Short story for pre k

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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10 Lines Short Stories With Moral Lessons for Kids

Published February 4, 2021

When trying to impart an important moral lesson to kids, short stories are often the go-to for most parents. It not only tickles their imagination, but it also teaches them about life.

Short stories have a way of teaching lessons that makes them more relatable and interesting. Rather than just telling your kid not to lie, relating a short story about it helps them understand what happens when they lie. It helps them become more aware of their actions and their consequences. The moral lessons from these stories also help shape their character and moral compass as they grow old.

Here are 10 short stories with moral lessons that your kids (and even some adults) will learn a thing or two from:

1. The Hare and the Tortoise

There was once a hare who was friends with a tortoise. One day, he challenged the tortoise to a race. Seeing how slow the tortoise was going, the hare thought he’ll win this easily. So he took a nap while the tortoise kept on going. When the hare woke up, he saw that the tortoise was already at the finish line. Much to his chagrin, the tortoise won the race while he was busy sleeping.

Moral of the story:

There are actually a couple of moral lessons we can learn from this story. The hare teaches that overconfidence can sometimes ruin you. While the tortoise teaches us about the power of perseverance. Even if all the odds are stacked against you, never give up. Sometimes life is not about who’s the fastest or the strongest, it’s about who is the most consistent.

2. The Dog and the Bone

Once there was a dog who wandered the streets night and day in search of food. One day, he found a big juicy bone and he immediately grabbed it between his mouth and took it home. On his way home, he crossed a river and saw another dog who also had a bone in its mouth. He wanted that bone for himself too. But as he opened his mouth, the bone he was biting fell into the river and sank. That night, he went home hungry.

Moral of the story:

If we always envy what others have, we’ll end up losing what we already have, just like the greedy dog.

3. The Thirsty Crow

After flying a long distance, a thirsty crow was wandering the forest in search of water. Finally, he saw a pot half-filled with water. He tried to drink from it but his beak wasn’t long enough to reach the water inside. He then saw pebbles on the ground and one by one, he put them in the pot until the water rose to the brim. The crow then hastily drank from it and quenched his thirst.

Moral of the story:

If there’s a will, there’s a way. Every problem has a solution if we just look hard enough and don’t give up.

4. Lazy John

There was a boy named John who was so lazy, he couldn’t even bother to change his clothes. One day, he saw that the apple tree in their yard was full of fruits. He wanted to eat some apples but he was too lazy to climb the tree and take the fruits. So he lay down underneath the tree and waited for the fruits to fall off. John waited and waited until he was very hungry but the apples never fell.

Moral of the story:

Laziness can get you nowhere. If you want something, you need to work hard for it.

5. The Fox and The Grapes

Once there was a hungry fox who stumbled upon a vineyard. After seeing the round, juicy grapes hanging in a bunch, the fox drooled. But no matter how high he jumped, he couldn’t reach for it. So he told himself that it was probably sour and left. That night, he had to sleep on an empty stomach.

Moral of the Story:

Most of us have the tendency to act like the fox. When we want something but think it’s too hard to attain, we make up excuses. We tell ourselves that it’s probably not that great instead of working hard for it.

6. The Ant and The Grasshopper

The ant and the grasshopper were good friends. In the summer, the ant works hard to fill his storage with food. While the grasshopper was enjoying the fine weather and playing all day. When winter came, the ant was lying cozily in his home surrounded by the food he stored during the summer. While the grasshopper was in his home, hungry and freezing. He asked the ant for food and the ant gave him some. But it wasn’t enough to last the entire winter. When he tried to ask the ant again, the latter replied: “I’m sorry my friend but my food is just enough for my family to last until the end of winter. If I give you more, we too will starve. We had the entire summer to prepare for the winter but you chose to play instead.”

Moral of the story:

Winter, in this story, represents a time in our life where food and resources are scarce. While summer is that time where everything is abundant. So if you have a lot right now, save some of it for the winter.

7. The Boy Who Cried Wolf

There was once a shepherd boy who liked to play tricks. One day, while he was watching over the herd, the boy decided to play a trick and cried “wolf! wolf!”. The people who heard rushed over to help him. But they were disappointed when they saw that there was no wolf and the boy was laughing at them. The next day, he did it again and people rushed to his aid only to be disappointed once again. On the third day, the boy saw a wolf devouring one of his sheep and cried for help. But the people who heard him thought this is just another of the boy’s pranks so no one came to help him. That day, the boy lost some of his sheep to the wolf.

