Nice stories for kids: 12 Must Read Moral Stories for kids + FREE story cubes Printable – Upcycler’s Lab

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21 of the Best Short Stories for Kids That Have Great Morals

By Paulina Richter – Last updated

Children benefit greatly from reading morality tales because they learn empathy, consequences, and how to make wise decisions. Children learn to think critically and apply lessons to their own lives from these stories. Children are better able to retain teachings and apply them to their own experiences thanks to the tale format.

Good morals refer to a set of beliefs and values that guide a person’s behavior and decision-making. These beliefs and values are typically considered to be positive and beneficial to both the individual and society as a whole. Good morals often include traits such as honesty, empathy, fairness, and responsibility.

A short story is a great way to introduce kids to different characters, settings and plots. It is also a great way to teach kids about good values, such as kindness and respect. Reading these stories together can be a fun and interactive way to bond with your kids while teaching them valuable life lessons. These short stories in English for kids can also be used as a jumping off point for deeper conversations on the topics of morality, justice and right and wrong. So not only will your kids enjoy the stories, but they will be learning important lessons too!

1) Short Story: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Once upon a time there was a young shepherd boy who lived in a small village near the hills. He was often bored and lonely and so he would amuse himself by playing pranks on the villagers. One day, he decided to have some fun by crying out “Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is coming!” The villagers, believing the boy, ran up the hill to drive the wolf away.

But when they got there, they found nothing. The boy had been lying. The villagers were angry and scolded him for his prank. But the boy didn’t listen and soon he was doing it again.

One day, when the boy was out tending his flock, a wolf really did appear. He cried out, “Wolf! Wolf!” But this time, no one came to help him. The villagers had had enough of his tricks and refused to believe him.

The wolf quickly chased the sheep away, leaving the boy alone and frightened. But it was too late to cry for help. The wolf had gone and the boy was left with no one to turn to. He had learned a hard lesson about the consequences of lying.

From then on, the boy was more honest and thoughtful. He no longer played pranks on anyone

The moral of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is: Even if you are telling the truth, lying destroys trust because no one believes a liar.

2) Short Story: Controlling Your Anger

Once, there was a young boy who had difficulty controlling his anger. Whenever he got angry, he would blurt out whatever was on his mind, regardless of how it may have hurt those around him.

His father gave him a hammer and some nails, telling him that whenever he got angry he should hammer a nail into the backyard fence. Initially he used up half of the nails in the first few days, but eventually he was able to reduce his usage until his temper was under control.

His father then asked him to remove one nail for each day he didn’t lose his temper. When he had removed the last nail, his father said to him, “You’ve done well, but can you see the holes in the wall? The fence will never be the same. Just like that, when you say mean things in anger, you’ll leave a scar.”

The moral of the Controller Anger story is: Anger is one of the most harmful weapons, similar to a knife. The wounds will mend after using it, but the scars will endure.

3) Short Story: The Fox and the Grapes

One day, a hungry fox went searching for food. He looked everywhere but couldn’t find anything to eat. Then he saw a farmer’s wall with the most delicious-looking grapes on top. The grapes were big, juicy and purple.

The fox had to jump really high in the air to try and catch the grapes with his mouth. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t reach them. So eventually he gave up and decided the grapes must have been sour anyway.

The moral of The Fox and the Grapes story is: Don’t be discouraged when you can’t get something right away; nothing worth having comes without effort.

4) Short Story: The Proud Rose

Once Upon a Time, in a distant desert, there was a Rose who was extravagant in her admiration of her own beauty. She was so proud of her appearance that she would constantly slander the poor Cactus that grew beside her, whose only fault was its ugliness in comparison to the Rose. Despite the other plants in the area trying to reason with the Rose, she was too consumed with her vanity to take their advice.

On one scorching summer day, the desert began to dry up, leaving no water for the plants. The Rose’s beauty began to fade as her petals wilted, losing their color. The Rose noticed a Sparrow drinking from the Cactus and, despite her shame, mustered the courage to ask the Cactus for water. To her surprise, the Cactus readily agreed, and the two plants made it through the summer together as friends.

The moral of The Proud Rose story is: Don’t judge anyone by how they appear.

5) Short Story: The Wise Old Owl

The wise old owl who perched atop the grand oak tree saw many things every day. He watched a young boy help an elderly man carry a heavy basket, and a young girl yelling at her mother. As he observed these events, he kept his beak shut and his ears open.

As time went on, the owl heard more and more conversations and stories. He heard a woman tell a story about an elephant that jumped a fence, and a man brag about never making a mistake. The old owl saw the world around him, and knew that some people improved while others got worse. But no matter what he saw, he only grew wiser with each passing day.

The moral of The Wise Old Owl is: By being more observant and speaking less while listening more, we can become wise. Taking in our surroundings and really listening to what others have to say can help us to gain knowledge and insight. Paying attention to the details can give us a better understanding of the world and help us to make wise decisions.

