|Dark and frightening horseman ... artist unknown|
I always thought that the story of the Headless Horseman from Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and was a uniquely American story. Not so, it seems, for the legend, with some variations, exists in Ireland, Scotland, Germany and likely other countries as well. Each paragraph of my article is illustrated with some really beautiful works of art depicting the Horseman.
|Wild chase through the woods ... artist unknown|
|From the British Museum, equestrian|
painting of a headless horseman
|A classic film-lover's horseman ... stark black and white|
Scotsman Robert Burns wrote Tam O'Shanter in 1790, a narrative poem about a poor man riding at night, chased by really disgusting demons of all kinds who cannot cross running water or bridges.
|Striking illustration by Kanaru92|
(As told by Irishman Charley Culnan on his way home from the pub one dark night) -- "His vision failed in carrying him further than the top of the collar of the figure's coat, which was a scarlet single-breasted hunting frock, having a waist of a very old-fashioned cut reaching to the saddle, with two huge shining buttons at about a yard's distance behind ... see further he could not, and after straining his eyes for a considerable time to no purpose, he exclaimed, with pure vexation, "By the big bridge of Mallow, it is no head at all he has!" "Look again, Charley Culnane," said a hoarse voice, that seemed to proceed from under the right arm of the figure. Charley did look again, and now in the proper place, for he clearly saw, under the aforesaid right arm, that head from which the voice had proceeded, and such a head no mortal ever saw before. It looked like a large cream cheese hung round with black puddings: no speck of colour enlivened the ashy paleness of the depressed features; the skin lay stretched over the unearthly surface, almost like the parchment head of a drum. Two fiery eyes of prodigious circumference, with a strange and irregular motion flashed like meteors ..., and a huge mouth reached from either extremity of two ears, which peeped forth from under a profusion of matted locks of lustreless blackness. This head, which the figure had evidently hitherto concealed from Charley's eyes, now burst upon his view in all its hideousness."
Unique art works of the Horseman, with a Disney finale:
|I love this impressionistic sketch by Maquinafantasma|
|Black and brooding, with the demon|
horse, by Jurei-Chan
|Pumpkin carving, artist unknown|
A YEARLY HALLOWEEN TRADITION -- DISNEY!
By the time the legend of the Headless Horseman got to Disney, the terrifying demonic creature was still scary, but mainly to children, and the dark nature of the stories, especially the Irish Dullahan, had changed the head to a glowing pumpkin. However, I will always have a special place in my heart for Disney's bumbling Ichabod Crane, and will remember that I was just as scared as poor Ichabod when the horseman gave chase through the wind-swept autumn woods!
|Who could ever forget Disney's Legend of Sleepy Hollow from 1949?|
|Seeing THIS coming at your would scare anyone of ANY age|