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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How does "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" end?

Quick answer:

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” ends with Ichabod Crane's mysterious disappearance after being pursued by the Headless Horseman. This is followed by a postscript written by Mr. Knickerbocker in which he tells of the source of the story.

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The main section of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” ends with Ichabod's Crane disappearance after being frightened by the Headless Horseman. He seems to have left his belongings behind without a word. Several years later, a local farmer went to New York and returned with the knowledge that Crane had gone into law and politics and ascended to a successful position as a justice. The ""old country wives," however, aver that Crane was in fact "spirited away by supernatural means" and that his ghost haunts the schoolhouse where he once taught.

In the postscript to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Washington Irving introduces another framing device into the story. Now that the actual events of the story involving Ichabod Crane are over, we are introduced to the narrator, Mr. Knickerbocker, among whose papers the story is alleged to have been found.

In the postscript, Knickerbocker informs readers that he heard the story of the legend of Sleepy Hollow from a man he met at a business meeting in Manhattan. He told the tale to Mr. Knickerbocker and a group of other men, who listened spellbound as the storyteller regaled them with the fantastic events of Ichabod Crane's life. They would often laugh, even though the storyteller himself would remain poker-faced throughout, giving the impression that he was deadly serious about the tale he was telling.

After he finished telling the story, the man was approached by Mr. Knickerbocker, who asked him what the moral of the story was. The man's response is somewhat convoluted:

That there is no situation in life but has its advantages and pleasures—provided we will but take a joke as we find it:

That, therefore, he that runs races with goblin troopers is likely to have rough riding of it.

Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the hand of a Dutch heiress is a certain step to high preferment in the state.

What this last point seems to mean, in a very roundabout way, is that the great success that Ichabod Crane would come to enjoy later in life may not have been possible had he secured the hand in marriage of Katrina Van Tassel.

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How would you end the story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"?

How about something unexpected such as Katrina's admission that she has been secretly in love with her teacher as well?  She is enamored by his intelligence and sensitivity, and that big muscles and a thick head such as the ones Brom Bones possess has never been to her liking.  You could portray her something like Belle in Beauty and the Beast.  A girl who loves to read and study and who values things in life that other girls her age don't...give her wisdom beyond her years and none of that superficial stuff.  Katrina is no Brainless Barbie doll who is seeking a Ken Doll relationship. 

As a result, Brom Bones attempts to scare Icabod away from Katrina by posing as the dreadful Headless Horseman, but Icabod, in a moment of intellectual inspiration exposes Brom for the fake he is, and Brom is the one found the next morning in a pumpkin patch with his "head" in his arms and a note for the town warning them to be careful of the stories they hear and pass along.

This sounds like a fun assignment, and one you should enjoy retelling.  Let your imagination run wild, and try recording it into a tape recorder first.  Then, simply play it back and right it down for editing and polishing. 

Good Luck! 

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How would you end the story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"?

Well, if I were you,  I would try to be clever and amuse your teacher.  You could definitely go for a comical "Scooby Doo" ending!  Let's say that in the confrontation with the horseman before he can thow his head, Crane somehow manages to pin the creep to the ground.  He rips off the cape, revealing that underneath its dark, voluminous folds is...

You guessed it... is Mr. Van Tassell!  The father of the Katria Van Tassell, Crane's singing student, the one he wanted to marry!  Well, her father would have none of that (you'll have to fudge a bit here...say Katrina had secretly fallen in love with him.)  Desperate to stop the marriage at all costs, Van Tassell came up with this scheme to scare Crane away.

Why, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!!  :)   

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