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Rip Van Winkle


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The illustrations in this book are fully protected by copyright
Copyright, 1921, by
David McKay Company
Illustrations especially engraved and printed by the Beck Engraving Company, Philadelphia

Colored Illustrations
A village in the Catskill Mountains Frontispiece
Facing page
“A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects, be
considered a tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van
Winkle was thrice blessed ” 10
“ Here they used to sit in the shade through a long lazy
summer’s day, talking listlessly over village gossip
or telling endless sleepy stories about nothing” . . 21
“ On nearer approach he was still more surprised at the
singularity of the stranger’s appearance” 32
“ . . . Though these folks were evidently amusing them
selves, yet they maintained the gravest faces, the
most mysterious silence” 38
“ On waking he found himself on the green knoll whence
he had first seen the old man of the glen ” 44
“ It was with some difficulty that he found his way to
his own house, which he approached with silent awe,
expecting every moment to hear the shrill voice
of Dame Van Winkle ” 54
“ . . . And preferred making friends among the rising
generation, with whom he grew into great favor ” . . 76

Rip Van Winkle


[The following tale was found among the papers
of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman
of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch
history of the province and the manners of the
descendants from its primitive settlers. His his
torical researches, however, did not lie so much
among books as among men; for the former are

lamentably scanty on his favorite topics, whereas
he found the old burghers, and still more their wives,
rich in that legendary lore so invaluable to true
history. Whenever, therefore, he happened upon a
genuine Dutch family, snugly shut up in its low-
roofed farmhouse under a spreading sycamore, he
looked upon it as a little clasped volume of black-
letter, and studied it with the zeal of a book-worm.
The result of all these researches was a history of
the province during the reign of the Dutch governors,
which he published some years since. There have

been various opinions as to the literary character of
his work, and, to tell the truth, it is not a whit better
than it should be. Its chief merit is its scrupulous
accuracy, which indeed was a little questioned on its
first appearance, but has since been completely es
tablished; and it is now admitted into all historical
collections as a book of unquestionable authority.
The old gentleman died shortly after the publica
tion of his work, and now that he is dead and gone, it
cannot do much harm to his memory to say that his
time might have been much better employed in

weightier labors. He, however, was apt to ride his
hobby his own way; and though it did now and then
kick up the dust a little in the eyes of his neighbors,
and grieve the spirit of some friends for whom he felt
the truest deference and affection; yet his errors
and follies are remembered “more in sorrow than in
anger,” and it begins to be suspected that he never
intended to injure or offend. But, however his
memory may be appreciated by critics, it is still
held dear by many folk whose good opinion is well
worth having; particularly by certain biscuit-bakers,
who have gone so far as to imprint his likeness on
their new-year cakes, and have thus given him a
chance for immortality almost equal to the being
stamped on a Waterloo medal or a Queen Anne’s

By Woden, God of Saxons,
From whence comes Wensday, that is Wodensday,
Truth is a thing that ever I will keep
Unto thylke day in which I creep into
My sepulchre.
Whoever has made a voyage up the
Hudson must remember the Kaatskill
Mountains. They are a dismembered
branch of the great Appalachian family,
and are seen away to the west of the river,
swelling up to a noble height and lording

it over the surrounding country. Every
change of season, every change of weather,
indeed, every hour of the day, produces
some change in the magical hues and
shapes of these mountains, and they are
regarded by all the good wives, far and
near, as perfect barometers. When the
weather is fair and settled, they are clothed
in blue and purple, and print their bold
outlines on the clear evening sky; but
sometimes, when the rest of the landscape
is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray
vapors about their summits, which in the
last rays of the setting sun will glow and
light up like a crown of glory.

At the foot of these fairy mountains the
voyager may have descried the light smoke
curling up from a village, whose shingle
roofs gleam among the trees just where the
blue tints of the upland melt away into the
fresh green of the nearer landscape. It is
a little village of great antiquity, having
been founded by some of the Dutch col
onists in the early times of the province,
just about the beginning of the govern
ment of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may
he rest in peace!), and there were some of
the houses of the original settlers standing
within a few years, built of small yellow
bricks brought from Holland, having lat-

ticed windows and gable fronts surmounted
with weathercocks.
In that same village, and in one of these
very houses (which, to tell the precise
truth, was sadly time-worn and weather
beaten), there lived many years since, while
the country was yet a province of Great
Britain, a simple good-natured fellow of
the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a
descendant of the Van Winkles who tig-

ured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of
Peter Stuyvesant and accompanied him to
the siege of Fort Christina. He inherited,
however, but little of the martial character
of his ancestors. I have observed that he
was a simple good-natured man; he was,
moreover, a kind neighbor and an obedient
henpecked husband. Indeed, to the latter
circumstance might be owing that meek
ness of spirit which gained him such uni
versal popularity; for those men are most
apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad
who are under the discipline of shrews at

home. Their tempers, doubtless, are ren
dered pliant and malleable in the fiery fur
nace of domestic tribulation, and a curtain
lecture is worth all the sermons in the
world for teaching the virtues of patience
and long-suffering. A termagant wife may
therefore, in some respects, be considered a
tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van Win
kle was thrice blessed.
Certain it is that he was a great favorite
among all the good wives of the village,
who, as usual with the amiable sex, took
his part in all family squabbles, and never
failed, whenever they talked those matters

“A termagant wife may, therefore, in some respects, be considered a
tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed. ”


over in their evening gossipings, to lay all
the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The
children of the village, too, would shout
with joy whenever he approached. He
assisted at their sports, made their play
things, taught them to fly kites and shoot
marbles, and told them long stories of
ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever
he went dodging about the village he was
surrounded by a troop of them, hanging
on his skirts, clambering on his back, and
playing a thousand tricks on him with im
punity; and not a dog would bark at him
throughout the neighborhood.

The great error in Rip’s composition
was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of
profitable labor. It could not be from the
want of assiduity or perseverance; for he
would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long
and heavy as a Tartar’s lance, and fish
all day without a murmur, even though
he should not be encouraged by a single
nibble. He would carry a fowling-piece

on his shoulder for hours together, trudg
ing through woods and swamps and up
hill and down dale, to shoot a few squirrels
or wild pigeons. He would never refuse
to assist a neighbor even in the roughest
toil, and was a foremost man at all coun
try frolics for husking Indian corn or build
ing stone fences; the women of the vil
lage, too, used to employ him to run their

errands, and to do such little odd jobs as
their less obliging husbands would not do
for them. In a word, Rip was ready to
attend to anybody’s business but his own;
but as to doing family duty and keeping
his farm in order, he found it impossible.
In fact, he declared it was of no use to
work on his farm; it was the most pesti
lent little piece of ground in the whole
country; everything about it went wrong,
and would go wrong in spite of him. His
fences were continually falling to pieces;
his cow would either go astray or get
among the cabbages; weeds were sure to

grow quicker in his fields than anywhere
else; the rain always made a point of set
ting in just as he had some out-door work
to do; so that, though his patrimonial es
tate had dwindled away under his man
agement, acre by acre, until there was
little more left than a mere patch of Indian
corn and potatoes, yet it was the worst-
conditioned farm in the neighborhood.
His children, too, were as ragged and
wild as if they belonged to nobody. His
son Rip, an urchin begotten in his own
likeness, promised to inherit the habits
with the old clothes of his father. He was

generally seen trooping like a coit at his
mother’s heels, equipped in a pair of his
father’s cast-off galligaskins, which he had
much ado to hold up with one hand, as a
fine lady does her train in bad weather.
Rip Van Winkle, however, was one of
those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled
dispositions, who take the world easy, eat

white bread or brown, whichever can be
got with least thought or trouble, and
would rather starve on a penny than work
for a pound. If left to himself, he would
have whistled life away in perfect con
tentment; but his wife kept continually
dinning in his ears about his idleness, his
carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing
on his family. Morning, noon, and night
her tongue was incessantly going, and
everything he said or did was sure to pro
duce a torrent of household eloquence.
Rip had but one way of replying to all lec
tures of the kind, and that, by frequent

use, had grown into a habit. He shrugged
his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his
eyes, but said nothing. This, however,
always provoked a fresh volley from his
wife; so that he was fain to draw off his
forces and take to the outside of the house
—the only side which, in truth, belongs to
a henpecked husband.
Rip’s sole domestic adherent was his
dog Wolf, who was as much henpecked
as his master; for Dame Van Winkle re
garded them as companions in idleness,
and even looked upon Wolf with an evil
eye, as the cause of his master’s going so

often astray. True it is, in all points of
spirit befitting an honorable dog he was
L, as courageous an animal as ever scoured
the woods; but what courage can with-
Q stand the ever-during and all-besetting ter
rors of a woman’s tongue? The moment
Wolf entered the house his crest fell, his

tail drooped to the ground or curled be
tween his legs, he sneaked about with a
gallows air, casting many a sidelong glance
at Dame Van Winkle, and at the least
flourish of a broomstick or ladle he would
fly to the door with yelping precipitation.
Times grew worse and worse with Rip
Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled
on; a tart temper never mellows with age,
and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool
that grows keener with constant use. For
a long while he used to console himself,
when driven from home, by frequenting
a kind of perpetual club of the sages, phil-

