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THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
Scene 1
A table and three chairs. Three Gossips sit at the table, sewing. They are MILLY, KATE and EMMA. Their job in life is to sit around and gossip.
Today, they are gossiping about Ichabod Crane, and what “happened” to him. As the play progresses, these ladies will tell the story as it is illustrated onstage.
MILLY
Well, if you ask me...
KATE
Nobody asked you.
MILLY
Well, if you ask me, somebody done him in.
EMMA
Done him in, like, murdered him?
MILLY
If you ask me...
KATE
Nobody asked you.
EMMA
Everybody at the Tavern says it was the Ghost...
MILLY
(dismissing)
Oh, the Ghost...
EMMA
Yes! The Ghost of the Headless Horseman!
MILLY
Whoever done in Mr. Crane might have been a horseman, but he surely had a head! Ichabod Crane was murdered!
KATE
Oh, you’re bonkers!
EMMA
But who would murder a nice man like that?
MILLY
How do you know how nice he was? You only been livin’ here three weeks.
EMMA
Well, he seemed nice at the sociable.
MILLY
Seemin’ nice and bein’ nice is two different animals. Both kinds of nice can be murdered, you know.
KATE
There wasn’t no body!
MILLY
Since when do you need a body for a murder?
KATE
If there’s no body, how do you know he’s dead?
MILLY
If there’s no body, how do you know he ain’t?
EMMA
She got you there, Kate.
KATE
Oh...pish tosh!
MILLY
Pish tosh me all you want, somethin’ happened to him out there in the glen last night and it wasn’t somethin’ pretty.
EMMA
All they found was a pumpkin.
MILLY
A smashed pumpkin.
KATE
You’re a smashed pumpkin.
EMMA
And his hat.
MILLY
There you go! Murdered!
KATE
Murdered, my foot! All you got is a dead hat!
MILLY
Brom and Carlotta and that crowd! They know somethin’ about this! There’s a story, there, I’ll tell you that!
EMMA
Well, tell me! How did it all start?
KATE
Oooh...if you must know...it all began three months ago when he showed up. Mr. Crane. The first ones he run into were the wastrels at the Sleepy Hollow Tavern...
EMMA
What’s a wastrel?
MILLY
Oh...you’re so young....
Scene 2
Outside the Sleepy Hollow Tavern. A few benches and tables, maybe a wooden barrel, some crates, with the Tavern in the rear, a sign above its door.
JEB, WEED and SUSANNAH, three saloon ne’er-do-wells, hang about, pontificating in their ale. (Susannah is something of a tomboy.) Also loitering about are five Giddy Girls, SALLY, JESSIE, MADDIE, LIZZIE and HANNAH. And the SCHOOL CHILDREN.
As the LIGHTS COME UP, there is a huge laugh from everybody.
JEB
And that, my friends, is how Brom Bones took a cow from the Benson Farm, and switched it with a cow from the Smithers Farm, and nobody knew the difference.
Another big laugh.
SALLY
Oh, Jebediah Winthrop, that is a lie and you know it!
WEED
It ain’t no lie, Sally.
SUSANNAH
My boy, Jeb, here don’t know how to lie!
JEB
And that’s the truth!
JESSIE
Oh, Susannah, you always take the side of the boys!
MADDIE
Yeah, you’d think you were a boy!
JEB
(to Susannah)
You mean you’re not a boy?
SUSANNAH
(to Lizzie)
Do I look like a boy to you?
LIZZIE
Well...
HANNAH
You look more like a boy than Weed does!
All laugh.
WEED
That ain’t funny!
SALLY
Weed...how did you ever get a name like that? Weed.
JEB
I got the answer to that...
WEED
(to Jeb)
You be quiet!
JESSIE
Another lie comin’ up!
JEB
His real name is Artemis.
MADDIE
Artemis???
LIZZIE
No wonder he goes with Weed.
JEB
And it so happened that one day his dear old mother was out workin’ in the garden, just as Brom Bones was makin’ a delivery from his butcher shop...
WEED
I told you not to...
JEB
And Weed comes into the kitchen, hungry as a horse, and spies a beautiful salad sittin’ on the counter...
WEED
I didn’t get no breakfast that day...
JEB
So he digs his hand into the “salad” and in three bites...
WEED
Four...
JEB
He gobbles up every blessed bit of it! And just as he shoves the last handful into his kisser, his dear old mother comes in the door with Brom and says, “Oh, Artemis! You just ate a whole bowl of weeds!”
