26 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
lofty hills which rise above Tarry Town, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. The hour was as dismal as himself. Far below him, the Tappan Zee spread its dusky and indistinct waste of waters, with here and there the tall mast of a sloop riding quietly at anchor under the land. In the dead hush of midnight he could even hear the barking of the watch-dog from the opposite shore of the
Hudson; but it was so vague and faint as only to give an idea of his distance from this faithful companion of man. Now and then, too,
the long-drawn crowing of a cock, accidentally awakened, would sound
far, far off, from some farm-house away among the hills—but it was
like a dreaming sound in his ear. No signs of life occurred near him
but occasionally the melancholy chirp of a cricket, or perhaps the
guttural twang of a bull-frog, from a neighboring marsh, as if sleeping uncomfortably, and turning suddenly in his bed.
All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the afternoon now came crowding upon his recollection. The night grew
darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place
where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid. In the
centre of the road stood an enormous tulip-tree, which towered like
a giant above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a
kind of landmark. Its limbs were gnarled and fantastic, large enough
to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth,
and rising again into the air. It was connected with the tragical story
of the unfortunate Andre, who had been taken prisoner hard by ; and
was universally known by the name of Major Andre's tree. The common people regarded it with a mixture of respect and superstition,
partly out of sympathy for the fate of its ill-starred namesake, and
partly from the tales of strange sights and doleful lamentations told concerning it.
As Ichabod approached this fearful tree, he began to whistle : he
thought his whistle was answered,—it was but a blast sweeping
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