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YMMV / The Erl-King

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  • Foe Yay: The Erl King spends a lot of time whispering to the boy about how pretty it thinks he is. Which for some readers just adds to the squick factor.
    • Special mention must go to the line "Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt" (literally, "I love you, your beautiful form entices me"), which is rendered "I love you! Your beauty is stirring my lust" in the A. Z. Foreman translation and "I'm in love with your flesh and its human glow" in the John Frederick Nims translation.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Through its Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane approach the poem successfully combines the Primal Fear of the child (something is out in the dark to get you) with the Adult Fear of the father (losing your child because you're not fast enough to get medical help). The end result is unsettling no matter how old the audience is.
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  • No Yay: Quite a few of the Erlking's lines give strong child predator vibes.
  • Tear Jerker: The Downer Ending where all the father's efforts were ultimately in vain and the child dies.


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