All laugh.
WEED
(embarrassed)
I left a couple of bites...
JEB
And when Brom saw what Artemis did, he started callin’ him “Weed” and it stuck!
Another huge laugh from everybody. Even Weed joins in. 
SUSANNAH
(raising her glass)
Three cheers for Brom Bones! Hip Hip...
(all “Hooray)
Hip Hip...
(again)
Hip Hip..
Again, they cheer, and as they do, HENRY, the saloon keeper, enters.
HENRY
Good Lord in Heaven, do you all have to make so much fuss out here?
SALLY
Oh, you love it, Henry. It makes it look like you actually have customers!
HENRY
Customers, I wouldn’t mind. Would it kill you all to come inside and buy something to drink every now and again?
JEB
What? And spoil our virtuous reputations?
BESSIE
(off)
HENRY!
HENRY
Oh, dear Lord...
BESSIE appears. She is Henry’s wife. Poor Henry.
BESSIE
Henry! I just had a conversation with them dirty glasses on the counter in there.
HENRY
I know, dear, I...
BESSIE
I says to them, “Glasses, you are very dirty. Are you goin’ to clean yourselves up?”
HENRY
Bessie...
BESSIE
And you know what them dirty glasses said to me, Henry?
HENRY
I can’t...imagine...
BESSIE
Nothin’. They didn’t say nothin’. You wanna know why, Henry?
HENRY
I just...
BESSIE
Because they’re GLASSES!
HENRY
I’m sorry, dear...
BESSIE
GET INSIDE AND GET TO WORK!
Bessie goes back inside.
SUSANNAH
There’s a sweet, quiet room waitin’ for you in Heaven, Henry.
HENRY
Can’t come soon enough.
(looks down the road)
Any sign of that new schoolmaster?
SALLY
There’s a new schoolmaster?
HENRY
Well, of course there is! You knew Carlotta Van Derp ran the last one out of the county.
JEB
For good and permanent?
HENRY
For good and permanent. His lifestyle was a little too...frivolous for Miss Van Derp.
JESSIE
Everybody’s a little too frivolous for Miss Van Derp.
HENRY
Well, he should be here presently. The coach is past due. Send him in to me when he gets here.
(sees something down the road)
Oh, no...
He tries to make it back inside, but fails.
HARRIET and GERTRUDE, a couple of village matrons, appear, and catch him.
HARRIET
Henry! We’d like to speak to you!
HENRY
Just a minute, ladies!
(under breath, to others)
Now see what you done?
(steps over to the matrons)
What can I do for you, this fine day?
GERTRUDE
It was fine, until...
(points disapprovingly at the Tavern folks)
HARRIET
I thought we agreed at the last church council meeting that it would be preferable for you to keep these...customers inside your establishment.
GERTRUDE
I can smell their breaths all the way from my back yard.
The Wastrels attempt to breathe heavily in their direction, to the stifled delight of the Giddy Girls.
HARRIET
STOP BREATHING!
(they do, elaborately)
That’s better.
(and they let out a collective gasp)
HENRY
I’ve tried, ladies, I’ve tried. But it is a public road, you know.
HARRIET
Well...if that is your attitude, I see no alternative but to report this to Carlotta Van Derp!
HENRY
Oh, please, don’t do that...
GERTRUDE
We’ll see what she says about these...Ruffians. Come, Harriet!
And they strut away. Jeb starts a chant as Henry walks back to the group...
JEB
Henry got in trouble...Henry got in trouble...Henry got in trouble...
All join in until Henry reaches his doorway and screams.
HENRY
ALL RIGHT!
(they all stop)
Someday...someday you’re all going to push me just...a little...too far. And when you do...
BROM BONES and EZEKIEL enter. Brom is brawny, bold and bombastic. Ezekiel is...well, something of a weasel.
BROM
And when they do, Henry, I’ll be there to push you right over the edge!
BESSIE
(off)
HENRY!!!!!
HENRY
Bah!
Henry goes inside. All greet Brom cordially, shouting out “Brom!” Ezekiel steps in front of Brom and shoves some people off a bench to make room.
EZEKIEL
All right! All right! That’s enough! Give us some room here!
(room has been made)
There you go, Brom! I made room for you on the bench!
BROM
(sitting amidst the throng)
Yes, you did, Ezekiel. Thank you. Your obviousness is matched only by your obsequiousness!
EZEKIEL
(thinks this is a compliment)
Why, thank you.
