Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a short story by Washington Irving contained in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. , written while he was living in Birmingham, England and first published in 1819.
The story is set in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (the northern portion of which is now Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County, New York, United States), near a sequestered glen called Sleepy Hollow, around the year 1787. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a priggish schoolmaster from Connecticut who is scared away from town by Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, his rival in love for the hand of eighteen-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, daughter of Baltus Van Tassel and a fifth-generation Dutch immigrant herself. The legend featured in the story is that of the Headless Horseman or Galloping Hessian of the Hollow, the ghost of a Hessian trooper who lost his head to a canon-ball during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War and who stalks Sleepy Hollow in search of a replacement head. The denouement of the fictional tale is set at the lower bridge in the real location of the Old Dutch Burying Ground in Sleepy Hollow, New York (formerly North Tarrytown) attached to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. The characters of Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel were based on real people. The character of Katrina was based upon Eleanor and her name comes from Eleanor's aunt Catriena Ecker Van Tassel.
Notable film adaptations include:
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad directed by James Algar , Clyde Geronimi and Jack Kinney , first released on October 5, 1949 by RKO Radio Pictures. It is an animated version of the story, accompanied by an animated version of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows and produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is somewhat darker than the original story and whether the visually impressive Horseman is a ghost or a disguise is left somewhat unclear.
- Sleepy Hollow directed by Tim Burton, first released on November 17, 1999. A movie adaptation which takes many liberties with the plot and characters. Burton cited the Disney film as an influence, but his version is considerably darker. Cast includes Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, Christina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel, Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman, and Michael Gambon as Baltus Van Tassel.
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