is a supposed sea monster
of vast size, said to have been seen off the coast of Norway
and more recently imported in imagination to the North American
coasts. It was first described by Erik Pontoppidan, bishop of Bergen
, in his Natural History of Norway
). The legend was disseminated in English by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
's popular poem "The Kraken," published in 1830
Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
Tennyson's description apparently influenced Jules Verne's imagined lair of the giant squid in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1870.
The Kraken of legend was probably based on sailor's observations of the giant squid or the colossal squid.
See also: giant squid, sea monster, orc, cryptozoology