Who rides so late, in a night so wild?
A father is riding with his child.
He clasps the boy, close in his arms;
He holds him tightly; He keeps him warm.
Father: "My son, you are trembling, what do you fear?"
Son: "Look father, the Erlking, he's coming near!
With his crown and his shroud. Yes, that is he!"
Father: "My son, it's only the mist you see."
Erlking: "Oh lovely child, oh come with me;
Such games we'll play; So glad we'll be.
Such flowers to pick, such sights to behold.
My mother will make you clothes of gold."
Son: "Oh father, my father, did you not hear?
The Erlking whispering in my ear?"
Father: "Lie still my child; Lie quietly.
It's only the wind in the leaves of the tree."
Erlking: "Dear boy, if you will come away,
My daughters will wait on you every day.
They'll give you the prettiest presents to keep.
They'll dance when you wake, and they'll sing you asleep."
Son: "My father, my father, do you not see:
the Erlking's pale daughters waiting for me?"
Father: "My son, my son, I see what you say:
The willow is waving its branches of gray!"
Erlking: "I love you, so come without fear or remorse,
and if you're not willing, I'll take you by force!"
Son: "My father, my father, tighten your hold!
The Erlking has caught me; His fingers are cold!"
The father shudders, he spurs on his steed,
he carries the child with desperate speed.
He reaches the courtyard, and looks down in dread:
There in his arms, the boy lies dead.