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The story you're about to hear was found written down among the papers of a dead man. The horrible and frightening tale it was of a haunted town, a dedicated school teacher, and a man who'd lost his head. Sound like an episode of Dateland? It could be. But no. I I'm Keith Morison, and this is the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Welcome to our new podcast series, where the stories will be classics and some of the most mysterious, suspensful, and spine-tingling fiction you have ever heard. Since it's Halloween, we begin with a truly harrowing tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. It happened, this otherworldly haunting, this terror in the night, a long time ago. The year was 1790, just north of New York City, in a place the local housewives dubbed Territown, for the way their husbands terried at the bar on the way home. They were Dutch, many of them, descendants of the original settlers, and they farmed the tranquil lands around them. But they knew all of them about the silent Glen, nestled in the hills nearby. The place they called with a shatter, Sleepy Hollow. For the villages seemed almost to feel the ghosts around them, felt a haunting shiver when they blew out the candles at night, and thought about that story of the soldier beheaded in the Revolutionary War who was said to roam the countryside at night in an endless search for his lost head.


And then one day, a tall man arrived in this little town, a school teacher for the local children, and his name was Ichabod Crane. And now Well, Washington Irving's words as we pick up the story. He was tall but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders and 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 snip nose, so it looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him. One might have mistaken him for some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield. 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 stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation, just at the foot of a woody hill. With a brook running close by and a formidable birch tree growing at one end of it.


From hence the low murmur of his pupil's voices 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 per adventure by the appalling sound of the birch as he urge some tardy loiterer along the flowery 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. Ichibod Crane's scholars certainly were not spoiled. I would not have imagined, however, that he was one of those cruel potentates of the school who joy in the smart of their subjects. On the contrary, he administered justice with discrimination rather than severity, taking the burden off the backs of the weak, laying it on those of the strong. Your mere puny stripling that winced at the least flourish of the rod was passed by with indulgence. But the claims of justice were satisfied by inflicting a double portion on some tough little, 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 inflicted a chastisment without following it by the assurance, so consolatory to the smarting urchin, that he would remember it and thank him for 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 happened to have pretty sisters or good housewives from others, noted for the comforts of their 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 sufficient to furnish him with daily bread, for he was a huge feeder. But to help out his maintenance, he was, according to country custom in those parts, boarded and lodged at the houses of the farmers whose children he instructed. With those, he lived successively a week at a time, thus going the rounds of the neighborhood with all his worldly effects tied up in a cotton handkerchief. That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his rustic patrons who are apt to consider the costs of schooling a grievous burden and schoolmasters as mere drones. He had various ways of rendering himself both useful and agreeable. He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors of their farms, helped them make hay, mended the fences, took the horses to water, drove the cows from the pasture, and cut wood for the winter fire.


He laid aside all the dominant dignity and absolute sway with which he lorded in his little empire, the school, and became wonderfully gentle and ingratiating. In addition to his other vocations, he was the singing master of the neighborhood and picked up many bright shillings by instructing the young folks in psalmody. It was a matter of no little vanity to him on Sundays to take his station in front of the church gallery with a band of chosen singers where, in his own mind, he completely carried away the psalm from the parson. Certain it is, his voice resounded far above all the rest of the congregation, and there are peculiar your quaver still to be heard in that church, and which may even be heard half a mile off, quite to the opposite side of the millpond on a still Sunday morning, which are said to be legitimately descended from the nose of Ichabod Crane. And there it was. Did you catch it all the way from 1790? A signal from the author. A hint, perhaps, that some dark fate was creeping ever closer to poor Ichabod Crane. For true crime fans, nothing is more chilling than watching Dateline.


Have you ever seen such a thing before? For podcast fans, nothing is more chilling than listening. What goes through your mind when you make a discovery like that? And when you subscribe to Dateline Premium, it gets even better. Excuse me, I sound a little skeptical. Every episode is ad-free. Oh, wow. So this could be your ace in the hole. And not just ad-free, you also get early access to new intriguing mysteries and exclusive bonus content. So what were you afraid of? Dateline Premium on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe now. You ready for what's coming? The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in the female circle of a rural neighborhood, being considered a idol gentleman-like personage of vastly superior haste and accomplishments to the rough country swains, and indeed inferior in learning, only to the parson. His appearance, therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir at the tea table of a farmhouse, and the addition of a dish of cakes or sweetmeats was a parade of a silver teapot. Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles of all the country damsels. How he would figure among them in the churchyard between services on Sundays, gathering grapes for them from the wild vines that overran the surrounding trees, reciting for their amusement all the epitaphs on the tombstones or sauntering with a whole bevy of them along the banks of the adjacent millpon, while the more bashful country bumpkins hung sheepishly back envying his superior elegance and address.


