Writer's Block: Legend has it ...

  • Mar. 12th, 2010 at 2:04 PM
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One of my favorites has always been the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Probably because I'm from a small town originally. I love everything about it and I adore Tim Burton's film version, though I remember loving the Disney cartoon version as a kid.

According to wikipedia,
"the Legend of Sleepy Hollow was based on a German folktale, set in the Dutch culture of Post-Revolutionary War in New York State. The original folktale was recorded by Karl Musäus. An excerpt of Musäus:

The headless horseman was often seen here. An old man who did not believe in ghosts told of meeting the headless horseman coming from his trip into the Hollow. The horseman made him climb up behind. They rode over bushes, hills, and swamps. When they reached the bridge, the horseman suddenly turned into a skeleton. He threw the old man into the brook and sprang away over the treetops with a clap of thunder.

The dénouement of the fictional tale is set at the bridge over the Pocantico River in the area of the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground in Sleepy Hollow. The characters of Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel may have been based on local residents known to the author. The character of Katrina is thought to have been based upon Eleanor Van Tassel Brush, in which case her name is derived from that of Eleanor's aunt Catriena Ecker Van Tessel.

Irving, while he was an aide-de-camp to New York Gov. Daniel D. Tompkins, met an army captain named Ichabod Crane in Sackets Harbor, New York during an inspection tour of fortifications in 1814. He may have borrowed the name from the captain and patterned the character in "The Legend" after Jesse Merwin, who taught at the local schoolhouse in Kinderhook, further north along the Hudson River, where Irving spent several months in 1809.

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" follows a tradition of folk tales and poems involving a supernatural wild chase, including Robert Burns's Tam O' Shanter (1790), and Bürger's Der wilde Jäger, translated as The Wild Huntsman (1796)."



What's your favorite?? I'd love to have more ideas of stories to read.

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