Let us remember that this story concerns the ways in which civil war can divide families and friends. This is precisely the situation that Songsam and Tokchae find themselves in, as suddenly, Songsam is charged with killing his former childhood friend. However, as the story goes on, Songsam is filled with memories of their friendship and love for each other, and begins to understand how the war has created an artificial boundary and separation between them. Looking for some way in which he can save his friend but also ensure they both survive, he remembers going crane hunting as a child, and setting a crane free, which provides him with the symbol that he needs to give him the idea of how Tonkchae can escape and both of them can carry on with their lives, with the strength of their friendship still just as powerful as it ever was. Note that Songsam remembers how the crane sored in freedom that they set free as a child:
It was shot, they thought. But the next moment, as a nother crane from a nearby bush fluttered its wings, the boys' crane stretched its long neck with a whoop and disappeared into the sky. For a long time the two boys could not take their eyes away from the blue sky into which their crane had soared.
Reasling that giving the gift of freedom to the crane was better than killing it helps us to understand the motivation of Songsam. He realises that it is better to set free his old friend rather than kill him, remaining true to the depth of their friendship.