20 Good Short Moral Stories for Kids You Can Read with Your Child
When it comes to teaching important life lessons, few tools are as effective — and equally entertaining — as moral stories for kids.
Not only will your little one get to flex their imagination, but they’ll also have the chance to work on their language skills, further develop their vocabulary and learn important life lessons in an engaging and relatable way.
At ParentEducate.com, we’re dedicated to helping families like you navigate every step of parenthood, including planning a storytime that’s full of moral stories for kids.
That’s why we’re sharing our favorite moral stories for kids, and why incorporating them into your weekly routine is a must.
What are short moral stories for kids?
Morals are lessons (usually around what is right and wrong) that can be taken from stories and experiences. Short moral stories for kids are simply brief tales that integrate morals — either explicitly or implicitly — throughout their plotlines. They’re a perfect tool for parents looking to teach their children important life lessons without making kids feel like they’re talking down to them or lecturing them on what they have to do.
When should I start reading moral stories for kids?
The best thing about very short stories for kids with morals is that your child will never be too young or old for them! We recommend starting when your child is a toddler and then finding new stories that grow with them.
What are the benefits of very short stories for kids with morals?
There are a number of benefits your little one can take away from short moral stories for kids, including:
- An increased vocabulary.
- Enhanced imagination and creative thinking.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Better social and emotional comprehension.
- Improved listening skills.
- Increased cultural understanding.
- A more comprehensive moral compass.
How can I make the most of storytime?
While most moral stories for kids are entertaining enough to keep your child’s attention, there are things you can do to make storytime even more memorable. Our top tips for executing very short stories for kids with morals include:
- Using voices for each character to bring the story to life.
- Doing a mid-story check-in with your kid about what they’ve learned so far.
- Incorporating props and hand gestures where possible.
- Ask your child what they think the moral takeaway was once you’ve finished.
What moral stories for kids are the best?
As we mentioned, nearly every piece of children’s literature has a moral incorporated, but some of our favorite very short stories for kids with morals include:
There was once a young shepherd boy who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was rather lonely for him all day, so he thought upon a plan by which he could get a little company and some excitement. He rushed down towards the village calling out “Wolf! Wolf!” and the villagers came out to meet him, and some of them stopped with him for a considerable time.
This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterward he tried the same trick, and again the villagers came to his help. But shortly after this a wolf actually did come out from the forest and began to worry the sheep, and the boy, of course, cried out “Wolf! Wolf!” still louder than before. But this time the villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again deceiving them, and nobody came to his help. So the wolf made a good meal off the boy’s flock, and when the boy complained, the wise man of the village said: “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.”
There was once a countryman who possessed the most wonderful goose you can imagine. And every day when he visited the nest, the goose had laid a beautiful, glittering, golden egg.
The countryman took the eggs to market and soon began to get rich. But it was not long before he grew impatient with the goose because she gave him only a single golden egg a day. He was not getting rich fast enough.
Then one day, after he had finished counting his money, the idea came to him that he could get all the golden eggs at once by killing the goose and cutting it open. But when the deed was done, not a single golden egg did he find, and his precious goose was dead.
There was an old owl that lived in an oak. Every day he saw incidents happening around him. Yesterday, he saw a boy helping an old man carry a heavy basket. Today, he saw a girl shouting at her mother. The more he saw the less he spoke.
As he spoke less, he heard more. He heard people talking and telling stories. He heard a woman saying that an elephant jumped over a fence. He also heard a man saying that he had never made a mistake.
The old owl had seen and heard about what happened to people. Some became better and some became worse. But the old owl had become wiser each and every day.
A farmer looking for a source of water for his farm bought a well from his neighbor. The neighbor was cunning, though, and refused to let the farmer take water from the well. On asking why, he replied, “I sold the well to you, not the water”, and walked away. The distraught farmer didn’t know what to do. So he went to Birbal, a clever man and one of the nine courtiers of Emperor Akbar, for a solution.