From his half itinerant life also, he was a traveling the Gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house to house, so that his appearance was always greeted with satisfaction. He was, moreover, esteemed by the women as a man of great erudition, for he had read several books, quite through, and was a perfect master of Cotton Mather's, The History of New England Bitchcraft, which, by the way, he most firmly and potently believed. He was, in an odd mixture of small shrewdness and simple credulity. His appetite for the marvelous and his powers of digesting it were equally extraordinary, and both had been increased by his residence in this spellbound region. No tail was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow. It was often his delight, after his school was dismissed in the afternoon, to stretch himself on the rich bed of clover, bordering the little brook that whispered by his schoolhouse. And there, cawn over old maither's direful tales until the gathering dusk of evening made the printed page a mere mist before his eyes. Then, as he wended his way by swamp and stream and awful woodland to the farmhouse where he happened to be quartered, every sound of nature at that witching hour fluttered his excited imagination.


The moan of the bipperwill from the hillside, the boading eye of the tree toad, that harbinger of storm, the dreary hooting of the screech owl, or the sudden rustling in the thicket of birds, frightened from their roost. The fireflies, too, which sparkled most vividly in the darkest places. Now and then startled him as one of uncommon brightness would stream across his path. And if by chance a huge blockhead of a beetle came winging his blundering flight against him, the poor man was ready to give up the ghost, with the idea that he was struck with a witch's token. His only resource on such occasions, either to drown thought or drive away evil spirits, was to sing psalm tunes. And the good people of Sleepy Hollow, as they sat by their doors of an evening, were often filled with awe at hearing his nasal melody floating from the distant hill or along the dusky road. Another of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives as they sat spinning by the fire with a row of apples roasting and spluttering on the hearth and listened to their marvelous tales of ghosts and goblets omens, haunted fields and haunted brooks and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the headless horsemen, or galloping hessian of the hollow, as they sometimes called him.


He would delight them equally by his anecdotes of witchcraft and of the direful omens and portentious sights and sounds in the air which prevailed in the earlier times of Connecticut and would frighten them woefully with speculations upon comets and shooting stars, and with the alarming fact the world did absolutely turn round and that they were half the time topsy turvy. But if there was a pleasure in all of this, well, snugly cuddling in the chimney corner of a chamber that was all of a ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire and where, of course, no ghosts dare to show its face, it was dearly purchased by the terrors of a subsequent walk homewards. What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path amid the dim and gastly glare of a snowy night? With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant window? How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow which, like a sheeted specter, beset his very path? How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frost crust beneath his feet, and dread to look over his shoulder lest he should behold some uncouth being trampling close behind him?


And how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees in the idea that it was the galloping has sinned on one of his nightly scourings? All these, however, were mere terrors of the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness. Daylight put an end to all these evils, and he would have passed a pleasant life of it in spite of the devil and all his works. If his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts and goblins and the whole race of witches put together. And that Was a Woman. Hi, everyone. I'm Jenna Bush-Haker from Today with Hoda and Jenna and the Read with Jenna Book Club. There's nothing I love more more than sharing my favorite reads with all of you, except maybe talking to the exceptional authors behind these stories. And that's what I'll be doing on my podcast, Read with Jenna. I'll be introducing you to some of my favorite writers. These conversations will leave you feeling inspired and entertained. To start listening, just search Read with Jenna wherever you get your podcast. Among the musical disciples who assemble one evening each week, to receive Ichebod Crane's instructions in Sommity was one, Katrina van Tassel, the daughter and the only child of a substantial Dutch farmer.


She was a booming lass, a fresh 18, plump as a partridge, ripe and melting, and rosy-cheeked as one of her father's peaches, and universally famed, not merely for her beauty, but her vast expectations. She was, with all a little of a coquette, as might be perceived even in her dress, which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set off her charms. She wore the orniths of pure yellow gold and a provokingly short petticoat to display the prettiest foot and ankle in the country round. Hiccupod Crane had a soft and foolish heart toward the sex, and It's not to be wondered at that so tempting a morsel soon found favor in his eyes, more especially after he had visited her in her paternal mansion. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a perfect picture of a thriving, contented, liberal-hearted farmer. He, seldom, it is true, sent either his eyes or his thoughts beyond the boundaries of his own farm. But within those, everything was snug, happy and well-conditioned, he was satisfied with his wealth, but not proud of it, and piqued himself upon the hearty abundance rather than the style in which he lived.


