drawing of the headless horseman holding a pumpkin and riding a horse through the woods

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

by Washington Irving
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What happens to Ichabod Crane after he leaves the Van Tassels' party in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"?

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After Ichabod Crane departs from the Van Tassels' party, he encounters the Headless Horseman, the ghost of a galloping Hessian horseman whose head was blown off by a cannon-ball in the Revolutionary War. This apparition is seen off and on by the country folk as it hurries along in the...

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After Ichabod Crane departs from the Van Tassels' party, he encounters the Headless Horseman, the ghost of a galloping Hessian horseman whose head was blown off by a cannon-ball in the Revolutionary War. This apparition is seen off and on by the country folk as it hurries along in the night as though on the "wings of the wind," and it gives chase to the local schoolmaster, sending him away from the area.

Ichabod Crane is an established part of the community, as he engages in activities with the older boys after school who have older sisters or mothers who are good housewives and will invite him for dinner. Crane is also

an odd mixture of small shrewdness and simple credulity. His appetite for the marvellous, and his powers of digesting it, [a]re equally extraordinary; and both ha[ve] been increased by his residence in this spellbound region.

When Ichabod Crane, who teaches psalmody, is invited to the Van Tassel home by Katrina, one of his students, he is thrilled to think of the culinary delights he will be able to eat. In fact, the pedagogue's mouth begins to water at the sight of the bounty before him in the van Tassel mansion.

His rival for Katrina's wealth and affections is also a guest. Nevertheless, the opportunistic Crane does not despair because Brom Brummel is present and has been making quiet advances for some time to Katrina. Because Ichabod will not engage in any activity that will openly confront Brom, 

it left Brom no alternative but to draw upon the funds of rustic waggery in his disposition, and to play off boorish practical jokes upon his rival. 

On the night Ichabod enjoys the feast at the Van Tassels, the Yankee songmaster finds himself confronted with the sinister ghost of the Hessian warrior, which drives the superstitious songmaster out of Sleepy Hollow. As Ichabod tries to elude the horseman, the headless trooper throws his head at the songmaster, striking Crane in his own head. Crane falls to the ground as the "head" of the horseman, which is really a pumpkin, shatters on the earth. Thus, Ichabod Crane is defeated by the stalwart, athletic, and truly affection Dutchman, who is among the settlers.

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