The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Found among the Papers of the Late Diedrich Knickerbocker

Die Legende von der Schlafhöhle

Übersetzt von Adolf Strodtmann
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2022




A pleas­ing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave be­fore the half-shut eye;

And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever flush­ing round a sum­mer sky.
In the bos­om of one of those spa­cious coves which in­dent the east­ern shore of the Hud­son,
at that broad ex­pan­sion of the river de­nom­in­ated by the an­cient Dutch nav­ig­at­ors the Tap­pan Zee, and where they al­ways prudently shortened sail
and im­plored the pro­tec­tion of St. Nich­olas when they crossed, there lies a small mar­ket town or rur­al port,
which by some is called Greens­burgh, but which is more gen­er­ally and prop­erly known by the name of Tarry Town.
This name was giv­en, we are told, in former days, by the good house­wives of the ad­ja­cent coun­try,
from the in­vet­er­ate propensity of their hus­bands to linger about the vil­lage tav­ern on mar­ket days.
Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely ad­vert to it, for the sake of be­ing pre­cise and au­then­t­ic.
Not far from this vil­lage, per­haps about two miles, there is a little val­ley
or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world.
A small brook glides through it, with just mur­mur enough to lull one to re­pose;
and the oc­ca­sion­al whistle of a quail or tap­ping of a wood­peck­er is al­most the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uni­form tran­quil­lity.
I re­col­lect that, when a strip­ling, my first ex­ploit in squir­rel-shoot­ing
was in a grove of tall wal­nut-trees that shades one side of the val­ley.
I had wandered into it at noon­time, when all nature is pe­cu­li­arly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun,
as it broke the Sab­bath still­ness around and was pro­longed and re­ver­ber­ated by the angry echoes.
If ever I should wish for a re­treat whith­er I might steal from the world and its dis­trac­tions, and dream quietly away the rem­nant of a troubled life,
I know of none more prom­ising than this little val­ley.
From the list­less re­pose of the place, and the pe­cu­li­ar char­ac­ter of its in­hab­it­ants,
who are des­cend­ants from the ori­gin­al Dutch set­tlers, this se­questered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOL­LOW,
and its rus­tic lads are called the Sleepy Hol­low Boys throughout all the neigh­bor­ing coun­try.
A drowsy, dreamy in­flu­ence seems to hang over the land, and to per­vade the very at­mo­sphere.
Some say that the place was be­witched by a High Ger­man doc­tor, dur­ing the early days of the set­tle­ment;
oth­ers, that an old In­di­an chief, the proph­et or wiz­ard of his tribe,
held his pow­wows there be­fore the coun­try was dis­covered by Mas­ter Hendrick Hud­son.
Cer­tain it is, the place still con­tin­ues un­der the sway of some witch­ing power,
that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, caus­ing them to walk in a con­tinu­al rev­er­ie.
They are giv­en to all kinds of mar­vel­lous be­liefs, are sub­ject to trances and vis­ions,
and fre­quently see strange sights, and hear mu­sic and voices in the air.
The whole neigh­bor­hood abounds with loc­al tales, haunted spots, and twi­light su­per­sti­tions;
stars shoot and met­eors glare of­ten­er across the val­ley than in any oth­er part of the coun­try,
and the night­mare, with her whole nine­fold, seems to make it the fa­vor­ite scene of her gam­bols.
The dom­in­ant spir­it, however, that haunts this en­chanted re­gion, and seems to be com­mand­er-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the ap­par­i­tion of a fig­ure on horse­back, without a head.

Washington Irving
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Die Legende von der Schlafhöhle
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Adolf Strodtmann

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