Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reading A to Z: I is for Irving

Ichabod Crane is the main character in one of the first scary stories I ever read. He stars in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a short story by Washington Irving. Ichabod is a superstitious teacher who moves to Sleepy Hollow to work in their school. While preachy in the classroom, he is quite the hypocrite, often engaging in excess. One night, following a party at which his proposal of marriage to his beloved was refused, he is making his way home. He reaches a bridge and encounters the Headless Horseman, a Hessian soldier who was decapitated. He thinks he has made it safely across the bridge, but then the horseman knocks Ichabod off of his horse when it throws its severed head at him. Ichabod is never heard from nor seen again.

It's a classic story and evokes all kinds of creepy images. It is so iconic that it was made into both a Disney movie and a few times into a horror movie (including the Johnny Depp version).

Washington Irving is also famous for his short story about Rip Van Winkle, the man who fell asleep for 20 years. This one is also classic and has been retold time and time again, especially in the form of a children's story.

Adaptations have their merit, but it is always best to visit the original.

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