[The following translation was originally published in Per Contra.]


by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(translation by Okla Elliott)

Who rides so late through windy night?
A father holding his child tight.
He has the youngster well in his arm,
He keeps him safe. He keeps him warm.

“My son, what twists your face with bother?”
“Don’t you see the Erlking, father?
The Erlking with crown and shroud?”
“My son, it’s but a sliver of cloud.”

Lovely, lovely child, come with me.
Such wondrous games you will see.
What bright flowers there are by the shore,
What royal clothes my mother has in store.

“Father, my father, are you listening
To what the Erlking is promising?”
“Child, calm yourself, be calm, please.
It’s just the wind rustling dried leaves.”

Sweet boy, don’t make such a fuss;
My daughters are waiting on us.
My daughters sing the nightly tunes
to cradle you beneath the moon. READ MORE