Rip van Winkle

A Posthumous Writing of Diedrich Knickerbocker

Eine nachgelassene Schrift des Dietrich Knickerbocker

Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2012




By Woden, God of Sax­ons,
From whence comes Wens­day, that is Wodens­day,

Truth is a thing that ever I will keep
Unto thylke day in which I creep into
My sep­ulchre — Cartwright.
The fol­low­ing Tale was found among the pa­pers of the late Diedrich Knick­er­bock­er,
an old gen­tle­man of New York, who was very curi­ous in the Dutch His­tory of the province
and the man­ners of the des­cend­ants from its prim­it­ive set­tlers.
His his­tor­ic­al re­searches, however, did not lie so much among books as among men;
for the former are lam­ent­ably scanty on his fa­vor­ite top­ics;
where­as he found the old burgh­ers, and still more, their wives, rich in that le­gendary lore, so in­valu­able to true his­tory.
Whenev­er, there­fore, he happened upon a genu­ine Dutch fam­ily, snugly shut up in its low-roofed farm-house, un­der a spread­ing sy­ca­more,
he looked upon it as a little clasped volume of black-let­ter, and stud­ied it with the zeal of a book­worm.
The res­ult of all these re­searches was a his­tory of the province, dur­ing the reign of the Dutch gov­ernors, which he pub­lished some years since.
There have been vari­ous opin­ions as to the lit­er­ary char­ac­ter of his work,
and, to tell the truth, it is not a whit bet­ter than it should be.
Its chief mer­it is its scru­pu­lous ac­cur­acy,
which in­deed was a little ques­tioned on its first ap­pear­ance, but has since been com­pletely es­tab­lished;
and it is now ad­mit­ted into all his­tor­ic­al col­lec­tions, as a book of un­ques­tion­able au­thor­ity.
The old gen­tle­man died shortly after the pub­lic­a­tion of his work; and now that he is dead and gone,
it can­not do much harm to his memory to say that his time might have been much bet­ter em­ployed in weight­i­er labors.
He, however, was apt to ride his hobby his own way;
and though it did now and then kick up the dust a little in the eyes of his neigh­bors,
and grieve the spir­it of some friends, for whom he felt the truest de­fer­ence and af­fec­tion,
yet his er­rors and fol­lies are re­membered “more in sor­row than in an­ger,”
and it be­gins to be sus­pec­ted, that he nev­er in­ten­ded to in­jure or of­fend.
But however his memory may be ap­pre­ci­ated by crit­ics, it is still held dear among many folks,
whose good opin­ion is well worth hav­ing; par­tic­u­larly by cer­tain bis­cuit-bakers,
who have gone so far as to im­print his like­ness on their new-year cakes,
and have thus giv­en him a chance for im­mor­tal­ity, al­most equal to the be­ing stamped on a Wa­ter­loo medal, or a Queen Anne’s farth­ing.

Washington Irving
Rip van Winkle
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