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The Harry Potter Canon

The Erkling is a small elf-like creature native to Germany. Its high-pitched laugh is particularly entrancing to children, which Erklings like to eat. Erkling killings have decreased dramatically over the last few centuries as the German Ministry of Magic has put in place strict controls over the creatures (FB).



Rowling has transposed a few letters in the name of the Erl King... of German legend. Otherwise, her description holds true. It is an evil creature in the Black Forest of Germany that tries to snatch children. (p. 26)

The suffix "-ling" is often used to indicate that something is small, miniature, or otherwise diminutive.
source: Wiktionary


Notions of elf- or fairy-like creatures that lure children away from their parents or guardians and sometimes eat said children appear in folklore worldwide.

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