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THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW It was past midnight.
As the schoolmaster rode on and on, the night grew darker and darker. He came to a place where the road ran over a small bridge across a stream. As Crane approached it, his heart began to beat fast. He suddenly remembered all the stories about ghosts that he had heard. He got frightened and gave his horse a kick: at first the animal rushed forward but then suddenly stopped. On the bank of the stream stood a horseman riding a black horse. The poor schoolmaster got still more frightened. He gave his horse another kick and rode on as fast as he could. The horseman followed. Having reached the top of a hill, Crane looked behind and was struck with horror as he saw that the horseman was headless. His horrow became still greater when he saw that the ghost held his own head in his hands. Crane tried to get away from the ghost, but the faster he rode, the faster the headless horseman rode after him. Soon, however, Crane saw a bridge behind the trees. "If I could reach that bridge," thought Crane, "I would be safe". Again he looked behind him. He saw the ghost picking up his own head and throwing it at him. Crane was struck on the head and fell off his horse. The headless horseman and his black horse quickly passed by and disappeared. The next morning Crane's old horse was found standing near his master's gate. But there was no Crane to be seen. On the bank of the stream they found the schoolmaster's hat and near it a pumpkin broken to small pieces. On the following Sunday many people gathered at the place where the hat and the pumpkin had been found. The stories of ghosts were told again. The villagers decided that the schoolmaster must have been carried off by the headless horseman. A few years later an old farmer who had been to New York brought the news that Crane lived in another village and had been made a judge. Shortly after his rival had disappeared, Brunt married Katrina. It was noticed that each time the story of Crane was told, he laughed or smiled. This made some people think that he knew about the matter more than cared to tell.