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20 Best Short Moral Stories for Kids (Valuable Lessons)

Want to expand your children’s vocabulary? Read to them. That’s all it takes — and there are other benefits to reading aloud to young children as well.

Reading to older children offers a great method to teach them life lessons in a way that they’ll understand. And it’s easier than ever to find these moral stories to read.

There is a large selection of short moral stories for kids online. They range from the classics like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, to somber ones talking about greed. To help you out, we’ve gathered a selection of the most 20 popular stories.

Table of Contents

  • 20 Short Moral Stories For Kids
  • How Moral Stories Benefit Children
  • The Takeaway

20 Short Moral Stories For Kids

1. The Boy Who Cried Wolf

The Moral

Lying breaks trust — even if you’re telling the truth, no one believes a liar.

Once, there was a boy who became bored when he watched over the village sheep grazing on the hillside. To entertain himself, he sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!”

When the villagers heard the cry, they came running up the hill to drive the wolf away. But, when they arrived, they saw no wolf. The boy was amused when seeing their angry faces.

“Don’t scream wolf, boy,” warned the villagers, “when there is no wolf!” They angrily went back down the hill.

Later, the shepherd boy cried out once again, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!” To his amusement, he looked on as the villagers came running up the hill to scare the wolf away.

As they saw there was no wolf, they said strictly, “Save your frightened cry for when there really is a wolf! Don’t cry ‘wolf’ when there is no wolf!” But the boy grinned at their words while they walked grumbling down the hill once more.

Later, the boy saw a real wolf sneaking around his flock. Alarmed, he jumped on his feet and cried out as loud as he could, “Wolf! Wolf!” But the villagers thought he was fooling them again, and so they didn’t come to help.

At sunset, the villagers went looking for the boy who hadn’t returned with their sheep. When they went up the hill, they found him weeping.

“There really was a wolf here! The flock is gone! I cried out, ‘Wolf!’ but you didn’t come,” he wailed.

An old man went to comfort the boy. As he put his arm around him, he said, “Nobody believes a liar, even when he is telling the truth!”

2. The Golden Touch

The Moral

Greed will always lead to downfall.

There once was a king named Midas who did a good deed for a Satyr. And he was then granted a wish by Dionysus, the god of wine.

For his wish, Midas asked that whatever he touched would turn to gold. Despite Dionysus’ efforts to prevent it, Midas pleaded that this was a fantastic wish, and so, it was bestowed.

Excited about his newly-earned powers, Midas started touching all kinds of things, turning each item into pure gold.

But soon, Midas became hungry. As he picked up a piece of food, he found he couldn’t eat it. It had turned to gold in his hand.

Hungry, Midas groaned, “I’ll starve! Perhaps this was not such an excellent wish after all!”

Seeing his dismay, Midas’ beloved daughter threw her arms around him to comfort him, and she, too, turned to gold. “The golden touch is no blessing,” Midas cried.

3. The Fox and the Grapes

The Moral

Never despise what we can’t have; nothing comes easy.

One day, a fox became very hungry as he went to search for some food. He searched high and low, but couldn’t find something that he could eat.

Finally, as his stomach rumbled, he stumbled upon a farmer’s wall. At the top of the wall, he saw the biggest, juiciest grapes he’d ever seen. They had a rich, purple color, telling the fox they were ready to be eaten.

To reach the grapes, the fox had to jump high in the air. As he jumped, he opened his mouth to catch the grapes, but he missed. The fox tried again but missed yet again.

He tried a few more times but kept failing.

Finally, the fox decided it was time to give up and go home. While he walked away, he muttered, “I’m sure the grapes were sour anyway.”

4. The Proud Rose

The Moral

Never judge anyone by the way they look.

Once upon a time, in a desert far away, there was a rose who was so proud of her beautiful looks. Her only complaint was growing next to an ugly cactus.

Every day, the beautiful rose would insult and mock the cactus on his looks, all while the cactus remained quiet. All the other plants nearby tried to make the rose see sense, but she was too swayed by her own looks.

One scorching summer, the desert became dry, and there was no water left for the plants. The rose quickly began to wilt. Her beautiful petals dried up, losing their lush color.

Looking to the cactus, she saw a sparrow dip his beak into the cactus to drink some water. Though ashamed, the rose asked the cactus if she could have some water. The kind cactus readily agreed, helping them both through the tough summer, as friends.

5. The Milkmaid and Her Pail

The Moral

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

One day, Molly the milkmaid had filled her pails with milk. Her job was to milk the cows, and then bring the milk to the market to sell. Molly loved to think about what to spend her money on.

As she filled the pails with milk and went to market, she again thought of all the things she wanted to buy. As she walked along the road, she thought of buying a cake and a basket full of fresh strawberries.

A little further down the road, she spotted a chicken. She thought, “With the money I get from today, I’m going to buy a chicken of my own. That chicken will lay eggs, then I will be able to sell milk and eggs and get more money!”

She continued, “With more money, I will be able to buy a fancy dress and make all the other milkmaids jealous.” Out of excitement, Molly started skipping, forgetting about the milk in her pails. Soon, the milk started spilling over the edges, covering Molly.

Drenched, Molly said to herself, “Oh no! I will never have enough money to buy a chicken now.” She went home with her empty pails.

“Oh, my goodness! What happened to you?” Molly’s mother asked.

“I was too busy dreaming about all the things I wanted to buy that I forgot about the pails,” she answered.

“Oh, Molly, my dear. How many times do I need to say, ‘Don’t count your chickens until they hatch?’”

6. A Wise Old Owl

The Moral

Be more observant. Talk less and listen more. This will make us wise.

There was an old owl who lived in an oak tree. Every day, he observed incidents that occurred around him.

Yesterday, he watched as a young boy helped an old man carry a heavy basket. Today, he saw a young girl shouting at her mother. The more he saw, the less he spoke.

As the days went on, he spoke less but heard more. The old owl heard people talking and telling stories.

He heard a woman saying an elephant jumped over a fence. He heard a man saying that he had never made a mistake.

The old owl had seen and heard what happened to people. There were some who became better, some who became worse. But the old owl in the tree had become wiser, each and every day.

7. The Golden Egg

The Moral

Never act before you think.

Once upon a time, a farmer had a goose that laid one golden egg every day. The egg provided enough money for the farmer and his wife to support their daily needs. The farmer and his wife continued to be happy for a long time.

But, one day, the farmer thought to himself, “Why should we take just one egg a day? Why can’t we take them all at once and make a lot of money?” The farmer told his wife his idea, and she foolishly agreed.

Then, the next day, as the goose laid its golden egg, the farmer was quick with a sharp knife. He killed the goose and cut its stomach open, in the hopes of finding all its golden eggs. But, as he opened the stomach, the only thing he found was guts and blood.

The farmer quickly realized his foolish mistake and proceeded to cry over his lost resource. As the days went on, the farmer and his wife became poorer and poorer. How jinxed and how foolish they were.

8. The Farmer and the Well

The Moral

Cheating will not get you anything. If you cheat, you’ll pay soon enough.

One day, a farmer was looking for a water source for his farm, when he bought a well from his neighbor. The neighbor, however, was cunning. The next day, as the farmer came to draw water from his well, the neighbor refused to let him take any water.

When the farmer asked why, the neighbor replied, “I sold you the well, not the water,” and walked away. Distraught, the farmer went to the emperor to ask for justice. He explained what had happened.

The emperor called on Birbal, one of his nine, and wisest, courtiers. Birbal proceeded to question the neighbor, “Why don’t you let the farmer take water from the well? You did sell the well to the farmer?”

The neighbor replied, “Birbal, I did sell the well to the farmer but not the water within it. He has no right to draw water from the well.”

Birbal said, “Look, since you sold the well, you have no right to keep the water in the farmer’s well. Either you pay rent to the farmer, or take it out immediately.” Realizing that his scheme had failed, the neighbor apologized and went home.

9. Elephant and Friends

The Moral

Friends come in every shape and size.

A lone elephant walked through the forest, looking for friends. She soon saw a monkey and proceeded to ask, ‘Can we be friends, monkey?’

The monkey quickly replied, ‘You are big and can’t swing on trees like I do, so I cannot be your friend.’

Defeated, the elephant continued to search when it stumbled across a rabbit. She proceeded to ask him, ‘Can we be friends, rabbit?’

The rabbit looked at the elephant and replied, “You are too big to fit inside my burrow. You cannot be my friend.”

Then, the elephant continued until she met a frog. She asked, “Will you be my friend, frog?”

The frog replied, “You are too big and heavy; you cannot jump like me. I am sorry, but you can’t be my friend.”

The elephant continued to ask the animals she met on her way, but always received the same reply. The following day, the elephant saw all the forest animals run in fear. She stopped a bear to ask what was happening and was told the tiger was attacking all the small animals.

The elephant wanted to save the other animals, so she went to the tiger and said, “Please, sir, leave my friends alone. Do not eat them.”

The tiger didn’t listen. He merely told the elephant to mind her own business.

Seeing no other way, the elephant kicked the tiger and scared him away. Upon hearing of the brave tale, the other animals agreed, “You are just the right size to be our friend.”

10. When Adversity Knocks

The Moral

We can choose how to respond in difficult situations.

