This well-known story, we're told in a note to the reader, is ""perhaps Japan's most loved folktale."" There are several versions in English, telling of the king-hearted peasant who helps a crane and soon thereafter gains a lovely wife. . . but loses her when, against her instructions, he peeps in on her weaving and sees instead a crane, plucking feathers from her breast to put into her marvelous cloth. In this version the story makes obvious moral sense, as the husband is brought down by greed (for the gold that one more exhausting weaving session will bring) as well as by impatient curiosity. With a wicked tempter stirring up the greed, this also as by impatient curiosity. With a wicked tempter stirring up the greed, this also has more down-to-earth life than other versions-but it's no less sensitive or poignant. The pictures, with their expressive cartoon figures and their functionally misty Japanese backgrounds, bring out, without overstating, and mood and meaning of each scene.