Примечание: Рассказ сокращён и адаптирован для чтения в старших классах средней школы. К сожалению, у меня нет аудиозаписи адаптированного рассказа. Размещаю запись оригинального текста в исполнении Боба Ньюфелда (Bob Neufeld), взятую с сайта Librivox.org.

Part 1:

Для прослушивания аудиозаписи требуется MP3 player

Part 2:

Для прослушивания аудиозаписи требуется MP3 player

Текст рассказа условно разделён на несколько частей для удобства работы в классе. После каждой части следуют вопросы на понимание, а в конце - вопросы для обсуждения рассказа в целом.

On the eastern shore of the Hudson, there lies a small market town known by the name of Tarry Town. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. It has long been known as Sleepy Hollow. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over this land. Some say that the place was bewitched during the early days of the settlement. Others say that an old Indian chief held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power that holds a spell over the minds of the good people. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions. Stars shoot and meteors glare oftener than in any other part of the country.

The chief spirit that haunts this region is the ghost of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon ball during the Revolutionary War. He is sometimes seen by the country folk, hurrying along in the gloom of night, near a church of the neighborhood. Some say that, the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly search for his head. The rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow is owing to his hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak. The specter is known at all the country firesides by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

А. Answer the questions.

  1. What is the setting of the story?
  2. What mood does the writer create?
  3. What future events are foreshadowed?

In this place once lived Ichabod Crane, who said he "tarried" in Sleepy Hollow for the purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity.

He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose. His head looked like a weathercock, perched upon his spindle neck, to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.

His schoolhouse was a low building of one large room, rudely con¬structed of logs. The windows were partly glazed and partly patched with leaves of old copybooks. The schoolhouse stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation. It was just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by and a birch tree growing at one end of it. The low murmur of his pupils' voices might be heard in a drowsy summer's clay, like the hum of a beehive. This was interrupted, now and then, by the voice of the master, in tone of command, or by the sound of the birch switch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along the path of knowledge. Crane was a conscientious man, and ever bore in mind the golden maxim: "Spare the rod and spoil the child." —Ichabod Crane's scholars certainly were not spoiled.

When school hours were over, he was the companion and playmate of the larger boys. On holiday afternoons he would convoy some of the smaller ones home, who happened to have pretty sisters, or good housewives for mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard, for he was a huge feeder and had the dilating powers of an anaconda. The revenue arising from his school was small, and would have been scarcely sufficient to furnish him with daily bread, but he was, according to country custom in those parts, boarded and lodged at the houses of the farmers whose children he instructed. With these he lived in turn a week at a time, thus going the rounds of the neighborhood with all his worldly effects tied up in a cotton handkerchief.

He had various ways of making himself useful. He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors of their farms. He helped to make hay, mended the fences, took the horses to water, drove the cows from the pasture, and cut wood for the winter fire. He found favor with the mothers by petting the children, particularly the youngest. He would sit with a child on one knee and rock a cradle with his foot for whole hours.

In addition to his other jobs, he was the singing master of the neighborhood. He picked up many a bright shilling by instructing the young folks in psalm-singing. Also, he was a kind of traveling gazette, carrying the whole budget of local gossip from house to house, so that his appearance was always greeted with satisfaction.

One of his sources of fearful pleasure was to pass long winter evenings with the old Dutch wives as they sat spinning by the fire, with a row of apples roasting and spluttering along the hearth. He would listen to their tales of ghosts and goblins, and haunted fields, and haunted brooks, and haunted bridges, and haunted houses, and particularly of the Headless Horseman, or galloping Hessian of the Hollow, as they sometimes called him. He would delight them with his stories of witchcraft. He would frighten them woefully with news of comets and shooting stars, and with the fact that the world did absolutely turn round. Thus they were half the time topsy-turvy!

B. Answer the questions.

  1. What does Icabod’s family name mean? How does it correspond to his appearance?
  2. What details does Irving give about:
  3. a) the appearance of Ichabod Crane?
    b) what he did as a teacher?
    c) his activities in the community?
  4. What maxim does Ichabod apply to his pupils? How do you understand it?
  5. Why do you think Ichabod tries to make himself useful to the farmers?

Among the musical disciples who assembled one evening each week to receive his instructions in psalm-singing was Katrina Van Tassel, the only child of a rich Dutch farmer. She was a blooming lass of fresh eighteen, plump as a partridge, and famed not merely for her beauty but for her vast expectations. She was, though, a little of a flirt.

Ichabod had a soft and foolish heart toward the ladies. No wonder it was that Katrina found favor in his eyes, especially after he had visited her in her home. Old Baltus Van Tassel was a successful farmer. His stronghold was situated on the banks of the Hudson. Hard by the farmhouse was a vast barn, every window and crack of which seemed bursting forth with the treasures of the farm.