Asha was getting frustrated and tired of life, so she asked her father what to do. Her father told her to bring an egg, two tea leaves, and a potato. He then brought out three vessels, filled them with water, and placed them on the stove.

Once the water was boiling, he told Asha to place the items into each pot and keep an eye on them. After 10 minutes, he asked Asha to peel the egg, peel the potato, and strain the leaves. Asha was left confused.

Her father explained, “Each item was placed into the same circumstance, boiling water. See how each responded differently?”

He continued, “The egg was soft, but is now hard. The potato was hard, but is now soft. And the tea leaves, they changed the water itself.”

The father then asked, “When adversity calls, we respond in the same manner as they have. Now, are you an egg, a potato, or tea leaves?”

11. The Needle Tree

The Moral

It’s important to be kind, as it will always be rewarded.

Once, there were two brothers who lived at the forest’s edge. The oldest brother was always unkind to his younger brother. The older brother took all the food and snatched all the good clothes.

The oldest brother used to go into the forest in search of firewood to sell in the market. As he walked through the forest, he chopped off the branches of every tree, until he came upon a magical tree.

The tree stopped him before he chopped its branches and said, ‘Oh, kind sir, please spare my branches. If you spare me, I will provide you with golden apples.’

The oldest brother agreed but was feeling disappointed with how many apples the tree gave him.

Overcome by greed, the brother threatened to cut the entire tree if it didn’t provide him with more apples. But, instead of giving more apples, the tree showered him with hundreds of tiny needles. The brother fell to the ground, crying in pain as the sun began to set.

Soon, the younger brother became worried and went to search for his older brother. He searched until he found him at the trunk of the tree, lying in pain with hundreds of needles on his body.

He rushed to him and started to painstakingly remove each needle with love. Once the needles were out, the oldest brother apologized for treating his younger brother so badly. The magical tree saw the change in the older brother’s heart and gifted them with all the golden apples they could need.

12. A Glass of Milk

The Moral

No good deed goes unrewarded.

There once was a poor boy who spent his days going door-to-door selling newspapers to pay for school. One day, as he was walking his route, he started feeling low and weak. The poor boy was starving, so he decided to ask for food when he came to the next door.

The poor boy asked for food but was denied every time, until he reached the door of a girl. He asked for a glass of water, but seeing his poor state, the girl came back with a glass of milk. The boy asked how much he owed her for the milk, but she refused payment.

Years later, the girl, who was now a grown woman, fell sick. She went from doctor to doctor, but no one was able to cure her. Finally, she went to the best doctor in town.

The doctor spent months treating her until she was finally cured. Despite her happiness, she was afraid she couldn’t afford to pay the bill. But, when the hospital handed her the bill, it read, ‘Paid in full, with a glass of milk.’

13. The Ants and the Grasshopper

The Moral

There’s a time for work and a time for play.

One bright autumn day, a family of ants was busy working in the warm sunshine. They were drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer when a starving grasshopper came up. With his fiddle under his arm, the grasshopper humbly begged for a bite to eat.

“What!” cried the ants, “Haven’t you stored any food away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all summer?”

“I didn’t have time to store any food before winter,” the grasshopper whined. “I was too busy making music that the summer flew by.”

The ants simply shrugged their shoulders and said, “Making music, were you? Very well, now dance!” The ants then turned their backs on the grasshopper and returned to work.

14. The Bundle of Sticks

The Moral

There’s strength in unity.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who lived in a village with his three sons. Although his three sons were hard workers, they quarreled all the time. The old man tried to unite them but failed.

Months passed by, and the old man became sick. He asked his sons to remain united, but they failed to listen to him. At that moment, the old man decided to teach them a lesson — to forget their differences and come together in unity.

The old man summoned his sons, then proceeded to tell them, “I will provide you with a bundle of sticks. Separate each stick, and then break each into two. The one who finishes first will be rewarded more than the others.”

And so, the sons agreed. The old man provided them with a bundle of ten sticks each, and then asked the sons to break each stick into pieces. The sons broke the sticks within minutes, then proceeded to quarrel among themselves again.

The old man said, “My dear sons, the game is not yet over. I will now give you another bundle of sticks. Only this time, you will have to break them together as a bundle, not separately.”

The sons readily agreed and then tried to break the bundle. Despite trying their best, they could not break the sticks. The sons told their father of their failure.

The old man said, “My dear sons, see! Breaking every single stick individually was easy for you, but breaking them in a bundle, you could not do. By staying united, nobody can harm you. If you continue to quarrel, then anyone can quickly defeat you.”

The old man continued, “I ask that you stay united.” Then, the three sons understood there’s power in unity, and promised their father they would all stay together.

15. The Bear and the Two Friends

The Moral

A true friend will always support and stand by you in any situation.

One day, two friends were walking through the forest. They knew the forest was a dangerous place and that anything could happen. So, they promised to remain close to each other in case of any danger.

All of a sudden, a big bear was approaching them. One of the friends quickly climbed a nearby tree, leaving the other friend behind.

The other friend did not know how to climb, and instead, followed common sense. He laid down on the ground and remained there, breathless, pretending to be dead.

The bear approached the friend lying on the ground. The animal started to smell his ear before slowly wandering off again because bears never touch those who are dead.

Soon, the friend who hid in the tree came down. He asked his friend, “My dear friend, what secret did the bear whisper to you?” The friend replied, “The bear simply advised me never to believe a false friend.”

16. The Miser and His Gold

The Moral

A possession is as important as what it’s used for.

There once was an old miser who lived in a house with a garden. The old miser used to hide all his gold coins under stones in his garden.

Every night, before he went to bed, the miser went out into his garden to count his coins. He continued the same routine every day, but he never spent a single, golden coin.

One day, a thief saw the old miser hiding his coins. Once the old miser went back into his house, the thief went to the hiding place and took all the gold.

The following day, as the old man came out to count his coins, he found it was gone and started wailing loudly. His neighbor heard the cries and came running, asking what had happened. Upon learning what had occurred, the neighbor asked, “Why didn’t you just save the money inside your house where it would’ve been safe?”

The neighbor continued, “Having it inside the house would make it easier to access when you need to buy something.” “Buy something?” answered the miser, “I was never going to spend my gold.”

When hearing this, the neighbor picked up a stone and threw it. Then, he said, “If that’s the case, then save the stone. It’s as worthless as the gold you’ve lost.

17. The Dog At the Well

The Moral

Always listen to what elders say and don’t defy them.

A mother dog and her pups lived on a farm. On the farm, there was a well. The mother dog always told her pups never to go near or play around it.

One day, one of the pups was overcome by curiosity and wondered why they weren’t allowed to go near the well. So, he decided he wanted to explore it.

He went down to the well and climbed up the wall to peek inside. In the well, he saw his reflection in the water but thought it was another dog. The little pup got angry when his reflection was imitating him, so he decided to fight it.

The little pup jumped into the well, only to find there was no dog. He began to bark and bark until the farmer came to rescue him. The pup had learned his lesson and never went back to the well again.

18. Controlling Anger

The Moral

Anger is like a knife — one of the most dangerous weapons. When you use it, the wounds will heal, but the scars remain.

Once, there was a young boy. This boy had problems controlling his anger. When he got angry, he would say the first thing that came to mind, even if it affected people.

One day, his father gifted him a hammer and a bundle of nails, then said, “Whenever you get mad, hammer a nail into the backyard fence.”

In the first days, the boy used up half of the nails. Over the next weeks, he used up fewer nails, until his temper was under control. Then, his father asked the young boy to remove a nail for each day he didn’t lose his temper.

On the day when the boy removed his last nail, his father told him, “You have done good, boy. But, can you see the holes in the wall? The fence is never going to be the same. Likewise, when you say mean things in anger, you’ll leave a scar.”

19. The Leap at Rhodes

The Moral

It’s the deeds that count, not the boasting words.

Once, there was a man who visited foreign lands. When he returned, all he could talk about was the wonderful adventures he had and the great deeds he had done.

One of the feats he told was about a leap he made in a city called Rhodes.

“The leap was so great,” the man said. “No other man can make such a leap. Many persons in Rhodes saw me and can prove I am telling the truth.”

“No need for witnesses,” said one who was listening. “Suppose that this city is Rhodes, now show how far you can jump.”

20. The Wolf and the Sheep

The Moral

A person’s ulterior motives are easy to spot if someone is paying attention.

A wolf had gotten seriously hurt during a fight with a bear. He wasn’t able to move, and so, could not satisfy his thirst or hunger.

One day, a sheep passed by his hiding place, and so the wolf decided to call out to him. “Please fetch me some water,” said the wolf. “That might give me some strength to get some solid food.”

“Solid food!” the sheep said. “I suppose that means me. If I brought you something to drink, it would merely be to wash me down. Don’t speak to me about fetching a drink.”

How Moral Stories Benefit Children

Moral stories offer several benefits for children of all ages. They work to engage your child’s imagination, are entertaining, and can make your little one smile. Short moral stories work well at getting your child’s attention, keeping them focused during the length of the story.

However, the best moral stories will also teach a truth to your child. Children, especially younger ones, love repetition, and with moral stories, that’s the whole point. The more you read the same moral stories, the more your child will familiarize with the story and the moral lesson (1).

