Black Tuffed Crane

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story of a crane in early Japan history. It follows the crane that is the last of its kind as he becomes a legend.

Submitted: September 26, 2011

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Submitted: September 26, 2011



The greens of spring were just returning with renewed vigar as the cold shifted away. Birds were returning in large flocks to a small lake shaped like a tear drop. The nearby village was full of activity as they prepared for the new spring. Boats were being repaired and children tended the livestock. The women hung clothes out to dry in the fresh breeze.


A few of the villagers went up to the lake. Staring out over the blue waters covered in green algae they noticed a lone crane. It's black head and partly black chest stood out against its white feathers. Unlike the Japanese crane it did not have the red tuff on its head and it was easily a fourth larger. Its blue eyes took in the sight of the men as it stared at the villagers.


"I hope more come here soon," one villager said tapping his head with a finger.


"They are probably just late this year," said another watching as the bird waded away from them.


"Let's head back to the village. No use in hunting because there are not enough here," said the third and turning away from the lake and heading down the path.


The crane watched until they were out of sight before lunging his head into the water. He came up with a small fish in his long thin beak. It wiggled and slapped its tail against the top and bottom beak. Throwing his head he manuvered the fish into his throat and swallowed. Raising a leg out of the water he strode forward watching the ripples of the water. He spent most of his time doing this until the sun began to set. With a cry he took to the air flapping his wings. A nest awaited him on the banks nearby.


After two months the village came to realize that no more cranes were coming. They left the only crane in their lake alone. They fished the lake around the bird and often got good hulls. There not being any more cranes the fish seemed more bountiful. Children often took out their own small boats and fished with a simple line. It was the game they enjoyed the most. The crane watched over the children like a parent as they ran along the shore.


It was peaceful for all of them as the months started passing by. Before long the crane would have to migrate south again for warmer weather. The leaves were begining to change their colors once more. The children were playing along the shore as they always did. Running along they passed were the crane stood and going farther from the village than they were suppose to. The boy running in front stopped suddenly as a raccoon dog came from the bushes. Startled and frightened by the boy the raccoon dog let out a snarl and snapped at the boy.


The children started running back leaving the young boy alone as he was frozen in place by fright. The villagers hearing the children started to run up the bank. The crane seeing the boy took flight and swooped in on the raccoon dog. It's talons barely digging into its flesh. The raccoon dog snapped at the crane but turned tail and ran. The boy now crying had fallen on his bottom. The crane looked at the boy with one eye before taking off and heading back into the lake.


The villagers seeing the crane leave slowed their running slightly. The father picked up his son and started to calm him. Looking out over the lake to the crane he called out a thank you. With a bob of his head in acknowlegement the crane went back to fishing. Keeping one eye on the people as they traveled home another on the fish just starting to come around his feet.


Nearly once a week after that the female villagers would walk up to the lake with stale bread and throw it in the lake. The fish would come up and start snatching the bread making it easier for the crane to catch them. Finding the food faster left the crane plenty of time to preen its feathers and stretch its wings.


As fall started to become winter the crane did not migrate away. It concerned the villagers and made them think it was ill. The father of the son the crane saved was the one most concerned. He went out and watched the crane as it waded and fished. Soon the father realized that this crane who came to their lake alone was the last of its kind. He knew the bird must be lonely and depressed.


One day he took his gun and walked to the lake. Looking at the crane he started up the bank so he was closer to it. The crane in turn watched him and waded just slightly closer to the shore. They stood parallel to each other each watching the other.


"I am grateful for what you did for my son. In turn I want to help you. I see you wading around alone and know you must be suffering. Allow me to end your misery my friend," the villager said raising his gun.


The crane looked at him and bobbed its head in response. Accepting its fate it stepped closer to the shore. With a loud crack the cranes eyes became dull and it collapsed into the lake. The man stepped forward and took three feathers from the crane.


"I shall take three feathers and give them to my three children. So that you may always protect them," the man told the crane.


Picking up the crane he carried it to a predug out grave and gently layed the bird there. Covering the bird back up with soil and rocks that were hardend by the frost of winter. Saying a quick prayer he left and went home.


"A feather for courage, a feather for hope, and a feather for sincerity," the father said as he passed the feathers to each of his children. "Pass these down to your own children. So they may be protected as well by the last Black Tuffed Crane."

© Copyright 2019 Zera. All rights reserved.

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