I’ve spent a lot of time, the last few months, denying that I need to acknowledge or do any research into Frau Hole. I woke up last week with Fairy Knots in my hair, which hasn’t happened in literally years. When I when searching for information I found a connection to Frau Hole.
Alright, Dear Lady, I hear you.
German counterparts of the “elf-lock” are alpzopf, drutenzopf, wichtelzopf, weichelzopf, mahrenlocke, elfklatte, etc. (where alp, drude, mare, and wight are given as the beings responsible). Grimm, who compiled the list, also remarked on the similarity to Frau Holle, who entangled people’s hair and herself had matted hair. The use of the word elf seems to have declined steadily in English, becoming a rural dialect term, before being revived by translations of fairy tales in the nineteenth century and fantasy fiction in the twentieth.