storie americane di frontiera – Rip Van Winkle

Another story of settlers was told by the American author Washington Irving (1783 – 1859) . it is the tale of Rip Van Winkle which appeared in the short story collection The Sketch Book (1819). Ripa Van Winkle  is a colonial British-American villager of Dutch descent (= discendenza). He lives in  a pleasant village, at the foot (= ai piedi) of New York‘s “Kaatskill” Mountains. Everybody loves Rip even if he prefers spending his time doing solitary activities in the wilderness (= località selvage). His irritating wife, on the contrary, Dame Van Winkle, is always reproaching (= lo sgrida sempre) him because he does not do his duty (= dovere) at the farm (= fattoria).  
One autumn day, Rip is wandering through ( = vagabondando) the wood with his dog Wolf, when he hears a voice calling his name. It is a  man dressed in  old Dutch clothing, (= vestiti),  who needs his help because he is carrying a barrel (= barile) up the mountain. The strange man leads Rip to a large cave (= caverna) where other men like are playing and drinking . Rip joins them, plays and drinks with them without speaking. Then he falls asleep (= si addormenta).
When he awakes (= si sveglia) Rip finds himself in a strange situation: it is morning, his gun is very old and rusty (= arruginito), he is wearing a long beard (= barba) and his dog Wolf has disappeared. Rip returns to his village, but he does not  recognize anyone. He starts asking questions: his wife, his friends, all of them died. A war has taken place, the American Revolution and the English King George III’s portrait on the town inn (= locanda) has been replaced (= rimpiazzato) by that of George Washington. And another man is called Rip Van Winkle: it is his son now grown up (= cresciuto) . Eventually (= alla fine) Rip learns the truth: the men he met were the ghosts of Hendrick (Henry) Hudson‘s crew and he was away for about twenty years. Soon he is recognized and his adult daughter takes him home. Rip resumes (= riprende) his habitual laziness (= abituale pigrizia) while the other villagers  hope to be as lucky as Rip was and have the chance (= opportunità) to sleep  through the sufferings of war.