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"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a short story by Washington Irving. With Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle", "Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction still read today. The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a sycophantic, lean, lanky, and extremely superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party he attended at the Van Tassel home on an autumn night, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, who is supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War, and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head". Ichabod mysteriously disappears from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones. Although the nature of the Headless Horseman is left open to interpretation, the story implies that the Horseman was really Brom Bones in disguise. (Wikipedia)