Many years ago at the foothills of the Kaatskill mountains, was a little village, In the village lived asimple good natured fellow named Rip Van Winkle. He was a kind neighbour, ready to help anyone.
Everyone in the village liked him. The children of the village shouted with joy whenever they saw hm because he played with them, he taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories.
The only problem with Rip was that he was lazy.
He did no work on his own farm and just idled away his time. His fences were falling to pieces. His cow was going astray. Weeds grew on his farm. Rip's constant companion was his dog, named wolf. To avoid work, he would walk into the forest with his dog.
One day Rip just walked on and on and reached the highest part f the mountains. It was late in the afternoon when he reached there. tired after his long climp, he lay down and began daydreaming, i was soon evening and he realised it would be night by the time he reached his village.
Suddenly he heard a voice calling out. "Rip van winkle, Rip van winkle. He looked around and saw a short old man with thick hair and a grizzled beard walking towards him with a barrel. He made signs to help him carry the barrel. Rip hurried to help the strange who caught his hand tightly. Together they reached a place where there were some more odd looking men, playing ninepins. They were all dressed the same way and all of them had beards of various shapes and colours. Even though they were playing a game. their faces were serious and there was silence! The only sound was the noise of the balls, which echoes in the mountains like thuder.
As Rip and his companion reached them, they stopped playing and stared at Rip with a fixed gaze. Rip was really frightened. His companion emptied the contents of the barrel into glasses and made Rip drink it. Rip obeyed as he was trembling with fear. Since he was thirsty he drank a few more glasses and slowly fell into a deep sleep.
On waking up, he found that he was at the place where he had first met the old man.
Rip rubbed his eyes.. It was a bright sunny morning. Surely I have not slept here all night. thought Rip.
He looked around for wolf But he was nowhere. Rip whistled for him. "Wolf! wolf! he then shouted. No dog was to be seen. "Where has this dog gone? He muttered to himself. He began to descent the mountain to go back to his village.
As he neared the village. He met a number of people but he didn't know any of them.
The villagers also started at hims eqully surprised. " whi is this man?" .. said one. I have never seen him before. said another.
Look at his long white beard and his wrinkled face". On hearing this, Rip stroked his chin and to his astonishment, he found his beard had grown a foot long, and it was all white!.
An old woman walked up to him and looked at his face for a moment. Then she exclaimed -- it is Rip Van Wnkle! welcome home again, old neighbour! where have you been these twenty long years?
.. Adapted from the legend of Rip Van winkle
by Washington Irving