24 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
heard several times of late, patrolling the country; and, it was said, tethered his horse nightly among the graves in the churchyard.
The sequestered situation of this church seems always to have made it a favorite haunt of troubled spirits. It stands on a knoll,
surrounded by locust-trees and lofty elms, from among which its decent whitewashed walls shine modestly forth, like Christian purity beaming
through the shades of retirement. A gentle slope descends from it to a silver sheet of water, bordered by high trees, between which,
peeps may be caught at the blue hills of the Hudson. To look upon its grass-grown yard, where the sunbeams seem to sleep so quietly,
one would think that there at least the dead might rest in peace. On one side of the church extends a wide woody dell, along which raves
a large brook among broken rocks and trunks of fallen trees. Over
a deep black part of the stream, not far from the church, was formerly thrown a wooden bridge ; the road that led to it, and the bridge
itself, were thickly shaded by overhanging trees, which cast a gloom about it, even in the daytime, but occasioned a fearful darkness at
night. This was one of the favorite haunts of the headless horseman; and the place where he was most frequently encountered. The tale
was told of old Brouwer, a most heretical disbeliever in ghosts, how he met the horseman returning from his foray into Sleepy Hollow, and
was obliged to get up behind him; how they galloped over brush and brake, over hill and swamp, until they reached the bridge; when the
horseman suddenly turned into a skeleton, threw old Brouwer into
the brook, and sprang away over the tree-tops with a clap of thunder.
This story was immediately matched by a thrice marvellous adventure of Brom Bones, who made light of the galloping Hessian as an
arrant jockey. He affirmed that, on returning one night from the neighboring village of Sing Sing, he had been overtaken by this mid-
night trooper; that he had offered to race with him for a bowl of punch, and should have won it too, for Daredevil beat the goblin
horse all hollow, but, just as they -came to the church-bridge, the Hessian bolted, and vanished in a flash of fire.
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