This is a story that everybody knows. A legend that isan unseparable part of American culture. Who is the main hero of the story? It is an eponymous charcter called Rip Van Winkle. Hei is an ordinary, lazy fellow who does nothing and most of his day he spends sitting unproductivelyin front of the inn. At home he is no better. He quarrels with his wife - Dame Van Winkle - a very despotic woman.. Very often he escapes from her taking with him a dog. One day during such escapade as he wandered to the mountains, he falls asleep there. In his sleep he dreamt of having a drink with some strangers, who are some figures from the past dressed in old Dutch manner. They are companions of a great Dutch explorer - Henry Hudson. Rip Van Winkle hears also some thunder which is the noise made by marbles those dutch fellows play. When Rip Van Winkle wakes up , he is shocked because he sees that he has a long beard and his clothes are almost fallen to pieces. The gun was rusted and dog disappeared. Rip comes back home but there he is shocked even more. He hardly recognizes this place.
Everything changed and people were behaving strangely, talking about politics. He also sees a picture of George Washington but when he says he is a royalist peaople start to consider him a spy. He also finds his home in a miserable condition and no trace of his wife. Only his daughter finally recognizes him .
The whole story refrs to the event of American Revolution. But it is a romantic story - so it means that there is no clear distinction between reality and dream.
One more thing that is needed to be moentioned here is that the dream of Rip Van Winkle lasted 20 years and this is the first story refering to American problems and events. According to a legend every 20 years those companions of Hudson come back there to play marbles and drink wine. The legend originally comes from Netherlands but the author americanized it by giving there truly American characteristics.