Archive for category Seasonal Stories

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, audio version

I imagine most of us know the Disney cartoon based on this famous story by Washington Irving, but have you ever read or listened to the original version?

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a short story that was published in 1820. The setting is Tarrytown, New York, which is near the Hudson River. I worked in that town once, and I can tell you it is beautiful in the fall. There is an old Dutch graveyard there, and it is reputedly where the infamous bridge of the story was located. I visited there once in October and enjoyed a quiet, autumn afternoon there; the foliage was stunning. Now, Sleepy Hollow has a Halloween festival and I imagine it is more crowded and less tranquil!

I bought this beautiful version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Barnes and Noble. I enjoyed reading it, although it took me a little time to get accustomed to the elaborate, though often amusing, prose. But I was glad to read it in it’s entirety. Also, isn’t the binding gorgeous?

Here are two audio versions I found on YouTube to share. The first is a simplified and abridged version that is read at a slower pace. It is intended for early English learners, but I think children would also enjoy this version. I like it, as well. It is produced by Voice of America. Take a listen…

The second version is a Librivox reading of the original, unabridged story. Since this is in the public domain, you can download the file from the website (link in the description) for free, if you like. This version is nearly an hour and a half long, If you are pressed for time, maybe you could listen to the story in the car while commuting or traveling, or while making jewelry, knitting or doing some routine task.

Let me know what you think of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

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Fall Finds at Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrell Autumn wreath

Biscuits would be enough.

Biscuits would be enough to make me want to visit Cracker Barrel.

But the old-country-store-style chain, with 645 stores in 44 states, also has a gift area, with a variety of fun, seasonal gifts and treats. And fall is no exception! I visited Saturday and took some pictures of items I thought you would enjoy.




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Feathertop – the classic story of a pumpkin-headed scarecrow

I am delighted to share this story with you that I have just discovered myself. Perhaps you know it!

Feathertop is a short story by the American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of Rip Van Winkle and The Scarlet Letter. It was published in 1846. It features a cunning New England witch, a pumpkin-headed scarecrow that is enchanted to walk and talk, and a love interest. There have been several movies and cartoons based in part on this story.

I found two versions of oral readings of Feathertop on YouTube, and both are excellent for different reasons.

The first version is only 13 minutes long and was published by Voice of America to help people learn English. It is an abridged version of the story with simplified prose and a slower pace of storytelling. I think this would be an good version to share in a classroom of youngsters, in an adult ELL class, or simply to listen to because it is shorter. I enjoy Shep O’Neal’s slower pace of this reading. I find it relaxing. I listened to this version first, then I went on to the more detailed version, and it increased my comprehension of the story.

The VOA also provides lesson plans for Feathertop.

The second is a dramatic reading of the original, unabridged story presented by Barrow Bookstore. The reading is just over an hour long. The prose is beautiful, elaborate and highly descriptive — but some audiences might find it a bit archaic and difficult to wade through. If you stick with it, however, I think you will enjoy it, as I did. The gifted reader presents an entertaining witch!

Which version do you prefer? What do you think of the story of Feathertop?


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