Reading Tip

When you read the story, remember to discuss the situations and events that occur, if your child is old enough. This is an excellent teachable moment, as well as providing an opportunity for bonding (2).

The Takeaway

Short moral stories for kids are fantastic for teaching valuable life lessons in a fun way children can understand. Short stories work well as they’re just long enough for your child to concentrate.

There’s a large selection of great stories online, and here you have 20 examples to get you started. When reading the story, try to discuss the content afterward with your child.

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28 English Short Stories with Big Ideas for Thoughtful English Learners

By aromiekim and Dhritiman Ray Last updated:

When it comes to learning English, what if you can understand big ideas with just a little bit of text?

I’m talking about award-winning short stories in English.  

Stories are all about going beyond reality, and these will not only improve your English reading but also open your mind to different worlds.


  • 1. “The Bogey Beast” by Flora Annie Steel
  • 2. “The Tortoise and the Hare” by Aesop
  • 3. “The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse” by Beatrix Potter
  • 4. “The Night Train at Deoli” by Ruskin Bond
  • 5. “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury
  • 6. “Orientation” by Daniel Orozco
  • 7. “Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu
  • 8. “The Missing Mail” by R.K. Narayan
  • 9. “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr
  • 10. “The School” by Donald Barthelme
  • 11. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid
  • 12. “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” by Rudyard Kipling
  • 13. Excerpt from “Little Dorrit” by Charles Dickens
  • 14. “To Build a Fire” by Jack London
  • 15. “Evil Robot Monkey” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • 16. “The Boarded Window” by Ambrose Bierce 
  • 17. “The Zero Meter Diving Team” by Jim Shepherd
  • 18. “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs
  • 19. “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
  • 20. “Little Red Riding Hood” by The Brothers Grimm
  • 21. “A Tiny Feast” by Chris Adrian
  • 22. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson
  • 23. “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams
  • 24. “Paul Bunyan,” adapted by George Grow 
  • 25. “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde
  • 26. “Cinderella” by Charles Perrault
  • 27. “The Friday Everything Changed” by Anne Hart
  • 28. “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway
  • How to Use Short Stories to Improve Your English
    • Use Illustrations to Enhance Your Experience
    • Listen to Recordings of Stories
    • Explore Stories Related to a Theme
    • Choose the Right Reading Level
    • Practice “Active Reading”
    • Choose Only a Few Words to Look Up
    • Make Your Own Summary

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

A woman finds a pot of treasure on the road while she is returning from work.

Delighted (very happy) with her luck, she decides to keep it. As she is taking it home, it keeps changing.

However, her enthusiasm refuses to fade away (disappear or faint slowly).

What Is Great About It: The old lady in this story is one of the most cheerful characters anyone can encounter in English fiction.

Her positive disposition (personality) tries to make every negative situation seem like a gift, and she helps us look at luck as a matter of our view rather than events.

This classic fable (story) tells the story of a very slow tortoise (turtle) and a speedy hare (rabbit).

The tortoise challenges the hare to a race. The hare laughs at the idea that a tortoise could run faster than he, but the race leads to surprising results.

What Is Great About It: Have you ever heard the English expression, “Slow and steady wins the race”? This story is the basis for that common phrase.

This timeless (classic) short story teaches a lesson that we all know but can sometimes forget: Natural talent is no substitute for hard work, and overconfidence often leads to failure.

Timmie Willie is a country mouse who is accidentally taken to a city in a vegetable basket. When he wakes up, he finds himself at a party and makes a friend.

When he is unable to bear (tolerate or experience) the city life, he returns to his home but invites his friend to the village.

When his friend visits him, something similar happens.

What Is Great About It: Humans have been living without cities or villages for most of history.

That means that both village and city life are recent inventions. And just like every other invention, we need to decide their costs and benefits.

The story is precisely (exactly) about this debate. It is divided into short paragraphs and has illustrations for each scene. This is best for beginners who want to start reading immediately.

Ruskin Bond used to spend his summer at his grandmother’s house in Dehradun.

While taking the train, he always had to pass through a small station called Deoli. No one used to get down at the station and nothing happened there.

Until one day he sees a girl selling fruit and he is unable to forget her.

What Is Great About It: Ruskin Bond is a writer who can communicate deep feelings in a simple way.

This story is about our attachment to strangers and why we cherish (value or appreciate deeply) them even though we do not meet them ever again.

Earth has been destroyed by war and no one lives on it anymore.

The robots and the machines continue to function and serve human beings who have long ago died. 

What Is Great About It: The title is taken from a poem that describes how nature will continue its work long after humanity is gone.

But in this story, we see that nature plays a supporting role and the machines are the ones who have taken its place.

They continue their work without any human or natural assistance. This shows how technology has replaced nature in our lives and how it can both destroy us and carry on without humanity itself.

This is a humorous story where the speaker explains the office policies, as well as gossip about the staff, to a new employee.

It is extremely easy to read as the sentences are short and without any overly difficult words.

Many working English learners will relate to it as it explains the absurdities (silly moments) of modern office life and how so little of it makes sense.

What Is Great About It: Modern workplaces often feel like theaters where we pretend to work rather than get actual work done. The speaker exposes this reality that nobody will ever admit to.

He over-explains everything from the view out the office window to the intimate details of everyone’s life—from the overweight loner to the secret serial killer.

It talks about the things that go unsaid; how people at the office know about the deep secrets of our home life, but do not talk about it.

Jack’s mother can make paper animals come to life.

In the beginning, Jack loves them and spends hours with his mom. But as soon as he grows up, he stops talking to her since she is unable to speak in English.

When his mother tries to talk to him through her creations, he kills them and collects them in a box.

After a tragic loss, he finally gets to know her story through a hidden message that he should have read a long time ago.

What Is Great About It: The story is a simple narration that touches on complex issues. It is about leaving your own country with the promise of a better life.

It is also about the conflicts that can occur between families when different cultures and languages collide. In this case, the tension is so high that it destroys the relationship between a mother and her son.

It also has a moving message about never taking your loved ones for granted.

This story is part of R.K. Narayan’s “Malgudi Days” short story collection. 

Thanappa is the village mailman who is good friends with Ramanujam and his family. He learns about a failed marriage and helps Ramanujam’s daughter get engaged to a suitable match.

Just before the wedding, Thanappa receives a tragic letter about Ramanujam’s brother. He decides not to deliver it.

What Is Great About It: Despite the best of intentions, our actions can cause more harm to our loved ones than we ever intended.

The story is about the complicated relationships and feelings which are always present in our social circles, but we are often ignorant of them.

The year is 2081, and everyone has been made equal by force.

Every person who is superior in any way has been handicapped (something that prevents a person’s full use of their abilities) by the government.

Intelligent people are distracted by disturbing noises. Good dancers have to wear weights so that they do not dance too well.

Attractive people wear ugly masks so they do not look better than anyone else.

However, one day there is a rebellion, and everything changes for a brief instant.

What Is Great About It: Technology is always supposed to make us better. But in this case, we see that it can be used to disable our talents.

Moreover, the writer shows us how the mindless use of a single value like equality can create more suffering for everyone.

A school teacher is narrating all the recent incidents that have happened on campus.

First, they mention a garden where all the trees died. Pretty soon deaths of all kinds begin to occur.

What Is Great About It: Most of the adults do not know how to deal with death, even though they want to teach children about it.

It makes us realize how weak our education systems are because they can not help us deal with life’s most basic issues.

Eventually, the students start to lose faith in everything, and the adults have to put on a show of love to make themselves less frightened.

It shows how adults can fail to explain and understand death, and so they just pretend that they do. In this way, the cycle of misunderstanding and avoiding life’s issues continues.

11. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid

A mother is telling her daughter how to live her life properly. The daughter does not seem to have any say in it.


What Is Great About It: This may not be technically a story since there is no plot. “Girl” talks about how girls are taught to live restricted lives since childhood.

The mother instructs (tells) her to do all the household chores, indicating that it is her sole purpose (only aim or duty).

Sometimes the mother tells her to not attract attention, to not talk to boys and to always keep away from men.

On the other hand, she hints that she will have to be attractive to bakers and other suitable males in society to live a good life.

This story is about these conflicting ideas that girls face when growing up.

“Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” is about a Mongoose who regularly visits a family in India.

The family feeds him and lets him explore their house, but they worry that he might bite their son, Teddy.

One day a snake is about to attack him when the Mongoose kills it. Eventually, he becomes a part of the family forever.

What Is Great About It: This is a simple story about humans and animals living together as friends. It is old, but the language is fairly easy to understand.

It reminds us that animals can also experience feelings of love and, like humans, they will also protect the ones they love.

“Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” is part of Kipling’s short story collection “The Jungle Book,” which was famously made into a movie by Disney.

If you enjoy the story but need a break from reading, check out this captivating trailer for Disney’s newer version of the movie.

Dorrit is a child whose father has been in prison ever since she could remember. Unable to pay their debts, the whole family is forced to spend their days in a cell.

Dorrit thinks about the outside world and longs to see it (wishes to see it).

This excerpt introduces you to the family and their life in prison. 

The novel is about how they manage to get out and how Dorrit never forgets the kindness of the people who helped her. 

What Is Great About It: Injustice in law is often reserved for the poor. “Little Dorrit” shows clearly how it works in society.

