The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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 lodging. Ichabod is tall, lanky, and somewhat awkward-looking. He loves singing and dancing—he also gives singing lessons—and believes he is excellent at both (there’s a touch of irony in the narration that suggests he may not be as talented as he thinks). Ichabod is shrewd and clever, knowing when to treat his students strictly and when to be more obsequious to his hosts. He also has a tremendous, almost voracious, appetite. At the same time, Ichabod is gullible and has a wild imagination: he adores reading and listening to ghost stories, even though they continue to terrify him at night after he’s heard them. For Ichabod, reality and fiction are less distinct than they are for most people—especially in Sleepy Hollow, where Ichabod comes under the influence of the “witchy” air. If not for that, Ichabod may well be just another example of an aimless youth, “tarrying” about with little direction or ambition. But, by the end of the story, we learn that Ichabod may have left this bewitched town and made something of himself after all—propelled back to reality by one final imaginative trick.

Ichabod Crane Quotes in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The The Legend of Sleepy Hollow quotes below are all either spoken by Ichabod Crane or refer to Ichabod Crane. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow published in 1999.
Main Story Quotes

I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud, for it is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there embosomed in the great State of New York, that population, manners, and customs remained fixed, while the great torrent of migration and improvement, which is making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them unobserved.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones
Page Number: 274
Explanation and Analysis:

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In this by-place of nature there abode, in a remote period of American history, that is to say, some thirty years since, a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane, who sojourned, or, as he expressed it, “tarried,” in Sleepy Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane
Page Number: 274
Explanation and Analysis:

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His appetite for the marvelous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence in this spell-pound region. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

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He would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than to ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was—a woman.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane, Katrina Van Tassel
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:

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As the enraptured Ichabod fancied all this, and as he rolled his great green eyes over the fat meadow lands, the rich fields of wheat, of rye, of buckwheat, and Indian corn, and the orchards burdened with ruddy fruit, which surrounded the warm tenement of Van Tassel, his heart yearned after the damsel who was to inherit these domains, and his imagination expanded with the idea, how they might be readily turned into cash, and the money invested in immense tracts of wild land, and shingle palaces in the wilderness.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane, Katrina Van Tassel
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:

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Brom, who had a degree of rough chivalry in his nature, would fain have carried matters to open warfare and have settled their pretensions to the lady, according to the mode of those most concise and simple reasoners, the knights-errant of yore,—by single combat; but Ichabod was too conscious of the superior might of his adversary to enter the lists against him.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:

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He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones’s ghostly competitor had disappeared. “If I can but reach that bridge,” though Ichabod, “I am safe.”

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones
Related Symbols: Head of the Headless Horseman
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

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In one part of the road leading to the church was found the saddle trampled in the dirt; the tracks of horses’ hoofs deeply dented in the road, and evidently at furious speed, were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a 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.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane
Related Symbols: Head of the Headless Horseman
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:

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The old country wives, however, who are the best judges of these matters, maintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited away by supernatural means; and it is a favorite story often told about the neighborhood round the winter evening fire.

Related Characters: Diedrich Knickerbocker (speaker), Ichabod Crane
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:

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Postscript Quotes

“That there is no situation in life but has its advantages and pleasures—provided we will but take a joke as we find it:
That, therefore, he that runs races with goblin troopers is likely to have rough riding of it.
Ergo, for a country schoolmaster to be refused the hand of a Dutch heiress is a certain step to high preferment in the state.”