6) Short Story: The Golden Touch

Once, in a small town, there lived a greedy man. He was very wealthy and loved all things fancy, particularly gold.

But his daughter was the most important thing to him.

One day, he stumbled upon a fairy whose hair was tangled in some tree branches. He helped her, but his greed took over and he realized he could become even richer by asking for a wish in return. The fairy granted him his wish, and he said, “I want everything I touch to turn to gold.”

The fairy granted his wish, and the greedy man rushed home to tell his wife and daughter about it.

As he touched various objects on his way home, they turned to gold.

When he finally arrived home, his daughter ran to greet him. But as soon as he picked her up, she turned into a gold statue.

The man was devastated and spent the rest of his days searching for the fairy to take away his wish. He realized the error of his ways and regretted his greed.

The moral of The Golden Touch story is: Greed inevitably leads to a downfall.

7) Short Story: When Adversity Knocks

Asha lived with her parents in a village. One day, her father gave her a simple task. He took three vessels filled with boiling water and placed an egg, a potato, and some tea leaves in each. He asked Asha to watch the vessels for ten to fifteen minutes while the ingredients boiled. After the allotted time, he asked her to peel the potato and egg and strain the tea leaves. Asha didn’t understand the point of the task, but her father explained that the three items had been placed in the same circumstances and had responded differently. The potato became soft, the egg became hard, and the tea leaves changed the color and taste of the water. He explained that when adversity strikes, people respond in different ways. He asked Asla if she was like a potato, an egg, or tea leaves.

The moral of When Adversity Knocks story is: People react differently to adversity.

8) Short Story: The King Who Loved to Hunt

There once was a king who loved to hunt. He would go out every day to hunt wild animals, but no matter how hard he tried, he never caught anything. One day, an old man came to the palace and offered to teach the king how to hunt. The king was skeptical, but he agreed. The old man taught the king to listen to the animals and understand their movements. The next day, the king went hunting and caught many animals.

The moral of The King Who Loved to Hunt story is: Listening and understanding can be more effective than brute force.

9) Short Story: The Farmer and the Donkey

There was once a farmer who had a donkey that he used to carry his crops to the market. One day, the farmer’s neighbor saw the donkey and asked if he could borrow it. The farmer agreed, but the neighbor returned the donkey the next day with its ears cut off. The farmer was angry, but he didn’t say anything. A few days later, the neighbor asked to borrow the donkey again, and the farmer agreed. This time, the neighbor returned the donkey with its tail cut off. The farmer was furious and confronted the neighbor, who apologized and explained that he had been cutting the donkey’s ears and tail to make it look more attractive.

The moral of The Farmer and the Donkey story is: Appearances can be deceiving and can cause harm.

10) Short Story: The Ant and the Grasshopper

In a meadow, there lived an ant and a grasshopper. The grasshopper spent his days singing and playing, while the ant worked hard every day, gathering food for the winter. The grasshopper mocked the ant for his hard work and urged him to join him in having fun.

But the ant ignored the grasshopper and continued to work. When winter came, the ant had stored enough food to last the season. The grasshopper, however, had nothing and was forced to beg the ant for food. The ant shared his food with the grasshopper, but warned him to prepare for the future.

The moral of The Ant and the Grasshopper story is: Prepare for the future and not being wasteful.

11) Short Story: The Tortoise and the Hare

Once upon a time, a hare boasted about how fast he could run. A tortoise, tired of being made fun of for his slow speed, challenged the hare to a race. The hare, confident in his abilities, agreed.

On the day of the race, the hare ran ahead and soon disappeared from view. He became so confident in his victory that he took a nap halfway through the race. Meanwhile, the tortoise continued at his steady pace and eventually passed the sleeping hare.

The hare woke up and rushed to the finish line, but it was too late. The tortoise had already won the race.

The moral of The Tortoise and the Hare story is: Slow and steady wins the race.

12) Short Story: The Ugly Duckling

A duckling is born in a barnyard and is ridiculed by the other animals for being different. The duckling is bigger and uglier than the other ducklings, and is constantly bullied and rejected.

The duckling leaves the barnyard and wanders into the forest, where he meets other animals who also reject him. He spends a miserable winter alone and cold, until he meets a kind old woman who takes him in and cares for him.

In the spring, the duckling grows into a beautiful swan. He realizes that he was never truly an ugly duckling, but was simply different from the other animals. He reunites with his family and is finally accepted and loved for who he is.

The moral of The Ugly Duckling story is: Inner beauty is more important than outward appearances, and that everyone has unique strengths and qualities that make them special.

13) Short Story: The Lion and the Mouse

A lion captures a mouse and plans to eat it. The mouse begs for its life and promises to return the favor if the lion lets it go. The lion, amused, agrees and lets the mouse go.

Later, the lion gets caught in a hunter’s net. The mouse, remembering its promise, comes to the lion’s rescue and gnaws through the net, freeing the lion. The lion is surprised and grateful, and learns that even the smallest act of kindness can have a big impact.

