The Grateful Crane

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Japanese folk tales

The Grateful Crane

Once upon a time, on a cold winter day, a poor man found a crane caught in a trap. Feeling sorry for the crane, he set it free and watched it fly away.

A few days later, a beautiful young woman came to the man’s house. She was cold and asked for help. The kind man took her in, gave her warm food, and let her stay. The woman was very grateful and decided to stay with the man for a while.

One day, the woman asked the man if she could make some cloth. She said, “Please promise not to look into the room while I’m working.” The man agreed. The woman stayed in the room for days, working hard. When she finally came out, she had a beautiful piece of cloth. The man sold the cloth for a lot of money.

The woman then offered to make more cloth, but again asked the man not to look while she worked. This time, the man couldn’t resist his curiosity and peeked into the room. To his surprise, he saw a crane instead of the woman. The crane was using its own feathers to weave the cloth. When the crane saw the man, it turned back into the woman.

The woman sadly explained, “I am the crane you saved. I wanted to repay your kindness by making cloth, but now that you know my secret, I must leave.”

With tears in her eyes, the woman turned back into a crane and flew away. The man was left feeling sad and regretful, but he cherished the beautiful cloth and the memory of the kind crane.

This story teaches us about kindness, gratitude, and the importance of keeping promises.

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