"Elfenlied" ("elf song") is a poem written in German by Eduard Mörike that was adapted into a lied by Hugo Wolf. Lucy learned this song from Nozomi. She sang the same song during her attempted destruction of all human life in revenge for Kurama's shooting of Kouta.
The poem is simple enough, telling the story of an elf who wanders into a village late at night. Curious about the people living in the village, he goes to get a closer look at their houses and ultimately hits his head, leaving him dazed on the ground.
The poem utilizes a German pun right at the beginning. The word "Elf" is used to represent the number 11, but "Elfe" is used to refer to an elf. The pronunciation of the two are very similar, hence causing the elf to believe those in the village are calling for him.
The sheet music for Hugo Wolf's song made from this poem may be found here : Sheet Music
German Lyrics (Original)
Connection to Elfen Lied
(Please bear in mind, this section is subjective.)
Though the poem is short and at first does not seem to share much with the story of Elfen Lied, they do have a few things in common.
- "So the elf rubs his eyes, comes out of his snail-shell house, and is like a drunken man, his nap was not finished; and he hobbles down, tip tap, through the hazel wood into the valley, slips right up to the wall"
This section can be taken to represent Lucy making her way back to Kamakura after escaping the facility. She's groggy and lost thanks to her head wound, and her Nyuu personality taking over is like "a drunken man" with very little sense of where she is.
- "What are those bright windows? There must be a wedding inside; the little people are sitting at the feast, and fooling around in the ballroom. So I'll just take a peep in!"
Much like the elf, Lucy states near the end of the manga that she always wanted to be part of humanity, to be accepted by them instead of always being the outsider looking in.
- "Shame! he hits his head on hard stone! Well, elf, had enough, have you? Cuckoo! Cuckoo!"
Just as the elf is punished for peeping in on human life, hitting his head, Lucy constantly faces punishment for attempting to rejoin humanity. She is often struck by them (notably in the head, causing the creation of Nyuu in the first place), cast out by them, and treated as subhuman whether she harms other humans first or not.