It is about the government jailing people for not being able to return their loans, a historical practice the writer hated since his own father was punished in a similar way.

The story reveals how the rich cheat the poor and then put them into prisons instead of facing punishment.

A man travels to a freezing, isolated place called Yukon. He only has his dog with him for company.

Throughout his journey, he ignores the advice other people had given him and takes his life for granted.

Finally, he realizes the real power of nature and how delicate (easily broken) human life actually is.

What Is Great About It: The classic fight between life and death has always fascinated us. Nature is often seen as a powerful force that should be feared and respected.

The man in this story is careless and, despite having helpful information, makes silly mistakes. He takes the power of natural forces too lightly.

The animal is the one who is cautious and sensible in this dangerous situation. By the end, readers wonder who is really intelligent—the man who could not deal with nature or the dog who could survive?

Sly is a chimpanzee who is much smarter than the other chimpanzees. He loves to play with clay on a potter’s wheel all day and likes to keep to himself.

But one day when the school kids bully him, he loses his temper and acts out in anger. Seeing this, the teacher punishes him and takes away his clay.

What Is Great About It: Sly is a character who does not fit into society. He is too smart for the other chimps, but humans do not accept him. He is punished for acting out his natural emotions.

But the way he handles his rage, in the end, makes him look more mature than most human beings. Nominated for the Hugo award, many readers have connected with Sly since they can see similarities in their own lives.

“The Boarded Window” is a horror story about a man who has to deal with his wife’s death. The setting is a remote cabin in the wilderness in Cincinnati, and he feels helpless as she gets sick.

There’s an interesting twist to this story, and the ending will get you thinking (and maybe feeling a bit disturbed!).

What is Great About It: If you enjoy older stories with a little suspense, this would be a good challenge for you–in fact, until now, it’s still included in a lot of horror story compilations.

It talks about the event that made a hermit decide to live alone for decades, with a mysterious window boarded up in his cabin.

Aside from what actually happens in the story, there’s also a lot of emphasis on psychology and symbolism.

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster was one of the most deadly accidents in the twentieth century.

This is a story about that event through the eyes of a father and his sons. The family was unfortunate enough to be close to the disaster area.

The story exposes the whole system of corruption that led to a massive explosion taking innocent lives and poisoning multiple generations.

The technical vocabulary and foreign words make this text a little more difficult. However, the story is relatively easy to follow.

What Is Great About It: It is no secret that governments lie to their own people. But sometimes these lies can cost lives.

Very often we accept this as normal, but this tale opens our eyes to the cost of our indifference (lack of concern).

The story is divided into small parts that make it both easy and exciting to read.

The various events are about life in general in what was then known as the Soviet Union. And just like any other good story, it is also about human relationships and how they change due to historic events.

A man brings a magical monkey’s paw from India, which grants three wishes to three people.

When the White family buys it from him, they realize that sometimes you do not want your wishes to come true.

What Is Great About It: Sometimes we wish for things, but we do not think about their consequences.

In this story, the characters immediately regret when their wishes come true because either someone dies or something worse happens.

They realize that they never thought about the ways their wishes could destroy people and their lives.

Mrs. Mallard has heart troubles that could kill her.

When her husband dies, the people who come to give her this news try to do so gently. When she is finally informed, she bursts into tears.

Eventually, she goes to her room and locks herself in.

However, while thinking about the future, she is excited by the idea of freedom that could come after her husband’s death.

After an hour, the doorbell rings and her husband is standing there alive and well. When she sees him, she has a heart attack and dies.

What Is Great About It: Marriages can be like prisons for women. The one in this tale definitely seems like a heavy burden. Despite her grief, Mrs. Mallard is able to keep herself healthy with the hope of freedom from her husband.

But as soon as she realizes that she will have to go back to her old life, her body is unable to take it.

The story explores the conflicting range of human emotions of grief and hope in a short span, and the impact it can have on a person’s mind and body.

This is a story that every English-speaking child knows. It’s about a little girl who meets a wolf in the forest while going to see her sick grandmother.

The wolf pretends to be her grandmother in order to trick the little girl. There are actually different versions of it, with different endings–the one I’ve linked above is the most popular.

What Is Great About It: “Little Red Riding Hood” is a fairy tale, which is a story for kids that has been traditionally told through generations.

It’s often used to teach children that it’s bad to talk to strangers, since the image of being eaten by a wolf can be very scary.

It has been adapted into different movies and media, and you’ll still hear mentioned in pop culture a lot.

The basic characters are taken from Shakespeare’s famous play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

However, in this story, the plot and the concept are entirely different.

Titania and Oberon are the rulers of fairies who have been dealing with problems in their marriage.

One day they find a human child and decide to adopt him. They hope that this child will help them save their relationship.

However, the child develops a deadly disease and the fairies have no idea what to do since they have never known illness or death.

This is a tragic tale about how they try to understand something they have never seen before and their deep love for a stranger who is so unlike them.

What Is Great About It: The story is able to explore human relationships through imaginary creatures. It explores the grief of parenthood and also the uncertainty of knowing whether your child will ever even know you.

It also beautifully captures the sense of the unknown and the helplessness which every human being faces when faced with it.

Every year, a small town holds an event known as “the lottery” that everyone attends.

During this event, someone from the community is randomly chosen…but for what reason?

What Is Great About It: The story makes you wonder about human behavior, particularly within a group of people.

Perhaps you may have heard of the term “mob mentality” and how it can allow for some pretty surprising things to happen.

This short story is considered to be one of the most famous short stories in American literature.

It shows an example of what is known as a dystopian society, where people live in a frightening way. To learn more, check out this TED-Ed video that tells you how to recognize a dystopia. 

A simple, stuffed rabbit toy is given to a young boy as a Christmas present.

At first, the rabbit isn’t noticed, as the boy is distracted by much fancier gifts. While being ignored, the rabbit begins to wonder what it means to be “real.”

One day, a certain event brings the rabbit into contact with the boy. After that, the toy’s life changes dramatically (a lot).

What Is Great About It: Have you ever loved a toy or doll so much, that you treated it as if it were alive? This story shows the power of love from a very unexpected viewpoint: that of a fluffy stuffed rabbit.

The velveteen rabbit toy is loved dearly by its owner, regardless of how worn out he becomes.

Although this story was made for children, its message is for anyone of any age. The rabbit’s quest (journey) of becoming “real” can be understood in a very human way.

The story shows the importance of self-value, being true to yourself and finding strength in those who love you.

The story of Paul Bunyan has been around in the United States for many years. He’s the symbol of American frontier life, showing the ideal strength, work ethic and good morality that Americans work hard to imitate.

Some sources break down his story into even shorter versions.

What is Great About It: Paul Bunyan is considered a legend, so stories about him are full of unusual details, such as eating fifty eggs in one day and being so big that he caused an earthquake.

It can be a pretty funny read, with characters such as a blue ox and a dog that’s reversible.

This version of the story is also meant to be read out loud, so it’s fast-paced and entertaining. 

In the middle of a city is a very fancy, decorated statue of a prince, and it is known as the Happy Prince.

One day, a swallow bird decides to rest on the statue, only to get wet by the tears of the crying statue.

The Prince, as it turns out, is not happy at all. When he was alive and living in his palace, he had no idea how much suffering was happening outside his home.

Now as a statue that stands high above the city, he can finally see the many injustices happening to the people.

At the Prince’s request, the swallow begins to take off pieces of the statue and give them away to the poor. Together, the two work to try and give what aid they can to the less fortunate.

What Is Great About It: It can be easy to ignore people who are struggling and having a hard time. However, it is not good to always “turn a blind eye” and pretend not to notice.

Sometimes, even one good deed (action) can make a big impact on both the person doing it and the person receiving it.

“The Happy Prince” is a story that shows the importance of charity and empathy. These two things can come with a lot of sacrifices, but you can gain a lot in other ways.

The story also points out that you should judge a person not by what they have, but by what they give.

You may already know the story of Cinderella; many people saw the Disney movie or read a children’s book of it.

However, there are actually many different versions of “Cinderella.”

This one by Charles Perrault is the most well-known one and is often the version told to children.

What Is Great About It: “Cinderella” is a loved story because it describes how a kind and hard-working person was able to get a happy ending.

Even though Cinderella’s stepsisters treated her awfully, Cinderella herself remained gentle and humble. It goes to show that even though you may experience hardships, it is important to stay kind, forgiving and mindful.

Because only “strong boys” are allowed to do this, the girls are teased for being “weaker.”

Not only that, but the boys also get more privileges than the girls, such as being the first to get magazines.

One Friday, a girl asks the classroom teacher why girls are not allowed to get water as well. This one question causes a big reaction.

What Is Great About It: One brave act, from one brave person, can cause a big change for the better. In this story, a single girl speaks out against what she thinks is wrong.

Her courage surprises everyone, but she inspires the girls to stand up for themselves against the boys who mistreat them.

The story reflects on gender equality and how important it is to fight for fairness. Just because something is accepted as “normal” does not mean it is right.

At a Spanish train station, an American man and a young woman wait for a train that would take them to the city of Madrid.

The woman sees some faraway hills and compares them to “white elephants.

