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Reading skills - THE HORSEMAN'S JOKE


Klausimas #1


 THE HORSEMAN'S JOKE

     On the bank of the Hudson River there was a little quiet village where people told many stories about ghosts. The most terrible story was about a horseman who had no head.
     Many years ago a school-teacher, Crane by name, lived in that village. He was a very tall man with a clever face. In the same village lived Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of a rich farmer who had no other children. She was beautiful and many young men wanted to marry her. Crane, too, loved the young girl. So all the other young men were Crane's enemies. The most dangerous among them was a young man, Brunt by name. He was a strong man who was popular with the village people.
     One afternoon, when Crane was in his school, a servant came from Katrina and brought him a letter which invited him to a party at Van Tassel's house. The pupils went home before the usual time and Crane began to dress for the party. He wanted to look well that night. Besides, he asked the farmer in whose house he lived then to give him a horse to ride to Katrina's house. In the evening Crane came to the party where he saw many other guests. There were many good things to eat and much dance. Everybody had a very good time that night.
     When the party almost came to an end Crane suddenly left the room where the dances continued. He went to Katrina's room and stayed there for a short time. Nobody knows what the young people talked about. But the conversation was not pleasant because the school-teacher looked upset when he came back. It was late at night when Crane started back home. He rode through the forest as the night grew darker and darker. He came to a place where the road went over a small bridge across the river. When Crane came up to it his heart began to beat fast. He suddenly remembered all the stories about the ghosts. He was so frightened that he pushed his horse forward but the animal suddenly stopped. On the bank of the river stood a horseman on a black horse. Crane pushed his horse again and rode as fast as he could. The horseman followed. Crane looked behind and could not believe his eyes: the horseman had no head. Crane was still more frightened when he saw that the horseman held his head in his hands. Crane tried hard to get away from the man. He rode faster and faster but the horseman came after him. Soon the school-teacher saw a bridge behind the trees.
     "If I get to that bridge everything will be all right", he thought. Again he looked behind. He saw how the ghost raised his head and threw it at him. It struck Crane on the head and threw him off his horse. The ghost horseman and his black horse quickly passed by.
     The next morning people found Crane's horse near his master's house. But nobody saw the school-teacher himself.
(After W. Irwing)

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