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According to legend, Cormoran (The Giant of the Sea) was a giant who lived in a cave upon the small island of St. Michael's Mount just off the shore of southern England. He lived there with his wife, Cormelian. He was notorious for abducting and eating women, children and cattle who came across his path.

In Arthurian legend, King Arthur, Sir Kay and Sir Bedivere battled "The Giant of St. Michael's Mount," though his specific name was not given. In this tale, Arthur disembowls the giant, but the giant attempts to crush the king with a bare hug. As the two roll down the hill, Sir Kay beheads the fearsome giant.

In the story of Jack the Giant Killer, Cormoran is specifically named as the first giant that Jack kills. In this story, he is killed when Jack lures him to a pit and hits him in the head with a pick. This giant is said to be around 18 feet tall and Jack kills him after the giant steals his cattle.

The story of Jack the Giant Slayer is often conflated with the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. In that story, Jack seems to be confronted with a giant for the first time, so this giant might be Cormoran. Though this giant is usually depicted living in a castle in the clouds, this giant is usually depicted as having a wife and has other similarities with the Cormoran. The giant in Jack and the Beanstalk also has a goose that lays golden eggs and a magic harp that plays by itself. When the Giant catches Jack stealing from him, Jack escapes down a magic beanstalk and chops down the beanstalk, causing the giant to fall to his death.

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