Friday, June 8, 2012

The Gratitude of Crane

Summer 2003
Miyuki Yamasaki

Once upon a time, an old man and his wife lived in a little house.  One day, the old man went out as usual to collect some fire wood.  Suddenly, he heard scream of a crane.  The old man followed the sound and found a crane.  The crane's leg was caught in a hunter's trap.  The old man said, "Oh, you poor beggar!"  I'll help you soon."

   That night, the old man talked about the crane to his wife.  His wife said, "Oh you did a good job," and she smiled.  When they are talking, they heard something.
   Knock Knock.
   The old man went to the door and opened it.  Then he saw a beautiful young woman standing.  The lady said "I lost my way.  Could you help me?  Please."  "Oh, come inside. It's a snowstorm. You must be freezing," the old man said.  "Anyway, where are you going to go?"  "Well I haven't decided yet.  I lost my family and house," the lady answered.  The old man took pity on the lady and said, that "if you want, you can stay here forever."  "Thank you sir.  I won't forget your kindness."  Since the day, the lady became a child of the couple.  They looked very happy.
   One night, the lady said, " I have something to do in that room, so please sleep ahead of me."  The old man and his wife worried about the lady's health.  "you don't need to work.  Sleep well."  but the lady said,  "I'm fine.  I'll also sleep soon.  But please make a promise.  While I'm working in that room, don't open the door."  The old man and his wife were a little bit surprised but answered, "Okay, I'll never open the door."  That night the old man and his wife heard a tiny sound.
It was like the sounds of a loom.
   When the couple awoke, they found the lady was not in her bed.  "Did she stay up all night?"  The old man went to the kitchen and found the lady."  Oh, my child.  What did you do last night?"  "I was making this one," the lady said, and gave him one cloth.  "Wow, what a beautiful cloth!" he said.  "Please sell the cloth and get something for you," the lady said.  At once the old man went to the city and sold the cloth.  He got much money and bought a lot of food.  "Oh, my child, your cloth is so wonderful.  But please take care of your health and sleep well."  "Thank you sir, but I'm fine.  I will make more cloth for you.  I'm real fine."
   The lady kept making the cloth for the couple.  Because the clothes were so beautiful, the old man could get much money and they could be rich.  But, the lady looked very tired.  The couple really worried about the lady.  "please eat and sleep well, my dear," they said.  But the lady said, "I'm really fine, so, please, don't open the door during the night."
   One night, the couple heard a tiny sound again.  They thought the lady was still working.  Since they wanted her to quit her working, they decided to break their promise.  They went to the room and open it.  Then they were so amazed!!"  In the room, there was not a lady.  There was one crane.  The crane was picking her feathers and spinning with her feathers.  The crane looked so hard.  The couple were so surprised and said, "You, you are?"  The crane found the couple and said, "You must not see me.  You promised though.  I really wanted to be your child.  But, I can't stay here.  thank you sir.  Good bye."
   The crane stretched her wing and flew to the sky.  "Oh, my child, please come back!"  The old man screamed.  But the crane never turned around, and flew forward into the setting sun.  The old man and his wife heard the crying of the crane for a while.

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