Moral of the story:

If you always lie and cheat on other people, there will come a time when no one will believe you anymore.

8. The Ugly Duckling

Most of us have probably heard of this story as this is one of the most popular fairy tales in the world. The story revolves around a duckling who from the moment of his birth has always felt different from his siblings. He was always picked on because he didn’t look like the rest of them. One day, he had enough and ran away from the pond he grew up in. He wandered near and far looking for a family who would accept him. Months passed and seasons changed but everywhere he went, nobody wanted him because he was such an ugly duck. Then one day, he came upon a family of swans. Upon looking at them, he realized that during the months he spent looking for a family to call his own, he had grown into a beautiful swan. Now he finally understood why he never looked like the rest of his siblings because he isn’t a duck but a swan.

Moral of the story:

We shouldn’t be too quick to judge others based on their physical appearance. Just because someone doesn’t fit societal definitions of beauty doesn’t mean they’re ugly. Each of us is beautiful in our own unique way and it’s time we accept and celebrate that individuality.

9. The Lion and the Poor Slave

There was once a slave who was treated cruelly by his master. One day, he couldn’t take it anymore and ran away to the forest to escape. There he chanced upon a lion who couldn’t walk because of the thorn in its paw. Although he’s scared, the slave mustered his courage and took out the thorn in the lion’s paw. When the lion was finally free of the thorn, he ran into the forest and didn’t harm the slave. Sometime later, the slave was caught by his master along with some animals in the forest. The master then ordered the slave to be thrown into the lion’s den. When the slave saw the lion, he recognized it as the same lion he helped in the forest. The slave was able to escape the den unharmed and he freed all the other animals.

Moral of the story:

The good you did will always have a way of coming back to you. So do good deeds and be kind to others and the world will be kind to you.

10. The Elephant and the Ants

There was once a proud elephant who always bullied smaller animals. He would go to the anthill near his home and spray water at the ants. The ants, with their size, could do nothing but cry. The elephant just laughed and threatened the ants that he would crush them to death. One day, the ants had enough and decided to teach the elephant a lesson. They went straight into the elephant’s trunk and started biting him. The elephant could only howl in pain. He realized his mistake and apologized to the ants and all the animals he bullied.

Moral of the story:

Be humble and treat everyone with kindness. If you think you’re stronger than others, then use your strength to protect them instead of harming them.

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.

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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: nine0003

  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. nine0070
  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. nine0070
  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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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”. nine0007

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. ” nine0003

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 wasted 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: nine0003

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”. nine0007

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 remembered 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. nine0003

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: small volume 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. nine0003

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. nine0003

The castle, into which my lackey ventured to break in, so that I might not be left out in my deplorable state 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. nine0003

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. One of the most puzzling phases of that strange waking sleep is that dreams which seem to cover months or even years may take place within a few seconds or minutes. nine0003

Murray had a dream.

Both psychologists and scientists are lost in explanations of the strange adventures of our immaterial "I" when we wander in the realm of the "twin of death" - in the realm of sleep. This story does not claim to be an explanation, it is just a description of Murray's dream. One of the most confusing aspects of these strange dreams is that we think months or even years pass in dreams, but in reality only a couple of seconds or minutes. nine0003

In this article, we have analyzed small passages to show how effective it is to read stories in English. You can choose from your favorite author's collections or get to know the work of various writers through their stories: in the variety of works everyone will find what they like.

Short English Stories

Read online short stories in English (short English stories). nine0005 Stories are offered adapted and in the original for beginners, continuing and improving. For those who are just starting to learn English or those who do not want to forget it. The best stories by English and American writers with exciting plots are especially suitable for those who are learning English on their own.

Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

If you have looked at this page, dear reader, then you want to read something in English. You can choose book, story or short work , and at the same time watch its film adaptation. Let's take a journey through time together, say, to the 18th century, get acquainted with the era, its typical characters, and at the same time with the greatest writers who lived at that time. They speak to us through several centuries, putting words into the mouths of the heroes of their works. A good book is a relative term. After all, we have different tastes, so you will find different works on our site. However, one thing is certain - all the books that we offer are worthy of being read. After all, it's not just best books in English are classics of English and American literature. So, open the book and go to another world. Don't get lost!


