What evidence is there that the "headless horseman" is a trick played on Ichabod to scare him from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?The author gives several possible explanations for what has happened...

What evidence is there that the "headless horseman" is a trick played on Ichabod to scare him from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?

The author gives several possible explanations for what has happened to Ichabod Crane. Use specific details from the text that support the infrence that the "headless horseman" was a trick played on Ichabod that scared him from Sleepy Hollow. Write at least three compleate sentences with two specific details.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Washington Irving's delightful ghost story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Ichabod Crane has designs upon the daughter of very wealthy Old Baltus Van Tassel, Katrina.  When he receives an invitation to partake in the "merrymaking" and "quilting frolic" at the Van Tassel castle, Ichabod is ecstatic.  However, Brom Bones, a suitor of Katrina's also attends. Since he and Ichabod are rivals for Katrina's affections, and he has already played practical jokes upon Crane.  Therefore, he may well have tricked Crane after he left.  Here are points consideration: 

1. When Ichabod departs from the party it is the "witching time of night" in the legendary haunted region of Sleepy Hollow.  As Ichabod rides along,

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the afternoon, now came crowding upon his recollection

and, as he approaches the stream that is believed haunted by the ghost of Major Andre, who had been taken prisoner in this area, Ichabod becomes unnerved.  He kicks his old horse Gunpowder so it will trot quickly across the dreaded bridge, but the horse runs broadside into a fence, instead.  Then, Ichabod urges old Gunpowder forward, but the horse balks.  Crane hears something and beholds a black, towering, misshapen form.   However, whether his perceptions are accurate is not certain because Ichabod has been frightened by all the ghosts stories that the old wives have shared throughout the evening, and he is at what is considered a haunted bridge.

2. After Gunpowder is found, calmly munching grass in the front yard of his owner, van Tipper, there is no trace of Ichabod Crane.  After much searching,

on the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and blck, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin.

This pumpkin could well be what Ichabod has believed to be the head of the headless horseman.

3. After Ichabod Crane disappears from the area, Brom Bones marries Katrina Van Tassel.  And, whenever the story of Ichabod is told, 

he always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin; which led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell. 

Of course, Brom Bones is known for his horsemanship and he owns a black, spirited steed in Daredevil.  And, he has already been known for his practical jokes played upon Ichabod Crane.

Read the study guide:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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