In the years that passed, Baltus Van Tassel was oft accused of cloaking the truth of the whereabouts of the schoolmaster. The supernatural means by which he was spirited away became favorite lore round the winter evening fire, and the Van Tassels refuted the tales and legends, frequently citing the words of an old farmer who claimed to have once seen Mister Ichabod Crane many years prior. He now resided in a distant part of the country, he claimed, tending to a good life, and even sitting as a justice of the Ten Pound Court.
But Brom Van Brunt, round those same evening fires and in the absence of the family Van Tassel, would tell a contrasting tale. His marriage to Katrina made him privy to more than just the wealth and acreage of her family. With many years, and pints, behind him, the broad-shouldered hero of the country round, confessed dark lore of foul deceptions by the Van Tassels. To protect both the tranquil solitudes of the Hollow and their hearty abundance of farmland wealth, the headless body of the schoolmaster, and the shattered pumpkin found aside his tattered remains, were gathered, coffined, and hidden.
With each telling of the tale, the old country wives maintain that Brom Van Brunt’s Herculean frame melted away in the fearful shadows of the crackling wood fire. It was then, they said, that he best resembled the very object of his legend, the lank and languid Ichabod Crane.