Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
WASHINGTON IRVING AS A BOY
THE Revolution was about over. Americans were very
happy. Their country was to be free.
At this time a little boy was born in New York. His
family was named Irving. What should this little boy
His mother said, "Washington's work is done. Let us
name the baby Washington." So he was called Washington
When this baby grew to be a little boy, he was one day
walking with his nurse. The nurse was a Scotch girl.
She saw General Washington go into a shop. She led the
little boy into the shop also.
The nurse said to General Washington, "Please, your
Honor, here is a bairn that is named for you."
"Bairn" is a Scotch word for child.
 Washington put his hand on the little boy's head and
gave him his blessing. When Irving became an author,
he wrote a life of Washington.
Little Irving was a merry, playful boy. He was full of
Sometimes he would climb out of a window to the roof of
his father's house. From this he would go to roofs of
other houses. Then the little rascal would drop a
pebble down a neighbor's chimney. Then he would hurry
back and get into the window again. He would wonder
what the people thought when the pebble came rattling
down their chimney.
Irving in Mischief
Of course he was punished when his tricks were found
out. But he was a favorite with his teacher. With all
his faults, he would not tell a lie. The teacher called
the little fellow "General."
In those days naughty school-boys were whipped.
could not bear to see another boy suffer. When a boy
was to be whipped, the girls were sent out. Irving
always asked the schoolmaster to let him go out with
Like other boys, Irving was fond of stories. He liked
to read about Sindbad the sailor, and Robinson Crusoe. But most of all he liked to read about other
countries. He had twenty small volumes called "The World
Displayed." They told about the people and countries of
the world. Irving read these little books a great deal.
One day the schoolmaster caught him reading in school.
The master slipped behind him and grabbed the book.
Then he told Irving to stay after school.
Irving expected a punishment. But the master told him
he was pleased to find that he liked to read such good
books. He told him not to read them in school.
Reading about other countries made Irving wish to see
them. He thought he would like to travel. Like other
wild boys, he thought of running away. He wanted to go
But he knew that sailors had to eat salt pork. He did
not like salt pork. He thought he would learn to like
it. When he got a chance, he ate pork.
 And sometimes he
would sleep all night on the floor. He wanted to get
used to a hard bed.
But the more he ate pork, the more he disliked it. And
the more he slept on the floor, the more he liked a
good bed. So he gave up his foolish notion of being a
Some day you will read Irving's "Sketch Book." You will
find some famous stories in it. There is the story of
Rip Van Winkle, who slept twenty years. And there is
the funny story of the Headless Horseman. When you
read these amusing stories, you will remember the
playful boy who became a great author.
Rip Van Winkle wakes up