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La Leyenda De Sleepy Hollow 1


Enviado por   •  27 de Mayo de 2013  •  4.598 Palabras (19 Páginas)  •  356 Visitas

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FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LATE DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER.

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was, Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye; And of gay castles in the

clouds that pass, Forever flushing round a summer sky. CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad

expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always

prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small

market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly

known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good

housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the

village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the

sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley

or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook

glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or

tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that

shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was

startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was prolonged and

reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and

its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than

this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from

the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW,

and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy,

dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place

was bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian

chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master

Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a

spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all

kinds of marvellous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear

music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving 2

superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and

the nightmare, with her whole ninefold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all

the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the

ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle

during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom

of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the

adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most

authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts

concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost

rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he

sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get

back to the churchyard before daybreak.

Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story

in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless

Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the

valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for a time. However wide awake they

may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching

influence of the air, and begin to grow imaginative, to dream dreams, and see apparitions.

I

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