The moral of The Ugly Duckling story is: Kindness is always rewarded, and that everyone has the potential to help others, regardless of their size or strength.

14) Short Story: The Little Red Hen

A hen lives on a farm with other animals. She finds a grain of wheat and decides to plant it and make bread. She asks the other animals for help, but they all refuse, saying that it’s not their job.

The little red hen plants the wheat, tends to it, and harvests it herself. She then grinds the wheat into flour and makes bread. When the bread is ready, she asks the other animals again if they want to help her eat it. Again, they refuse. The little red hen eats the bread herself, happy to have accomplished the task on her own.

The moral of The Little Red Hen story is: Hard work and responsibility lead to success, and that everyone should do their fair share of work.

15) Short Story: The Girl in the Magical Forest

Once upon a time, in a magical forest, there lived a young girl named Lily. Lily loved to explore the forest and learn about its secrets. One day, while wandering through the forest, she came across a beautiful, golden apple hanging from a tree.

Lily was tempted to take the apple, but she remembered her mother’s words: “Only take what you need, and leave the rest for others to enjoy.” So, Lily decided to leave the apple where it was and continued on her journey.

As she walked, she came across a group of animals who were in distress. A wicked witch had cast a spell on them, turning them into stone statues. Lily, being kind and brave, used her knowledge of the forest to find the ingredients for a magic potion that could break the spell.

She gathered the ingredients and brewed the potion, and the animals were restored to their normal selves. They thanked Lily for her help and promised to be her friends forever.

The moral of The Girl in the Magical Forest story is: Kindness and respect for nature can help us overcome challenges and make lasting friendships.

16) Short Story: King Klutz

Once upon a time, in a far-off land, there lived a clumsy king named King Klutz. King Klutz was known for his klutzy ways, and he often tripped over his own feet and dropped things. Despite his clumsiness, King Klutz was a kind and fair ruler, and his people loved him.

One day, King Klutz was hosting a royal banquet in his castle. The guests arrived and were seated at the long banquet table, but before the feast could begin, King Klutz tripped over his own feet and knocked over a jug of wine. The wine spilled all over the table and onto the guests.

The guests were shocked and angry, but King Klutz, being the kind and gracious host that he was, apologized profusely and offered to pay for any damages. The guests, seeing how genuine and sincere King Klutz was, forgave him and the banquet continued without any further mishaps.

The moral of the King Klutz story is: We all make mistakes, sincere apologies and kindness can help us recover from them.

17) Short Story: The Yawning Man

A little man who lived in a small village. He had a problem: he could not stop yawning. He yawned all day, every day, no matter what he did.

The little man was embarrassed and frustrated by his constant yawning. He tried everything he could think of to stop it, but nothing worked. He was about to give up hope when he met an old wise man who gave him some advice.

The old wise man told the little man that his constant yawning was not a problem, but a gift. He said that yawning was a sign that the little man was curious and open to new experiences. He advised the little man to embrace his yawning and use it to explore the world and learn new things.

The little man took the old wise man’s advice and began to see his yawning in a new light. He started to explore the world around him and learn new things. He found that his yawning made him more curious and adventurous, and he was happier than he had ever been before.

The moral of The Yawning Man story is: Sometimes what we see as a problem can actually be a gift if we look at it in a different way.

18) Short Story: The Rainbow Crow

A beautiful bird named Rainbow Crow lived in the forest with the other animals. Rainbow Crow was known for his beautiful feathers and his sweet, melodic voice.

One day, the forest caught fire and the animals were in danger. Rainbow Crow flew to the top of the tallest tree and called out to the Great Spirit for help. The Great Spirit answered his call and sent a gentle rain to put out the fire.

Rainbow Crow was grateful, but he also knew that he had sacrificed his beautiful feathers and his sweet voice to save the forest. The other animals thanked him for his bravery and selflessness, and Rainbow Crow learned that helping others is more important than personal appearance or talents.

The moral of The Rainbow Crow story is: Selflessness and sacrifice can lead to great rewards.

19) Short Story: The Emu and the Lyrebird

An emu and a lyrebird were friends. The emu was known for his strength and speed, while the lyrebird was known for his beautiful singing.

One day, the emu and the lyrebird were out for a walk when they came across a dangerous snake. The snake was about to attack the emu when the lyrebird sang a beautiful song that distracted the snake and allowed the emu to escape.

The emu was grateful and thanked the lyrebird for saving his life. The lyrebird, humble as always, said that it was his pleasure and that the emu would have done the same for him. The emu and the lyrebird learned that true friendship is based on mutual respect and support.

The moral of the story is that true friends are always there for each other, and that everyone has unique strengths and talents that can help others.

The moral of The Emu and the Lyrebird story is: True friends are always there for each other, and that everyone has unique strengths and talents that can help others.

20) Short Story: The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats

A mother goat has seven little goats. She must leave them home alone while she goes out to find food, so she warns them to be careful and not to let anyone in.