“ Here they used to sit in the shade through a long lazy summer’s day,
talking listlessly over village gossip or telling endless
sleepy stories about nothing. ”

osophers, and other idle personages of the
village which held its sessions on a bench
before a small inn, designated by a rubi
cund portrait of His Majesty George the
Third. Here they used to sit in the shade
through a long lazy summer’s day, talk
ing listlessly over village gossip or telling
endless sleepy stories about nothing. But
it would have been worth any statesman’s
money to have heard the profound dis
cussions that sometimes took place when
by chance an old newspaper fell into their
hands from some passing traveler. How
solemnly they would listen to the contents,

as drawled out by Derrick Van Bummel,
the schoolmaster, a dapper learned little
man, who was not to be daunted by the
most gigantic word in the dictionary, and
how sagely they would deliberate upon
public events some months after they had
taken place!
The opinions of this junto were com
pletely controlled by Nicholas Vedder, a
patriarch of the village and landlord of the
inn, at the door of which he took his seat
from morning till night, just moving suf
ficiently to avoid the sun and keep in the
shade of a large tree; so that the neighbors

could tell the hour by his movements as
accurately as by a sun-dial. It is true he
was rarely heard to speak, but smoked his
pipe incessantly. His adherents, however
(for every great man has his adherents),
perfectly understood him, and knew how

to gather his opinions. When anything
that was read or related displeased him, he
was observed to smoke his pipe vehe
mently, and to send forth short, frequent,
and angry puffs; but when pleased, he
would inhale the smoke slowly and tran
quilly, and emit it in light and placid
clouds; and sometimes, taking the pipe
from his mouth and letting the fragrant
vapor curl about his nose, would gravely
nod his head in token of perfect appro
From even this stronghold the unlucky
Rip was at length routed by his termagant

wife, who would suddenly break in upon
the tranquillity of the assemblage and call
the members all to naught; nor was that
august personage, Nicholas Vedder him
self, sacred from the daring tongue of this
terrible virago, who charged him outright
with encouraging her husband in habits
of idleness.
Poor Rip was at last reduced almost to
despair, and his only alternative, to escape
from the labor of the farm and clamor of
his wife, was to take gun in hand and
stroll away into the woods. Here he would
sometimes seat himself at the foot of a

tree, and share the contents of his wallet
with Wolf, with whom he sympathized as
a fellow-sufferer in persecution. “Poor
Wolf!” he would say, “thy mistress leads
thee a dog’s life of it; but never mind, my

lad—whilst I live thou shalt never want a
friend to stand by thee!” Wolf would wag
his tail, look wistfully in his master’s face,
and, if dogs can feel pity, I verily believe
he reciprocated the sentiment with all his

In a long ramble of the kind on a
fine autumnal day Rip had unconsciously
scrambled to one of the highest parts of
the Kaatskill Mountains. He was after
his favorite sport of squirrel-shooting, and
the still solitudes had echoed and re-echoed
with the reports of his gun. Panting and
fatigued, he threw himself, late in the
afternoon, on a green knoll, covered with
mountain-herbage, that crowned the brow
of a precipice. From an opening between
the trees he could overlook all the lower
country for many a mile of rich woodland.
He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson,

far, far below him, moving on its silent
but majestic course, with the reflection of
a purple cloud or the sail of a lagging
bark here and there sleeping on its glassy
bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue
On the other side he looked down into
a deep mountain-glen, wild, lonely, and
shagged, the bottom filled with fragments
from the impending cliffs, and scarcely
lighted by the reflected rays of the setting
sun. For some time Rip lay musing on
this scene; evening was gradually advanc
ing; the mountains began to throw their

long blue shadows over the valleys; he
saw that it would be dark long before he
could reach the village, and he heaved a
heavy sigh when he thought of encounter
ing the terrors of Dame Van Winkle.
As he was about to descend he heard a
voice from a distance hallooing, “Rip Van
Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!” He looked
round, but could see nothing but a crow
winging its solitary flight across the moun
tain. He thought his fancy must have de
ceived him, and turned again to descend,
when he heard the same cry ring through
the still evening air: “Rip Van Winkle!

Rip Van Winkle!”—at the same time
Wolf bristled up his back, and giving a
low growl, skulked to his master’s side,
looking fearfully down into the glen. Rip
now felt a vague apprehension stealing
over him; he looked anxiously in the same
direction, and perceived a strange figure
slowly toiling up the rocks and bending
under the weight of something he carried
on his back. He was surprised to see
any human being in this lonely and unfre
quented place, but supposing it to be some
one of the neighborhood in need of his as
sistance, he hastened down to yield it.

