Throughout human history tales of terrible beasts lying in wait beneath the waves have long inspired fear in the hearts of the hardiest sailors. But it is the legendary Kraken which truly gripped men’s hearts and shook from them every last drop of courage. Indeed, the terror occasioned by sharing the wide open sea with the infamous mythological monster is thought to have been rivaled only by the prospect of spending a night with a syphilitic St. Malo prostitute. Legend has it they were total dogs.
Some notable skeptics such as the Pope argue against the existence of this mercurial creature on the basis that its appearance in the annals is rare and inconsistent. Yet not even the staunchest of disbelievers can deny that sightings have sea monsters span from the time of Homer through to the present day.
By the 19th Century however, sightings of the beast had ceased. Sailors no longer feared wide expanses of ocean, and instead began to ponder all the fabulous, nubile sea nymphs they could stick their penises in. When gloating seaman put paid to their fantastical stories of mermaids by bringing home Steller's sea cow, France was alone in fielding an impressive batch of eager new naval recruits.
So what happened in the 18th Century to end the sightings and put mariners at ease? Had the Kraken merely grown quiet over the years then one would expect sailors to fear the oceans still, rather than confidently stab the seas with their pointy prows as they do. Frodological lore offers a compelling explanation in the form of an epic poem dating from 1783. Though only scraps remain, it tells the harrowing tale of a French frigate returning from Louisiana being ambushed and hounded by a mighty tentacled beast, dubbed by the author as 'le Cracquen'. But when all hope was lost, the author tells of the incredible appearance of a winged apparition, 'le Frodo', who slays le Cracquen and saves le petrified crew.
Here then is an excerpt depicting the appearance of Frodo and his climactic battle with the Kraken, translated from the original French.
Frodo and the Kraken
And lo! ye prow did suffer seas
The squall a rage which cloaked the beast
Our hearts were doused with brackish spray
And feared the more the violent fray
Aware we would be torn apart
By beast so vile and cold of heart
My soul did quake and spirit fear
The maw of Death that was so near
So piteous it found our plight
Resist as futile as take flight
Our vessel captained by Despair
Ensure it did our courage rare
So sure were we of Death's embrace
Beyond belief was His great grace
Yet from on High He did appear
With noble brow and fiery spear
Agape we watched and did behold
Our Lord and Master craft in gold
Aloft He soared with harpoon heft
And with a stroke its heart was cleft
And just as light destroys the dark
The beast was slain before the ark
And lo! it sank beneath the seas
The squall no more, it too deceased
For joy and praise our tears did flow
To glory in our Master's glow
As one we knelt now saved from foe
And shouted thrice All Hail Frodo!