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They reach an amphitheatre in the woods, where a collection of similarly odd-looking men are bowling, which makes the environs sound like it is thundering.Although they are involved in pleasurable pursuits, they are silent and grim.
His one companion in the household is his dog Wolf, who for no good reason is just as badly treated by the petticoat tyrant Dame Van Winkle.
On one trip to the woods, Van Winkle wanders to one of the highest points in the Catskills.
His single flaw is an utter inability to do any work that could turn a profit.
It is not because he is lazy—in fact, he is perfectly willing to spend all day helping someone else with their labor.
He reaches for his gun but finds that it is now rusty and worm-eaten—perhaps the men tricked him and replaced his gun.
Wolf also is gone and does not respond to Van Winkle’s calls. When he tries to retrace his steps, the amphitheatre appears to have become an impenetrable wall of rock, and some of the natural features of the area have changed.He is just incapable of doing anything to help his own household.He also is well-known for being an obedient, henpecked husband, for Dame Van Winkle has no problem shouting insults into the neighborhood and tracking him down in the village to berate him.He is short and square, with thick bushy hair and a grizzled beard, dressed in the antique Dutch fashion.He asks Van Winkle for help climbing higher with a keg.His indolence is probably to be blamed for his farm’s bad luck, so Dame Van Winkle has more than a little cause to berate him—which she does, morning, noon, and night.As the years pass, things continue to get worse, and his only recourse is to escape to the outdoors.Fatigued from the climb, he rests, and soon the sun has started to set.He knows he will not be able to get home before dark. A shadowy figure seems to be in need of assistance, so he approaches the man, who looks very strange.The man starts to serve drinks from the keg and gestures to Van Winkle to help. It tastes delicious, and he goes back for more and more until he is quite drunk and lies down to pass out.When he wakes up in the morning, he is anxious about what Dame Van Winkle will say about his late return.