His stronghold was situated on the banks of the Hudson in one of those green, sheltered, fertile nooks in which the Dutch farmers are so fond and nestling. A great elm tree spread its broad branches over it, at the foot of which up a spring of the softest and sweetest water in a little well formed of a barrel and then stole sparkling away through the grass to a neighboring brook that babled along among alders and dwarf willows. Hard by the farmhouse was a vast barn that might have served for a church. Every window and crevice of which seemed bursting forth with the treasures of the farm. The flail was busily resounding within it from the morning until night. Swallows and martens, skin, twittering about the ease, and rows of pigeons, some with one eye turned up as if watching the weather, some with their heads under their wings were buried in their bosoms. And others swelling and cooing and bowing about their dams were enjoying the sunshine on the roof. Sleek unwieldy porkers were grunting in the repose and abundance of their pens. From whence, sellied forth now and then, troops of suckling pigs as if to snuff the air.


A stately squadron of snowy geese were riding in an adjoining pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks. Regiments of turkeys were gobbling through the farmyard, and guinea fellows fretting about it, like ill-tempered housewives, with their peevish discontented cry. Ichabod'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, carrying cozily in dishes like snug married couples with a decent competency of onion sauce. In the porkers he saw carved out the future's sleek side of bacon and juicy relishing ham. Not a turkey, he beheld, but daintily trust up with its gizzard under its wing and a necklace of savory sausages. As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled his great green eyes over the fat Meadowlands, the rich fields of wheat, rye, buck wheat, and Indian corn, and the orchids burdened with ruddy fruit which surrounded the warm tenement of Van Tassel.


His heart yearned after the damsel who was to inherit these domains, and his imagination expanded with the idea how they might readily be turned into cash. And the money invested in immense tracts of wild land and shingle palaces in the wilderness. His busy fancy already realized his hopes and presented to him the Blooming Katrina with a whole family of children mounted on the top of a wagon loaded with household trumpery, with pots and kettles dangling beneath, as he himself, bestriding a pacing mare with a cold at her heels, setting out for Kentucky or Tennessee or the Lord knows where. When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart was complete. It was one of those spacious farmhouses with high-ridged but lowly-sloping roofs, built in the style handed down from the first Dutch settlers, the low projecting eves, forming a fiazza along the front, capable of being closed up in bad weather. Under this were hung flails and harnesses, various utensils of husbandry, nets for fishing in the neighboring river. Benches were built along the side for summer use and a great spinning wheel at one end and a churn at the other showed the various uses to which this important porch might be devoted.


From this piazza, the wandering Ichabod entered the hall, which formed the center of the mansion and the place of usual residence. Here, rows of resplandant pewter ranged on long dresser dazzled his eyes. In one corner stood a huge bag of wool ready to be spun. In another, ears of Indian corn and strings of dried apples and peaches hung in gay festoons along the walls, mingled with the God of red peppers. And a door left a jar, gave him a peep into the best parlor where the claw-footed chairs and dark mahogany tables shone like mirrors. A great ostrage egg was hung from the center of the room, and a corner cupboard knowingly left open displayed immense treasures of old silver and well-minted China. From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes on these regions of delight. The peace of his mind was at an end, and his only study was how to gain the affections of the peerless daughter of Van Tassel. In this enterprise, however, he had more real difficulties than generally felt to the lot of a night errant of your who seldom had anything but giants, enchanters, fiery dragons, and suchlike easily-conquered adversaries to contend with.


And had to make his way merely through gates of iron and grass and walls of ediment to the castle keep, where the lady of his heart was confined, all of which he achieved as easily as a man would carve his way to the center of a Christmas pie. And then the lady gave him her hand. As a matter of course, Ichabod, on the contrary, had to win his way to the heart of a country coquette, beset with a labyrinth of whims and caprice which were forever presenting new difficulties and impediments, and he had to encounter a host of fearful adversaries of real flesh and blood, the numerous rustic admirers who beset every portal to her keeping a watchful and angry eye upon each other, but ready to fly out in the common cause against any new competitor. Among these, the most formidable was a burly, roaring, roistering blade of the name of Abraham, or, according to the Dutch abbreviation, Bram van Brunt, the hero of the country round, which rang with his feats of strength and hardyhood. He was broad-shouldered and double-jointed with short, curly black hair and a bluff, but not unpleasant, countenance, having a mingle there of fun and arrogance.


From his Herculean frame and great powers of limb, he had received the nickname of Bram Bones, by which he was universally known. He was famed for great knowledge and skill and horsemanship. He was foremost at all races and cock fights, and with the ascendancy which bodily strength always acquires in rustic life, was the umpire in all disputes, setting his hat on one side and giving his decisions with an air and tone that admitted of no gain, say, or appeal. He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic, but had more mischief than ill will in his composition. And with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dash of waggish good humor at the bottom. He had three or four boon companions who regarded him as their model, and the head of whom he scoured the country, attending every scene of feud or merriment for miles around. In cold weather, he was distinguished by a fur cap surmounted with a flaunting fox's tail. And when the folks at a country gathering described this well-known crest at a distance, whisking among a squal of hard riders, they always stood by for a squal. Sometimes his crew would be heard dashing along past the farmhouses at midnight with whoop and hello, like a troop of Don Cossacks.


