There are ancient legends of giant cranes eating small people (pygmies). The indication is that this primarily happened in Africa. However, there is some indication that the pygmies of Africa may have ties to negritos in Malaysia and the Philipines. The Sarus Crane can grow to almost 6-feet tall and scientists have found skeletons of giant crane-like birds that may have been prehistoric remnants. To any bird this size, a small creature, regardless of species, may seem like food.
From a mythological lens, it is important to consider that the “crane” being mentioned is not, in fact, an animal but the animal is being used as code for a people or tribe.
The obvious candidates for this would be those who regard the crane nationally, such as the Ukraine and Uganda. It is also possible that as the stories evolved and migrated, the name of the bird changed. What type of bird could it have been? Possibly the Frigatebird or the Haast Eagle. And history already shows that tribes associated with the eagle were at war and possibly hunting those of the serpent. As we see with the modern pygmies, there is nothing saying those ancient animosities have stopped or that one would know they are being targeted. So it is important to identify which tribes were at war and why.
So why would a country or people hunt another tribe? This kind of conflict or warfare happens all the time. What makes this unique is that the pygmies are hunted for their blood and body parts. In Africa, it is not unusual for body parts to be taken as trophies. This practice has happened all around the world, such as drinking from the skulls of fallen enemies. The plight of the pygmies is unique in this sense because it is believed that their bodies and blood hold magical properties.
Why would modern people hold this belief? First, it might be true. Second, if you hate your neighbor, one way to rally others is to propose that your allies will gain something extraordinary in winning the fight. Third, if one believes that the human equivalent of “tiger dick” will make you virile or a champion or a king, one will be more inclined to hunt and kill the tiger. Fourth, humans have a long tradition of cannibalism so this may be a situation of opportunity. Fifth, if one can make smaller or less powerful people their slaves, then they will use fear and oppressive techniques to do so.
How does this tie to a vampyre or werewolf story? The vampyre and werewolf descend from an elven race that likely originated near Scythia. Additionally, the ancient humans (wood wose) would have witnessed pure vampyre absorbing the “talents” or abilities that were given to hybrids upon the death of the hybrid. This may have given the human a false notion that this exchange of ability/talent/energy/magick was possible upon the death of another being and/or through the consumption of that being or their blood.
Another word for “crane,” was “daru.” This also was a cognate with the Old High German “tara” and “deer.”
There is some evidence in the Pueblo Indian creation myths that there were Crane and Pelican people who lived “north.” The Zuni tribe was also called the Crane people.