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"Rip Van Winkle"
written by Washington Irving
rewritten by Don Kisner

A reading (with sound effects) by Tara Sitser

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Synopsis of the Recorded Radio Drama

Shortly before the Revolutionary War in a small village at the foot of the Kaatskill Mountains, there lived a simple good natured fellow by the name of Rip Van Winkle. He lived with his wife and children on a rundown farm on the outskirts of the village. Rip spent as much time as possible in front of the Village Inn, passing the time with other men who seemed to have nothing more important to do than sit in the shade and trade stories.

Rip was much appreciated by the village wives, because he was always ready to lend a hand whenever asked and would do many of the chores the village husbands thought beneath them. Rip was also a great favorite with the children of the village because he was always there when they needed help with their games. He would sit for hours telling the village children stories of ghosts, witches and Indians.

To escape from the verbal abuse of his wife, Rip had the habit of taking his rifle and his dog, Wolf, on long walks through the forests of the Kaatskill Mountains. In a long walk of this kind one fine autumn day, Rip climbed to one of the highest parts of the Kaatskill Mountains. Late in the day, Rip and his dog, rested under a giant tree on a grassy knoll overlooking the wooded countryside and the Hudson River far below.

Just as Rip was about to turn his tracks toward home, he heard a voice calling his name. At first he thought it was his imagination, but when his name was called again, he saw a stranger with bushy hair and a grizzled beard attempting to carry a keg of liquor up a rocky ravine. Rip hurried to the strangerís aid. While helping the stranger carry the keg up the narrow ravine, Rip heard a rumbling sound like distant thunder. This puzzled him, because there were no clouds in the sky.

As Rip and the stranger passed through an opening and into an amphitheater like hollow between the two cliffs, he saw a company of men playing a game of nine-pins. All the men were dressed in the ancient Dutch fashion of the stranger he was helping. Rip served the liquor to the company of men, and found time to drink some himself. One drink led to another until finally his head dropped and he slept.

When he awoke, Rip found himself on the green knoll from where he had first seen the old man of the glen. Wolf could not be found. He noticed that his joints were very stiff, and he assumed that was because he had been sleeping on the hard ground.. Upon his return to the village, he discovered that everything had changed. He discovered that his beard had grown a foot long. His house was deserted and hadnít been lived in for years. He saw no one he knew, and even his old hangout, the Village Inn, was gone.

After a great deal of confusion, Rip finally discovered that he had slept not just a few hours, but twenty years. Most of his old friends had moved or had passed away. His wife had died and his children were adults. He went to live with his daughter. For the rest of his life, Rip Van Winkle was respected as one of the patriarchs of the village, and from his place on the bench at the Inn door, he enjoyed telling his story to any village visitor who would listen.

 

 
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Last modified: June 04, 2015