Mill's Surplice represents the legendary race of creatures called elves. Elves initially appeared in early English and Norse mythology as beautiful and good beings with magical abilities and weaponry; the sword of the Norse god Frey is said to have been made by elves. Later, they came to be seen as mischievous imps who play tricks on, kidnap or harm others, and even as the relatives and cohorts of fairies and dwarves. Alternatively, some elves could be very helpful and kind to people (the Elves and the Shoemaker, Santa's elves, etc.). Elves could also have a much darker side and were sometimes connected with death and the underworld. In the famous poem and composition, by Goethe and Shubert respectively, "Der Erlkönig" (The Elf King), during a frantic ride in the forest, a father loses his son to the Erlking, the malevolent king of the elves, who covets the boy and takes his soul before the father is able to get his child to safety. The most famous depiction of elves however comes from J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings series. Here, similar to their mythological counterparts, elves are beautiful and wise, semi-immortal beings who serve as benefactors and aides.