While the mother goat is away, a wolf comes to the door and tries to trick the little goats into opening the door and letting him in. The little goats, remembering their mother’s warning, refuse to open the door. The wolf gets angry and tries to break down the door, but the little goats are able to hold it shut.

The mother goat returns and sees the wolf trying to break down the door. She uses her clever wit to trick the wolf into falling into a pit and captures him. The little goats are safe, and they learn the importance of listening to their mother and being careful.

The moral of The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats story is: Listening to advice and being cautious can protect us from danger.

21) Short Story: The Brave Little Tailor

A tailor is known for his skill and bravery. One day, he receives a message from the king, asking him to defeat a giant who has been terrorizing the kingdom.

The tailor, being brave and clever, devises a plan to defeat the giant. He makes a giant-sized suit of armor and fills it with rocks, so that it looks like a real giant. He then puts on the suit and goes to confront the real giant.

The giant, seeing the “giant” approaching, is scared and runs away. The tailor is hailed as a hero and is rewarded by the king. The tailor learns that bravery and cleverness can overcome even the biggest challenges.

The moral of The Brave Little Tailor story is: Courage and intelligence are powerful tools that can help us overcome obstacles and achieve our goals.

50 Irresistible Short Stories for Kids (Read Them All for Free!)

Looking for some free tales to use for close reading or classroom read-alouds? This roundup of short stories for kids has plenty of options. From quick fables with morals to old-fashioned fairy tales and folktales from around the world, this diverse collection offers something for any child. We’ve also included ways to use these short stories with kids, in the classroom or at home.

Note: Always be sure to read a selection through before sharing it with children. Some of these short stories for kids, especially ones written a long time ago, may not be appropriate for every audience.

Classic Fairy Tale Short Stories for Kids

“Cinderella” by Charles Perrault

“‘Do not cry, Cinderella,’ she said; ‘you also shall go to the ball, because you are a kind, good girl.’”

Why I love it: This is one of those short stories for kids that everyone probably already knows. This older version is a little different than the Disney movie, so ask kids if they can identify the changes. They can also have fun imagining what other items could be transformed to help Cinderella get to the ball!

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen

“‘But the Emperor has nothing at all on!’ said a little child.”

Why I love it: This is a wonderful story for talking about peer pressure and being brave enough to stand up for what you believe in. Kids will also enjoy drawing the imaginary suit of clothes that the king thought he saw.

“The Frog Prince” by the Brothers Grimm

“And the princess, though very unwilling, took him up in her hand, and put him upon the pillow of her own bed, where he slept all night long. As soon as it was light, he jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went out of the house. ‘Now, then,’ thought the princess, ‘at last he is gone, and I shall be troubled with him no more.’”

Why I love it: Kids love this familiar story about a prince in disguise and a young girl who keeps her word even though she doesn’t want to. In this version, the girl doesn’t need to kiss the frog, but she’s rewarded anyway.

“The Gingerbread Man” by Anonymous

“Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Why I love it: In the original tale, the Gingerbread Man is eventually caught and eaten. This retelling gives him a happy ending instead. For a fun activity, let kids decorate and eat their own gingerbread people.


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“Jack and the Beanstalk” by Anonymous

“Why, the beans his mother had thrown out of the window into the garden had sprung up into a giant beanstalk which went up and up and up until it reached the sky. So the man spoke truth after all!”

Why I love it: This story is a fun read, but use it to get your students thinking critically. Was it really OK for Jack to steal from the giant? Ask them to write an essay sharing their thoughts on the subject, or use it for a fun classroom debate.

“Little Red Riding Hood” by the Brothers Grimm

“‘But Grandmother! What big eyes you have,’ said Little Red Riding Hood.

‘The better to see you with, my dear,’ replied the wolf.”

Why I love it: This retelling of the well-known tale is a little less gruesome, since the hunter merely frightens the wolf into spitting out poor granny (instead of slicing open his belly). Talk with kids about ways they can keep themselves safe when they’re out in the world.

“The Pied Piper of Hamelin” by the Brothers Grimm

“He sounded his fife in the streets, but this time it wasn’t rats and mice that came to him, but rather children: a great number of boys and girls from their fourth year on. Among them was the mayor’s grown daughter. The swarm followed him, and he led them into a mountain, where he disappeared with them.”

Why I love it: Some say this is a true story, and whether or not that’s true, it definitely has a moral—when people make a bargain, they should stick to their agreement. Ask kids to think about what kind of music the Pied Piper might have played, and why both children and rats couldn’t resist it.

“The Princess and the Pea” by Hans Christian Andersen

“I cannot think what could have been in the bed. I lay upon something so hard that I am quite black and blue all over.”

Why I love it: This has long been one of the most beloved short stories for kids, and it’s ideal when you need a quick read. Then, grab some dried peas and see how thick a covering needs to be before students can no longer feel them.

“Puss in Boots” by Charles Perrault

“Puss became a great lord, and never ran after mice anymore, except for pleasure.”

