50 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Years and years passed over the time-honored little mansion. The honeysuckle and the sweetbrier crept up its walls ; the wren and the Phoebe-bird built under the eaves; it gradually became almost hidden among trees, through which it looked forth, as with half-shut
eyes, upon the Tappan Sea. The Indian spring, famous in the days of the wizard sachem, still welled up at the bottom of the green bank; and the wild brook, wild as ever, came babbling down the ravine, and
threw itself into the little cove where of yore the Water Guard harbored their whale-boats.
Such was the state of the Roost many years since, at the time when Diedrich Knickerbocker came into this neighborhood, in the course of his researches among the Dutch families for materials for his immortal history. The exterior of the eventful little pile seemed
to him full of promise. The crow-step gables were of the primitive architecture of the province. The weathercocks which surmounted them had crowed in the glorious days of the New Netherlands. The
one above the porch had actually glittered of yore on the great Vander Heyden palace at Albany.
The interior of the mansion fulfilled its external promise. Here were records of old times ; documents of the Dutch dynasty, rescued from the profane hands of the English by Wolfert Acker when he retreated from New Amsterdam. Here he had treasured them up like
buried gold, and here they had been miraculously preserved by St.Nicholas at the time of the conflagration of the Roost.
Here then did old Diedrich Knickerbocker take up his abode for a time, and set to work with antiquarian zeal to decipher these precious documents which, like the lost books of Livy, had baffled the research of former historians, and it is the facts drawn from these
sources which give his work the preference, in point of accuracy, over every other history.
It was during his sojourn in this eventful neighborhood that the historian is supposed to have picked up many of those legends which have since been given by him to the world, or found among his
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