The emperor called the farmer and his neighbor and asked why the man was not letting the farmer draw water from the well. The cunning man said the same thing again, “I sold the well, not the water. So he cannot take my water”.
To this, Birbal replied, “All that sounds fine to me. But if you have sold the water and the water is yours, then you have no business keeping your water in his well. Remove the water or use it all up immediately. If not the water will belong to the owner of the well”.
Realizing that he’s been tricked and taught his lesson, the man apologized and left.
A hare was making fun of the tortoise one day for being so slow.
"Do you ever get anywhere?" he asked with a mocking laugh.
"Yes," replied the tortoise, "and I get there sooner than you think. I'll run you a race and prove it."
The hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the tortoise, but for the fun of the thing, he agreed. So the fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.
The hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the tortoise should catch up.
The tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the hare was sleeping. But the hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the tortoise was near the goal. The hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the tortoise in time.
Once upon a time, there was a Greek King, Midas. He was very rich and had lots of gold. He had a daughter, who he loved a lot.
One day, Midas found an angel in need of help. He helped her and in return, she agreed to grant a wish.
Midas wished that everything he touched would turn into gold. His wish was granted
On his way home, he touched rocks and plants, and they turned into gold. As he reached home, in excitement he hugged his daughter, who turned into gold. Midas was devastated and he had learned his lesson. Upon learning his lesson, Midas asked the angel to take his wish away.
Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. One pig built a house of straw while the second pig built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks.
A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, “What juicy tender meals they will make!” He chased the two pigs and they ran and hid in their houses.
The big bad wolf went to the first house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in minutes. The frightened little pig ran to the second pig’s house which was made of sticks.
The big bad wolf now came to this house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in hardly any time. Now, the two little pigs were terrified and ran to the third pig’s house which was made of bricks. The big bad wolf tried to huff and puff and blow the house down, but he could not. He kept trying for hours but the house was very strong and the little pigs were safe inside.
He tried to enter through the chimney but the third little pig boiled a big pot of water and kept it below the chimney. The wolf fell into it and died.
The two little pigs now felt sorry for having been so lazy. They too built their houses with bricks and lived happily ever after
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful rose plant in a garden. One rose flower on the plant was proud of its beauty. However, it was disappointed that it was growing next to an ugly cactus. Every day, the rose would insult the cactus about its looks, but the cactus stayed quiet. All the other plants in the garden tried to stop the rose from bullying the cactus, but the rose was too swayed by its own beauty to listen to anyone.
One summer, a well in the garden dried up and there was no water for the plants. The rose slowly began to wilt. The rose saw a sparrow dip its beak into the cactus for some water. The rose then felt ashamed for having made fun of the cactus all this time. But because it was in need of water, it went to ask the cactus if it could have some water. The kind cactus agreed, and they both got through summer as friends.
Alone elephant wandered the forest looking for friends. She came across a monkey and asked, “Will you be my friend, monkey?”
“You are too big and cannot swing on trees as I do. So I cannot be your friend,” said the monkey.
The elephant then came across a rabbit and asked him if she could be his friend. “You are too big to fit inside my burrow. You cannot be my friend,” replied the rabbit.
Then the elephant met a frog and asked if she could be her friend. The frog said, “You are too big and heavy. You cannot jump like me. I am sorry, but you cannot be my friend.”
The elephant asked a fox, and he got the same reply, that he was too big. The next day, all the animals in the forest were running in fear. The elephant stopped a bear and asked what was happening and was told that a tiger had been attacking all the animals.
The elephant wanted to save the other animals and went to the tiger and said “Please sir, leave my friends alone. Do not eat them.” The tiger didn’t listen and asked the elephant to mind her own business. Seeing no other way to solve the problem, the elephant kicked the tiger and scared it away.
She then went back to the others and told them what happened. On hearing how the elephant saved their lives, the animals agreed in unison, “You are just the right size to be our friend.”
"Why in the world do you walk sideways like that?" said a mother crab to her son. "You should always walk straight forward with your toes turned out."
