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The Headless Horseman

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At the point where the Hudson River is the widest, lies a small market town or river port. Some call it Greensburgh. Others, however, call it Tarry Town. This is the name by which it is more generally known. Why, you may ask? Tarry means to delay; to be late, slow in acting, starting or coming. The good housewives of the neighbouring county gave this name in former days. It referred to the fact that their husbands used to stay longer than expected in the village tavern on market days. They were strangely unwilling to come back home to their better halves to join them in their „blue heaven.” In any case, I mention the matter at all just for the sake of being precise and authentic.

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Not far from the village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley. It is a land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small stream runs through it, and its murmur is pleasant enough to the ear to put one to sleep. One can also hear the occasional whistle of a small bird or the tapping of a woodpecker

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I remember that, when I was young, my first heroic act in squirrel shooting was in a small wood of walnut-trees that cast shadows on on side of the valley… I should, however, tell you something: If I ever wish to find a quiet spot, in which to escape far from the madding crowd and the world and its distractions, this is the place. So this small, isolated place has been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, which means sleepy valley.

There is one dominant spirit, however, that haunts this region. It seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air. That is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. In some nameless battle during the American Revolution his head was carried away by a cannon ball.The ghost is known by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. The country folk swear they see him hurrying along in the night, as if on the wings of the wind. The common belief is that the ghost rides off to the scene of battle at night, looking for his head. He is determined to to get back to the churchyard before daybreak…”

adopted from Felberg Readers & originally written by Washington Irving


delay – opóźniać
a neighbouring county – sąsiednie hrabstwo / powiat
former – dawny / były
unwilling – niechętny
a better half – lepsza połowa / współmałżonek
for the sake of – przez wzgląd na
a stream – strumyk / rzeczka
a murmur – szept / szmer
whistle – świst / gwizdać
tap – stukać (też. podsłuchiwać rozmowy telefoniczne)
a woodpecker – dzięcioł
a squirrel – wiewiórka
a walnut – orzech włoski
cast a shadown on – rzucać cień na

a spot – miejsce
– doprowadzające do szału / irytujące
distraction – zakłócenie spokoju / rozproszenie uwagi
haunt – nawiedzać
a commander-in-chief – głównodowodzący / naczelny dowódca
an apparition – widmo / zjawa
horseback – konno
a cannon – armata
folk – ludzie / lud
a churchyard – cmentarz przy kościele
a daybreak – świt / poranek

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