The story of Rip Van Winkle takes place around the time of the Revolutionary War. The location is the Catskill Mountains in New York. The story was originally written by Washington Irving. It became very popular and was told over and over.
This shortened version of the tale is appropriate for Bear Cub Scouts working on Bear Achievement 4 – Tall Tales.
The Legend of Rip Van Winkle
Rip Van Winkle loved to go out in the wilderness and be by himself. This didn’t please his wife too much. She wanted him to stay and work on their farm. She nagged him about it constantly.
One day, Rip and his dog Wolf went into the mountains, mostly to get away from his wife’s constant complaining about everything that needed to be done at home. Rip heard his name being called and saw a man in old fashioned clothes carrying a keg up the mountain. Rip gave him a hand.
When they got to their destination, Rip saw more men, also strangely dressed. They were playing nine pins, which is similar to bowling. Rip drank some liquor from the keg and fell asleep.
When Rip woke up, his beard was almost a foot long and he couldn’t find his dog. He made his way back home. When he got back to town, he didn’t recognize anyone. After asking some questions, he learns that his wife and most of his friends are dead. George Washington (not King George) is now the leader of the country. And someone else in town is going by the name of Rip Van Winkle. What is going on?
Well, it turns out that Rip hasn’t been gone for one night. He was gone for twenty years! His wife died while he was gone and many of his friends died in the Revolutionary War. The other man called Rip Van Winkle is really his son. And those strange men he met in the mountains? Well legend has it that they were ghosts!