In the book A Single Shard, Crane-man acts as a father to the orphaned main character, Tree-ear. The two live under a bridge together, and Crane-man teaches him never to steal from others, despite having to eat scraps in order to survive. When Tree-ear starts working for the master potter Min and is given a meal each day, he figures out a way to save half of his lunch for Crane-man.
When Tree-ear comes back from his journey to Songdo, he learns from Min that Crane-man has died. While Crane-man was on a bridge, a farmer with a heavy cart started crossing as well. The wood of the bridge was rotten, and when the farmer's cart came past, Crane-man was forced off the side, broke through the railing, and fell into the water below.