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Erklings are elfish creatures, three feet tall on average (making them larger than gnomes) with pointed faces, which have a particular affinity for the taste of children. Their high pitch cackles are particularly entrancing to children, and they use this to lure them away from their guardians to eat them. These creatures also enjoy shooting darts at unsuspecting victims. Originating from the Black Forest in Germany, the difference between this creature and many others is that they can speak Human-language.
According to Newt Scamander, the last known Erkling attack was on a six-year-old called Bruno Schmidt. The Erkling in question was killed when Schmidt hit it over the head with his father's collapsible cauldron.
The name erkling may have been influenced by the English word "irk", meaning to annoy and "erlkings", elfish creatures in German mythology which have a fatal influence on children. Erlking is a translation of the German erlkönig which literally means "alder king", and may in turn be an 18th-century mistranslation of the original Danish word elverkonge, literally "elf king".
Behind the scenes
Erklings share some resemblances to Nari, a type of evil fairy from Eastern Europe legends. Both Erkling and Nari use their high-pitched cackles to lure their prey into false sense of security, and then feed on them.
Notes and references