Ichabod Crane is probably one of my favorite characters of all-time. Because he’s such a… well, he’s such a character!
His description, most fitting for someone called “Crane,” is one of the most memorable and archetypal out there. 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,” it is only too easy to picture him ambling about the small village, on his way to the schoolhouse. Oh, and he’s the singing-master of Sleepy Hollow and is more than happy to take his payment in free room and board at the homes of his pupils, most often those with “pretty sisters, or good housewives for mothers, noted for the comforts of the cupboard.” Add in his enthusiasm for the gentler sex, only surpassed by his enthusiasm for a beautiful and bountiful table, and you have a just-right mix of foolishness and likability for the perfect ghost story protagonist. Think a 19th Century Scooby Doo.
When Irving puts this comically lanky and somewhat awkward (especially when it comes to romancing the beautiful heiress Katrina Van Tassel- poor Ichabod!) schoolteacher in the path of the Headless Horseman, peril is sure to follow.
The short story has been adapted to numerous films and TV series, most recently a modern adaptation airing on FOX. While some have taken liberties with the details of the story (including the birthdate, occupation, and marital status of Ichabod), all offer insight and a worthwhile visual representation of this haunted village.
If you’re interested in learning more about the real-life village of Sleepy Hollow, head over to visitsleepyhollow.com or sleepyhollowny.gov. Bonus because it’s Halloween: haunted hayrides, a masquerade ball, and the terrifying Horseman’s Hollow!
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