05 October 2011

Nightly Quest

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance.

Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.

Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Painting: John Quidor (1801 - 1881)


  1. Given that Irving was part Scots, his headless horseman may well have been a version of the Irish Dullahan (a headless horseman whose appearance can be a harbinger of death.)

    I love your literary snippets and the accompanying paintings. This is a very original site.

  2. I love this story and enjoyed the movie that came out a few years back. It's a great classic legend.

    Looking forward to your joining the LLC with us!

  3. Hi Elizabeth, It's amazing how many examples there are of great writers beings inspired by existing tales and legends. I wonder how many up and comers keep this in mind and use it to their advantage when their own creativity fails them.

  4. Hi Jess, I appreciate you stopping by and breaking the ice. I am also looking foreword to working with you on some LLC projects.


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