This starts a conversation between the two of them, but what they discuss seems to have a deeper meaning.

What Is Great About It: This story is very well-known as a text that makes you “read between the lines”—in other words, you have to try to find a hidden meaning behind what you read.

Much of the story is a back-and-forth dialogue between two people, but you can tell a lot about them just from what they say to each other.

There is a lot of symbolism that you can analyze in this story, along with context clues. Once you realize what the real topic of the characters’ conversation is about, you can figure out the quiet, sadder meaning behind it.

How to Use Short Stories to Improve Your English

Short stories are effective in helping English learners to practice all four aspects of language learning: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Here’s how you can make the most out of short stories as an English learner:

Use Illustrations to Enhance Your Experience

Some short stories come with illustrations. If you find a short story with illustrations, look at the pictures first to guess what the story is about.

What are they doing in the illustration? What part of the story is illustrated? The illustrations will help you to understand the meaning of the story.

You can even write your own caption or description of the picture. It can be a sentence or one word.

When you look at the story, go back to your image description. How do they relate?

Listen to Recordings of Stories

In our fantastic digital age, it is possible to find wonderful short stories online in audio or video form.

If you find a video with English-language subtitles, you can read while also listening to how a native speaker pronounces words.

Some of the short stories above are available in video format on FluentU, which is an online English immersion program.

In addition to short story video tellings, the program has many types of authentic videos like movie clips, music videos and inspirational talks.

These can help you work on your listening comprehension and pronunciation alongside your reading skills. Each video has interactive subtitles and a video dictionary for unfamiliar words.

For example, here’s a video retelling of “The Tortoise and the Hare”:

If you’re doing a review quiz for the content, you have the option of speaking in the answers for some speaking practice.

Explore Stories Related to a Theme

Like novels, short stories can be in any genre you can imagine. Do you like ghost stories? Science fiction? Romance?

You can find short stories, old and new, on the subject that you want. Some short stories teach a lesson, like fables do. Other short stories use a lot of metaphors or symbolism.

If you’re learning about hobbies, find a short story about something that you like to do. Are you learning about food? Find a short story with a lot of food vocabulary. The list goes on.

Choose the Right Reading Level

First, some short stories are over 5,000 words long while others can be as short as 50. When you’re selecting the right short story for you, you have many different types and lengths to choose from.

If you choose a story that’s too difficult, you’ll spend too much time looking up vocabulary, missing the whole point of the story. If you choose a story that’s too easy, you’ll learn little to no new vocabulary and you may become bored.

Make sure that you always challenge yourself, even if you’re only learning a few new words.

Here’s an easy way to determine if the reading level is right for you.

Choose a paragraph in the story that you want to read. How many words can you identify?

Try the “five-finger test.” Hold up your fist while you read over the paragraph. Put up one finger for each word you don’t know. If you have all five fingers up before the end of the paragraph, try to find an easier text.

What if you really want to read a story, but the level is too hard? Try to read the story anyway. If the subject interests you, you’ll be motivated to learn the vocabulary you need to understand the story.

Bring the story to your English teacher. He or she will be happy to help you understand the words you don’t know so you’ll be able to enjoy the story on your own.

Practice “Active Reading”

Your reading will only help you learn if you read actively. You are reading actively when you’re paying very close attention to the story, its words and its meanings. Think about the vocabulary and grammar.

Start by looking over the text to get an idea of what the story is about. Read the text. Try to remember some of the things you read about. Finally, review the text again to get the best understanding.

Afterwards, discuss the story with your teacher and your classmates. If there’s something you don’t understand, write down your questions to ask during the discussion.

Talk about the stories and share your own opinions about the language, culture and messages within the story.

Choose Only a Few Words to Look Up

You don’t need to look up every single word you don’t know. Choose to look up only those words that will help you understand what the paragraph is about.

If there’s a word you don’t know but you know everything else in the sentence, try to guess what the word is about by looking at the whole sentence. You can look this word up later to see if you guessed correctly.

For stories longer than 500 words, take breaks while you’re reading, especially if the vocabulary gets overwhelming. Don’t make yourself too tired, or you’ll become frustrated and give up.

If you find things are getting to be too difficult, walk away for about 15 minutes and come back and try again.

Make Your Own Summary

When you’ve finished reading the story, review it again. Do this later in the same day or the next day to let your reading really sink in. Take notes while you’re reading.

Retell the story or make a summary of the story to get even more practice.

You can make this more challenging by actually using the story as a model for writing your own English story. By writing your own stories, you get more practice in the use of vocabulary and creating your own sentences.

Why Short Stories Are Best for English Learning

Short stories are amazing resources for any English learner. That’s because:

  • You can read a whole story in one sitting. Attention spans are very important for learning, and short stories are designed to give you maximum information with minimal effort.
  • You get more time to focus on individual words. When a text is short, you can spend more time learning how every single word is used and what importance it has in the piece.
  • It is best for consistency. It is far easier to read one story every day than trying to read a big novel that never seems to end.
  • You can share them easily in a group. Since short stories can be read in a single sitting, they are ideal for book clubs and learning circles.

    Most of the time these groups do not work because members have no time to read. Short stories are the perfect solution.

  • You can focus more on ideas and concepts. Language is less about words and more about the meaning behind them.

    If you spend all your time learning vocabulary and grammar, you will never be able to fluently speak a language because you will have little to talk about.

    These short stories give you the opportunity to understand big ideas in context.

You can choose almost any short story and get something useful out of it. Each story has its own special features that you can appreciate.

The best kind of story will be one that is interesting, has a strong message and, of course, helps you to both practice and learn English.

It will be one that leaves an impact, both in your English education and in your imagination.


I hope you have fun with these stories while improving your English.

Happy reading!

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Interesting short stories in English with translation

Reading short stories in English is one of the most effective language learning methods. Interesting stories in English with translation help to expand vocabulary and improve grammar. It is also the best practice for practicing learned words and reinforcing the rules.

Here are the benefits of reading stories and stories in English:

  • reading stories in English expands vocabulary, allows you to understand the specifics of using many idioms, colloquial phrases, artistic techniques; nine0012
  • while working with stories in English, the ability to understand the main idea of ​​what is written develops;
  • reading stories in English allows you to see the practical application of grammatical structures;
  • when reading stories in English, the reader has the opportunity to learn to understand the author's style.

Reading stories in English can significantly increase motivation for learning: understanding a text in a foreign language inspires further learning. When studying English, it is useful to read stories to test your knowledge and ability to understand and interpret foreign speech. nine0003

Page Quick Navigation

  1. Stories Technique
  2. A Good Lesson
  3. The Shoebox
  4. Hit the Floor!
  5. Will's experience at the airport
  6. Fortune and the man
  7. Wrong car
  8. A Magic Ring

Methodology for working with stories

The selected story should be read briefly for the first time: try to understand the general idea of ​​what was read, do not try to understand every word; nine0045 while reading the story in English for the second time, pay attention to interesting words and structures, the use of grammar;
interesting phrases and words from history can be written out in a separate notebook in order to be able to return to them in the future.

If you have difficulty reading comprehension or do not understand much of what you read, then most likely you lack theoretical knowledge. In this case, we recommend that you improve your level by taking a free English course from zero to a conversational level for busy people. nine0003

For beginners, stories in English with a simple plot and simple grammatical constructions are suitable. These can be stories, fairy tales, comic stories, simple stories and stories about animals, children, travel. We have prepared for you short but interesting stories in English with translation. But the translation is hidden so that you don't peek while reading. Try to understand on your own what the story is about, and only then open the translation.

A Good Lesson

Once a rich Englishwoman called Mrs Johnson decided to have a birthday party. She invited a lot of guests and a singer. The singer was poor, but he had a very good voice.
The singer got to Mrs Johnson's house at exactly six o'clock as he had been asked to do, but when he went in, he saw through a door that the dining-room was already full of guests, who were sitting round a big table in the middle of the room. The guests were eating, joking, laughing, and talking loudly. Mrs Johnson came out to him, and he thought she was going to ask him to join them, when she said, “We’re glad, sir, that you have come. You will be singing after dinner, I'll call you as soon as we're ready to listen to you. Now will you go into the kitchen and have dinner, too, please?” nine0003

The singer was very angry, but said nothing. At first he wanted to leave Mrs Johnson's house at once, but then he changed his mind and decided to stay and teach her and her rich guests a good lesson. When the singer went into the kitchen, the servants were having dinner, too. He joined them. After dinner, the singer thanked everybody and said, "Well, now I'm going to sing to you, my good friends." And he sang them some beautiful songs.
Soon Mrs Johnson called the singer.
"Well, sir, we're ready." nine0045 Ready? asked the singer. "What are you ready for?"
"To listen to you," said Mrs Johnson in an angry voice.
Listen to me? But I have already sung, and I'm afraid I shan't be able to sing any more tonight. "
"Where did you sing?"
"In the kitchen. I always sing for those I have dinner with."


