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This poem was originally was written by Goethe in 1782. This poem was made famous by the composer Schubert, who made this poem into a song (Piano and Voice).

Who rides, so late, through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He has the boy well in his arm
He holds him safely, he keeps him warm.

"My son, why do you hide your face in fear?"
"Father, do you not see the Elf-king?
The Elf-king with crown and cape?"
"My son, it's a streak of fog."

"You dear child, come, go with me!
(Very) beautiful games I play with you;
Many a colorful flower is on the beach,
My mother has many a golden robe."

"My father, my father, and do you not hear
What the Elf-king quietly promises me?"
"Be calm, stay calm, my child;
Through dry leaves the wind is sighing."

"Do you, fine boy, want to go with me?
My daughters shall wait on you finely;
My daughters lead the nightly dance,
And rock and dance and sing to bring you in."

"My father, my father, and don't you see there
The Elf-king's daughters in the gloomy place?"
"My son, my son, I see it clearly:
There shimmer the old willows so grey."

"I love you, your beautiful form entices me;
And if you're not willing, then I will use force."
"My father, my father, he's touching me now!
The Elf-king has done me harm!"

It horrifies the father; he swiftly rides on,
He holds the moaning child in his arms,
Reaches the farm with great difficulty;
In his arms, the child is dead.



Credited to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe