Who was pretending to be the headless horseman and why?

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In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Brom Bones is the headless horseman. The author alludes to this at the end of the story. Brom offers signs that he knows Ichabod's fate, such as a smile here and there. It's as if he's recalling something amusing each time people ponder the mystery of Ichabod's disappearance. The motive Brom has for disposing of Ichabod is Katrina Van Tassel. He wants to have her for his own and make her his bride. At one point both he and Ichabod compete for her affections. Though Katrina does not seem to mind two suitors, Brom eventually wins out over Crane.

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