One day a wealthy English woman named Mrs. Johnson decided to throw a birthday party. She invited many guests and a singer. The singer was poor, but he had a very good voice. nine0045 The singer arrived at Mrs. Johnson's house at exactly six o'clock, as requested, but when he entered, he saw through the door that the dining room was already full of guests who were sitting at a large table in the middle of the room. The guests ate, joked, laughed and talked loudly. Mrs. Johnson came out to him and he thought she was going to ask him to join them, as she said, “We are glad, sir, that you have come. You will sing after supper, I will call you as soon as we are ready to listen to you. Will you go to the kitchen now and have dinner too?” nine0003

The singer was very angry but didn't say anything. At first he wanted to leave Mrs. Johnson's house immediately, but then he changed his mind and decided to stay and teach her and her wealthy guests a good lesson. When the singer went to the kitchen, the servants were also having dinner. He joined them. After dinner, the singer thanked everyone and said: "Well, now I will sing to you, my good friends." And he sang some beautiful songs to them.

Soon Mrs. Johnson called the singer.
"Well, sir, we're ready."
"Ready?" asked the singer. "What are you ready for?" nine0045 "To listen to you," Mrs. Johnson said in an angry voice.
"Listen to me? But I've already sung and I'm afraid I won't be able to sing more tonight."
"Where did you sing?"
“In the kitchen. I always sing for those I dine with.”

The Shoebox

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about. nine0003

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoebox and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two knitted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents.

‘When we were to be married,’ she said, ‘my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and knit a doll.’

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

‘Honey,’ he said, ‘that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money?

Where did it come from?’

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that’s the money I made from selling the dolls.’


A man and woman have been married for over 60 years. They shared everything. They talked about everything. They kept no secrets from each other, except that the old lady had a shoe box on her closet, which she warned her husband about never to open or ask about. nine0003

In all these years, he never thought about the box, but one day the old lady became very ill and the doctor said she would not recover.

Trying to sort out their affairs, the old man took off the shoebox and carried it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time for him to know what was in the box. Opening it, he found two knitted dolls and a wad of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents.

“When we were to get married,” she said, “my grandmother told me that the secret to a happy marriage is never to argue. She told me that if I ever get mad at you, I should just keep quiet and knit a doll. nine0003

The old man was so touched; he had to hold back his tears. There were only two exquisite dolls in the box. She was angry with him only twice in all these years of life and love. He almost burst with happiness.

“Honey,” he said, “that explains the dolls, but what about all that money?

Where is this from?’

“Oh,” she said, “this is the money I made selling dolls.”

Hit the Floor! (Muzzle to the floor!)

Jenny and Robert Slater were on holiday in America. They were young and it was their first time away from home in England. They had a car and visited many famous and interesting places. nine0003

‘I want to see New York,’ Jenny said one morning. ‘Let’s go there.’

‘Mmm, I don’t know, love. Everybody says New York’s a dangerous place and there are a lot of very strange people there,’ her husband answered.

‘We’ll be careful,’ said Jenny. ‘Then we won’t have any problems.’

So they arrived in New York early in the evening and found a hotel. Later they went out and drove around the streets. They didn't have any problems. ‘See,’ Jenny said. ‘Nothing to be afraid of.’

They had dinner in a good restaurant and then went to a cinema. They arrived back at their hotel at midnight. Under the hotel was a garage so they drove into it and left the car. It was quite dark there and they couldn't see very well.

‘Where’s the lift?’ Jenny asked.

‘Over there, I think, near the door,’ Robert answered. ‘Come on, let’s go. I don’t like this dark place.’

Suddenly they saw a very tall young man with a big black dog. They were nervous and walked past him as fast as they could to the lift. The door of the lift opened and Jenny and Robert got in. Before the doors closed the man and the dog jumped in – three people and one big black dog in the lift. nine0003

‘On the floor, Girl!’ the tall man said. Jenny and Robert were afraid now, so they quickly got down on the floor. When the lift stopped at the next floor, they stood up, gave the man all their money and got out fast.

‘That man was a robber! Perhaps he had a gun… It’s dangerous here!’ Robert said. ‘We’re going to leave New York now!’

‘Yes, you’re right. ’ Jenny answered. ‘There are some dangerous people in New York.’

First thing next morning they took their room key to the desk and gave it to the woman. nine0003

‘There’s nothing to pay, Mr Slater,’ she said. ‘A tall young man with a nice dog came to the desk late last night and paid for your room. Oh, wait a minute – he left this for you, too.’ She gave Robert an envelope.

He opened it carefully and took out a letter. They read it together: ‘Here’s your money and I’m very sorry you were afraid in the lift last night. “Girl” is the name of my dog.’

Jenny and Robert Slater were on vacation in America. They were young and it was their first time away from home in England. They had a car and visited many famous and interesting places. nine0003

"I want to see New York," Jenny said one morning. ‘Let’s go there.’

‘Mmm, I don’t know, love. Everyone says that New York is a dangerous place and there are a lot of strange people there,” her husband replied.

"We'll be careful," Jenny said. "Then we won't have any problems."

So they arrived in New York early in the evening and found a hotel. Later they got out and drove through the streets. They didn't have any problems. "See," Jenny said. "Nothing to be afraid of." nine0003

They had dinner at a good restaurant and then went to the cinema. They returned to their hotel at midnight. There was a garage under the hotel, so they drove into it and left the car. It was quite dark in there and hard to see.

"Where is the elevator?" Jenny asked.

"There, I think, near the door," replied Robert. 'Let's go. I don't like this dark place.

Suddenly they saw a very tall young man with a large black dog. They were nervous and walked past him as fast as they could to the elevator. The elevator door opened and Jenny and Robert entered. Before the doors closed, a man and a dog ran in—three people and one big black dog in the elevator. nine0003

"On the floor, girl!" the tall man said. Jenny and Robert got scared so they quickly sank to the floor. When the elevator stopped at the next floor, they got up, gave the man all their money, and quickly exited.

“That man was a robber! He might have had a gun... It's dangerous here!" Robert said. "We're leaving New York now!"

"Yes, you're right," Jenny replied. "There are dangerous people in New York."

The first thing they did the next morning was to take the key to their room and give it to the woman. nine0003

"Mr. Slater has nothing to pay," she said. "A tall young man with a handsome dog came to the counter last night and paid for your room." Oh, wait a minute - also he left it to you. She gave Robert an envelope.

He carefully opened it and took out the letter. They read together: “Here is your money, and I am very sorry that you got scared in the elevator last night. "Girl" is the name of my dog.

Will’s experience at the airport

After his return from Rome, Will couldn't find his luggage in the airport baggage area. He went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that his bags hadn't shown up on the carousel.

She smiled and told him not to worry because they were trained professionals and he was in good hands.

Then she asked Will, “Has your plane arrived yet?”


After returning from Rome, Will couldn't find his luggage in the luggage compartment of the airport. He went to the lost and found office and told the woman who worked there that his bags never showed up on the carousel. nine0003

She smiled and told him not to worry because they were professionals and he was in good hands.

Then she asked, “Has your plane already arrived?”

Fortune and the man

One day a man was walking along the street. He carried an old bag in his hands. He was wondering why people who had so much money were never satisfied and always wanted more. “As to me,” he said, “if I had enough to eat, I should not ask for anything else. ”Just at this moment Fortune came down the street. She heard the man and stopped. nine0003

“Listen,” she said, “I want to help you. Hold your bag, and I shall pour diamonds into it. But every diamond which falls on the ground will become dust. Do you understand?”

“Oh, yes, I understand,” said the man. He quickly opened his bag and stream of diamonds was poured into it. The bag began to grow heavy. Is that enough? asked Fortune. “Not yet.” The man's hand's began to tremble.

“You are the richest man in the world now.” Said Fortune.

“Just a few more, and a few more,” said the man. Another diamond was added and the bag slipped. All the diamonds fell on the ground and became dust. nine0003

Fortune disappeared, leaving the man in the street.


One day a man was walking down the street. In his hands was an old bag. He walked and thought: “Why are people who have a lot of money never satisfied and always want to have more money.
"As for me," he thought, if I only had enough to live on, I would not need anything more.
At that moment, Fate was passing by him. She heard the poor man and stopped.
“Listen,” she said, “I want to help you. Give me your bag, I'll fill it with diamonds. But if even one diamond falls to the ground, the entire contents of the bag will turn to dust. Understand? nine0045 "Of course I understand," the poor man replied. He quickly opened his bag and the diamonds fell into his bag. The bag was getting heavy.
"Enough?" Fate asked.
"Not yet," the peasant replied, his hands trembling.
"You are the richest man in the world," said Fate.
"More! Some more!" said the poor man.
At this moment, another diamond fell into the overflowing bag.
The bag slipped out of the hands of the poor man and fell to the ground, and the diamonds turned into dust in the same instant.
Fate has disappeared, leaving the poor on the street. nine0003

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Everyone has heard of Sherlock Holmes. Everyone has read stories about Sherlock Holmes at one time or another. Sherlock Holmes was a famous detective. Actually, he was the most famous detective of all times. The author of the Sherlock Holmes stories was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Once Sir Arthur arrived in Paris. He took a cab and asked the cabman to take him to the Ritz, the hotel where he was going to spend the night. When he received the fare he said:
“Thank you very much, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”
“How do you know who I am?” asked Sir Arthur. He was very much surprised.“Well, sir, I read in the newspaper yesterday that you were coming to Paris from the South of France. I also noticed that your hair was cut by a barber in the South of France. Your clothes and especially your hat told me that you were English. I put all the information together and quessed that you were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

“That is wonderful,” said Sir Arthur. nine0045 “You could recognize me though you knew very few facts.”

