Who rides so late through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He holds the boy safe in his arm
He holds him safe, he keeps him warm.
My son, why do you hide your face so fearfully?
Father, do you not see the Erlking?
The Erlking with crown and tail?
My son, it's a wisp of fog."
"You lovely child, come, go with me!
Nothing but beautiful games I'll play with you;
Many colourful flowers are on the shore,
My mother has many golden robes."
My father, my father, can't you hear,
What the Erlking quietly promises me?
Be calm, stay calm, my child;
It is the wind rustling in the dry leaves.
"Do you want to come with me, fine lad?
My daughters should already be waiting for you;
My daughters lead the nightly folkdance
And rock you and dance and sing."
My father, my father, and can't you see there,
The Erlking's daughters in the gloomy place?
My son, my son, I see it well:
It is the old grey willows gleaming.
"I love you, your beautiful form entices me;
And if you're not willing, I shall use force."
My father, my father, now he takes hold of me!
The Erlking has wounded me!
It horrifies the father; he rides swiftly,
Holding in his arms the moaning child.
He reaches the yard with great difficulty;
In his arms, the child was dead.