On nearer approach he was still more
surprised at the singularity of the stranger’s
appearance. He was a short, square-built
old fellow, with thick bushy hair and a griz
zled beard. His dress was of the antique
Dutch fashion — a cloth jerkin strapped
round the waist—several pairs of breeches,
the outer one of ample volume, decorated
with rows of buttons down the sides, and
bunches at the knees. He bore on his
shoulder a stout keg that seemed full of
liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach
and assist him with the load. Though
rather shy and distrustful of this new ac-

“On nearer approach he was still more surprised at the singularity of
the stranger’s appearance. ”

quaintance, Rip complied with his usual
alacrity; and, mutually relieving each other,
they clambered up a narrow gully, appa
rently the dry bed of a mountain-torrent.
As they ascended, Rip every now and then
heard long rolling peals, like distant thun
der, that seemed to issue out of a deep
ravine, or rather cleft, between lofty rocks,
toward which their rugged path conducted.
He paused for an instant, but supposing
it to be the muttering of one of those tran
sient thunder-showers which often take
place in mountain-heights, he proceeded.
Passing through the ravine, they came to

a hollow, like a small amphitheatre, sur
rounded by perpendicular precipices, over
the brinks of which impending trees shot
their branches, so that you only caught
glimpses of the azure sky and the bright

evening cloud. During the whole time
Rip and his companion had labored on in
silence; for though the former marvelled
greatly what could be the object of carry
ing a keg of liquor up this wild mountain,
yet there was something strange and in
comprehensible about the unknown that
inspired awe and checked familiarity.

On entering the amphitheatre, new ob
jects of wonder presented themselves. On
a level spot in the centre was a company
of odd-looking personages playing at nine
pins. They were dressed in a quaint out
landish fashion: some wore short doublets,
others jerkins, with long knives in their
belts, and most of them had enormous
breeches, of similar style with that of the
guide’s. Their visages, too, were peculiar:
one had a large head, broad face, and small
piggish eyes: the face of another seemed
to consist entirely of nose, and was sur
mounted by a white sugar-loaf hat, set off

with a little red cock’s tail. They all had
beards, of various shapes and colors. There
was one who seemed to be the commander.
He was a stout old gentleman, with a
weatherbeaten countenance; he wore a
laced doublet, broad belt and hanger, high-
crowned hat and feather, red stockings,
and high-heeled shoes with roses in them.
The whole group reminded Rip of the fig
ures in an old Flemish painting in the
parlor of Dominie Van Shaick, the village
parson, and which had been brought over
from Holland at the time of the settlement.
What seemed particularly odd to Rip

was, that though these folks were evi
dently amusing themselves, yet they main
tained the gravest faces, the most mys
terious silence, and were, withal, the most
melancholy party of pleasure he had ever
witnessed. Nothing interrupted the still
ness of the scene but the noise of the balls,
which, whenever they were rolled, echoed
along the mountains like rumbling peals
of thunder.
As Rip and his companion approached
them they suddenly desisted from their
play, and stared at him with such fixed
statue-like gaze, and such strange, un-

. . . though these folks were evidently amusing themselves, yet
they maintained the gravest faces, the most mysterious
silence . . . . ”

couth, lack-lustre countenances, that his
heart turned within him and his knees
smote together. His companion now emp
tied the contents of the keg into large flag
ons, and made signs to him to wait upon
the company. He obeyed with fear and
trembling; they quaffed the liquor in pro
found silence, and then returned to their
By degrees Rip’s awe and apprehension
subsided. He even ventured, when no eye
was fixed upon him, to taste the beverage,
which he found had much of the flavor of
excellent Hollands. He was naturally a

thirsty soul, and was soon tempted to re
peat the draught. One taste provoked an
other, and he reiterated his visits to the
flagon so often that at length his senses

were overpowered, his eyes swam in his
head, his head gradually declined, and he
fell into a deep sleep.

On waking he found himself on the
green knoll whence he had first seen the
old man of the glen. He rubbed his eyes—
it was a bright sunny morning. The birds
were hopping and twittering among the
bushes, and the eagle was wheeling aloft
and breasting the pure mountain-breeze.

“Surely,” thought Rip, “I have not slept
here all night.” He recalled the occur
rences before he fell asleep. The strange

man with a keg of liquor the mountain-
ravine the wild retreat among the rocks
the woebegone party at nine-pins the
flagon. “Oh, that flagon! that wicked
flagon!” thought Rip- “what excuse shall
I make to Dame Van Winkle!”
He looked round for his gun, but in
place of the clean, well-oiled fowling-piece,
he found an old firelock lying by him, the
barrel encrusted with rust, the lock falling
off, and the stock worm-eaten. He now
suspected that the grave roysterers of the
mountain had put a trick upon him, and,
having dosed him with liquor, had robbed

© D. M-K
“ On waking he found himself on the green knoll whence he had first
seen the old man of the glen. ”

him of his gun. Wolf, too, had disap
peared, but he might have strayed away
after a squirrel or partridge. He whistled
after him and shouted his name, but all in
vain; the echoes repeated his whistle and
shout, but no dog was to be seen.
He determined to revisit the scene of the
last evening’s gambol, and if he met with
any of the party to demand his dog and
gun. As he rose to walk, he found him
self stiff in the joints and wanting in his
usual activity. “These mountain-beds do
not agree with me,” thought Rip, “and if
this frolic should lay me up with a fit of

the rheumatism, I shall have a blessed
time with Dame Van Winkle.” With
some difficulty he got down into the glen:
he found the gully up which he and his
companion had ascended the preceding
evening; but to his astonishment a moun-
tain-stream was now foaming down it,
leaping from rock to rock and filling the
glen with babbling murmurs. He, how
ever, made shift to scramble up its sides,
working his toilsome way through thick
ets of birch, sassafras, and witch-hazel,
and sometimes tripped up or entangled
by the wild grape-vines that twisted their

coils or tendrils from tree to tree and
spread a kind of network in his path.
At length he reached to where the
ravine had opened through the cliffs to
the amphitheatre; but no traces of such
opening remained. The rocks presented
a high impenetrable wall, over which the
torrent came tumbling in a sheet of
feathery foam, and fell into a broad, deep
basin, black from the shadows of the sur
rounding forest. Here, then, poor Rip was
brought to a stand. He again called and
whistled after his dog; he was only an-

swered by the cawing of a flock of idle
crows sporting high in air about a dry tree
that overhung a sunny precipice, and who,
secure in their elevation, seemed to look
down and scoff at the poor man’s perplex-

ities. What was to be done? The morn
ing was passing away, and Rip felt fam
ished for want of his breakfast. He grieved
to give up his dog and gun; he dreaded to
meet his wife; but it would not do to starve
among the mountains. He shook his head,
shouldered the rusty firelock, and with a
heart full of trouble and anxiety turned his
steps homeward.
As he approached the village he met
a number of people, but none whom he
knew, which somewhat surprised him, for
he had thought himself acquainted with
every one in the country round. Their

dress, too, was of a different fashion from
that to which he was accustomed. They
all stared at him with equal marks of sur
prise, and whenever they cast their eyes
upon him, invariably stroked their chins.
The constant recurrence of this gesture
induced Rip, involuntarily, to do the same,

when, to his astonishment, he found his
beard had grown a foot long!
He had now entered the skirts of the
village. A troop of strange children ran
at his heels, hooting after him and point
ing at his gray beard. The dogs, too, not
one of which he recognized for an old ac-

quaintance, barked at him as he passed,
The very village was altered; it was larger
and more populous. There were rows of
houses which he had never seen before,
and those which had been his familiar
haunts had disappeared. Strange names
were over the doors—strange faces at the
windows — everything was strange. His

mind now misgave him; he began to doubt
whether both he and the world around
him were not bewitched. Surely this was
his native village, which he had left but
the day before. There stood the Kaatskill
Mountains—there ran the silver Hudson
at a distance—there was every hill and
dale precisely as it had always been. Rip
was sorely perplexed. “That flagon last
night,” thought he, “has addled my poor
head sadly.”
It was with some difficulty that he found
the way to his own house, which he ap
proached with silent awe, expecting every

moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame
Van Winkle. He found the house gone
to decay—the roof fallen in, the windows
shattered, and the doors off the hinges. A
half-starved dog that looked like Wolf
was skulking about it. Rip called him
by name, but the cur snarled, showed his
teeth, and passed on. This was an unkind
cut indeed. “My very dog,” sighed poor
Rip, “has forgotten me!”
He entered the house, which, to tell the
truth, Dame Van Winkle had always
kept in neat order. It was empty, forlorn,
and apparently abandoned. This desolate-

“ It was with some difficulty that he found the way to his own house,
which he approached with silent awe, expecting every moment
to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Winkle. ”

ness overcame all his connubial fears—he
called loudly for his wife and children—the
lonely chambers rang for a moment with
his voice, and then all again was silence.
He now hurried forth, and hastened to
his old resort, the village inn, but it too
was gone. A large rickety wooden build
ing stood in its place, with great gaping
windows, some of them broken and mended
with old hats and petticoats, and over the
door was painted, “The Union Hotel, by
Jonathan Doolittle.” Instead of the great
tree that used to shelter the quiet little

Dutch inn of yore, there now was reared
a tall, naked pole, with something on the
top that looked like a red night-cap, and
from it was fluttering a flag, on which was
a singular assemblage of stars and stripes.

