What is the mood and resolution of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"?

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"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a trickster tale, and the mood is tongue-in-cheek and humorous as the story unfolds of the red-blooded, down-to-earth, practical Bram Bones besting the effete, European-style schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane.

Brom's description might well characterize the tone of the story, especially in terms of his "waggish good humor":

He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; but had more mischief than ill-will in his composition; and, with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dash of waggish good humor at bottom.

The story rolls along to an ironic ending, in which the seemingly simple Bram tricks the better-educated but superstitious Ichabod into thinking the legendary headless horseman of the region does exist. When Crane sees what he thinks is the real headless horseman, he is so frightened that he runs away, never to be seen again.

Brom, who had Crane as a rival for Katrina's hand, is able to take her as his bride. While the narrator tells us, tongue-in-cheek, that all the old country wives insist on the truth of the supernatural story of Crane being spirited away by the headless horseman, Brom has a different take. He was

observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and 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.

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The pervasive mood of the story if of laziness and lechery infused by superstition and terror. Note the name of the setting, "Tarry Town": if one tarries, it means that they are wasting time. A look about the town will prove that this is so. Men "linger about the village taverns on market days" and the town in general languishes from a lack of developed thinking.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow concerns the mysterious "Headless Horseman." This shadowy apparition terrifies the town; many observe him riding around with his head resting on his saddle. The protagonist of the story, school teacher,, Ichabod Crane, encounters the horseman, who pursues him. The last thing Crane recalls is the menacing figure throwing his head. Crane never returns to his classroom. A search party finds only his rumpled clothing and a smashed pumpkin.

Scholars have argued that the Headless Horseman is really an extended metaphor for a lack of reason. Like nightmares themselves, nothing makes sense without the ability to utilize the power of reasoning.

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