The District Schools 119
A considerable proportion of the masters of the winter schools were men whose pedagogic earnings helped them to work their way through the academy and the college. Others, during the larger part of the year, were engaged in farming or labored in the village shops, and took up the task of teaching each recurring winter, reckoning on the wages as a regular part of their annual income. They bargained for a term at a time, and change of place was common, so that they were likely to teach in nearly all the towns neighboring their homes. Some of them with a more pronounced roving disposition wandered far and wide. One of these wanderers was Ichabod Crane who reigned in Sleepy Hollow a few years subsequent to the Revolution. He was a native of Connecticut.
His schoolhouse was a low building of one large room, rudely constructed of logs. It was most ingeniously secured at vacant hours by a withe twisted in the handle of the door, and stakes set up against the window-shutters. The school-house stood just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by. From hence the low murmur of his pupils' voices conning over their lessons might be heard in a drowsy summer's day, like the hum of a bee-hive; interrupted now and then by the authoritative voice of the master, in the tone of menace or command ; or, peradventure, y the appalling sound of the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along the path of knowledge.
When school hours were over he had various ways of rendering himself both useful and agreeable. He assisted the farmers occasionally in the lighter labors of their farms. He laid aside, too, all the dominant dignity with which he lorded it in his little empire, the school, and found favor in