All this was strange and incomprehensible.
He recognized on the sign, however, the
ruby face of King George, under which he
had smoked so many a peaceful pipe; but
even this was singularly metamorphosed.
The red coat was changed for one of blue
and buff, a sword was held in the hand
instead of a sceptre, the head was decora
ted with a cocked hat, and underneath
was painted in large characters, GENERAL
There was, as usual, a crowd of folk
about the door, but none that Rip recol
lected. The very character of the people

seemed changed. There was a busy, bust
ling, disputatious tone about it, instead of
the accustomed phlegm and drowsy tran
quillity. He looked in vain for the sage
Nicholas Vedder, with his broad face, double
chin, and fair long pipe, uttering clouds of
tobacco-smoke instead of idle speeches; or
Van Bummel, the schoolmaster, doling
forth the contents of an ancient newspaper.
In place of these, a lean, bilious-looking
fellow, with his pockets full of handbills,
was haranguing vehemently about rights
of citizens—elections—members of Con
gress—liberty—Bunker’s Hill—heroes of

Seventy-six—and other words, which were
a perfect Babylonish jargon to the bewil
dered Van Winkle.

The appearance of Rip, with his long,
grizzled beard, his rusty fowling-piece, his
uncouth dress, and an army of women and
children at his heels, soon attracted the
attention of the tavern politicians. They
crowded round him, eyeing him from head
to foot with great curiosity. The orator
bustled up to him, and, drawing him part
ly aside, inquired “on which side he voted.”
Rip stared in vacant stupidity. Another
short but busy little fellow pulled him by
the arm, and, rising on tiptoe, inquired in
his ear, “Whether he was Federal or Dem
ocrat.” Rip was equally at a loss to com-

prehend the question; when a knowing,
self-important old gentleman, in a sharp
cocked hat, made his way through the
crowd, putting them to the right and left
with his elbows as he passed, and, planting
himself before Van Winkle, with one arm
akimbo, the other resting on his cane, his
keen eyes and sharp hat penetrating, as it
were, into his very soul, demanded in an
austere tone, “What brought him to the
election with a gun on his shoulder and a
mob at his heels, and whether he meant to
breed a riot in the village?”—“Alas! gentle
men,” cried Rip, somewhat dismayed, “I

am a poor, quiet man, a native of the
place, and a loyal subject of the king, God
bless him!”
Here a general shout burst from the by
standers—“A Tory! a Tory! a spy! a refu
gee! hustle him! away with him!” It was
with great difficulty that the self-important
man in the cocked hat restored order; and,
having assumed a tenfold austerity of brow,
demanded again of the unknown culprit
what he came there for, and whom he
was seeking. The poor man humbly as
sured him that he meant no harm, but
merely came there in search of some of his

neighbors, who used to keep about the
“Well—who are they?—name them.”
Rip bethought himself a moment, and
inquired, “Where’s Nicholas Vedder?”
There was a silence for a little while,
when an old man replied in a thin piping
voice, “Nicholas Vedder! why, he is dead
and gone these eighteen years! There was

a wooden tombstone in the churchyard
that used to tell all about him, but that’s
rotten and gone too.”
“Where’s Brom Dutcher?”
“Oh, he went off to the army in the be
ginning of the war; some say he was killed
at the storming of Stony Point—others say
he was drowned in a squall at the foot of
Antony’s Nose. I don’t know—he never
came back again.”
“Where’s Van Bummel, the schoolmas
“He went off to the wars too, was a great
militia general, and is now in Congress.”

Rip’s heart died away at hearing of these
sad changes in his home and friends and
finding himself thus alone in the world.
Every answer puzzled him, too, by treating
of such enormous lapses of time, and of
matters which he could not understand:
war—Congress—Stony Point. He had no
courage to ask after any more friends, but
cried out in despair, “Does nobody here
know Rip Van Winkle?”
“Oh, Rip Van Winkle!” exclaimed two
or three. “Oh, to be sure! that’s Rip
Van Winkle yonder, leaning against the

Rip looked and beheld a precise counter
part of himself as he went up the mountain,
apparantly as lazy, and certainly as ragged.
The poor fellow was now completely con
founded. He doubted his own identity, and
whether he was himself or another man.
In the midst of his bewilderment the man
in the cocked hat demanded who he was,
and what was his name.
“God knows,” exclaimed he, at his wit’s
end; “I’m not myself—I’m somebody else—
that’s me yonder—no—that’s somebody else
got into my shoes. I was myself last night,
but I fell asleep on the mountain, and

they’ve changed my gun, and everything’s
changed, and I’m changed, and I can’t tell
what’s my name, or who I am!”
The bystanders began now to look at
each other, nod, wink significantly, and
tap their fingers against their foreheads.
There was a whisper, also, about securing
the gun and keeping the old fellow from
doing mischief, at the very suggestion
of which the self-important man in the
cocked hat retired with some precipita
tion. At this critical moment a fresh
comely woman passed through the throng
to get a peep at the gray-bearded man.

