The Erl-King

The Erl-King

Who rides so late through the night and the


It is the father with his child.

He holds the boy in his arm,

grasps him securely, keeps him warm.

‘My son, why do you hide your face so


‘ Father do you not see the Erl-King?

The Erl-King with his crown and tail?’

‘ My son, it is only a streak of mist.’

‘Darling child, come away with me!

I will play fine games with you.

Many gay flowers grow by the shore;

my mother has many golden robes.’

‘Father, father, do you not hear

what the Erl-King sofdy promises me?

‘Be calm, dear child, be calm-

the wind is rustling in the dry leaves.’

‘You beautiful boy, will you come with me?

My daughters will wait upon you.

My daughters lead the nightly round,

they will rock you, dance to you, sing you to

    sleep ! ‘

‘Father, father, do you not see

the Erl-King’s daughters there, in that dark

place? ‘

‘My son, my son, I see it clearly:

it is the grey gleam of the old willow-trees.’

‘I love you, your beauty allures me,

and if you do not come willingly, I shall use


‘Father, father, now he is seizing me!

The Erl-King has hurt me! ‘

Fear grips the father, he rides swiftly,

holding the moaning child in his arms;

with effort and toil he reaches the house-

the child in his arms was dead.