The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


Washington Irving

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Characters

Ichabod Crane

A young schoolteacher from Connecticut, who comes to Sleepy Hollow to teach the town’s children, presumably just for a time. He rotates between living at the homes of his various students for his food and… read analysis of Ichabod Crane

Diedrich Knickerbocker

The narrator of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” who apparently heard the story from a storyteller at a business meeting in New York. Washington Irving often used the persona of Knickerbocker in these stories, as… read analysis of Diedrich Knickerbocker

Brom Bones

A strong, plucky, mischievous young man and major rival to Ichabod for Katrina Van Tassel. Brom Bones (whose full name is Abraham or Brom Van Brunt) loves to play practical jokes, get himself into… read analysis of Brom Bones

Katrina Van Tassel

The only daughter of Baltus Van Tassel, a wealthy Dutch farmer, who is courted by several village youths but especially by Brom Bones and Ichabod. Katrina is not portrayed very favorably in the… read analysis of Katrina Van Tassel

Hans Van Ripper

An old, ill-tempered Dutch farmer, who lends Ichabod his horse, Gunpowder, so that Ichabod can ride it to attend Baltus Van Tassel’s quilting frolic. It is suggested that Ichabod may have fled the village out… read analysis of Hans Van Ripper
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Headless Horseman

Also known as the Galloping Hessian of the Hollow. The Dutch wives of Sleepy Hollow especially enjoy telling ghost stories about the Headless Horseman, the ghost of a Hessian trooper (a German mercenary who fought… read analysis of Headless Horseman


The source, according to Knickerbocker, of the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” which he tells at a business meeting in New York that Knickerbocker attends. When he is asked about the moral of the story… read analysis of Storyteller
Minor Characters
Baltus Van Tassel
Father of Katrina Van Tassel, and a wealthy farmer whose estate bursts with natural and culinary abundance. Van Tassel gives his daughter a relatively high amount of independence, allowing her to choose her suitors and eventual husband of her own accord.
Major André
A soldier in the Revolutionary War who was caught and taken prisoner by the British before being hanged. Major André is a real historical figure, but in the story he is also a ghost who haunts Sleepy Hollow.
Old Brouwer
An inhabitant of Sleepy Hollow who never believed in ghosts—that is, until he supposedly meets the Headless Horseman while out riding one night, and upon reaching the bridge to the church, is thrown into the brook under it.
Elderly Gentleman
An attendee at the New York business meeting who listens to the storyteller’s tale, and who doubts the extent to which it’s true.
Doffue Martling
A resident of Sleepy Hollow who claims to have nearly destroyed a British ship singlehandedly during the Revolutionary War.