Who rides so late through the windy night?
It is the father and his child.
He holds the boy,
Warm and safe.
Son, why do you hide your face in fear?
Father, do you not see the Elfking?
With his crown and train?
Son, it’s just the mist.
Come with me, lovely child
We’ll play games
There are flowers on the beach and
My mother has golden clothes
Father, can’t you hear
What the Elfking is promising me?
Be calm, my boy —
It’s only the wind in the leaves.
Lovely boy, will you come with me?
My daughters will wait on you
My daughters will sing and dance for you
and rock you to sleep.
Father, do you not see
The Elfking’s daughters there?
Son, it’s the old willows shining
In the moonlight.
I love you — I’m aroused by your beautiful form
And if you won’t come, I will take you by force
Father, father, he has grabbed me.
The Elfking has hurt me.
The father shudders. He rides fast,
the groaning boy in his arms,
Anxious, he reaches the farm.
In his arms, the boy is dead.