A tall tale told by Washington Irving which I chose to read to complete a tall-tale challenge.

Rip Van Winkle, a resident of a Dutch-American community in the New York area of Colonial America, enjoys his life if not for his termagant of a wife. Maybe she justifiably complains at him as he prefers to go about fishing and hunting and helping his neighbours and local children than tending their farm, or maybe he doesn't tend the farm to get out from under this petticoat government. Either way, he takes up his gun and heads for the Catskill mountains as he has done many times before. On this fateful day, he meets with a strange man carrying a keg of liquor, and is lead to witness an equally strange group of men playing nine pins in a glade in the mountain. He partakes of the liquor freely offered to him and thus falls into sleep. When he wakes the next day he is concerned that his wife will be unhappy with his sleeping out all night. Imagine his surprise to find out that it is not the next day but 20 years later, and the Stars and Stripes now fly over his local tavern, now called the General Washington instead of the King George.

I think this is a sort of wish fulfillment tale for all men who would rather be away with the fairies than dealing with a shrewish wife. Or maybe it's a true tale of magic in the Catskills as implied by its recorder 'the late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers.' There are many tales in several cultures of men meeting magical beings and sleeping under some enchanted spell to wake in better or more needful times. Fact is often stranger than fiction ;)

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