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The Kraken (/'kr??k?n/) is a legendary sea monster of giant size that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. A number of authors over the years have postulated that the legend originated from sightings of giant squids that may grow to 12–15 meters (40–50 feet) in length, despite the fact that the creature in the original tales was not described as having tentacles and more closely resembled a whale or crab[citation needed]. The sheer size and fearsome appearance attributed to the kraken have made it a common ocean-dwelling monster in various fictional works. It was first described by the Dane, Erik Pontoppidan in his first book: Det første forsøg paa Norges naturlige Historie, forestillende dette kongeriges Luft, Fjelde, Vand, Væxter, Metaller, Mineraliser, Steen-arter, Dyr, Fugle, Fiske og omsider Indbyggernes Naturel, samt Sædvaner og Levemaad, I-II, Kbh. 1752-1753 The English word kraken is taken from Norwegian. In Norwegian Kraken is the definite form of krake, a word designating an unhealthy animal or something twisted (cognate with the English crook and crank). In modern German, Krake (plural and declined singular: Kraken) means octopus, but can also refer to the legendary kraken. In the late-13th-century version of the Old Icelandic saga Örvar-Oddr is an inserted episode of a journey bound for Helluland (Baffin Island) which takes the protagonists through the Greenland Sea, and here they spot two massive sea-monsters called Hafgufa ("sea mist") and Lyngbakr ("heather-back").[a][b] The hafgufa is believed to be a reference to the kraken:
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