Japanese folktales are known for their important life lessons and this one is no different. The story of Tsuru no Ongaeshi is a popular story in Japan, and over the centuries of being passed down, has acquired different versions from person to person.

The story goes that a young man was out working on his farm when he overcame an injured crane on the ground with an arrow pierced through her wing. Helping the crane back to health and assisting her to fly again, the young farmer told the crane to “watch out for hunters” and the crane circle around his head three times and flew away.

tsuru no ongaeshi

Day soon became night and the farmer had to hurry back to his home. To his surprise, a young lady was in his house and told him she was know his wife and would look after him. He replied, “I’m just a poor man, I can’t take care of you as my wife.” The young woman assured the man that she had plenty of rice and they could live happily together. And if by miracle, the rice never ran out!

As the days passed, the wife asked the man if he could build her a weaving room. The man obliged, and soon finished the room. After building the room, the wife made the husband make a promise. She asked him, “Can you promise not to peek inside?” and he obliged once more.

She soon got to work inside the weaving room, producing the most beautiful cloth the man had ever seen. She advised him to take it to the market and sell it for a high price. He soon left and found her unique cloth incredibly popular, selling it for me than he could have ever dreamed.

tsuru no ongaeshi

Happiness soon became curiosity, wishing to find out how his wife was able to produce such beautiful cloth. He peeked through the door and found that inside was not his wife, but the crane he had once nursed back to health. Using her feathers and some wool to create a unique yarn blend, her wing had become bare of feathers.

Suddenly, the crane noticed the man peeking around the door and was startled. She told him “after you saved my life I wanted to repay you so I became your wife. Now you know my actual form, I can stay here no longer.” The crane flew from the sight of the young man and disappeared forever, never to be seen by the man again.

The lesson was to always keep your promises, much like HiyaHiya always keeps its promise for exceptional quality!

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