The Giddy Girls surround Brom.
SALLY
Oh, Brom, where did you learn all those big, big words!
BROM
Books, my dear Sally! Books!
MADDIE
So many syllables!
LIZZIE
Say another big word, Brom...please!
BROM
Well...
HANNAH
Oh, yes, Brom...say another big word for us...Please...
The Giddy Girls go into a chorus of “Please...Please...Please...”
BROM
Oh, all right. Let me think...
EZEKIEL
Quiet, everybody! Brom is gonna say a big word!
(beat)
Go ahead, Brom.
Brom thinks as the Girls lean in.
BROM
I’ve got one...
(the Girls gast; he clears his throat)
PERSPICACITY!
The Girls swoon.
SALLY
Oh, Brom...tell us what it means!
BROM
(beat)
I don’t know. I heard it once in a sermon at a funeral and I fell in love with it. It just sounds so...beautiful coming from my lips. Don’t you agree?
All the Girls swoon and giggle and agree.
SUSANNAH
(moving in)
All right, enough of this girly silliness. What kind of mischief are we up to today, Brom?
JEB
Yes! We haven’t done a good prank in almost a week!
BROM
Has it been that long?
WEED
Eight days!
JEB
That’s almost a week...
BROM
Well, then, we must come up with something really, really devilish...
The Girls swoon again. Ezekiel tries to corral them.
EZEKIEL
All right! All right! Give the man room! Brom needs room to think.
As this happens, ICHABOD CRANE appears, satchel in hand. He is an awkward looking fellow, with a bookish air about him. He takes off his cap and greets the folks.
ICHABOD
Excuse me?
BROM
Why? What did you do?
Brom waits. Nobody laughs. He looks to Ezekiel, who prompts everybody to laugh. 
ICHABOD
Ah! Yes! Humor! The lifesblood of existence!
BROM
(approaches Ichabod)
Where are you heading, friend?
ICHABOD
I believe I’m heading here. Is this the village of Sleepy Hollow?
BROM
It’s the village of Tarrytown. This little nook in the village is called Sleepy Hollow. And who might you be?
ICHABOD
I might be...the new schoolmaster!
All start to laugh. Ezekiel cuts them off.
ICHABOD (cont’d)
(catches himself)
Oh! I made my own joke!
(looks, see a pail)
Oh, is that water! I wonder if I might...
BROM
Of course! Drink up, friend!
Ichabod moves to the pail to get a drink. Weed steps to Brom.
WEED
Henry said to let him know when the schoolmaster arrived. I’ll go in and tell him...
BROM
(stopping Weed)
Not...so fast, little Weed...
WEED
But...
BROM
Not so fast...let’s see where this...encounter brings us first, shall we?
JEB
Yes! Let’s see!
Ichabod has finished. Steps back to the group. He removes a slip of paper from his pocket.
ICHABOD
If you would kindly direct me to the Van Fenster Farm...that is where I am to lodge for the week.
BROM
The Van Fenster Farm, you say?
ICHABOD
Yes. I stay there the first week, and then, in subsequent weeks, I will lodge with the various families of my various students. It is part of my agreement with Miss Van Derp. 
BROM
Well, I’d be happy to direct you to the Van Fenster Farm. Here’s what you do...
As he dispenses these directions, the folks listening in have to stifle back giggles, because they know Brom is sending Ichabod on a wild goose chase.
BROM (cont’d)
(points as he directs)
Now...you see that road right there?
ICHABOD
I do!
BROM
That long, winding road that turns at the big pine tree and leads to that old red barn in the distance there?
ICHABOD
Yes.
BROM
You see that road?
ICHABOD
Yes!
BROM
Don’t take that road!
ICHABOD
No?
BROM
No.
ICHABOD
But it looks like the...only road to take.
BROM
You’d think so. But we know better. Don’t we friends?
Everybody agrees vocally.
BROM (cont’d)
No, what you want to do is go through that cornfield there, you see? And when you get to the other side of the cornfield--it will take you some time, but don’t give up, keep on plowing through the cornfield--when you get to the other side, you’ll come upon a steep, steep hill.
ICHABOD
I will?
BROM
You will. And what you do when you get to that steep, steep hill, is, you climb it.
ICHABOD
I do.
BROM
All the way to the top.
ICHABOD
All the way.
BROM
All the way! And when you get to the top...
ICHABOD
The top.
BROM
The tippity top...you go down the hill.
