There are few short stories that have had an affect on me, but Washington Irving's LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW has always been one of my absolute favorites.
School teacher Ichabod Crane moves to the small Tarry Town in the glen of Sleepy Hollow where he hears the ghost stories of the Headless Horseman. During his stay in Sleepy Hollow, Crane turn from skeptic to believer one night when he encounters the legend himself.
The short story has been so popular ever since it was written that it has spawned numerous television and film versions. Three of the most notable film versions are the Walt Disney animated classic ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD, Tim Burton's SLEEPY HOLLOW, and the television show SLEEPY HOLLOW. Some of these versions do take a few more liberties with their story than others, but all work well for what they attempt to accomplish. But nothing beats the original classic short story!