and is pursued by the Headless Horseman, who is supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper. This lost trooper reportedly had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during an unidentified battle of the American Revolutionary War, and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head". Ichabod is pursued by the headless ghost and ultimately is knocked from his horse by a flying pumpkin, the ghostly rider transforming into a skeleton.

After his encounter with the headless horseman, Ichabod mysteriously disappears from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones. Although the truth of the legend of the Headless Horseman is left open to speculation, the reader is left with the distinct feeling that the Horseman was in reality a jealous Brom Bones in disguise.

A love triangle, a ghostly headless horseman lurking in the shadows and a pumkin round out this paranormal tale written in 1820. A classic Halloween story that has been reprinted, retold and remade into both animated kids movies to more adult versions.



I don't remember the first time I read "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" or the first time I watched a movie version - I only remember I wasn't that old, I was easily impressionable and I was scared to death of the jack-o-laterns for quite a while after! Now after almost 200 hundred years the tale of the headless horseman can still stir the imagination and raise the hairs on the backs of necks. But the romantic in me can't help but feel sorry for poor Ichabod, he was the underdog - presumably a good man - and he does not get the girl in the end. As a romance goes I find myself always hoping for a better ending...

Would you give Ichabod a different ending if you could? Or is the power of suggestion as to his fate, and that of the Katrina and Bram, better off left to your own imagination?

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I remember this story. I should get it from the library. Thanks.

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