Sleek porkers were grunting in their pens, whence sallied forth, now and then, troops of suckling pigs to snuff the air. A stately squadron of snowy geese was riding in an adjoining pond, convoying whole fleets of ducks. Regiments of turkeys were gobbling through the farmyard, and guinea fowls fretted about it like ill-tempered housewives. Before the barn door strutted the gallant cock, clapping his burnished wings and crowing in the pride and gladness of his heart.

The pedagogue's mouth watered as he looked upon this promise of winter fare. In his mind's eye, he pictured to himself every roasting pig running about with a pudding in his belly and an apple in his mouth. The geese were swimming in their own gravy, and the ducks were paired cozily in dishes. In the porkers, he saw carved out the future sleek side of bacon, and juicy relishing ham. Not a turkey but he beheld trussed up, with its gizzard under its wing, and a necklace of savory sausages.

When he entered the house, the conquest of his heart was complete. It was one of those spacious farmhouses built in the style handed down from the first Dutch settlers. From the moment Ichabod laid his eyes upon these regions of delight, the peace of his mind was at an end. His only study was how to win the daughter of Van Tassel. In this, however, he met real difficulties.

Among these the worst was a burly, roaring fellow of the name of Brom Van Brunt. He was broad-shouldered and double-jointed, with short curly black hair, and a not-unpleasant face. He was famed for skill in horsemanship. He was always ready for a fight or a frolic, but had more mischief than ill will in his make-up. He had three or four companions who regarded him as their model. At their head he scoured the country, attending every scene of feud or merriment for miles around. Such was the strong rival with whom Ichabod Crane had to struggle.

Under cover of his role as singing master, Ichabod made frequent visits at the farmhouse. But he became the object of fanciful tormenting by Van Brunt, or "Brom Bones," as he was nicknamed. He and his gang of roughriders smoked out the singing school by stopping up the chimney. They broke into the school-house at night and turned everything topsy-turvy. The poor schoolmaster began to think all the witches in the country held their meetings there. Worse still, Brom had a scoundrel dog which he taught to whine in the most ridiculous manner and introduced as a rival of Ichabod's to instruct Katrina in psalm-singing. In this way matters went on for some time.

One autumn afternoon Ichabod sat enthroned on the high stool whence he watched usually all the actions in his little realm. In his hand he swayed a ruler. The birch of justice rested on three nails behind the throne, a constant terror to evil-doers. On the desk before him might be seen various articles and weapons detected upon the persons of idle boys: half-munched apples, popguns, whirligigs, and whole legions of little paper darts. The scholars were all busily intent upon their books or slyly whispering behind them with one eye upon the master. A kind of buzzing stillness reigned throughout the schoolroom. It was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a servant with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a "quilting frolic" that evening at the Van Tassels'.

All was now bustle and hubbub in the late-quiet schoolroom. The scholars were hurried through their lessons without stopping for trifles. Those who were nimble skipped over half, and those who were tardy had a smart application now and then to quicken their speed or help them over a tall word. Books were flung aside without being put away on the shelves, inkstands were overturned, benches thrown down, and the whole school turned loose an hour before the usual time.

Ichabod now spent at least an extra half-hour brushing and tidying up his best, and indeed only, suit of rusty black. He borrowed a horse from the farmer with whom he was lodged, an old Dutchman of the name of Hans Van Ripper. The animal Ichabod rode forth on was a broken-down plow horse that had outlived almost everything but his viciousness. He was shagged. His rusty mane and tail were tangled and knotted with burrs. One eye had lost its pupil and was glaring; but the other had the gleam of a genuine devil in it. Still, he must have had fire in his day, if we may judge from the name he bore of "Gunpowder."

Ichabod was a suitable figure for such a steed. He rode with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly lip to the pommel of the saddle. His sharp elbows stuck out like grass¬hoppers'. He carried his whip like a ruler, and as his horse jogged on, the motion of his arms was like the flapping of a pair of wings. A small wool hat rested on the top of his nose, for so his scanty strip of forehead might be called. The skirts of his black coat fluttered out almost to the horse's tail.

It was toward evening that Ichabod arrived at the castle of the Heer Van Tassel, which he found thronged with the pride and flower of the countryside. Brom Bones, however, was the hero of the scene, having come to the gathering on his favorite steed, Daredevil, a creature like himself, full of mischief.

There in the state parlor of Van Tassel's mansion, they enjoyed the charms of a genuine Dutch country tea table. There was the whole family of cakes—the doughnut, the crisp and crumbling cruller, sweet cakes, shortcakes, ginger cakes, and honey cakes. And then there were apple pies and peach pies and pumpkin pies. Besides, there were slices of ham and smoked beef, dishes of preserved plums, and peaches, and pears, and quinces; not to mention broiled shad and roasted chickens, together with bowls of milk and cream, all mingled higgledy-piggledy, with the motherly teapot in the midst.

