This story is based off of the same tale the Decemberists used for their song “The Crane Wife”. I was on the fence about borrowing that for the name but, this version of the story doesn’t have the main characters married or anything so I just kind of awkwardly tried to translate the title Tezuka gave his version. Other titles of the original tale are the Crane Lady, the Crane’s Gratitude, and so on.
The moral the story is based around should be too obvious and therefore uninteresting but for some reason I have become really fond of this story and think it is so sad. The Decemberists’ version also has a tragic ending but looking online there are versions that say this:
“Opening her arms, she changed into a crane and flew up in the sky and circled over the house and flew away toward the mountain. The old man and his old wife lived happily ever after with the money they sold the textile.” (http://www.geocities.co.jp/HeartLand-Gaien/7211/)
Though most every Japanese person knows this story, maybe they summarize it as having a lot happier ending then it was meant to. This Tezuka version on the other hand I think, nails it.
This is the last story in the Tonkara Valley book. Also, Tonkara Valley is the very last manga in the complete collection. It’s only #382, but #383-#400 are collections of speeches and interviews and so on. Anyway, that makes this the very last story in the complete collection.
I decided to start this book backwards and work up to the first story as I’ll be able to crank out a lot of really really short ones until I get to the last one which is kind of a headache it’s so dense. Maachan was obviously very light, later Tezuka has a balanced amount of text, but in this time period (Tonkara) for Tezuka, every page was very very dense. Even a three page story I feel is worth ten pages.