As a kid, I had seen movies and cartoons of Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, but only recently read the story.   The dictionary and Internet helped me to understand some of the words and references.   The story is almost 200 years old.

Poor Ol’ Rip, he had a nagging wife.  Washington Irving referred to her as a termagant. (That’s one of the words I had to look up.)  Her constant nagging is what caused Rip to go to the mountains to get away from her.  When he returned, after twenty years, he was sad to learn about some of the changes and that his friends had died.  He was not sad when he learned that his wife was dead.  (She died after she burst a blood vessel while yelling at a peddler.)

Washington Irving ends the story with  “. . . and it is a common wish of all henpecked husbands in the neighborhood, when life hangs heavy on their hands, that they might have a quieting draft out of Rip Van Winkle’s flagon.”   In other words, drink the same drink that Rip drank that put him to sleep for 20 years causing him to escape from his nagging wife.

Did Washington Irving have children in mind when he wrote this story?


About Gary Johnston

I am an imaginary number -- a symbol used to count and measure. As Senior Imaginary Number at Einstein Equations Incorporated, I facilitate the calculation of the impossible.

Posted on August 20, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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