And now the sound of music from the common room, or hall, summoned to the dance. Ichabod prided himself upon his dancing as much as upon his vocal powers. Not a limb, not a fiber about him, was idle. To have seen his loosely hung frame in full motion, and clattering about the room, you would have thought Saint Vitus himself was figuring before you in person. Brom Bones, sorely smitten with love and jealousy, sat brooding by himself in one corner.

When the dance was at an end, Ichabod was attracted to a knot of folk who, with old Van Tassel, sat smoking and gossiping over former times. This neighborhood was one of those places which abound in history and great men. The British and American line had run near it during the war.

But all this talk was nothing to the tales of ghosts that followed. These tales, told in that drowsy undertone with which men talk, sank deep in the mind of Ichabod.

The revel now gradually broke up. The farmers gathered together their families in their wagons and were heard for some time rattling along the hollow roads and over the distant hills. The late scene of noise and frolic was all silent and deserted. Ichabod only lingered behind, according to the custom of country lovers, to have a few words with the heiress. Something, however, must have gone wrong, for he certainly sallied forth, in a short time, with an air quite desolate.

C. Answer the questions.

  1. What sort of girl is Katrina Van Tassel? What does the author mean by "great expectations"?
  2. What does Ichabod Crane want to win, above everything else? Why?
  3. What does Ichabod do to win Katrina? Who stands in his way?
  4. What do you learn about:
    a) the appearance of Brom Bones?
    b) his personality?
    c) his activities in the community?
  5. How is life in the schoolroom described at first? What contrasting activity takes place after the arrival of the invitation to the Van Tassels' quilting bee?
  6. What details does Irving give about about the way Ichabod Crane rode and the way he danced?
  7. What kind of horse is:
    a) Gunpowder?
    b) Daredevil?

It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavy-hearted, pursued his travel homewards. The hour was as dismal as himself. In the dead hush of midnight, he could even hear the barking of the watchdog from the opposite shore of the Hudson. No signs of life occurred near him but the chirp of a cricket, or the twang of a bullfrog.

All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard now came crowding upon his recollection. The night grew darker and darker. The stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky. Driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid.

A small brook crossed the road and ran into a marshy spot. A few rough logs, laid side by side, served for a bridge over this stream. To pass this bridge was the severest trial. This had been considered a haunted stream, and fearful are the feelings of the schoolboy who has to pass it alone after dark.

As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump. He gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge. Instead, the animal made a sideways movement. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side. It was all in vain. His steed started, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into some brambles and bushes. Urged forward, Gunpowder dashed on but came to a stand just by the bridge. Just at this moment a splashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of a grove, at the edge of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen, black, and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler.

The hair of the pedagogue rose upon his head with terror. He demanded in stammering accents— "Who are you?" He received no reply. He repeated the demand in a still more alarmed voice. Still there was no answer. Shutting his eyes, he broke forth into a psalm tune. The shadowy figure, with a scramble and a bound, stood at once in the middle of the road, and from there he jogged along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright.

Ichabod now quickened his steed, in hopes of leaving his companion behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to the same pace. Ichabod pulled up, thinking to lag behind—the other did the same. His heart began to sink within him. He endeavored to resume his psalm tune, but his parched tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. He could not utter a sound.

On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow traveler in relief against the sky, Ichabod was horror-struck, on seeing that he was headless! His horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle. His terror rose to desperation. He rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping to give his companion the slip. But the ghost started full jump with him. Away then they dashed, stones flying, and sparks flashing at every bound. Ichabod's flimsy garments fluttered in the air as he stretched his long body away over his horse's head.

As yet the panic of the steed had given his rider an advantage in the chase, but the saddle gave way, and Ichabod had just time to save himself by clasping old Gunpowder round the neck. The saddle was trampled underfoot by the pursuer. He heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him. Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups and in the very act of hurl¬ing his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash— he was tumbling headlong into the dust. Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider passed by like a whirlwind.

D. Answer the questions.

  1. How does the author build suspense? Give details.
  2. How does Ichabod behave? Why? Find the words to describe his feelings.
  3. Who does he think the lonely figure is? Why does he break into a psalm?
  4. What is the climax of the story?
  5. Who do you think the strange rider is?

The next morning the old horse was found without his saddle, and with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the grass at his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast. Dinner hour came, but no Ichabod. The boys assembled at the schoolhouse and strolled idly about the banks of the brook, but no schoolmaster. Hans Van Ripper now began to feel some uneasiness about the fate of poor Ichabod and his saddle. An inquiry was set on foot, and they found traces of him. In one part of the road leading to the church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt. The tracks of horses' hoofs deeply dented in the road were traced to the bridge. On the bank of a broad part of the brook, where the water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and beside it a shattered pumpkin.

