Skip to main content

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Headless Horseman Horror Story

In the spirit of Halloween, this month I will suggest some creepy, ghostly short stories by famous authors.  Don’t worry. I’m not into the ghastly chilling scene. I don’t like horror movies and rarely read scary books, with an exception of some Stephen King novels.  I don’t really care to be scared senseless by watching dolls come to life or people inversely crab crawling up a staircase.  I prefer my ghosts to be friendlier, like Casper.  With that said, Washington Irving’s classic short story about a headless horseman chasing a scared school teacher, is a milder kind of fright. 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is a short story about a gangly, superstitious, nerdy school teacher named Ichabod Crane, who comes to teach in the small village of Sleepy Hollow.  It isn't long before he is smitten by the coquettish Katrina Van Tassel.  Unfortunately, big and boisterous Abraham, aka Brom Bones, also has his eye on this flirty daughter of a wealthy farmer. 

Brom is a prankish bully, kind of like Biff Tannen in the movie Back to the Future. He pushes people around and plays jokes that only he and his gang consider funny. One night after a fabulous harvest party hosted by the Van Tassels, Brom thinks of an ingenious way to scare Ichabod away from Katrina. 

This fun and spooky short story made Washington Irving into a legend of his own.  It was first published in a book of short stories called The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent in 1820.  Almost 200 years later the story still enchants people of all ages.  It’s taught in school and every American knows (or probably should know) about it.  

Sleepy Hollow Towns
Did you know that North Tarrytown, NY, the inspiration for Irving's Sleepy Hollow setting, officially changed its name to Sleepy Hollow in 1997?  There’s also a Sleepy Hollow, Illinois where the streets are names after characters in the story, and a Sleepy Hollow, Marin Co, California to name a few. 

Want to see the beautiful home called “Sunnyside” which Irving bought in Tarrytown, NY after living in England for seventeen years?  You aren’t the only one.  Even Charles Dickens visited Irving here on his U.S. tour in 1842. Visit for more information.

Rip Van Winkle
Washington Irving is also the author of Rip Van Winkleabout a man who awoke after twenty years of sleep. 


Washington Irving was mentioned numerous times in the book Catch-22, where Captain Yossarian haphazardly censors enlisted men’s letters, sometimes crossing out articles or verbs, and other crazy variations of nonsense.  One time he blacked out everything but the letters “a,” “an,” and “the.”  With each censorship, the officer had to sign his name on the letter, but  on these crazy censored letters, Yossarian signed Washington Irving or Irving Washington depending on his mood. 

Happy Reading,


  1. I have never read this story. I've seen the movie but now it's time to read the real story.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Fabulous New Little Free Library in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Little Free Library in Tree Stump in Coeur d’Alene, ID

Yesterday, my sister sent me a link to an article about a woman in Coeur d'Alene who turned a 100-year-old tree stump into a Little Free Library and I just had to see it for myself. The article stated that the tree was dying, rotting on the inside, so they had to have it removed. When some people have trees cut down they leave a large section to turn into wood sculptures. I love to see the works of art that are created from those stumps. 
But this stump takes the cake. Instead of a sculpture, owner and artist, Sharalee Armitage Howard, turned her tree stump into the most magnificent Little Free Library I’ve ever seen!  
The library was not yet listed on the map, so the search was on. Carefully viewing the video, I tried to narrow down where the house was located. Then I enlisted my husband’s help to search with me and we found it on the first street we turned down. It’s hard to miss.  This fabulous library is big.  It’s not just …

Little Free Libraries, Coeur d'Alene, ID Update

Take a Book, Leave a Book – Coeur d’Alene, ID Update Take a book, leave a book—that’s what the Little Free Libraries are all about—sharing books. It seems like these libraries are popping up like popcorn in Coeur d’Alene!  I just found four more. How exciting!  (Click here to see original post) 317 W. Mill Ave, Coeur d’Alene, ID.  This library is awesome and my photo doesn't do it justice.  It matches the beautiful house and the topper is that the house and library have matching whimsical pine cone rain chains hanging from them! The library has a nice selection of books, and there's a bench right next to it.  Here’s what steward, Kim, wrote about her library on the Little Free Library map locator:
Besides brushing my teeth, reading is the only thing I do every day. I have an extensive personal library and have always delighted in sharing books with others, so becoming an LFL Steward was the next right thing. My partner, Tom, and I bought and have been renovating the house in whi…

Tribute to Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning Author Pearl S. Buck