Related Characters: Storyteller (speaker), Ichabod Crane
Page Number: 297
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ichabod Crane Character Timeline in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The timeline below shows where the character Ichabod Crane appears in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Main Story
History and Storytelling Theme Icon
War and Battle Theme Icon
In a “remote period of American history,” or thirty years ago, a young man named Ichabod Crane, from Connecticut, spent some time “tarrying” in Sleepy Hollow as a schoolteacher. Ichabod is... (full context)
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Ichabod’s one-room wooden schoolhouse, located at the foot of a hill next to a brook, is... (full context)
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Consumption, Appetite, and Greed Theme Icon
Ichabod also plays with some of the older boys after school or accompanies the smaller ones... (full context)
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Ichabod also teaches singing and leads the Sunday chorus at church. He believes himself to be... (full context)
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Most people think Ichabod has an easy, tranquil life. The women in the town admire his taste and education,... (full context)
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Ichabod, in fact, may be clever and manipulative but also believes strongly in magic and witchcraft.... (full context)
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Ichabod also enjoys spending evenings with the elderly Dutch housewives, who enchant him with ghost stories... (full context)
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All these exchanges delight Ichabod, but he pays for it with absolute terror as he walks home from the gatherings.... (full context)
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Indeed, during the day Ichabod finds himself confronted with a more terrifying being than ghosts and witches: a woman, or... (full context)
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Ichabod deems Katrina “so tempting a morsel” as to warrant his attention—particularly once he visits her... (full context)
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Such abundance attracts Ichabod to Katrina even more. He quickly imagines growing rich from the farm, reinvesting the gains,... (full context)
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Ichabod’s heart is definitively “conquered” once he enters the farmhouse, with its early Dutch style of... (full context)
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Though Ichabod has fixed his sights on Katrina, he is now faced with difficulties—those more complicated than... (full context)
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...is also in pursuit of Katrina, which discourages other candidates, who withdraw in despair. But Ichabod, who is cheerfully persistent against pressure, decides not to openly wage war against Brom Bones... (full context)
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...He comes less and less to her farmhouse, and begins to desire open combat with Ichabod. The schoolteacher, however, knows he would never win a duel against Brom Bones, and avoids... (full context)
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One afternoon in autumn, Ichabod is sitting in the front of his classroom swinging around his birch whip, while his... (full context)
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Suddenly, the classroom’s atmosphere grows rowdy: Ichabod rushes the students through their lessons and has everyone leave their inkstands and books wherever... (full context)
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...elderly, ragged, one-eyed plow-horse named Gunpowder that nevertheless retains some of its youthful spirit, and Ichabod’s gangly figure with his elbows stuck out and arms flapping as he rides. (full context)
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...to the woodpecker, cedar bird, and blue jay, each with its own coat and idiosyncrasies. Ichabod looks upon these treasures as if they were a feast to be devoured—especially the apples,... (full context)
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As Ichabod crosses the Hudson, a “sloop” or sailing boat is bobbing in the distance, and through... (full context)
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By the evening, Ichabod arrives at the Van Tassel castle, already packed with the most well-to-do farmers and their... (full context)
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When Ichabod enters the home, his eyes rest not on the beautiful women but rather on the... (full context)
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After the feast comes the dance. This delights Ichabod, who takes almost as much pride in his dancing as in his singing. Outside, there... (full context)
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Afterward, some of the older guests gather around Ichabod to gossip and tell war stories—this neighborhood, indeed, was an important site during the Revolutionary... (full context)
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...and Daredevil would have won if the Horseman hadn’t vanished at the last minute. And Ichabod adds his own stories taken from Cotton Mather and his nightly walks around Sleepy Hollow. (full context)
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The party comes to a close, and Ichabod lingers, confident in his imminent success, in order to speak to Katrina. Knickerbocker does not... (full context)
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It is late at night by this point, and it is silent enough that Ichabod can hear a watchdog barking from far off across the Hudson, as well as an... (full context)
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Ichabod rides closer to the tree. He starts to believe that every sound is the sign... (full context)
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Terrified, Ichabod stammers, “Who are you?” but is not answered. He closes his eyes and starts to... (full context)
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As the race continues, Ichabod’s saddle slips from under him—an expensive one, and he immediately thinks of how angry Van... (full context)
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Ichabod sees the church in front of him, and thinks that if he can reach the... (full context)
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The next morning Gunpowder is found without its saddle or rider. Ichabod does not show up for meals or at school, and a search party sets out,... (full context)
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Hans Van Ripper is appointed to go through Ichabod’s possessions—which includes only several pieces of clothing, a razor, and a book of psalm-tunes. After... (full context)
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Several years later, an old farmer returns from New York with the news that Ichabod is still alive: he had left the village partly in fear of Van Ripper’s reaction... (full context)
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Brom Bones married Katrina shortly after Ichabod’s disappearance. He tends to put on a knowing look anytime someone tells the story, especially... (full context)
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...wives, though, who Knickerbocker claims are generally the most knowledgeable in the village, insist that Ichabod was carried away by the Horseman. The story becomes a favorite one in the neighborhood,... (full context)