Crane's Return of a Favor

There once lived a poor old man and woman. One winter day, on his way to sell firewood the old man finds and frees a crane caught in a hunter’s trap. That night, under heavy snow, a beautiful girl knocks on the old couple’s door seeking shelter. She says she got lost on her way to visit relatives. They graciously let her stay. It continued snowing for days, and the girl remained with the elderly couple. Soon the elderly couple adopter her as their daughter.

One day the daughter asked for some thread to weave into cloth. The old man returned with some thread. Saying “Promise to never look inside my room” she locked herself in her room. Working night and day she weaved a roll of cloth and said, “Sell this and buy me some more thread.” The cloth was so beautiful that it sold for a high price. Using new thread the daughter wove a second piece of cloth, which turned out even better and sold for a higher price. It made the old couple wealthy.

When the daughter returned to her room to weave a third roll of cloth, the elderly couple began to wonder how their daughter was able to weave such beautiful cloth. Breaking their promise they peeked into her room where they saw a crane plucking her own feathers and weaving it with thread to make glittering cloth. The plucked crane looked pitiful. After three nights the daughter comes to the astonished couple with a glittering roll of cloth and confessed that she was the crane that the old man had freed from the hunter’s trap. She wished to remain their daughter, but since her true identity was known, she had to leave. The old couple were sad when the crane left and flew away, never to return.

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