Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
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Ronald Himler

Chizuko came to visit her friend Sadako in the hospital. She had a piece of gold paper that she had cut into a large square. "Watch!" she said, and she folded the paper over and over, and it turned into a beautiful crane.

"If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes," Chizuko said, "the gods will grant her wish and make her well again." The girl handed the crane to Sadako. "Here's your first one."

Sadako Sasaki was only twelve years old when she died. She was two when an atom bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima in Japan, where she lived with her family. Ten years later she had leukemia as a result of radiation from the bomb.

Sadako had folded six hundred and forty-four cranes. The flock hung above her bed on strings. Her classmates folded the rest.

Today Sadako is a heroine to the children of Japan, who visit her memorial in the Hiroshima Peace Park to leave the paper cranes they make in her honor.

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