Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles, and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approached. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians. Whenever he went dodging about the village, he was surrounded by a troop of them hanging on his skirts, clambering on his back, and playing a thousand tricks on him with impunity; and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighborhood. | The great error in Rip’s composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor. —Irving, “Rip Van Winkle”
Had a good discussion of Rip Van Winkle in American Lit class. Class was divided over whether to side with Rip’s gentle amiability or the society that scolded him for being unproductive. The kids of the village loved him. If gender roles were more flexible back then, maybe he’d have been a great caregiver, and his wife’s strong personality better suited for cut-throat haggling in the marketplace.