Tsuru no Ongaeshi (The Grateful Crane/The Crane’s Return of Favor) is one of the most popular Japanese folktales. My parents used to tell this folktale many time in my childhood. It is an interesting story in Japanese folklore and the best unexpected twist ending folktale you would ever read in your life. Again, this is a very lovely story and I would be happy if you JUST READ it from first to last.

Japanese Red Crowned Crane. Photo credit: Ryan Poplin at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Once upon a time somewhere in Japan there was a poor young man who once working on his farm. Suddenly, a white Japanese crane came down from the sky to the ground at his feet. The crane was injured by a bird hunter. The young man noticed that a sharp arrow pierced through one of its beautiful wings. He was sad and decided to take care of the crane.

Then he pulled out the arrow from the injured wing and cleaned the wound thereafter. By the kindness of the young guy the bird was soon able to fly again. Luckily the crane was sent to the sky by the young man and said “Please be careful and avoid bird hunters.” Listening to this the crane circled three times over his head and then flew away.

Darkness was about to arrive so the young man decided to get back to his house. A miracle happened when he just arrived at home. He saw a beautiful young lady was waiting for him that he never had seen before. The lady said “Welcome home, I am your wife” – hearing that the young guy indeed was surprised. Then he replied “I am a very poor guy, I can’t take care of you as my wife.” The lady answered “Don’t worry, I have plenty of rice and we could live together happily.” A miracle happened that the small sack of rice remained full always!

As days passed by, one day the wife asked her husband to build a weaving room. In fact, it was a favor! However, once her husband finished building the room the wife said “You promise me that you would never peek inside.” By knowing that her husband replied “Ok, I won’t” then she shut the room’s door up herself and after weaving seven days constantly she came out from the room holding the most beautiful cloth he had ever seen. She advised to her husband to sell it to the market at a high price. The next day the young man sold it to nearby town for many coins. Then he returned home happily.

After that again the wife returned to the weaving room to continue weaving. Seeing that her husband was very curious how actually his wife makes such a beautiful cloth so he had broken up the promise and peeked inside the room. Alas! He saw a beautiful crane was weaving a cloth instead of his wife, plucking out its own feathers and used as threads.

Then suddenly, the crane noticed that and said “I am the crane that you saved on the other day. I just wanted to repay you and that’s for what I became your wife, but now you have seen my actual form so I can’t stay here any longer.” After that, the crane handed the cloth and said “I leave you this to remember me by.” The crane then flew away from the sight of the young man and disappeared forever, the crane never returned to the young man again.

My advice to you is once we make promise to someone we must keep it.

Copyright 2015 @ takkhis