Rip Van Winkle – Summary

The story of Rip Van Winkle is set during the American Revolutionary War. In a pleasant village near New York’s Katskill mountains lived a colonial Anglo American villager of Dutch descent by the name Rip Van Winkle. He was kindly amiable though somewhat a recluse. He loved the wilderness around him but was also loved by the towns folk especially the children whom he pampered with his toys and tells stories. Rip Van Winkle avoided all gainful employment due to which his wife Dame Van Winkle used to chastise him and allowed his farm and home fall into disarray.

One autumn, Rip wandered up the mountains with his dog, wolf. He heard his name being shouted. Rip discovered that the speaker is a antiquated Dutch man carrying a keg up the mountain and requires his help. They did not talk but both hiked up to a hollow where there was a group of other ornately dressed silent bearded men who are playing nine pins. Without any conversation, Rip began to drink some of their liquor and soon fell asleep.

When he woke up. he found himself in unusual circumstances. His gun was rotted and rusty. His beard had grown a foot long and wolf was nowhere to be found. Rip returned to his village but he could not recognize anyone. On inquiry he discovered that his wife and friends had died. He lands into trouble on declaring that he is a loyal subject of King George III, little aware that the American Revolution had taken place and the town’s inn portrait had been replaced with George Washington. His name had been taken by another (his own son)

Rip learned that he had been away for twenty years and the men he met in the mountains are rumored to be the ghosts of Hendrik Hudson’s crew. An old local luckily recognized Rip and his now adult daughter took him in his care. Rip resumed his old lifestyle and his tale proves an ideal for other henpecked husbands. They all wished they cold share Rip’s luck and have the luxury of sleeping through the hardships of war.

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