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Rip van Winkle

Rip van Winkle is a short story by Washington Irving, as well as the name of the story's fictional protaganist. The story, written while Irving was staying with his sister in Birmingham England, is set in the days before and after the American Revolutionary War. A villager of Dutch descent escapes his nagging wife by wandering into the woods. After various adventures, he settles down under a shady tree and falls asleep. He wakes up years later and returns to his village. He immediately gets into trouble when he hails George III, not knowing that in the meantime the American Revolution has taken place and he is not supposed to be a loyal subject of the Hanoverian any longer.

After this story, "Rip van Winkle" can be a reference to a person who sleeps a long time, or to a person who is inexplicably unaware of current events.

Rip van Winkle has been the subject of several animated cartoons.

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