“Besides,” added the cabman. Your name is on both of your travel bags. That also helped.”

So, the cabman played a good joke on Conan Doyle.


Everyone has heard of Sherlock Holmes. Everyone has read the Sherlock Holmes stories at one time or another. Sherlock Holmes was a famous detective. In fact, he was the most famous detective of all time.
The Sherlock Holmes stories were written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. One day Sir Arthur arrived in Paris. He took a taxi and asked the taxi driver to take him to the Ritz, to the hotel where he was going to spend the night. The driver brought him to the hotel. When he got the fare he said
"Thank you very much, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."
"How do you know who I am?" Sir Arthur asked. He was very surprised.
“Well, sir, I read in the paper yesterday that you were going to Paris from the south of France. I also noticed that you had your hair cut by a barber in the south of France.
Your clothes and especially your hat indicate that you are English. I put all these facts together and realized that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
"Wonderful," said Sir Arthur. "You were able to recognize me by knowing very few facts."
"Besides," the driver added, "Your name is on both of your travel bags. That helped too." nine0045 So the driver played a good joke on Conan Doyle.

A present from the son
Long ago there lived an old woman in England. She had a son who was a sailor. He went to different countries and always brought presents for his old mother.Once he went to China and brought some tea from that country.
At that time tea was very expensive and only rich people could buy and drink it. So the old woman was very happy to have such a nice present. But she didn't know what to do with it as she had never bought tea before. She thought it was a vegetable. She told her friends about her son's present and invited them to taste it with her. At last the day of the tea-party came. The woman called her guests to the dining-room and put a big dish of tea leaves on the table. The guests began to eat the leaves with salt just as they ate vegetables. Nobody liked it but didn't tell the woman about it and continued to eat the leaves. Some tome later the sailor came into the room. When he saw that all the guests were eating leaves, he smiled. Why are these leaves? Where is the tea?” nine0045 “Here it is, my son,” the old woman said.
“And where is the water in which you have boiled the leaves?” asked the man laughing.
“I threw it away, of course,” answered the woman.


A long time ago there lived an old woman in England. She had a son who was a sailor. He traveled to different countries and always brought gifts for his old mother. Once he went to China and brought tea from that country. At that time, tea was very expensive, and only rich people could buy and drink such tea. Therefore, the old lady was very happy to have such a nice gift. But she did not know what to do with such tea, since she had never bought it before. She thought it was a vegetable. nine0003

She told her friends about her son's gift and invited them to try the tea. Finally the day of the tea party arrived. The woman called her guests into the dining room and placed a large dish of tea leaves on the table. The guests began to eat the leaves with salt, as they did when they ate vegetables. No one liked it, but no one told the old woman about it, but continued to eat the leaves.
Some time later, the son entered the room.
When he saw that all the guests were eating the leaves, he smiled.
"What are you doing? nine0045 Why are you eating these leaves?
Where's the tea?

"Here he is, my son," said the old woman.
"Where is the water in which you boiled the leaves?" asked the son, laughing.
"Of course I poured it out," replied the mother.

Wrong car

It happened about a year ago. Our family bought a new car, and parents decided to celebrate it all together in the cafe. We enjoyed great food, had a conversation and a lot of fun. Dad was happy and he told us many jokes, everybody laughed more and more. We played the fools and couldn't stop. When it was time to go, Dad paid and left cafe to warm up the car, and Mom, her friend, my brother and I lingered in the cafe. When we went out, we realized that it was already dark outside - so we couldn't see well. And the second thing we railsed was the fact that nobody can remember exactly what our new car looks like! But Mom confidently went towards the black car, that was standing nearly. "Oh, Dad is waiting inside, it's ours. Come on". nine0045 Just imagine: the company of four very noisy people, singing, talking loudly, laughing out, get into car. Mum turn to driver and exclaimed cheerfully: “Sasha, let’s go!”…The driver looked at us with eyes full of fear and cried out desperatly: “I am not Sasha, I am Egor!!! Who are you?!” Then we, absolutly confused and quiet, get in the right car, we told Dad about it. He couldn't drive for 5 minutes becouse of laughing.


This happened about a year ago. Our family bought a new car and parents decided to celebrate it in a cafe with the whole family. We ate delicious food, chatted and laughed. Dad was happy and told jokes one after another, everyone laughed non-stop. We played the fool and couldn't stop. When it was time to leave, my dad paid and went to start the car, but my mom, aunt, brother, and I were delayed. When we left, we realized that it was already dark, and in the dark we were not very good at orienting ourselves. The second thing we found was that no one remembers exactly what our new car looks like! But Mom walked confidently to the nearest black car. “So dad is already waiting for us, this is our car, let’s go.” nine0045 Just imagine: a company of four very noisy people, singing, talking loudly and laughing, tumble into a car. Mom turns to the driver and joyfully exclaims: “Sasha, let's go!” ... The driver looked at us with eyes full of horror and cried out desperately: “I'm not Sasha, I'm EGOR! Who are you all?!” And we, completely embarrassed and hushed, finally got into the right car and told dad about it. For another 5 minutes he could not move from his place from laughter.

A Magic Ring

Once upon a time there lived a young farmer. He worked very hard but was very poor. One day when he was far from home in the forest, an old woman looking like a peasant came up to him and said, “I know you work very hard, and all for nothing. I will give you a magic ring! It will make you rich, and your work won't be in vain. When you turn the ring on your finger and say what you wish to have, you'll have it at once! But there is only one wish in the ring, so think carefully before you wish." nine0003

The astonished farmer took the ring given to him by the peasant woman, and went home. In the evening he came to a big city. There he went to a merchant and showed him the magic ring. When the merchant heard the astonishing story, he thought of a plan. He invited the farmer to stay in his house for the night. At night he came up to the sleeping peasant, carefully took the ring off the man's finger, and put on another ring, which looked exactly like the one he had taken off.

In the morning when the farmer had gone away, the merchant ran into his shop, shut the door, and said while turning the ring on his finger, "I wish to have a hundred thousand pieces of gold." And down they came, on his head, shoulders, and arms, like a rain of gold! The frightened merchant tried to get out of the shop, but in vain. In a few minutes he was dead. nine0003

When the farmer returned home, he showed the ring to his wife. "Take a look at this ring," he said. "It's a magic ring! It will make us happy.”

The astonished woman could hardly say a word "Let's try. Maybe the ring will bring us more land,” she said at last.

“We must be careful about our wish. Don't forget there's only one thing that we may ask for," he explained. “Let’s better work hard for another year, and we’ll have more land.”

So they worked as hard as they could and got enough money to buy the land they wished to have. nine0003

Then the farmer's wife thought of asking for a cow and a horse. They discussed the matter more than once.
“My good wife,” said the farmer, “we shall get a horse and a cow without the ring.”
They went on working hard for a whole year and again bought the things they wished to have.

"What happy people we are!" said the farmer.

“I don’t understand you,” answered his wife angrily. "There's nothing in the world that we can't have, and still we spend days and nights working as hard as before, because you don't want to use your magic ring!" nine0003

Thirty, then forty years had gone by. The farmer and his wife had grown old. Their hair became as white as snow. They were happy and had everything they wanted. Their ring was still there. Although it was not a magic ring, it had made them happy. For you see, my dear friends, a poor thing in good hands is better than a fine thing in bad hands.


There once was a young farmer. He worked very hard, but was very poor. One day, when he was away from home in the forest, an elderly woman who looked like a peasant came up to him and said: “I know you work very hard, and everything is in vain. I will give you a magic ring! It will make you rich and your work will not be in vain. When you turn the ring on your finger and say what you want to have, you will get it right away! But there is only one wish in the ring, so think carefully before you wish.” nine0003

The surprised farmer took the ring given to him by the peasant woman and went home. In the evening he arrived in a big city. There he went to the merchant and showed him the magic ring. When the merchant heard the amazing story, he conceived a plan. He invited the farmer to stay at his house for the night. At night, he approached the sleeping peasant, carefully removed the ring from the man's finger, and put on another ring, which was similar to the one he had taken off.

In the morning, when the farmer left, the merchant ran to his shop, closed the door, and turning the ring on his finger, said, "I want to have one hundred thousand gold coins." And they rained down on his head, shoulders and arms like golden rain! The frightened merchant tried to get out of the store, but in vain. A few minutes later he died. nine0003

When the farmer returned home, he showed the ring to his wife. “Look at this ring,” he said. "It's a magic ring! It will make us happy."

The surprised woman could hardly utter the words “Let's try. Maybe the ring will bring us more land,” she said at last.

“We must be careful what we wish for. Don't forget that we can only ask for one thing," he explained. "Let's work hard for another year, and we'll have more land." nine0003

So they worked hard and got enough money to buy the land they wanted to own.

Then the farmer's wife decided to ask for a cow and a horse. They discussed this issue more than once.
"My good wife," said the farmer, "we will get a horse and a cow without a ring."
They continued to work hard for a whole year and again bought the things they wanted to have.

“What happy people we are!” said the farmer.