Why I love it: All cat lovers know these animals can be pretty smart when they want to be. This one helps his poor master become a prince in a castle, all through his own clever tricks. Encourage students to come up with more creative ways Puss in Boots could help his master.

“Rumpelstiltskin” by the Brothers Grimm

“‘I will give you three days,’ said he, ‘if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep your child.’”

Why I love it: Pretty much everyone in this story behaves badly in one way or another. Use it to learn more about characters and their motivation.

“Sleeping Beauty” by the Brothers Grimm

“A great many changes take place in a hundred years.”

Why I love it: After students read this well-known story, ask them to think about what it would be like to go to sleep today and wake up in a hundred years. What might the world be like? Or what would it be like for someone who fell asleep a hundred years ago to wake up today? How many things have changed since then?

“Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”

Why I love it: This fairy tale has all the classic elements—beautiful heroine, wicked stepmother, handsome prince—plus a handful of helpful dwarves. It’s the perfect way to start a conversation about the dangers of envy and jealousy.

“The Three Little Pigs” by Anonymous

“Not by the hairs on our chinny chin chin!”

Why I love it: Fairy tales don’t get much more classic than this. Follow it up with a reading of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciesczka to hear the story from the wolf’s perspective, and have a conversation about point of view.

“The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Andersen

“But what did he see there, mirrored in the clear stream? He beheld his own image, and it was no longer the reflection of a clumsy, dirty, gray bird, ugly and offensive.

He himself was a swan! Being born in a duck yard does not matter, if only you are hatched from a swan’s egg.”

Why I love it: Whether you read the original text or a shorter adaptation, this story is one every kid should know. It will teach them that everyone should be proud of who they are, even if they don’t look or feel like everyone else.

Aesop’s Fables as Short Stories for Kids

“The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by Aesop

“So now, though he had not seen anything that even looked like a Wolf, he ran toward the village shouting at the top of his voice, ‘Wolf! Wolf!’”

Why I love it: This might be the most famous short story we use to teach kids about how important it is to tell the truth. Ask students if they’ve ever pulled a prank that went wrong, and what they learned from it.

“The Crow and the Pitcher” by Aesop

“But the pitcher was high and had a narrow neck, and no matter how he tried, the Crow could not reach the water.”

Why I love it: Aesop’s fable reads more like a STEM challenge—how can you reach the water at the bottom of the pitcher when your neck isn’t long enough? Try the same experiment with your students, using a narrow-necked bottle. Can they come up with any other solutions?

“The Fox and the Grapes” by Aesop

“The grapes seemed ready to burst with juice, and the Fox’s mouth watered as he gazed longingly at them.”

Why I love it: If kids have ever wondered where the phrase “sour grapes” comes from, this tale will answer that question. Talk about other idiomatic phrases, and do some research to find their origins.

“The Lion and the Mouse” by Aesop

“‘You laughed when I said I would repay you,’ said the Mouse. ‘Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion.’”

Why I love it: This fable reminds kids that they’re never too small to make a difference in someone’s life. Ask kids to share their own stories of times they helped someone.

“The Tortoise and the Hare” by Aesop

“The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.

Why I love it: When kids need a reminder that they should always keep trying, turn to this famous story. Use it to teach growth mindset too.

“Two Travelers and a Bear” by Aesop

“Two men were traveling in company through a forest, when, all at once, a huge bear crashed out of the brush near them.”

Why I love it: When danger strikes, do you worry about yourself first or try to help everyone to safety? There are arguments to be made on both sides, so this one makes for an interesting debate or persuasive essay.

More Short Stories for Kids

“Anansi and the Pot of Wisdom” by Anonymous

“Every time Anansi looked in the clay pot, he learned something new.”

Why I love it: Kids may know about Anansi from the popular book Anansi the Spider, but there are lots of tales about him in West African folklore. In this one, Anansi thinks he knows everything, but a child has something new to teach him. Explore more Anansi tales here.

“The Apple Dumpling” by Anonymous

“A bag of feathers for a basket of plums. A bunch of flowers for a bag of feathers. A golden chain for a bunch of flowers. And a dog for a golden chain. All the world is give and take, and who knows if I may have my apple dumpling yet.”

Why I love it: When an old woman sets out to trade her basket of plums for some apples, her quest takes a few twists and turns along the way. In the end, though, she manages to make many people happy, not just herself. Practice sequencing by having kids try to remember all the trades the woman makes, and the order she makes them in.

“The Blind Men and the Elephant” by Anonymous

“SIXTH BLIND MAN (feeling the tail): This elephant is not like a wall, or a spear, or a snake, or a tree, or a fan. He is exactly like a rope.”

Why I love it: Six blind men each feel a different part of an elephant, and each comes to his own very different conclusions. Written as a very short play, this classic tale opens up all sorts of discussion opportunities about seeing the bigger picture.

