Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Return for Kindness of the Crane


Once upon a time an old man and old woman lived together in unity.  One day the old man went to the mountain to gather some firewood.  After a while he heard the terrible crying of a bird, and he found a crane.  The crane was caught in a trap.  He set it free quickly.  It circled above him while crying, and it flew far away.
   A few days later, there was the sound of knocking in the night.  When the man opened the door, a beautiful woman with white clothes was standing.  She said, "I lost my way.  May I stay in your home tonight?"  The old couple consented to her staying pleasantly.
   The next morning she asked the old man to buy some white yarn, because she wanted to repay him for the stay.  After he bought it she said, "Don't open this room while I am weaving."  She closed the door, and she began to weave.  She wove without rest for three days.  She opened the door having beautiful cloth, and she asked the old man to sell it.
   He went out to sell it.  Many people gathered in order to look at it, and they wanted to buy it.  Of course, he could sell it at a high price.  He could get a great deal of money, and he went back home.
   He thanked her for weaving the beautiful cloth.  She proposed to weave some more, and she reminded the old couple not to open the door while she was weaving.  And she began to weave cloth again.  She wove cloth many times.  Whenever the old man went to sell it, he could sell it at a high price.
   One day a merchant visited the old couple's house, and he wanted to get the beautiful cloth.  But the old couple didn't want her to weave it, because she looked tired.  The merchant brought a great deal of money, so the old man wanted to get it, and he asked her to weave it once more.  She consented to it, and she reminded them not to open the door again.  She didn't take a break as she usually did.  Three days passed, so the merchant came to their house to get the beautiful cloth.  Though she was usually finished in three days, she hadn't finished yet.  The merchant got weary of waiting for her, and he wanted to open the door.  The old man refused this suggestion, but he began to want to open it too.  They decided to open the door.  To their surprise, one crane was weaving there.  The crane pulled out its feathers, and wove cloth with these and the white yarn.  They closed the door immediately.
   After a while, she opened the door while holding the cloth.  She looked sad.  And she said, "I am the crane that you helped.  I wanted to repay your kindness, so I could be a human being.  But since you found my true figure, I can't stay here.  I am very sad."  Her figure changed into a white crane.  The old man repented of his conduct.  The crane flew up, crying with a said voice.

   -Kaoru Ida

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