An old folk legend told by the New York Dutch during colonial times. The story was popularized when Washington Irving wrote it up for one of his books.

Rip Van Winkle was a lazy, lazy man who hated to work and wanted to sleep all day. His wife nagged him to do some work, but he usually ended up dozing half the day away.

One day, Rip was strolling around the countryside when he heard some crashing about off the path. He went investigating and found a bunch of little people playing ninepins (a game similar to bowling). They asked him to play, and he spent most of the day bowling and drinking with the little people. Eventually, he got tired and decided to take a nap.

When he woke up, he went back down to the village where he lived and was astounded by how much different it looked. All the buildings had changed, and he didn't see anyone he recognized. No one recognized him either--and no wonder, since he looked like an old man, with a long white beard and tattered clothing. Finally, someone recognized him--his wife, now an old woman. To punish him for his chronic laziness, the little people had caused Rip to sleep for 20 years...