Rip Van Winkle

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The story of Rip van Winkle is an old New York tale, set just before the American War of Independence. He was a farmer, but was too lazy to tend his farm properly, despite the constant nagging of his wife and the poverty of his children. He would go to the pub, The King George III, or up into the nearby Kaatskill mountains to get away from her, and to shoot squirrels with his dog, Wolf. On one occasion he had wandered further than usual and had come across a strange man trying to carry a keg. Rip van Winkle responded to his calls for help and they carried the keg to a clearing on the mountain where there was a strange company. They all started drinking and Rip passed out. In the morning he awoke on the mountain, feeling fresh and alive and returned home, only to find it was twenty years later. His daughter, now married with a child, took him in and he spent his days happily at the pub, now called The George Washington.

The story told by Mrs. Rip Van Winkle imagines her husband having sunk into his apparently endless sleep at home and the first stanza is a simile that shows her attitude to the change in her life, "I sank like a

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