Once upon a time, there was a poor man who lived alone in a small house. One day after work, he was walking home through the snow and he heard an odd noise. He walked over to where it was coming from, and he saw a crane who's wing had been hit by an arrow. The man felt sorry for it, and pulled the arrow out of it's wing. The crane then flew away and disappeared.

He returned home, and was lamenting about how lonely he was. There was a knocking at the door, and when he went to answer it a beautiful young woman was there. She was lost and she begged him to let her stay for the night. She also stayed the night after, and the night after that... etc. Eventually, the man asked her to marry him, and she said yes.

They were very happy, but still extremely poor. The young woman then decided to weave a piece of cloth, and had her husband prepare a loom in the back room of the house. Before she stated weaving, she warned her husband not to look in, and he promised he wouldn't. For two days and two nights... there the constant creaking of the loom, then on the third day, the woman brought out the cloth. It was a very beautiful piece of cloth, and the next day, the man took it into town and sold it for alot of money.

It sold for so much, they were able to live comfortably for a little while. But it was winter, and the money ran out eventually. The woman again decided to weave a piece of cloth. This time it was on the night of the fourth day tat te woman finished her weaving, and the cloth produced was more gorgeous than the last one. The man then went to the nearest town and sold this second cloth for even more than the first.

His wife's weaving made him happy, but he came to want more and more money. The neighbors were also harrassing him with questions about his wife and her weaving. They noticed that she was weaving such beautiful cloth, but she didn't buy a single thread.

Eventually he caved in to the want for money, and asked his wife for another piece of cloth. The wife didn't know why he wanted even more money, but she agreed to make one final piece of cloth. She reminded him not to look in as she sewed, and shut the door and went to work. Over the course of a few days, he got so curious that he crept over to the room where his wife was working and opened the door a crack to peep in. He was surprised at what he saw... instead of his wife, a crane was there working the loom, tearing out its feathers and making the beautiful cloth out of them. He finally understood how the cloth was made. He tried to sneak off, but then the crane noticed him looking and changed back to her human form.

The woman then told the man that she was the crane he had saved that day, and she had come to him in the form of the young woman to help repay him for his help. However, because the man had seen her true form, they could no longer live together. The man was deeply sorry that he had failed to keep his promise because of his foolish wish for money, but there was no way to change things and they had to part. The young woman became a crane again, and flew away.