"Show me how to walk, mother dear," answered the little crab obediently, "I want to learn."
So the old crab tried and tried to walk straight forward. But she could walk sideways only, like her son. And when she wanted to turn her toes out she tripped and fell on her nose.
A monkey lived on a berry tree on the riverbank. Once he saw a crocodile under the tree who looked hungry and tired. He gave the crocodile some berries, and the crocodile thanked the monkey and became one of his friends.
The monkey would give berries to the crocodile every day. One day the monkey even gave the crocodile extra berries to take to his wife.
His wife enjoyed the berries but told her husband that she wanted to eat the monkey's heart. She was a wicked and cunning woman. The crocodile was upset, but he decided that he needed to make his wife happy.
On the next day, the crocodile went to the monkey and said that his wife had called him for dinner. The crocodile carried the monkey on his back across the river. He told this monkey his wife's plan.
The monkey had to think quickly if he wanted to save himself. He told the crocodile that he left his heart at the berry tree and that they needed to return.
On reaching the monkey climbed the tree and spoke. "I'm not getting down; you betrayed my trust and that means our friendship is over."
Emperor Akbar was in the habit of putting riddles and puzzles to his courtiers. He often asked questions that were strange and witty. It took much wisdom to answer these questions.
Once he asked a very strange question. The courtiers were dumb folded by his question.
Akbar glanced at his courtiers. As he looked, one by one the heads began to hang low in search of an answer. It was at this moment that Birbal entered the courtyard. Birbal who knew the nature of the emperor quickly grasped the situation and asked, "May I know the question so that I can try for an answer."
Akbar said, "How many crows are there in this city?"
Without even a moment's thought, Birbal replied "There are fifty thousand five hundred and eighty-nine crows, my lord."
"How can you be so sure?” asked Akbar.
Birbal said, "Make your men count, My lord. If you find more crows it means some have come to visit their relatives here. If you find fewer crows it means some have gone to visit their relatives elsewhere."
Akbar was pleased very much by Birbal's wit.
Once, there was a poor boy who made a living by selling various objects from door to door. This was the way he earned money to pay for his school.
One day, as he was walking from house to house, as usual, he felt very hungry and weak. He felt that he couldn’t walk even a few steps. He decided to ask for food at a house. He knocked on the door and was stunned to see a beautiful young girl open the door. With much hesitation, he asked the girl for a glass of water.
The young girl understood his condition and offered him a huge glass of milk. With an astonished look, the boy drank the milk very slowly.
“How much do I owe you for this milk?” he asked her.
The girl replied, “I do not want any money for this.”
The boy thanked the girl from the bottom of his heart and left the place.
Years passed by. The young girl grew up. In her youth, unfortunately, she fell ill and was diagnosed with the rarest kind of nervous disorder. Many experienced doctors were baffled at her condition, and she was admitted to the city hospital with the most advanced facilities.
Dr. Kevin, a renowned neuro specialist was called in by the hospital to examine her. Even with his extraordinary expertise, Dr. Kevin found the girl’s illness very hard to cure. However, with perseverance and hard work that lasted months, he was finally able to get the disease under control. With careful medication and monitoring, the girl was completely cured in the end.
Everyone praised the doctor, but the girl was quite worried about how much the hospital bill would come to. Her family had just a little money kept away in the bank, which was by no means enough to pay for such a long treatment in that reputed hospital.
The girl was finally given the hospital bill. With trembling hands, she opened it. She was stunned to see that the bill had been crossed out and canceled, and there was a note underneath signed by Dr. Kevin.
“Bill paid years ago with a glass of milk!”
One bright day in late autumn a family of ants was bustling about in the warm sunshine, drying out the grain they had stored up during the summer, when a starving grasshopper, his fiddle under his arm, came up and humbly begged for a bite to eat.
"What!" cried the ants in surprise, "haven't you stored anything away for the winter? What in the world were you doing all last summer?"
"I didn't have time to store up any food," whined the grasshopper; "I was so busy making music that before I knew it the summer was gone."
