Märchen – Japan

“It’s called…Crane Gives Back? Whatever. Anyway, so there’s this one winter in Japan like in the countryside. There’s this like single young guy and he’s like living all alone, you know? And he’s like hunting in the uh, winter forest. And then he saw a crane, and it was trapped and it was bleeding. And the crane was white, and the blood was red, and the snow was white. And then, so he set it free and it flew away. And a couple of weeks later, um, he’s like in his room or in his house and he hears a knock on the door. And he goes there, and it’s like this beautiful woman in like a white kimono and she’s like ‘Oh, I want to be your wife.’ And he’s like ‘Oh ok whatever.’ Well I’m sure he was happy but it sounds weird right now. And then so um they’re like really happy together. And then I think one day she’s like ‘Oh I wanna help you. I wanna work. Do you have a…um, like a cloth-maker you know? Oh, but you can never peek inside the room when I’m making the cloth.’ And he’s like ‘Uh, weird. Ok whatever.’ And then so uh, she’s like spending days and days inside. She spends like two days inside, right? Like straight and she’s like clockety-clock. And then, she comes out and she has this most beautiful piece of kimono cloth ever. It’s like sparkly and it’s like really cool right? And he’s like ‘Oh damn’ you know? And then so he goes to the town and he sells it for a really high price and everyone’s like ‘Oh, I want one’ but he only has that one right? So he goes back and he’s like ‘Oh, can you make some more?’ And she’s like ‘Ok ok.’ And then that happens over and over and each time it takes longer and longer like five days a week straight inside there. And then, um uh, she’s like more and more tired each time. She’s like brain-dead almost. And then one day, he’s like ‘Oh I wonder what the secret is.’ And then he like peeks inside when she’s making it. And it’s like the crane and she’s picking out her own feathers to make the cloth and she’s all bleeding and stuff. And like, she’s like sacrificing her feathers right? And then, like, the crane sees the guy. And she’s like really startled so then she flies away and then she’s never to be seen again. She said something along the lines of…like, she tells him why she came. ‘Cause she owed him her life and wanted to give her life to him. I heard this story when I was little. I think this story’s values are giving back. Oh and save lives. Oh and do what you’re told. And keep a promise. Keep it.”

I think it’s interesting that, perhaps it’s because Kazuma grew up in California, his slang made the “performance” of this fairy tale seem less touching than it should be. Nevertheless, I agree with Kazuma that this fairy tale reflects values of gratitude and keeping promises. The man had saved the crane’s life so she wanted to thank him by sacrificing her feathers to make beautiful kimonos for him to sell. The man did not keep his promise and had peeked inside the room to see how she made those beautiful kimonos, which exposed her true identity. As a result, she left him and he lost a wonderful wife.