This is a tell of Melville's outlook on society after the first industrial revolution. Melville, saw the sea which he spent much time loving as nature and the industrial revolution pulled Americans from nature and put them inside walls.
This is a very good story, one that was not very popular when it was written but the story and lesson applies even now.
A short story which was extremely important to American Literature, Irving is arguably one of the first American authors to write just for fun, short stories for fun at that.
This is an interesting story, forget the movie or the cartoon and enjoy what Irving intended for you to read.