“The Crane and the Turtle”: Re-telling this popular story, as we mark International Turtle Day

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It was “International Turtle Day” earlier this week, so we thought it a great opportunity to tell the tale of the “Crane and the Turtle”, another one of our favourite Japanese legends.

We hope you enjoy the read… (As always, you can click on any of the images to take a closer look)

Many centuries ago, the rains fell without pause for many days and nights and soon the countryside became completely flooded.

 

 

The Crane took to the air, as the land he had been living on had disappeared under the water. The Crane flew for hours on end unable to find a place to land in order to rest his wings.

 

 

Just as the Crane was reaching the point of exhaustion, a young Turtle arose from the flood waters and kindly offered his back as a floating island for the tired bird to rest upon a while.

 

 

Because of this act of kindness from the Turtle, the Crane was able to survive long enough for the flood waters to recede.

Many years passed and the pair became great friends. One, a creature of the skies, and the other, a creature of the lakes.

The Turtle and the Crane are both important symbols of longevity and so they grew old together.

 

 

After many years, a terrible drought passed through their country. It was a drought so long and so thirsty that it drank up all the water in the lakes where the Turtle lived. Many animals perished because of the drought and the Crane could not bear to see his friend perish in the same way.

 

 

With supreme effort (the Turtle was heavy and the Crane was now and old and somewhat weak), the Crane managed to find the strength to lift his friend, the Turtle up into the air. Together they flew a long distance until they found a place unaffected by the drought.

It was here that the two animals lived together, looking after each other in their old age and seeing out the remainder of their days until they passed into the mists of time.

 

 

We hope you enjoyed this article. You can discover over 100 blog-posts and stories inspired by our collection of Chinese and Japanese Fine Art and Antiques by clicking here.

 

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