And the old dames startled out of their sleep wouldn't listen for a moment until the hurry scurry had clattered by and then exclaim, Ay, there goes Bram Bones and his gang. The neighbors looked upon with a mixture of awe and admiration and goodwill. And when any madcap prank or rustic brawl occurred in the vicinity, always shook their heads and warranted Bram Bones was at the bottom of it. This hero had for some time singled out the Blooming Katrina for the object of his uncouth gallanteries. And though his amorous toyings were something like the gentle caresses and endearments of a bear, Yet it was whisper that she did not altogether discourage his hopes. Certain it is his advances were signals for rival candidates to retire. We felt no inclination to cross a lion in his amours, insomuch that when his horse was seen tied to Van Tassel's pailing on a Sunday night, a sure sign that his master was courting, all other suiters passed by in despair. Such was the formidable rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to contend. And, considering all things, a stouter man than he would have shrunk from the competition, and a wiser man would have despaired.


He had, however, a happy mix of pliability and perseverance in his nature. He was in form and spirit like a climbing vine, yielding but tough. Though he bent, he never broke. And though he bowed beneath the slightest pressure, yet the moment it was away, jerk, he was wrecked and carried his head as high as ever. To have taken the field openly against his rival would have been madness, for he was not a man to be thwarted in his amours any more than that stormy lover Achilles. Ichabod, therefore, made his advances in a quiet and gently insinuating manner. Undercover of his character of singing master, he made frequent visits to the farmhouse. Not that he had anything to apprehend from the meddlesome interference of parents, which is so often a stumbling block in the path of lovers. Belt Vantasse was an easy, indulgent soul. He loved his daughter better even than his pipe. And like a reasonable man and an excellent father, let her have her way in everything. His his notable little wife, too, had enough to do to attend to her housekeeping and manage their poultry, where she sagely observed, ducks and geese are foolish things and must be looked after.


But girls, could take care of themselves. Thus, while the busy dame bustled about the house or applied her spinning wheel at one end of the piazza, Honest Balt would sit smoking his evening pipe at the other. In the meantime, Ichabod would carry on his suit with the daughter by the side of the spring under the great elm or sauntering along in the twilight that are so favorable to the lovers' eloquence. I profess not to know how women's hearts are wooed and won. To me, they've always been matters of riddle, admiration. Some seem to have but one vulnerable point or door of access, while others have a thousand avenues and may be captured in a thousand different ways. It's a great triumph of skill to gain the former, but a still greater proof of generalship to maintain possession of the latter. For man must battle for his fortress at every door and window. He who wins a thousand common hearts is therefore entitled to some renown. But he who keeps undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette is indeed a hero. Certain it is this was not the case with the redoutable Bram Bones. And from the moment Ichabod Crane made his advances, the interests of the former evidently declined.


His horse was no longer seen tied to the palings on Sunday nights, and a deadly few gradually arose between him and the teacher of Sleepy Hollow. Bram, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his would feign to have carried matters to open warfare by a single combat. But Ichibod was too conscious of the superior might of his adversary. He'd overheard a boast to Bones that he would double the schoolmaster up and lay him on a shelf of his own in the schoolhouse, and he was too wary to give him an opportunity. There was something extremely provoking in his obstinately Pacific system. It left Bram no alternative but to play off boorish practical jokes upon his rival. Ichabod became the object of whimsical prosecution to Bones and his gang of rough riders. They harried his hither to peaceful domains, smoked out his singing school by stopping up the chimney broke into the schoolhouse at night and turned everything topsy turvy. So the poor schoolmaster began to think all the witches in the country held their meetings there. But what was still more annoying Bram took all opportunities of turning him into ridicule in the presence of his mistress.


He had a scoundrel dog whom he taught to whine in the most ludicrous manner and introduced as a rival of Ichabod's to instruct her insomody. In this way, matters went on for some time without producing any material effect on the relative situations of the contending powers. On a fine autumnal afternoon, Ichabod impensive mood, sat enthroned on the lofty stool from once he usually watched all the concerns of his little literary realm. His scholars were all busily intent upon their books or slyly whispering behind them with one eye kept upon the master, and a buzzing stillness rains throughout the school room. Does Washington Does Washington Irving mean the stillness that comes before a storm? Why, yes, he does. Because a cloud was forming over Ichabod Crane, and all those terrified whispers about the headless horsemen were going to rain down on him in the most terrible way.