“Bruce and the Spider” by James Baldwin

“But the spider did not lose hope with the sixth failure. With still more care, she made ready to try for the seventh time. Bruce almost forgot his own troubles as he watched her swing herself out upon the slender line. Would she fail again? No! The thread was carried safely to the beam, and fastened there.”

Why I love it: This famous little tale is almost certainly a myth, but it’s one of the most well-known stories about King Robert the Bruce. The lesson about not giving up fits perfectly when you’re talking about growth mindset.

“The Elephant’s Child” by Rudyard Kipling

“But there was one Elephant—a new Elephant—an Elephant’s Child—who was full of ’satiable curiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions.”

Why I love it: Many kids will recognize themselves in the Elephant’s Child and his (in)satiable curiosity. After you read this one, have students come up with stories for the way other animals got their unique features. How did the giraffe get its long neck? How did the turtle get its shell? So many possibilities!

“Paul Bunyan” by William B. Laughead

“When Paul was a boy, he was fast as lightning. He could blow out a candle at night and hop into bed before it was dark.”

Why I love it: Paul Bunyan is an American folk hero, larger than life (literally!). This roundup of the legends surrounding him has many of the most famous tales. Encourage kids to think about what they’d do if they were as big, strong, and fast as Paul.

“The Empty Pot” by Anonymous

“In six months, the boy who grew the best plant would be the one to win the contest. He would be the next to sit on the throne.”

Why I love it: This story can teach kids a lesson about honesty, but it’s also got a STEM project built right in. The emperor’s royal seeds wouldn’t grow because they’d been cooked first. Have kids try their own experiment to see if they can get peas that have been cooked to sprout!

“The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper

“I think I can.

I think I can.”

Why I love it: When little ones learn early on to believe in themselves, they’ll be willing to try their best at anything. Have kids tell their own stories of times they did something that seemed impossible at first when they kept on trying.

“Fifty-Cent Piece” by S.E. Schlosser

“As he caught her, the husband looked into the ruin and saw a burnt table with a shiny fifty-cent piece lying in the center.”

Why I love it: A spooky story that isn’t too gory, this one’s a perfect read in the season leading up to Halloween. Challenge kids to write their own ghost stories next.

“The Four Dragons” by Anonymous

“The four dragons flew back and forth, making the sky dark all around. Before long the sea water became rain pouring down from the sky.”

Why I love it: The four dragons in this Chinese tale want to help save the people from drought. When the Jade Emperor won’t help, they take matters into their own hands. Ultimately, they become the four major rivers of China. This is a great opportunity to get out the globe or pull up Google Earth and learn more about China’s geography.

“Goldilocks and the FOUR Bears” by Andrea Kaczmarek

“Nobody ever talks about me. I don’t know why, because I am the most important bear in the story. I am Grandma Growl, but everybody calls me Granny G, and I am the best porridge maker in the world.”

Why I love it: Hear the classic tale from a new perspective, told by a character you never even knew existed! Use this as inspiration to have kids add a character to their own favorite tales, and tell the story from their point of view.

“Haunted” by Harris Tobias

“‘Just because a house is haunted,’ he said, ‘doesn’t mean you can’t live there. The trick is making friends with the ghosts, learning to get along with them.’”

Why I love it: Need a not-so-spooky story for Halloween? This tale of ghosts who love to bake fits the bill. Kids can write their own stories of making friends with ghosts instead of being scared of them.

“Henny Penny” by Anonymous

“So Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey and Turkey-Lurkey all went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.”

Why I love it: In an age when people are quick to spread rumors as fact, this old European folktale is more meaningful than ever. See if kids can think of times when they heard a crazy rumor that they believed at first, even though it turned out to be completely false.

“How Gimme the Ax Found Out About the Zigzag Railroad” by Carl Sandburg

“Then the zizzies came. The zizzy is a bug. He runs zigzag on zigzag legs, eats zigzag with zigzag teeth, and spits zigzag with a zigzag tongue.”

Why I love it: Kids will get a kick out of all the Z sounds in this silly little story about why some local railroad tracks run in zigzags. Use it to teach about alliteration and consonance, and ask kids to draw their own pictures of the zizzies.

“King Midas and the Golden Touch” by Anonymous

“Suddenly, he started to sense fear.

Tears filled his eyes and that moment, his beloved daughter entered the room. When Midas hugged her, she turned into a golden statue!”

Why I love it: Teach kids to be careful what they wish for. Ask them to make a list of wishes, then talk about ways each of them could ultimately go wrong. Have them write their own version of this short story.

“The Kite That Went to the Moon” by Evelyn Sharp

“‘I have everything in the world in my bag,’ replied the little old man, ‘for everything is there that everybody wants. I have laughter and tears and happiness and sadness; I can give you riches or poverty, sense or nonsense; here is a way to discover the things that you don’t know, and a way to forget the things that you do know.’”

Why I love this: This whimsical tale takes two small children on a voyage to the moon and back, as they follow an enchanted kite. Pair it with a crafting session where kids make their own kites to fly.