She had a chubby child in her arms,
which, frightened at his looks, began to
cry. “Hush, Rip,” cried she, “hush, you
little fool! the old man won’t hurt you.”
The name of the child, the air of the mother,
the tone of her voice, all awakened a train
of recollections in his mind. “What is
your name, my good woman?” asked he.
“Judith Gardenier.”
“And your father’s name?”
“Ah, poor man! Rip Van Winkle was
his name, but it’s twenty years since he
went away from home with his gun, and
never has been heard of since—his dog

came home without him; but whether he
shot himself, or was carried away by the
Indians, nobody can tell. I was then but
a little girl.”

Rip had but one question more to ask,
but he put it with a faltering voice:
“Where’s your mother?”
“Oh, she, too, had died but a short time
since; she broke a blood-vessel in a fit of
passion at a New England peddler.”

There was a drop of comfort, at least, in
this intelligence. This honest man could
contain himself no longer. He caught his
daughter and her child in his arms. “I
am your father!” cried he—'“young Rip
Van Winkle once—old Rip Van Winkle
now! Does nobody know poor Rip Van
All stood amazed, until an old woman,
tottering out from among the crowd, put
her hand to her brow, and peering under
it in his face for a moment, exclaimed,
“Sure enough! it is Rip Van Winkle—it is
himself! Welcome home again, old neigh-

bor! Why, where have you been these
twenty long years?”
Rip’s story was soon told, for the whole
twenty years had been to him but as one
night. The neighbors stared when they
heard it; some were seen to wink at each
other, and put their tongues in their cheeks:
and the self-important man in the cocked
hat, who, when the alarm was over, had
returned to the field, screwed down the
corners of his mouth and shook his head—
upon which there was a general shaking
of the head throughout the assemblage.
It was determined, however, to take the

opinion of old Peter Vanderdonk, who was
seen slowly advancing up the road. He
was a descendant of the historian of that
name, who wrote one of the earliest ac
counts of the province. Peter was the
most ancient inhabitant of the village, and
well versed in all the wonderful events and
traditions of the neighborhood. He recol
lected Rip at once, and corroborated his
story in the most satisfactory manner. He
assured the company that it was a fact,
handed down from his ancestor the his
torian, that the Kaatskill Mountains had
always been haunted by strange beings.

That it was affirmed that the great Hen
drick Hudson, the first discoverer of the
river and country, kept a kind of vigil there
every twenty years, with his crew of the
Half-moon, being permitted in this way to
revisit the scenes of his enterprise and keep
a guardian eye upon the river and the great
city called by his name. That his father
had once seen them in their old Dutch
dresses playing at nine-pins in a hollow of
the mountain; and that he himself had
heard, one summer afternoon, the sound of
their balls, like distant peals of thunder.
To make a long story short, the company

broke up, and returned to the more impor
tant concerns of the election. Rip’s daugh
ter took him home to live with her; she had
a snug, well-furnished house, and a stout
cheery farmer for a husband, whom Rip
recollected for one of the urchins that used
to climb upon his back. As to Rip’s son
and heir, who was the ditto of himself,
seen leaning against the tree, he was em
ployed to work on the farm, but evinced an
hereditary disposition to attend to anything
else but his business.
Rip now resumed his old walks and
habits; he soon found many of his former

cronies, though all rather the worse for the
wear and tear of time ; and preferred mak
ing friends among the rising generation,
with whom he soon grew into great favor.
Having nothing to do at home, and being
arrived at that happy age when a man can
be idle with impunity, he took his place
once more on the bench at the inn-door,
and was reverenced as one of the patri
archs of the village and a chronicle of the
old times “before the war.” It was some
time before he could get into the regular
track of gossip, or could be made to com
prehend the strange events that had taken

