A crane was standing in a stream, hoping to catch some fish. A huntsman was crawling through the bushes on the riverbank, and spotted the crane. He’d not caught anything that day, and carefully readied his bow and arrow. He took aim and sent an arrow flying towards the crane. The crane heard the movement of the arrow through the air, and raised her wings. Just as she was airborn, the arrow hit her in the thigh. She squealed, but was able to stay in the air and fly away. She didn’t get very far before the pain forced her down. She landed awkwardly in a clearing in the woods. A woodsman who’d been working there, gathering branches, found the poor crane. He took pity on her, and dropped his wood, and carried the crane to his hut. There he removed the arrow, and applied some herbs to help heal the wound. The woodsman took good care of the crane, he fed her and changed her dressing every day. As her wound healed, the crane fell in love with this kind woodsman.
Unbeknown to the woodsman, the crane happened to possess magic powers, and she was able to turn herself into a young woman. When the woodsman came home from his work that evening, he found the woman there, who had prepared a meal for him. The next day she went into the village and procured a weaving loam that she placed in one of the rooms. That night the woman explained to her husband that she’ll be weaving cloth for him to sell in the market. That way they can earn much more money than he can possibly make from selling wood. But she warned him that he must never come into the room when she is working, or something really bad will happen.
Weeks and months passed. Every day the man went to the market to sell the cloth and every evening when he arrived back home, there was a large quantity of newly woven cloth. They were now very well off, and they had a very good life. One day the man became curious, and he determined to see how his wife managed to produce all this very fine cloth day in day out. He set off for the market as usual with the cloth, but once out of sight of the house, he hid the cloth behind some trees, and went back to the house. Keeping very quiet, he crept up to the room where she worked. He could hear her working inside. He slowly opened the door, and peeked inside. To his great shock, there working at the loam was the crane he rescued! Immediately the magic spell was broken, and the crane returned to her natural state. Because he could not control his curiosity, the man lost his wife, and his income from selling the cloth she used to weave.
Jin Lou told this story to Frans Timmermans