“The Monkey and the Turtle” by José Rizal

“A monkey and a turtle found a banana tree on a river.

They fished it out and because each wanted the tree for himself, they cut it in half.”

Why I love it: A monkey and a turtle each plant half a banana tree, but only the turtle’s grows. The monkey offers to harvest the fruit but keeps it all for himself. But the turtle has plans of his own! This folktale from the Philippines is actually an allegory about the Spanish colonizers’ treatment of the Filipino people.

“Mouse!” by Michał Przywara

“‘What?’

I wonder.
‘How dare you?
What insolence is this?’
Such a cheeky little mouse
defying me in my own house,
I simply cannot stomach this at all.”

Why I love it: This clever little story is told using a triangular number sequence that dictates the number of words per line. Challenge students to write their own tales using a pattern or sequence of some kind.

“The Proud Rose” by Anonymous

“Once upon a time, there lived a proud rose that was incredibly proud of her beautiful looks. The only disappointment it had was that it grew beside an ugly cactus.

Why I love it: It’s hard to imagine a flower being a bully, but that’s exactly what happens in this story. Fortunately, the cactus doesn’t let the rose stop it from being kind.

“The Sword in the Stone” by T.H. White

“Whoever pulls out this sword from this stone is the true king of England!”

Why I love it: This quick retelling of the familiar tale covers all the high points. Follow it with more of the Arthurian legends or a viewing of the classic Disney film.

“The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter

“‘NOW, my dears,’ said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, ‘you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.’”

Why I love it: Beatrix Potter’s sweet tales are beloved, but this is the one that has really endured. Pair it with one of these terrific Peter Rabbit activities.

“The Pumpkin in the Jar” by Anonymous

“The soldier’s orders were to tell the maiden that the jar was from the king, and that she was to put an entire pumpkin inside the jar.

The soldier was also to tell the maiden that she should not break the jar under any circumstance. Both the jar with the small opening at the top and the pumpkin must remain whole.”

Why I love it: Before you read the end of the story, stop and ask kids if they can figure out how the maiden managed to get a pumpkin into a jar without breaking it. See how fast they can come up with the right answer!

“Rainbow Bird” by Eric Maddern

“Bird flew around each tree putting fire into tree’s core. This way a tree could be used as wood to create fire.”

Why I love it: Learn the Australian Aboriginal legend about a greedy crocodile who wouldn’t share his fire, and the Rainbow Bird who outsmarted him. Look up the Aboriginal Dreamtime and learn more about their art and culture.

“Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling

“Rikki-tikki did not care to follow them, for he did not feel sure that he could manage two snakes at once. So he trotted off to the gravel path near the house, and sat down to think.

It was a serious matter for him.”

Why I love it: Reading this story is like watching a nature documentary unfold on the page. Have kids do some research on the mongoose and its relationship with cobras in real life.

“Stone Soup” by Anonymous

“He pulled a big black cooking pot from his wagon. He filled it with water and built a fire under it. Then, he reached slowly into his knapsack and, while several villagers watched, he pulled a plain gray stone from a cloth bag and dropped it into the water.”

Why I love it: Want to teach kids to work together and share? This is the short story you need. Ask kids what they’d bring to put in the pot of soup themselves.

“The Story of the Chinese Zodiac” by Anonymous

“He reached out his paws and pushed his friend the cat into the river. The cat was swept away by the whirling waters. That is why there is no cat in the Chinese calendar.”

Why I love it: This short little tale manages to answer two questions—why there’s no Year of the Cat and why cats and rats can’t be friends. After reading it, try to imagine how the other animals in the calendar managed to win their spots.

“The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams

“‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’”

Why I love it: This is one of the most classic short stories for kids of all time! Let kids bring their own favorite toys to share with the class, and have them write or tell stories about what would happen if they became “real.”

“Weighing the Elephant” by Anonymous

“‘Very well,’ said the Emperor with a smile. ‘Tell me how to weigh the elephant.’”

Why I love it: Read this traditional Chinese tale right up to the point where the young boy reveals his idea for weighing an elephant without a giant scale. Ask kids if they can come up with the solution before continuing to the end of the story. You can even try out the correct method as a STEM challenge.

“Why the Koala Has a Stumpy Tail” by Mitch Weiss

“Just then, Tree Kangaroo had a plan. He remembered back to the last dry season when his mother excavated a hole in a dry stream bed.”

Why I love it: Look up pictures of the tree kangaroo and koala, then read this Aboriginal legend explaining why the koala’s tail is so much shorter. What other unique Australian animals can kids learn about and share with the class?

“Winnie-the-Pooh Goes Visiting” by A.A. Milne

“Pooh always liked a little something at eleven o’clock in the morning, and he was very glad to see Rabbit getting out the plates and mugs; and when Rabbit said, ‘Honey or condensed milk with your bread?’ he was so excited that he said, ‘Both,’ and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, ‘But don’t bother about the bread, please.’”

