Friday, October 14, 2016

Paddle Pilgrim meets Headless Horseman

My family lived just a few miles down the Hudson River from a hamlet named Irvington after local author, Washington Irving. I remember school class field trips to his lovely cottage on the banks of river. But what I remember most were the fascinating characters in his stories.  Rip Van Winkle falls asleep for 100 years to awake to a whole new world upon which the author uses Rip to comment on social change.
My favorite, however, was Ichibod Crane in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This gangly, homely and superstitious school teacher falls for the lovely Katrina Van Tassel. His chief competition is the roguish and handsome Brom Bones.  At a Halloween party Brom recounts the eerie Legend of Sleepy Hollow about a cavalry officer whose head is blown off by a cannonball during the Revolutionary War.
He is said to have been seen riding at night with his head in his hands. 
When Ichibod heads home on his horse,  he must pass through a dark woods and menacing swamp toward Sleepy Hollow. There he  suddenly encounters the huge, menacing cloaked rider without a head.  Ichibod flees in terror and is never seen again.
Where did he go? Could Brom Bones have been the horseman?  We are left to wonder.
I still get goose bumps when I imagine  the tale with thanks to Walt Disney and others who have brought Irving's story to the big screen.  I will paddle by Sleepy Hollow today and will keep one eye  on shore to see if the horseman still rides.....

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