In 2017, Margarett won the Alan Lodge Young Drinks Writer of the Year award. By the end of Irving's work, Rip is back in his home town; he finds out that the town believes he has died. Knickerbocker closes the story with an impassioned declaration of its veracity on personal examination. The landlord of the inn is an old patriarch named Nicholas Vedder, who spends every day pursuing the shade of a large tree outside the inn: when the sun moves enough that the shady spot changes, Vedder moves with it. His children, too, were as ragged and wild as if they belonged to nobody. The gun by his side is an old and rusty one, and his beard is now a foot long. As to Rips son and heir, who was the ditto of himself, seen leaning against the tree, he was employed to work on the farm; but evinced an hereditary disposition to attend to anything else but his business.
Only now, Rip Van Winkle realized the terrible mistake he made. It is true, he was rarely heard to speak, but smoked his pipe incessantly. Though rather shy and distrustful of this new acquaintance, Rip complied with his usual alacrity, and mutually relieving one another, they clambered up a narrow gully, apparently the dry bed of a mountain torrent. It could not be from the want of assiduity or perseverance; for he would sit on a wet rock, with a rod as long and heavy as a Tartars lance, and fish all day without a murmur, even though he should not be encouraged by a single nibble. The man is dressed in Dutch clothing; and he asks Rip to help him carry his burden, or bags. Once he is freed of his duties to his family, he becomes the town storyteller, and it is this story which has freed him from his domestic duties—he literally and figuratively dreamed them away.
We add just a splash of our Kentucky limestone well-water when we empty the barrels for bottling. There were rows of houses which he had never seen before, and those which had been his familiar haunts had disappeared. During the whole time, Rip and his companion had labored on in silence; for though the former marveled greatly what could be the object of carrying a keg of liquor up this wild mountain, yet there was something strange and incomprehensible about the unknown that inspired awe and checked familiarity. When I saw Rip Van Winkle among the must-reads, the name felt very familiar to me, but after I read the story, I have no recollection of having read it before. He bore on his shoulders a stout keg, that seemed full of liquor, and made signs for Rip to approach and assist him with the load. Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself, as he went up the mountain: apparently as lazy, and certainly as ragged. Increasingly unsettled, Rip hurries to the old inn, but finds in its place an establishment called The Union Hotel.
It was with some difficulty he found the way to his own house, which he approached with silent awe, expecting every moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Winkle. Nothing interrupted the stillness of the scene but the noise of the balls, which, whenever they were rolled, echoed along the mountains like rumbling peals of thunder. He learns from old Peter Vanderdonk, the village historian that the Catskills Mountains has always been haunted by strange beings, and every 20 years, Hendrick Hudson and his crew hold a vigil and are at their game of ninepins. They all had beards, of various shapes and colors. Also, he is now old enough for his idleness to be socially acceptable, and he returns to the hotel and is again well-loved in the village. He caught his daughter and her child in his arms.
The women of the village, too, used to employ him to run their errands, and to do such little odd jobs as their less obliging husbands would not do for them; in a word, Rip was ready to attend to anybodys business but his own; but as to doing family duty, and keeping his farm in order, it was impossible. This very rare, limited edition bourbon takes generations of distilling know-how to produce. An old, emaciated dog resembling Wolf lurks around the yard, but does not recognize Rip and growls at him. Wheres Van Bummel, the schoolmaster? A group of children, none of whom are familiar to him, begin following him and pointing at his beard. Rips sole domestic adherent was his dog Wolf, who was as much henpecked as his master; for Dame Van Winkle regarded them as companions in idleness, and even looked upon Wolf with an evil eye, as the cause of his masters so often going astray.
There was a whisper, also, about securing the gun, and keeping the old fellow from doing mischief; at the very suggestion of which, the self-important man in the cocked hat retired with some precipitation. His friends and neighbors Nicholas Vedder and Brom Ducher are dead, and Derrick Van Bummel is working in the newly established American Congress. The birds were hopping and twittering among the bushes, and the eagle was wheeling aloft and breasting the pure mountain breeze. Instead of facing the consequences of his idleness and facing his wife, who certainly makes the problem worse instead of better, he sleeps for twenty years. She is a completely flat character—we only ever see her worst side, except for the one comment made after she has died that she always kept the house in good order. Knickerbocker: The Kaatsberg, or Catskill Mountains, have always been a region full of fable. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing.
He was a short, square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled beard. Passing through the ravine, they came to a hollow, like a small amphitheater, surrounded by perpendicular precipices, over the brinks of which impending trees shot their branches, so that you only caught glimpses of the azure sky and the bright evening cloud. Later, he was mutinied by his crew and set adrift along with those loyal to him and never seen again. The transformation of the inn is even more significant: it has changed from a place of idle unproductivity where lazy men talk over long-past news to a bustling political hub contemplating a coming election. There was silence for a little while, when an old man replied in a thin, piping voice, Nicholas Vedder? Here our narrator is no longer Crayon but Diedrich Knickerbocker, who is quite adamant in vouching for the authenticity of the tale, which serves not to satisfy the reader but instead to make the reliability of the tale and its narrator even more ambiguous. The roof was caving in, the windows were all falling apart and the door too was falling off its hinges.
A troop of strange children ran at his heels, hooting after him, and pointing at his gray beard. With water, aromas of white grape, Riesling, and Swedish fish gummy candies surface, and the palate leans woodier. They look surprised to see him, too, and he realizes that his beard has grown a foot longer. What was to be done? Times grew worse and worse with Rip Van Winkle as years of matrimony rolled on; a tart temper never mellows with age, and a sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener by constant use. He now hurried forth, and hastened to his old resort, the little village innbut it too was gone.
Rips story was soon told, for the whole twenty years had been to him but as one night. In fact, he declared it was of no use to work on his farm; it was the most pestilent little piece of ground in the whole country; everything about it went wrong, and would go wrong, in spite of him. She is constantly berating Rip Van Winkle, whom everyone else in the neighborhood adores. His fences were continually falling to pieces; his cow would either go astray or get among the cabbages; weeds were sure to grow quicker in his fields than anywhere else; the rain always made a point of setting in just as he had some outdoor work to do; so that though his patrimonial estate had dwindled away under his management, acre by acre, until there was little more left than a mere patch of Indian corn and potatoes, yet it was the worst-conditioned farm in the neighborhood. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a troop of them, hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighborhood.