32 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
the bridge ; he thundered over the resounding planks ; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone.
Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of
hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible
missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous
crash,—he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the
black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirlwind.
The next morning the old horse was found without his saddle, and
with the bridle under his feet, soberly cropping the grass at his master's gate. Ichabod did not make his appearance at breakfast;—
dinner-hour came, but no Ichabod. The boys assembled at the
school-house, and strolled idly about the banks of the brook ; but no
schoolmaster. Hans Van Ripper now began to feel some uneasiness
about the fate of poor Ichabod, and his saddle. An inquiry was set
on foot, and after diligent investigation they came upon his traces.
In one part of the road leading to the church was found the saddle
trampled in the dirt; the tracks of horses' hoofs deeply indented in
the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge,
beyond which, on a bank of the broad part of the brook, where the
water ran deep and black, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin.
The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered. Hans Van Ripper, as executor of his
estate, examined the bundle which contained all his worldly effects.
They consisted of two shirts and a half ; two stocks for the neck ; a
pair or two of worsted stockings; an old pair of corduroy small-
clothes ; a rusty razor ; a book of psalm-tunes, full of dogs' ears ; and
a broken pitchpipe. As to the books and furniture of the school-
house, they belonged to the community, excepting Cotton Mather's
" History of Witchcraft," a " New England Almanac," and a book of
dreams and fortune-telling; in which last was a sheet of foolscap much
scribbled and blotted in several fruitless attempts to make a copy of
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