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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Stories for Younger Children
One Good Turn

One Good Turn

The water in the lake was very smooth. There were no waves or even ripples. It looked like glass, reflecting the tall mountains surrounding it. A man was in a small boat, fishing. He threw out his net and sat patiently, waiting a while before pulling the net in.

Genji, Manchu, and Mingmei were flying across the mountains. "Look at the lake!" Manchu said. "It is so still and so smooth. I think we can find a lot of fish there."

"Should we land near the waterís edge? I see a pine tree near the shore," Genji asked.

"Iím feeling hungry. The water is so smooth that we can see the fish as they swim about under the water," Mingmei said.

The cranes descended to the lake. "I see fish. I see a lot of fish!" Manchu exclaimed. He stuck his bill in the water and stabbed a huge carp. He swallowed it. "Ah, that was delicious." He ate another, and another, until he was full. Mingmei and Genji did the same.

As they waded in the shallow water they noticed the man in the boat. Mingmei said, "The water is starting to get a little rough. Do you think that fisherman will be all right?"

Genji replied, "Heís pulling in his net. He caught many fish."

"The water is getting rough. The waves are lapping at the side of his small boat. I fear for him," Mingmei said again.

Just then the wind began to blow. It ruffled their feathers and blew needles off the pine trees into the rough water. They heard the man calling to them. "Help me! Help me! I cannot swim."

"That man is going to drown. Water is getting into his boat. Itís heavy because of all the fish he caught," Manchu said. He was very worried.

"It is sinking," Genji squawked. "We must save him. The water is very rough."

The three cranes flew towards the man. He was standing in his boat. Water poured in and was up to his ankles. "Help me!" he shouted. His hands were in the air, waving to the birds.

"Grab our legs," Manchu called. The fisherman grabbed hold of one of Manchuís legs and one of Genjiís legs. The cranes flew back to the shore, carrying the man.

They dropped him into the grass. "Thank you for saving my life." He watched in sadness as his boat sunk under the water with all his fish. "I wish I could repay you for your kindness," he sighed.

The cranes didnít need any payment. They were happy to help the fisherman. Each day they watched as he built anew boat. They flew about the woods gathering pieces of wood for him. Finally the boat was finished. "This boat is even better than my old one. Now, I will repay you for your kindness and help."

One Good Turn

The man rowed out into the smooth water. He threw his net in and a few hours later pulled it back into the boat. He rowed back to the shore where the cranes were resting. He dumped his net of fish onto the grass near them. "This is for you. From now on I will bring you fish every day." He rowed back out into the calm lake and filled his net again. He rowed back to where the birds were standing. "This is for my family," he said and walked towards his home.

The cranes never went too far after that. They watched over the fisherman incase the water became rough, and he kept them well fed.

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