The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

what do the villagers think the headless horseman is doing out at night, and why is he in such a hurry?

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The villagers gather together in pubs to speculate on the headless horseman. The fact that he only rides at night adds to the gothic element of the story. They feel the horseman haunts the village at night but must be quick to disappear during the day. “. . . the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head; and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak." Not unlike vampires or a Shakespearean ghost, the townspeople think he the horseman cannot exist during daylight.