Published in Short stories / Short stories in English | 5 comments

Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

If you have not read the stories of O. Henry, then it's time to get acquainted with this American writer. And we'll start with his arguably best short story, The Last Leaf. Although O. Henry tried to avoid bad endings so as not to upset his reader, the end of this story is ambiguous . .. The story is adapted to the level of intermediate (for advanced). Read online the story "The Last Leaf" in English or in Russian, and also watch its film adaptations. nine0007


Published in O. Henry / O. Henry, Short stories / Short stories in English | 7 comments

Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

We offer you to read in English a short story by the famous American writer O. Henry. The story is called "No Story" - which means "Non-fictional story" or "Without fiction" in translation. The story is adapted (easy level). For those who are interested in learning English , there are exercises, comments and translation of difficult expressions.


Published in O. Henry / O. Henry, Short stories / Short stories in English | 22 comments nine0002 Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

We suggest reading Ray Bradbury's story "Fog Siren" (intermediate level - pre-intermediate) for those who continue to learn English from the series "Ray Bradbury. short stories.

The story takes place in Foggy Albion. On the seashore stands a lone lighthouse, the light of which helps ships find their way to the harbor at night and during fog. The fogs in this place are especially thick, so the lighthouse is also equipped with a fog siren. nine0007


Posted in Ray Bradbury / Ray Bradbury, Short stories / Short stories in English | 3 comments

Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

Night. Dead silence. Only the breath of the night shakes the grass on the plain. A lonely fire burns in the night, ”this is how this story begins, which he wrote back in 1955, the great dreamer and almost madman Ray Bradbury. Read the online short story in English called The Dragon. The story is adapted for the intermediate level (intermediate). Words are included for study.


Posted in Ray Bradbury / Ray Bradbury, Short stories / Short stories in English | Leave a comment nine0002 Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

The story "Build a Fire" is one of the best stories by Jack London, an American writer whose original stories still make a strong impression on people. They not only strike the imagination of his readers. They inspire. Apparently due to the enormous vitality that the author possessed during his lifetime. Fortitude, love of life - this is what permeates all his works. An incredible writer and an incredible person. We in Russia love and read Jack London, almost more than in America itself. nine0007


Posted in Jack London / Jack London, Short stories / Short stories in English, Winter Stories, Books for beginners (beginners) | 36 comments

Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

This horror story "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Poe is one of my favorite ones. It is a little bit crazy and very intense. nine0345 The plot of the story is rather simple. Two people, a young one and an old one, lived together. The young man helped the old man to keep the house. But with time the old man started to irritate the young. It was his pale blue eye that made him mad. What happened in the end you will know when you read the story.
Good luck with learning English through horror stories by Edgar Poe.


Posted in Edgar Poe / Edgar Poe, Short stories / Short stories in English, Mystery stories | 2 comments nine0002 Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

This is a short English story for children and grown-ups. It may remind you about your childhood or your velveteen rabbit. Or it may be a velveteen bear or some other toy. The story is adapted for pre-intermediate. You can also enjoy the original text of the story "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams and its Russian translation.
A touching story in English, which is called "Plush Bunny". This story is adapted and will be of interest to adults and children. Voiced video and translation into Russian with a detailed analysis of the text is attached. Another story from Majerie Williams for those who study English on our site!


Published in Fairy Tales / Tales in English, Short stories / Short stories in English | Leave a comment nine0002 Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

Read online the touching story by Margery Williams «The Velveteen Rabbit» about how toys become real. The version is for advanced (in the original).

The animation based on the story follows the text. I think the plot is not new but for me the narration is wonderful. I love the writing style of Margery Williams and I hope so do you.

There is a version for beginners with audio — The Velveteen Rabbit (after Margery Williams)

Enjoy this bit of both the English and the American Classics on


Published in Short stories / Short stories in English | Leave a comment

Posted or Updated on . Author Tatiana

This is one of the best stories from our collection of short stories by American writers and it is adapted for the intermediate level .

Learn more