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The Erlking

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Erl king Albert sterner

The Erlking by Albert Sterner, 1910

The Erlking is a German character from folklore who is king of the elves. Although normally only his daughter is depicted, in the poem Der Erlkönig he is depicted as a shadowy figure who abducts children.

In Goethe's famous poem, (one of the more popular depictions of the Erlking), he is described as living in the forest, and was trying to lure the child away from their father. Only the boy can sense the Erlking's presence, who eventually kills the boy. This behavior is similar to how Slender Man behaved in the early mythos, and Der Großmann may have been an attempt to create a link between Slender Man and the Erlking.

Furthermore, elves were originally portrayed as dark malevolent forces in traditional folklore, which The Erlking reflects in Der Erlkönig.

The Poem Edit

Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind? Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind; Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm, Er fasst ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht? — Siehst, Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht? Den Erlenkönig mit Kron’ und Schweif? — Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif. —

„Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir! Gar schöne Spiele spiel’ ich mit dir; Manch’ bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand, Meine Mutter hat manch gülden Gewand.“ —

Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht, Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht? — Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind; In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind. —

„Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn? Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön; Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reihn Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein.“ —

Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort Erlkönigs Töchter am düstern Ort? — Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh’ es genau: Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau. —

„Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt; Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch’ ich Gewalt.“ — Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt faßt er mich an! Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan! —

Dem Vater grauset’s; er reitet geschwind, Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind, Erreicht den Hof mit Mühe und Not; In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

Official Translation: Edit

Who rides there so late through the night dark and drear? The father it is, with his infant so dear; He holdeth the boy tightly clasp'd in his arm, He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.

"My son, wherefore seek'st thou thy face thus to hide?" "Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side! Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?" "My son, 'tis the mist rising over the plain."

"Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me! For many a game I will play there with thee; On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold, My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not hear The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?" "Be calm, dearest child, 'tis thy fancy deceives; 'Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves."

"Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there? My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care; My daughters by night their glad festival keep, They'll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep."

"My father, my father, and dost thou not see, How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?" "My darling, my darling, I see it aright, 'Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight."

"I love thee, I'm charm'd by thy beauty, dear boy! And if thou'rt unwilling, then force I'll employ." "My father, my father, he seizes me fast, For sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last."

The father now gallops, with terror half wild, He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child; He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread, – The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.

GalleryEdit

VideosEdit

The ErlKing05:19

The ErlKing

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