The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered. The mysterious event caused much talk at the church on the following Sunday. Groups of gazers and gossips were collected in the churchyard, at the bridge, and at the spot where the hat and pumpkin had been found.

It is true, an old farmer, who had been down to New York on a visit several years after, brought home the news that Ichabod Crane was still alive. He had left the neighborhood, partly through fear of the goblin and Hans Van Ripper, and partly at having been suddenly dismissed by the heiress.

Brom Bones, who shortly after his rival's disappearance conducted the blooming Katrina in triumph to the altar, looked exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related. He always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin. This led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.

The old country wives, however, who are the best judges of these matters, maintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited away by ghostly means. It is a favorite story often told about the neighborhood round the winter evening fire. The bridge became more than ever an object of superstitious awe, and that may be the reason why the road has been altered of late years. The approach to the church is by the borders of the millpond. The schoolhouse soon fell to decay and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue. A plowboy, loitering homeward of a still summer evening, often fancied he heard a voice chanting a psalm tune among the solitudes of Sleepy Hollow.

E. Answer the questions.

  1. Did you expect the story to end as it did? Why?
  2. Reread the first paragraph. What is the mood of the scene in Sleepy Hollow? Then reread the last paragraph. How does it resemble the opening paragraph?
  3. What happens with Ichabod Crane?
  4. How does the writer hint on the real events of the night when Ichabod disappeared?
  5. Why does Ichabod lose out to his rival?
  6. Irving uses humorous comparisons to help us picture Ichabod Crane. Look back at the story to find the figures of speech (simile, metaphor, hyperbole) used to describe:
    a) his appearance
    b) his appetite
    c) his greed
    d) his habit of gossiping
    e) his manner in school
    f) his appearance on a horse
    g) his dancing
    h) his fright
  7. What conclusions can you make about Ichabod’s character?
  8. What is your opinion of the story?


Washington Irving was born in New York City into a wealthy merchant family. He was educated privately for the law. But after his return from his first journey abroad, he abandoned his half¬hearted study of the law and for almost a decade was variously engaged, in the family business, as staff officer in the War of 1812 (a war between the United States and Great Britain from 1812 to 1815), as contributor to newspapers and magazines, and also tried himself as a writer. The first highly civilized satire in American literature, Salmagundi, was written by Irving together with several other young men. That series of essays appeared in print in 1807 and enjoyed a good deal of popularity. He next threw himself into the completion of his History of New York, told under the name of Diedrich Knickerbocker. Published in 1809, it gave him a reputation as a humorist.

When Irving sailed again in 1815 for England on business, he was to remain for seventeen years. After the family business failed, he devoted himself to writing, and the first result was The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., issued in seven parts between 1819 and 1820. Many of the sketches are impressions of English scenes, but six have an American setting, and of these the two best are Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

After the publication of The Sketch Book and Bracebridge Hall, a continuation of The Sketch Book style, Irving made friends with Walter Scott, Thomas Moore, and others in the English literary set. He then lived in different European countries, he learned and travelled much, observing characters and habits, and took part in public life. While serving as an American attache in Spain, Irving produced several works with a Spanish subject or background, for example The Alhambra, his last volume of tales. After The Alhambra he turned to history, biography, and travel.

In 1832, Irving went back to America where, apart from four years in Europe (1842-1846), he spent the rest of his life.

Although Irving wrote no fiction after 1832, his contributions to the development of the American short tale were of great importance; he lent it style, skill, and atmosphere, and both Рое and Hawthorne owed much to his beginnings. Irving is generally considered the "father of the American short story" and America's first internationally-acclaimed man of letters.

  • Salmagundi (1807)
  • A History of New York, by Diedrich Knickerbocker (1809)
  • The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20)
  • Bracebridge Hall (1822)
  • Tales of a Traveller (1824)
  • History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828)
  • The Conquest of Granada (1829)
  • The Alhambra (1832)
  • The Crayon Miscellany (1835)
  • Astoria (novel) (1836)
  • The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, USA (1837)
  • Oliver Goldsmith (1840)
  • Mahomet and His Successors (1849—50)
  • Wolfert's Roost and Other Papers (from his notebooks) (1855)
  • George Washington (5 vols) (1855-59)

F. Answer the questions.

  1. What kind of family did Washington Irving come from?
  2. What sort of education did he get? What was his attitude to this occupation?
  3. What other occupations did he have during his life?
  4. When was his first book published?
  5. What reputation did he win by his first literary works?
  6. When did he devote himself to writing?
  7. What genres of literature did he try his pen in?
  8. What helped him in his literary career?
  9. When was The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written? What book is it part of?
  10. What famous historic figures did Washington Irving write about?
  11. What countries serve as settings to his literary works?
  12. What is Washington Irving’s influence on American literature?