The ants shrugged their shoulders in disgust.
"Making music, were you?" they cried. "Very well; now dance!" And they turned their backs on the grasshopper and went on with their work.
Once upon a time, there lived a stray dog in a small town.
One day, the dog got a juicy bone from a butcher’s shop. All excited, he picked it up and looked for a secluded place to enjoy it at ease.
He ran to a nearby riverside to enjoy the bone all by himself. As he was chewing the bone, he happened to look down into the river. The dog was quite surprised as he saw his own reflection in the river. He mistook it for another dog with a juicy bone in its mouth.
The greedy dog wanted to snatch that bone also. So, he opened his mouth to bark at his own reflection, hoping to scare the other dog away so that he could get that bone too. But, alas! The bone fell down from his mouth into the river with a splash. The dog lost his piece of bone because of his greed and had to go away hungry.
A little duckling was very sad because he thought he was the ugliest amongst all his brothers and sisters. They would not play with him and teased the poor ugly duckling. One day, he saw his reflection in the water and cried, “Nobody likes me. I am so ugly.” He decided to leave home and went far away into the woods.
Deep in the forest, he saw a cottage in which there lived an old woman, her hen, and her cat. The duckling stayed with them for some time but he was unhappy there and soon left. When winter set in, the poor duckling almost froze to death. A peasant took him home to his wife and children. The poor duckling was terrified of the children and escaped. The ugly duckling spent the winter in a marshy pond.
Finally, spring arrived. One day, the duckling saw a beautiful swan swimming in the pond and fell in love with her. But then he remembered how everyone made fun of him and he bent his head down in shame. When he saw his own reflection in the water he was astonished. He was not an ugly duckling anymore, but a handsome young swan! Now, he knew why he had looked so different from his brothers and sisters. “They were ducklings but I was a baby swan!” he said to himself.
Some boys were playing one day at the edge of a pond in which lived a family of frogs. The boys amused themselves by throwing stones into the pond so as to make them skip on top of the water.
The stones were flying thick and fast and the boys were enjoying themselves very much, but the poor frogs in the pond were trembling with fear.
At last one of the frogs, the oldest and bravest put his head out of the water, and said, "Oh, please, dear children, stop your cruel play! Though it may be fun for you, it means death to us!"
Wolf left his lair one evening in fine spirits and an excellent appetite. As he ran, the setting sun cast his shadow far out on the ground, and it looked as if the wolf were a hundred times bigger than he really was.
"Why," exclaimed Wolf proudly, "see how big I am! Fancy me running away from a puny lion! I'll show him who is fit to be king, he or I."
Just then an immense shadow blotted him out entirely, and the next instant a lion struck him down with a single blow.
One day, a man was walking by a road when he heard a cat meowing from the bushes nearby. The cat was stuck and needed help getting out. When the man reached out, the cat got scared and scratched the man. The man screamed in pain but didn’t back down. He tried again and again, even as the cat continued to scratch his hands.
Another passerby saw this and said, “Just let it be! The cat will find a way to come out later.” The man didn’t pay heed but tried until he helped the cat. Once he let the cat free, he told the other man, “The cat is an animal, and its instincts make him scratch and attack. I am a human and my instincts make me compassionate and kind.”
One day a shepherd discovered a fat pig in the meadow where his sheep were pastured. He very quickly captured the porker, which squealed at the top of its voice the moment the shepherd laid his hands on it. But in spite of its squeals and struggles to escape, the shepherd tucked his prize under his arm and started off to the butcher's in the marketplace.
The sheep in the pasture were astonished and amused at the pig's behavior and followed the shepherd and his charge to the pasture gate.
"What makes you squeal like that?" asked one of the sheep. "The shepherd often catches and carries off one of us. But we should feel very much ashamed to make such a terrible fuss about it like you do."
"That is all very well," replied the pig, with a squeal and a frantic kick. "When he catches you he is only after your wool. But he wants my bacon!"
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