We left our hero asleep in the mountains, after imbibing a mysterious brew, while watching a group of odd old men playing nine-pins.
Upon waking Rip Van Winkle found himself in the place where he'd first seen the old man of the glen. It was a bright sunny morning, birds filled the air with their song, and an eagle wheeled gracefully overhead.
"Surely," thought Rip, "I have not slept here all night." Then he remembered the strange little man with the keg of liquor and the woebegone group playing at nine-pins. "Oh, that flagon! That wicked flagon!" thought Rip.
Remembering Dame Van Winkle's blistering tongue, he cringed at the thought of going home. With a sigh and a creak he arose, feeling around for his gun. But instead of the clean well-oiled fowling-piece, he found an old firelock lying next to him. Its barrel was encrusted with rust, the lock falling off and the stock worm-eaten. His faithful dog Wolf had also disappeared. He whistled and shouted his name, but the dog did not return.
He thought he'd go back to the place where the old men played nine-pins, but found his joints were stiff, and he discovered that walking up the stream bed wearied him as never before. And nothing looked the same.
By that time Rip Van Winkle was feeling famished. He grieved to give up his dog and gun; he dreaded to meet his wife; but it would not do to starve among the mountains. He shook his head, shouldered the rusty firelock, and with a heart full of trouble and anxiety turned his steps homeward.
As he drew closer to the Village, he met a number of people he did not know. Which was surprising because he was well acquainted with everyone in the countryside. He noticed they were all dressed differently. And as he walked along, they would stop to stare, the men thoughtfully stroking their chin hairs. Rip put his hand to his own chin, and behold! His beard had grown a foot long!
Rip Van Winkle had now entered the outskirts of the village, trailed by a group of unfamiliar children hooting and pointing to his long Grey beard. This bothered him for a time, until he realized every building he passed had been altered.
He looked beyond the village--there stood the mountains, every hill and dale exactly as it had been. But here in the village everything was strangely different. Rip was sorely perplexed. "That flagon last night," thought he, "has addled my poor head sadly."
With difficulty he found his way to his own house, expecting any moment to hear the shrill voice of Dame Van Winkle. But instead he found. . .
And there I leave you, dear Readers, until the next installment!!! I wonder what he found?