© D. M-K
“ . . . . and preferred making friends among the rising generation,
with whom he grew into great favor. ”


place during his torpor. How that there
had been a Revolutionary War—that the
country had thrown off the yoke of old
England—and that, instead of being a sub
ject of his Majesty George the Third, he
was now a free citizen of the United States.
Rip, in fact, was no politician ; the changes
of states and empires made but little im
pression on him; but there was one species
of despotism under which he had long
groaned, and that was—petticoat govern
ment. Happily, that was at an end; he
had got his neck out of the yoke of matri
mony, and could go in and out whenever

he pleased, without dreading the tyranny
of Dame Van Winkle. Whenever her
name was mentioned, however, he shook
his head, shrugged his shoulders, and cast
up his eyes; which might pass either for
an expression of resignation to his fate or
joy at his deliverance.
He used to tell his story to every stran
ger that arrived at Mr. Doolittle’s hotel.
He was observed, at first, to vary on some
points every time he told it, which was,
doubtless, owing to his having so recently
awaked. It at last settled down precisely
to the tale I have related, and not a man,

woman, or child in the neighborhood but
knew it by heart. Some always pretended
to doubt the reality of it, and insisted that
Rip had been out of his head, and that
this was one point on which he always re
mained flighty. The old Dutch inhabit
ants, however, almost universally gave it
full credit. Even to this day they never
hear a thunder-storm of a summer after
noon about the Kaatskill but they say
Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their
game of nine-pins; and it is a common
wish of all henpecked husbands in the
neighborhood, when life hangs heavy on

their hands, that they might have a quiet
ing draught out of Rip Van Winkle’s

The foregoing tale, one would suspect, had been
suggested to Mr. Knickerbocker by a little German
superstition about the Emperor Frederick der Roth-
bart and the Kypphauser Mountain: the subjoined
note, however, which he had appended to the tale,
shows that it is an absolute fact, narrated with his
usual fidelity:
“The story of Rip Van Winkle may seem incredible
to many, but nevertheless I give it my full belief, for
I know the vicinity of our old Dutch settlements to
have been very subject to marvellous events and
appearances. Indeed, I have heard many stranger
stories than this in the villages along the Hudson,
all of which were too well authenticated to admit of a

doubt. I have even talked with Rip Van Winkle
myself, who, when last I saw him, was a very vener
able old man, and so perfectly rational and consistent
on every other point that I think no conscientious
person could refuse to take this into the bargain;
nay, I have seen a certificate on this subject taken
before a country justice, and signed with a cross, in
the justice’s own handwriting. The story, therefore,
is beyond the possibility of doubt.
“D. K.”

The following are travelling notes from a memoran
dum-book of Mr. Knickerbocker:
The Kaatsberg, or Catskill Mountains, have al
ways been a region full of fable. The Indians
considered them the abode of spirits, who influenced
the weather, spreading sunshine or clouds over the
landscape and sending good or bad hunting seasons.
They were ruled by an old squaw spirit, said to be
their mother. She dwelt on the highest peak of the
Catskills, and had charge of the doors of day and
night to open and shut them at the proper hour. She
hung up the new moons in the skies, and cut up the
old ones into stars. In times of drought, if properly
propitiated, she would spin light summer clouds out
of cobwebs and morning dew, and send them off from

the crest of the mountain', flake after flake, like flakes
of carded cotton, to float in the air; until, dissolved
by the heat of the sun, they would fall in gentle
showers, causing the grass to spring, the fruits to
ripen, and the com to grow an inch an hour. If
displeased, however, she would brew up clouds black
as ink, sitting in the midst of them like a bottle-
bellied spider in the midst of its web; and when these
clouds broke, woe betide the valleys!
In old times, say the Indian traditions, there was a
kind of Manitou or spirit, who kept about the wildest
recesses of the Catskill Mountains, and took a mis-
chievious pleasure in wreaking all kinds of evils and
vexations upon the red men. Sometimes he would
assume the form of a bear, a panther, or a deer, lead
the bewildered hunter a weary chase through tangled
forests and among ragged rocks, and then spring off

with a loud ho! ho! leaving him aghast on the brink
of a beetling precipice or raging torrent.
The favorite abode of this Manitou is still shown.
It is a great rock or cliff on the loneliest part of the
mountains, and, from the flowering vines which
clamber about it and the wild flowers which abound
in its neighborhood, is known by the name of the
Garden Rock. Near the foot of it is a small lake,
the haunt of the solitary bittern, with water-snakes
basking in the sun on the leaves of the pond-lilies,
which lie on the surface. This place was held in
great awe by the Indians, insomuch that the boldest
hunter would not pursue his game within its precints.
Once upon a time, however, a hunter who had lost
his way penetrated to the Garden Rock, where
he beheld a number of gourds placed in the crotches
of trees. One of these he seized and made off with
it, but in the hurry of his retreat he let it fall among

the rocks, when a great stream gushed forth, which
washed him away and swept him down precipices,
where he was dashed to pieces, and the stream made
its way to the Hudson, and continues to flow to the
present day, being the identical stream known by
the name of the Kaaterskill.

k is returned on or before tb" W