Facts in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Facts Examples in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 10

"Saardam..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

Saardam is an antiquated name for the city of Zaandam, in the northern reaches of the Netherlands. Considering that the Van Tassel family—along with many of the families of the Hudson River valley—is of Dutch lineage, it makes sense that Katrina’s great-great-grandmother would have come from the old country.

"by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings!..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

A “Hessian” is someone from Hesse, a state in Germany. The “Galloping Hessian” is, according to Irving’s fictional legend, a Hessian mercenary brought to America to fight in Revolutionary War, only to—quite literally—lose his head.

"How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him!..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

The central folktale presented in Irving’s story is that of the “Galloping Hessian,” or the “Headless Horseman.” While Irving presents a fresh, uniquely American take on the folk legend, the figure of the Headless Horseman has appeared in various forms in European folklore since the Middle Ages.

"ready to give up the ghost..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

To “give up the ghost,” a phrase which originates from 14th-century Middle English translations of the Bible, means to die. The idea derives from medieval theology, according to which each individual is inhabited by the “ghost of life,” a spirit which, once released, leaves the body behind to die.

"witching hour..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

The “witching hour” is a phrase derived from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, wherein the titular prince remarks, “‘Tis now the very witching time of night,/When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out/Contagion to this world.” The witching hour has come to refer to the dead of night, when the endarkened conditions of the environment bring on a state of fearfulness and dread in human travellers. Some of the most important moments in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” take place at the witching hour, a phenomenon to which Ichabod Crane is particularly vulnerable.

"Master Hendrick Hudson..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

Since Irving’s fictional narrator, Geoffrey Crayon, is relating the events of another fictional narrator, Diedrich Knickerbocker, who is Dutch, it is fitting that he refers to 17th-century English explorer Henry Hudson as Hendrick Hudson, the name by which the Dutch knew him. At the behest of the Dutch East India Company, he explored large swaths of the northeastern United States and parts of present-day Canada in search of a passage to Asia. The Hudson River was named after him, and his explorations furthered the claim of Dutch settlers who arrived to the area.

"the Sabbath..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

Many Dutch immigrants were Christian, usually of the Protestant denomination. The Sabbath—a holy day of the week dedicated to religious worship and rest—falls on Sundays.

"Tarry Town..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

Situated along the Hudson River, “Tarry Town” (now known as Tarrytown) was first established by Dutch immigrants and traders in 1645. Originally, the Dutch called it Terwe Town (“Wheat Town”) but corrupted pronunciation led to its current name. Now, its current population is about 11,000.

"the protection of St. Nicholas..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

Prayers to the Christian St. Nicholas are thought to offer protection to sailors, especially those who are making difficult voyages. As a widened section of river, the Tappan Zee is especially unpredictable and dangerous.

"Tappan Zee..."   (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

From the Dutch word zee meaning sea and after a local Native American tribe (the Tappan), the “Tappan Zee” refers to a point of widening of the Hudson River in southern New York. Tarrytown is situated near the modern-day Tappan Zee bridge.