So for anyone obessed with dinosaurs, what does ALL THAT tell ya?
I am about to tell you–all the people in the world–of Rip Van Winkle, a 18th century guy who sleeps through the American Revolutionary War of 1775-1781, and it is all set amidst the magical beauty of the Catskill Mountains.
But let us zero in on a small Dutch village/province in New York State at the base of the Catskill Mountains.
Now, there once lived this good-natured guy named Rip Van Winkle whose greatest trouble is a shrewish and nagging Mrs. Dame Van Winkle, who wants to expose his biggest weakness to the Colonies: that Rip cannot find any motivation to engage on any profitable labor.
Yes, he was only too happy to help on properties other than his own, but his own property is severely run down, which is why Rip wants to avoid working in his own farm.
The van Winkle children are unruly like some young people are now these days, but his son, a junior Rip Van Winkle, is determined to grow up just like the Senior Rip Van Winkle.
Dame Van WInkle’s lecturing are always loud and incessant, but Rip’s own resigned response: shrugging his shoulders, shaking his head, and looking up at the sky, of course!
Rip Van Winkle knew that the only way he can avoid his angry monster of a wife is to escape from his own home.
Rip Van Winkle used to enjoy going to the local inn where he participates in idle talk with his neighbors. Simple town gossip forms the bulk of the conservation, but I think a school teacher named Derrick Van Bummel likes to facilitate the many meaningful discussions of current events and politics, for he’s well spoken and well educated a man who would find an new newspaper and he would proceed in earnestly debating about the events described within that paper, months after such events took place.
Now Nicholas Vedder, the inn’s landlord, is an old patriarch who spends each and every day chasing the shade of a big tree that sits just outside the inn. The sun moves enough and changes the shady spot, moving Vedder with it.
But even that pleasant environment failed to protect Rip Van Winkle for his monstrous wife eventually discovers him in the inn and hounds him at every corner!
So Rip must find a new sanctuary that would protect him from his berating monster of a wife. And so he took to roaming the forests with a gun and his dog, Wolf.
One autumn day, Rip Van Winkle absently wanders high up the Catskills while chasing squirrels, and he was fatigued from the mountain climb and sat down to rest in a scenic glen overlooking the Catskills mountain area.
He falls asleep but some strange guy calling his name so he can help him opening a stout keg which the dwarf happens to carry on the trail on his back somehow woke him up! Rip Van Winkle was compelled to follow that strange guy, but he can’t say why!
Rip Van Winkle helped the strange guy carry the stout keg to the top of a Catskill mountain peak, where a bunch of other guys are playing some ghostly game of ninepin bowling.
Rip notices that the clothing garb of these strange fellows are antiquated and traditionally dutch clothing and that they seem to enjoy this game so very much indeed.
When the ninepin-playing guys spot Rip Van Winkle, they stop playing and, very silently, direct Rip Van Winkle to pour some kind of magic drink from the keg onto flagon gauntlets to serve the guys.
But he finds it so irresistible that he drank a great quantity of that hocus pocus drink and so he falls asleep.
But alas. during his twenty year long sleep, he missed the events that are the American Revolution, where us Yanks beg to them Brits to give us the independence we deserve as a nation.
And imagine the American Revolution raging around the sleeping Rip Van Winkle in time lapse photography for 30 seconds or so to the tune of 30 seconds of the William Tell Overture, a la the time lapse orgy scene between Alex DeLarge and two girls in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971).
And when that twenty year long sleep of Rip’s is finally up, it is bright and sunny.
The strange guys on the Catskill Mountains are finally gone, and there is no sign that they had ever been there, having been wiped out by the American Revolution, I presume.
And Rip Van Winkle fears that he spends the entire night snoozing on a Catskill mountain and dreads the wild, monstrous fury of his plumb crazy wife!
When he searches for his gun, for example, he can only find a rusty old one, and he believes someone has swapped his gun for Rip’s.
Wolf the dog is nowhere to be found, either.
And strangest of all is that his beard is one foot long.
So Rip goes out searching for his lost dead dog, but the terrain is stranger to him and hunger began to drove him way down the mountain.
When Rip Van Winkle reaches his village at the mountain base, he has noticed that the village became more populous with more numerous buildings.
A group of kids were not familiar to Rip Van Winkle, but they nonetheless follow him while mocking at his beard!
So he goes to his own house, and expects the loud screeching reprimands of his wild and crazy wife, but when he arrives there, his once tidy home has fallen into utter despair, bamboozled, perhaps by raging American and/or French and/or British and/or German soldiers!
Now a dog resembling Wolf lurks around the yard, but he growls at him anyway, for he didn’t recognized Rip Van Winkle.
An increasingly unsettled Rip Van Winkle hurries to the old inn, which is now The Union Hotel, with King George III’s portrait being plastered by that of our very first American president, General George Washington.
The panicked demeanor, the unkempt face, and the ratty clothing of Rip Van Winkle drew the tavern politicians and the townspeople to their attention, and they wanted to know about his intentions and whether or not he interrupts the election of George Washington as America’s first president of the USA.
And Rip, utterly bewildered, introduces himself as a native of his village.
But when he also introduces himself as one of King George III’s loyal subjects, the response from the villagers is an an outrageous uproar; at first, anyway; the villagers and politicians thinking that Rip Van Winkle is a spy from the British Isles.
But the crowd is calmed enough at last to hear the events in Rip Van Winkle’s own words.
He offers the American people the names that Rip was searching for his neighbors.
And in so doing, Rip Van Winkle hears that:
- Nicholas Vedder was dead for 18 years now.
- Brom Dutcher has sacrificed his life during the American Revolutionary War.
- Derrick Van Bummel is now working for the US Congress (now in Washington D.C.)
- Rip Van Winkle was missing from his village for 20 years.
- Rip Van Winkle’s son has now grown and a perfect likeness of himself. And
- Rip Van WInkle’s wife died a comical death by bursting her own blood vessel while raging and roaring at a peddler of New England.
So that tells you all, people of the world, that Rip Van Winkle has missed the whole revolution, having been sleeping through it!
Well, anyway, Rip Van Winkle cries in confusion but his daughter, Judith Gardenier, now grown and having a baby named Rip Van Winkle III, comforts him.
He now accepted that he has slept for two decades through the American Revolution, so he tells his incredible story to the villagers and his remaining family.
The villagers began to wonder at his story, and unsure whether or not to believe him.
Eventually, the village’s most ancient man, Peter Vanderdonk, corroborates Rip's story.
Vanderdonk recalls Rip Van Winkle from before his 20 year disappearance and he also explained that the Catskills themselves have long been haunted by the Half Moon Crew and their captain Hendrick Hudson, who was a Dutch explorer in the early 17th century who sailed up the river in New York that now bears his name, but was later mutinied by the Half Moon crew who set him adrift along with those loyal to Hudson and was never, ever seen again.
The villagers, having been entirely convinced by the veracity of Rip’s story, turned their attention back to a more important attention: the first presidential election in the newly minted USA (short for the United States of America) of which George Washington became our first Amercian President.
Rip Van Winkle moves in with his daughter and lives out his days in leisure time, as he did before, only without his monstrous wife, this time. And due to his advanced age, nobody has any expectation of performing any duties or chores.
He will tell his story daily in front of the audience in the Union Hotel, and while he initially varies on some of the details in his story, he alter became completely consistent.
So what does all that tell you people of the world?
And also, what would the world be like if any of you oversleep too much?