Crane History and Legend

More about the Crane:

Information about the Crane and its Habitat, Courtship plus More Facts

The Whooping Crane - A Rare and Endangered Bird

Demoiselle Crane - The Smallest of all Cranes

Crane History and Legend

Home to more interesting bird information and facts

Photo of Grey Crowned Crane
Photo of Grey Crowned Crane

Picture of Origami Cranes
Picture of Origami Cranes.

Continued from Demoiselle Crane - The Smallest of all Cranes

The beauty of the cranes and their spectacular dances have fascinated humans since ancient times.  Legends about the crane exist in many areas of the world, and the history of the crane is equally as fascinating.

From ancient cave art found in Spanish caves as well as in Sweden, and as a result of archaeological finds of Cranes in recently dug settlements, it is now known that Cranes were hunted in pre-historic times.  In the Middle-Ages Cranes were considered a delicacy, particularly among noblemen and Royalty.

In the old empire of China the Crane was the symbol for a long life and wisdom. It was believed that taoist priests transformed after their death into a Crane or that the souls of the deceased were carried on the back of a crane to the sky.

One particularly interesting Chinese legend involves the Yellow Crane Tower, known as Huanghelou in Chinese.  This is located on Snake Hill, near the southern end of the Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan.  It was first built in 223 AD, and can still be visited in its now rebuilt form today (the tower having been rebuilt over a period of 4 years 1981 to 1985).   The story goes that Xin, the owner of a Wine shop, gave an old man or Taoist monk free wine.  As a mark of his gratitude the old man drew a picture of a stork on the wall of the shop.  Whenever the stork heard clapping it would dance. Many people came to see the spectacle and the shop was always full of customers which made Xin a very wealthy man.  Ten years later the Monk or old man returned to the shop, mounted the crane and rode off into the sky.above.  As a way of commemorating the old man's magic, the now-wealthy Xin built the Yellow Crane Tower in the old man's memory.

In Greece the Crane was considered as symbol of watchfulness and intelligence.  In ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics the figure of the Crane represents the letter B. The Aztecs of Mexico originally came from the region Aztlan, which meant "land of the crane" or "near the Crane" (azta =  crane, tlan = near).

Cranes can be powerful and fierce birds if they need to be.   In the Middle-Ages in France, the Count de Tancarville is reported to have witnessed a fight between two hawks and a crane which had previously proved itself strong enough to keep 2 greyhounds at bay.

The cranberry is so-called because of the fact that so many grow in marshes inhabited by Cranes who enjoy eating them.  The word comes from the 17th Century Low-Greman word "kranbeere".

In Japan the Crane  is a symbol of longevity. In an old Japanese legend, anyone who folds a thousand Origami Cranes will be allowed a wish to be fulfilled by the gods. Since the death of Sadako Sasaki, who used origami cranes in her personal battle against her leukemia which was caused by high radiation in towns and villages following the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, the origami paper crane is a symbol of the peace movement and the resistance against nuclear weapons.

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