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Mar 2010
Who is that rides so late in the forest so dark and wild?
It is but a helpless father and his frightened and lonely child,
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

The father cradles his lovely son gently in his arms,
He keeps him snug and he keeps him warm and he keeps him calm,
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“My son, why do you wrap your radiant face in such dread and fear?”
“Mine father, can you not see the Erl-King? He draws ever so near!”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“O father! The Erl-King with his weedy crown and thorns of pain is here!”
“My son, it is nothing more than mist and rain on the plain over there.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“Sweet lad, O come into my jolly lair and join me, do!
Many pretty and joyful games do I promise to play with you.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

On the forest floor the autumn flowers die in the suffocating cold.
“O you dreaming lad, I have for you garments of red silk dyed in gold.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“Mine father, mine father, can you not hear my rising fear?
The Erl-King drips dark promises and breathes in my ear! Help me, father dear!”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“Be calm, stay calm, rest my child, stay easy and keep your head low,
In these withered leaves it is only the night winds that creep and roar.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“My rosy lipped lad, will you come take a merry stroll and dine with me?
My daughters three shall care for you and many wonders will you see.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“My silky daughters of darkness live in yonder castle in shadows deep,
They three will dance and sing and cradle you to the sweetest of sleep.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“Mine father, mine father, O can you not see the red eyes in his fearful face?
The Erl-King’s misty-eyed daughters live in that haunted place!"
The wind blows icy cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“My son, my son, I see the frozen milky moon very clear
And how the ancient weeping willows like castles in the dark do appear.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“O how delicious you smell, my tender innocent succulent boy!
Come off that horse and take these wonderfully coloured bright toys.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

“O father, my father, the Erl-King has seized me by the arm!
His long bony claws crawl toward my heart to do to me hungry harm.”
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

The father whips and rides fast but his warm cottage is away by a mile,
In his arms he holds the groaning, twisting, shivering child,
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Listen quietly as this tragic tale is told.

The horse halts outside the family home and the father looks with dread
For his son, his only child, he holds in his arms is now dead!
The wind blows sharp and cold,
Hush! Weep quietly as this tragic tale is now all told.
Inspired by the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Franz Schubert.
Rangzeb Hussain
Written by
Rangzeb Hussain
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   Rangzeb Hussain
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