The Elf King king is a ballad written by the German poet, Goethe, in 1782. Put to music by Schubert in 1815. It tells the sad tale of a father riding home with his son in his arms (presumably the boy is ill). The boy sees feverish images of the Elven king, imagery of death, who tries to lure him to the 'other side'. The boy frantically cries out to his father for help. The Elven king is relentless and threatens to take the boy by force. When the father reaches his destination the boy has passed away.
Constant also made an etch of the Erlkönig.
Constant's son Victor was two years old at the time.
Constants grandfather on his mother's side was a tailor. Constant wore a purple suit made by his grandfather when he met Gerrit Kouwenaar on the Magere brug (Skinny Bridge) on a summer day in Amsterdam in 1942. Gerrit Kouwenaar later described this first meeting in the opening speech of an exhibition of Constant in Galerie Le Canard, 26 Januari 1952, with the following words:
A portrait of Constant's first wife Matie van Domselaer, inspired by Picasso