"I don't understand you," his wife replied angrily. "There is nothing in the world that we don't have, and yet we spend our days and nights working as hard as ever because you don't want to use your magic ring!" nine0003

Thirty, then forty years passed. The farmer and his wife are old. Their hair turned white as snow. They were happy and had everything they wanted. Their ring was still there. Although it was not a magic ring, it made them happy. You see, my dear friends, a bad thing in good hands is better than a good thing in bad hands.

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Short stories to help language learners

Fiction is very helpful in developing language skills, and when we read stories in English, we effectively improve our level and have an interesting time. nine0007

Books in English

Books play a big role in language learning. When reading literature, we learn new words, assimilate constructions. Of course, no one canceled the importance of oral language practice, but in a conversation we only hone what we received earlier, we translate theory into practice. In a conversation, we do not have time to work out the vocabulary, and when reading, we have the opportunity to refer to the dictionary, understand everything and, if necessary, re-read the incomprehensible. nine0007

Literature develops good taste and gives us an idea of ​​the correct language. In addition, through books in English, you are immersed in a foreign language culture, you begin to better understand native speakers.

At the initial stage, when the vocabulary is very small, it is very helpful to parse the vocabulary of special stories in English for beginners. They are also called adapted. In such books, information is divided into certain topics, and dictionaries of words used in the text are attached. Adapted texts are simplified in terms of vocabulary and sentence construction, and can be read by those who have recently started learning. But what is lost in them is what unadapted literature gives - the language of native speakers, which does not adapt to the level of knowledge of foreigners. nine0007

Why short stories are good

Of course, reading literature is important for everyone who learns a language. But what? It is not worth taking on huge novels right away: such a path will not be effective, and it may discourage the desire to read English literature in the original - not everyone can handle such ambitious goals.

It is very useful to read stories in English. Short stories are a stepping stone from reading adapted educational texts to larger works of fiction. nine0007

The language in small texts is more concise, since it is necessary to fit all the events into a small volume of the work. Details play a big role in the stories, they allow you to succinctly describe the situation. For language learners, such bright strokes that are significant for the plot are much easier to remember, which means it is easier to learn the words corresponding to them.

When parsing stories, it is convenient to memorize grammar and words. You always have the opportunity to reread the text again after you have analyzed the translation of words and sentence constructions. After all, reading a story does not take much time, and when you read it again, new phrases will be deposited in your memory much better. nine0007

Reading interesting stories in English, we immediately see our progress. After all, each text here is a finished work, which serves as a stepping stone in mastering English. After reading a story, we learn vocabulary on a certain topic, after which we can move on to another topic and thus quickly improve our language.

How to work with texts

You need to know not only what to read, but also how to read English stories for beginners more effectively in order to get the maximum benefit and assimilate all the material: nine0007

  1. Read the text without translation. No need to immediately translate every word in a dictionary. In the beginning, we just get acquainted with the text, and our task is to understand what the story is about. You can guess the meaning of many words from the context.
  2. You can now translate unfamiliar words. When you understand the essence of the story, then you already have guesses - this way the new vocabulary will be remembered much better. In addition, it will be easier for you to navigate the necessary meanings of ambiguous words. nine0012
  3. Pay attention to the construction of sentences, the choice of grammatical tenses. Reading unadapted texts is a good test of your understanding of why certain grammatical forms are put. Look also at the stylistic features, note in what situations the expressions from the story may be appropriate.
  4. Starting from the story, reflect on what you have read. Think about why the characters act the way they do and why the author has framed the story the way they do. Interesting stories in English will give a good impetus to formulating your opinion on certain topics, which is extremely important for language practice. nine0012
  5. Retell the story. Try to use the words and structures you have learned from the text to learn how to apply what you have learned. Short stories are very convenient for retelling: you can quickly read the work and immediately get the finished story.

Which text to choose

We have already talked about the effectiveness of reading stories. But in this genre there are works of very different complexity, and you need to choose the text in accordance with your level of knowledge of the language. nine0007

Assess your strength. Choose a text that has a moderate amount of new words. If you have been studying the language for a long time, then easy stories in English for beginners will simply be useless for you: you will not learn anything new. If the entire text consists of unfamiliar words for you, then you have overestimated your capabilities. In this case, it is better to choose a simpler material.

When the text is not full of unfamiliar vocabulary, it is much easier to learn it. You can guess the meanings from the context, which is the easiest way to remember new words and expressions. In addition, you will have the opportunity to pay attention to the construction of sentences and the use of grammatical indicators. And you will get much more pleasure from reading, because the constant looking into the dictionary will prevent you from enjoying literature. nine0007

If you are new to learning a language, pick up stories in English for beginners with translation, fairy tales or children's stories. Works for children are simpler, while you can learn a lot of useful things for yourself. When you feel confident, move on to more complex literature.

Stories in English can be found from a variety of writers. There is always an opportunity to choose which of the authors is closer to you: O. Henry, Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack London, Ray Bradbury, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Kurt Vonnegut. nine0007

Stories for Beginners

To give you an idea of ​​the texts, we will use as an example Mark Twain's story-parable "The Five Boons Of Life". The story is short, consisting of five short passages. The first snippet looks like this:

In the morning of life came a good fairy with her basket, and said: “Here are gifts. Take one, leave the others. And be wary, chose wisely; oh, choose wisely! for only one of them is valuable”. nine0003

The gifts were five: Fame, Love, Riches, Pleasure, Death.

The youth said, eagerly: “There is no need to consider”; and he chose Pleasure.

He went out into the world and sought out the pleasures that youth delights in. But each in its turn was short-lived and disappointing, vain and empty; and each, departing, mocked him.

In the end he said: “These years I have wasted. If I could but choose again, I would choose wisely.” nine0007

Russian translation:

At the dawn of life, a fairy came to a man with a basket in her hands and said: “Here are the gifts. Take one, leave the others. Be careful, choose wisely, very wisely! Only one of them is truly valuable."

There were five gifts: Glory, Love, Wealth, Pleasure, Death.

The young man answered with passion: "There is nothing to think about" - and chose Pleasure.

He went out into the world and sought those pleasures that delight youth. But each turned out to be short-lived and brought disappointments, vanity and emptiness, each left him with ridicule.

In the end the man said, “I have wasted all these years. If I could choose again, I would be wiser.”

Let's not give the whole English story, but let's analyze its ending: the young man tried all the gifts except death, and every time he was disappointed. Then he again appeared before the fairy: nine0007

The fairy came, bringing again four of the gifts, but Death was wanting.

She said: “I gave it to a mother's pet, a little child. It was ignorant, but trusted me, asking me to choose for it. You did not ask me to choose.”

“Oh, miserable me! What is left for me?”

“What not even you have deserved: the wanton insult of Old Age”. nine0003

The fairy came and again brought four gifts, but Death was not among them.

She said, “I gave it to the baby. He did not know anything and trusted me, asked me to choose for him. You didn't ask me to choose."

“Oh, I'm unhappy! What is left for me?

"What even you don't deserve: a senseless insult to Old Age."

From these two fragments, you can see that key vocabulary is repeated throughout the story, so it can be memorized already in the process of reading. There are also no complex constructions and ambiguous sentences. The story serves as a prime example of what type of text is suitable for beginners to read English literature in the original. nine0007

Choosing stories in English for beginners, you can focus on fairy tales. At the same time, it is not necessary to choose English works: you can read stories translated into English. If you take a work with which you are already familiar, then it will be much easier to perceive the text, and you will quickly learn new vocabulary. For example, you can read English translations of all the familiar fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen or Charles Perrault.

Stories in English for advanced students

It is not necessary to assume that all stories are easy to read: a small amount does not necessarily indicate simplicity. Short texts can be written using complex grammatical structures.

Here is the beginning of Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Oval Portrait". His writing style is much richer, but also much more difficult to understand. nine0007

The chateau into which my valet had ventured to make forcible entrance, rather than permit me, in my desperately wounded condition, to pass a night in the open air, was one of those piles of commingled gloom and grandeur which have so long frowned among the Appennines, not less in fact than in the fancy of Mrs. Radcliffe. To all appearance it had been temporarily and very lately abandoned. We established ourselves in one of the smallest and least sumptuously furnished apartments. It lay in a remote turret of the building. Its decorations were rich, yet tattered and antique. Its walls were hung with tapestry and bedecked with manifold and multiform armorial trophies, together with an unusually great number of very spirited modern paintings in frames of rich golden arabesque. nine0007

The castle, into which my lackey ventured to break in, so that I might not be left out in my deplorable condition at night, was one of the mixtures of gloominess and grandeur that still frown among the Apennines no less than in the imagination of Mrs. Radcliffe. In appearance it seemed that the castle was temporarily and recently abandoned. We settled in one of the smallest and least luxurious apartments. He was in the far tower of the building. Its decoration was rich, although it had long since fallen into disrepair. The walls were covered with tapestries and decorated with a wide variety of spoils of war, along with an unusually large number of very animated paintings of our day in gold frames with arabesques. nine0007

Another example of the fact that stories in English are often not easy to understand is O. Henry's story "The Dream". The piece starts like this:

Murray dreamed a dream.

Both psychology and science grope when they would explain to us the strange adventures of our immaterial selves when wandering in the realm of “Death's twin brother, Sleep”. This story will not attempt to be illuminative; it is no more than a record of Murray's dream.

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