Why I love it: This silly old bear has been delighting children for decades, and there are dozens of short stories for kids about him and his friends. This one has a little built-in moral about greed. You can also ask kids to brainstorm their own ways to get Pooh free from Rabbit’s front door.

Looking for more short stories for kids? Check out this roundup geared toward the middle school crowd.

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Stories for children 7-8-9-10 years old

Search by title on the page

Dragunsky’s funny and instructive story about how Denis imagined himself as an adult. The boy dreamed about how he would reprimand his father, mother and grandmother for misbehavior: being late, walking without a hat, talking at dinner, etc. This…

A story about two friends who were left alone in the country for two days. When leaving, my mother explained how to cook porridge and soup. Yes, only the boys did not listen to advice at all. Read how friends caught escaping porridge, got a bucket …

A funny story about how the yard dog Bobik came to visit his master’s Barbos. Bobik was surprised by everything in the house: a wall clock, a hairbrush, a mirror, a TV set. Watchdog, as a hospitable host, explained to a friend about the purpose of objects. And then…

A funny story about a boy who didn’t want to eat semolina. Mom promised to take him to the Kremlin if he ate all the porridge. Deniska adds sugar, salt, water and even horseradish to the porridge to make it more…

A story about how a teacher witty weaned Fedya Rybkin from laughing in class. The boy was smeared with mascara, the whole class could not look at him without laughing. This made Fred very happy. The teacher, having discovered the reason for the fun, said that on …

A funny story about how three friends went on a trip around the world, taking with them a dog and a bag full of things: plates, forks, pencils, pillows and other utensils. Read how their campaign ended and Styopka succeeded …

💡 All works of the «7-10 years» section can be listened to or downloaded on our website.

💡 You are in the stories section.

Site news

This section of our site contains stories of favorite Russian writers for children 7-8-9-10 years. Many of them are included in the main school curriculum and the extracurricular reading program for grades 2 and 3. However, these interesting stories for children are worth reading not for the sake of a line in the reader’s diary. Being classics of Russian literature, the stories of Tolstoy, Bianchi and other authors have educational and educational functions. In short children’s stories, the reader is faced with good and evil, friendship and betrayal, honesty and deceit. Younger students learn about the life and way of life of previous generations.

The stories of the classics not only teach and edify, but also entertain. Funny stories of Zoshchenko, Dragunsky, Oster are familiar to every person since childhood. Plots understandable to children and light humor made the stories the most readable works among junior schoolchildren aged 7-10. Read interesting stories of Russian writers online on our website!

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Book selections:

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  • 103)
  • Good fairy tales for kids (182)
  • Instructive fairy tales and stories (330)
  • Fairy tales for girls (68)
  • Fairy tales for boys (100)
  • Fairy tales and stories about spring (27)
  • Tales and stories about winter (72)
  • Tales and stories about summer (18)
  • Tales and stories about friendship and friends (118)
  • Tales and stories about mother (26)
  • Tales and stories about autumn (20)
  • Tales and stories about school (38)
  • Tales about good and evil ( 89)
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  • Soviet fairy tales (57)
  • Therapeutic fairy tales, fairy tale therapy (39)

School reading:

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Funny stories for kids — read online with pictures.

Search by title on page

Dragunsky’s funny and instructive story about how Denis imagined himself as an adult. The boy dreamed about how he would reprimand his father, mother and grandmother for misbehavior: being late, walking without a hat, talking at dinner, etc. This…

A story about two friends who were left alone in the country for two days. When leaving, my mother explained how to cook porridge and soup. Yes, only the boys did not listen to advice at all. Read how friends caught escaping porridge, got a bucket …

A funny story about how the yard dog Bobik came to visit his master’s Barbos. Bobik was surprised by everything in the house: a wall clock, a hairbrush, a mirror, a TV set. Watchdog, as a hospitable host, explained to a friend about the purpose of objects. And then…

A funny story about a boy who didn’t want to eat semolina. Mom promised to take him to the Kremlin if he ate all the porridge. Deniska adds sugar, salt, water and even horseradish to the porridge to make it more…

A story about how a teacher witty weaned Fedya Rybkin from laughing in class. The boy was smeared with mascara, the whole class could not look at him without laughing. This made Fred very happy. The teacher, having discovered the reason for the fun, said that on …

A funny story about how three friends went on a trip around the world, taking with them a dog and a bag full of things: plates, forks, pencils, pillows and other utensils. Read how their campaign ended and Styopka succeeded …

💡 All works of the «funny stories» section can be listened to or downloaded on our website.

💡 You are in the stories section.

Site news

This section of our site contains the funniest stories for children of all ages. The stories of Nosov, Dragunsky, Zoshchenko, Oster and other classics have been read by thousands of children for several decades. The works have not lost their relevance and humor. Clear texts, interesting stories, funny characters and situations are very popular with young readers.

Moral and educational aspects of the works are hidden behind funny stories.

By alexxlab

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