ICHABOD
Down.
BROM
All the way down. To the bottom. And when you get to the bottom...you’ll come upon a stream.
ICHABOD
Oh, dear...
BROM
And a rowboat.
ICHABOD
Oh, dear.
BROM
Get in the rowboat.
ICHABOD
Oh, dear.
BROM
And row to the other side of the stream.
ICHABOD
Row.
BROM
Row. 
EZEKIEL
Row.
BROM
Your boat.
(beat)
Gently down the stream. And on the other side of that stream, you will find the Van Fenster Farm.
By this time, the folks listening are about to bust a gut.
ICHABOD
It seems like a...labyrinthine journey.
SALLY
Hey! He knows big words too!
BROM
Not at all! Shouldn’t take you more than a few hours.
ICHABOD
Oh, dear...
BROM
But you’d better get on your way! Sun’ll be down soon!
ICHABOD
Then I must hurry! Thank you for your assistance...Mr...?

BROM
Van Brunt! Abraham Van Brunt. But all my friends call me Brom. Brom Bones! Isn’t that right, friends!
They all shout “Brom!”
ICHABOD
Well, then, far be it from me to eschew your friendship!
WEED
Eschew?
JEB
Bless you.
ICHABOD
Thank you...Brom! Thank you all!
Ichabod picks up his satchel and heads off. As he does the throng offers various calls of “Goodbye” “Good luck...” etc...
And when they are sure he’s out of earshot, bhey burst into almost violent gales of laughter.
JEB
Oh, Brom, that’s one of your best ever!
WEED
Through the cornfield...
SUSANNAH
All the way up the hill...all the way down the hill...
JEB
And then he gets into the rowboat...
SUSANNAH
With the hole in it!
WEED
He’ll never make it to the other side!
Everybody is still laughing.
BROM
But if he does...if he does...where will he be?
SALLY
The Van Fenster farm!
BROM
So I wasn’t lyin’!
Another mammoth roar of laughter as Henry comes back out. 
HENRY
Will you all please control yourselves!
(they calm down a bit)
What is going on here?
BENJAMIN
(one of the school children)
Brom just sent the schoolmaster to the Van Fenster farm!
HENRY
What!
MADDIE
Through the cornfield!
HENRY
The cornfield!
JESSIE
In the rowboat!
HENRY
The rowboat!
(to Jeb)
I told you to send him in to me!
JEB
Oops.
HENRY
Oops! Is that all you can say? Oops! 
(to Weed)
What about you?
WEED
(nudged on by Jeb)
Oops.
Big laugh from everybody.
BENJAMIN
We have to help him!
HENRY
(flustered)
Yes, we do, Benjamin...take the road and run over to the Van Fenster farm, and meet him there. Then bring him back here.
BENJAMIN
Yes, sir!
(she starts to run off)
HENRY
Wait!
(he grabs a towel off the table)
Better take this.
BENJAMIN
(grabs towel)
Yes, sir!
Benjamin starts off again, but stops and stand directly in front of Brom.
BENJAMIN (cont’d)
(to Brom)
Why don’t you pick on somebody your own size!
BROM
Like who?
BENJAMIN
Like me!
She raises her fist to him, but Henry stops her!
HENRY
Benjamin! Go!
BENJAMIN
(disgusted)
Ah...
(he runs off)
BESSIE
(off)
HENRY!!!!!
HENRY
Oh, dear Lord...
BESSIE
(appears)
Guess what, Henry?
HENRY
What, dear?
BESSIE
I just had another talk with them dirty glasses.
HENRY
I’ll be right in, I...
BESSIE
Know what they said, Henry?
HENRY
Bessie...
BESSIE
Still nothin’. Know why?
HENRY
I...
BESSIE
Because they’re STILL GLASSES. And they’re STILL DIRTY!
HENRY
I’m sorry, I...
BESSIE
Henry?
HENRY
Yes?
BESSIE
GET TO WORK!
She goes inside. Henry heads for the Tavern door, and looks back to Brom.
HENRY
Brom Bones...one of these days your pranks are going to get you in deep, deep trouble.
Brom rises, and looking very sincere and penitent, walks over to Henry, and puts his arm on his shoulder.
BROM
Henry...from the bottom of my heart, all I can say is...I’m sorry.
HENRY
(taken aback)
Well...that’s a start, I guess.
BROM
I’m sorry...I wasn’t over there to see him sink in that boat!
Another mammoth laugh from everybody.