The boy who cried wolf, the golden touch, a golden egg, the camel and her baby, the lonely elephant are some of the moral stories for kids to read.
Stories are, perhaps, the best way to teach life lessons to children. You can teach them the values and morals without being preachy. During the story time at home, come up with some short moral stories for kids to enjoy the storyline while also learning a lesson or two. Here are 21 stories to keep your kids entertained the next time they ask for a story:
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21 Short Moral Stories for Kids to Read
The boy who cried wolf
Once upon a time, there lived a shepherd boy who was bored watching his flock of sheep on the hill. To amuse himself, he shouted, “wolf! Wolf! The sheep are being chased by the wolf!” The villagers came running to help the boy and save the sheep. They found nothing and the boy just laughed looking at their angry faces.
“don’t cry ‘wolf’ when there’s no wolf boy!”, they said angrily and left. The boy just laughed at them.
After a while, he got bored and cried ‘wolf!’ again, fooling the villagers a second time. The angry villagers warned the boy a second time and left. The boy continued watching the flock. After a while, he saw a real wolf and cried loudly, “wolf! Please help! The wolf is chasing the sheep. Help!”
But this time, no one turned up to help. By evening, when the boy didn’t return home, the villagers wondered what happened to him and went up the hill. The boy sat on the hill weeping. “why didn’t you come when i called out that there was a wolf?” He asked angrily. “the flock is scattered now”, he said.
An old villager approached him and said, “people won’t believe liars even when they tell the truth. We’ll look for your sheep tomorrow morning. Let’s go home now”.
Moral: do not make stories up for attention or lie, for no one will help you when you actually need it.
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The golden touch
In ancient greece, there was a king named midas. He had a lot of gold and everything he needed. He also had a beautiful daughter. Midas loved his gold very much, but he loved his daughter more than his riches.
One day, a satyr named silenus got drunk and passed out in midas’ rose garden. Believing that satyrs always bring good luck, midas lets silenus rest in his palace until he is sober, against the wishes of his wife and daughter. Silenus is a friend of dionysus, the god of wine and celebration. Upon learning midas’ kindness towards his friend, dionysus decides to reward the keg.
When asked to wish for something, midas says “i wish everything i touch turns to gold”. Although dionysus knew it was not a great idea, he granted midas his wish.
Happy that his wish was granted, midas went around touching random things in the garden and his palace and turned them all into gold. He touched an apple, and it turned into a shiny gold apple. His subjects were astonished but happy to see so much gold in the palace.
In his happiness, midas went and hugged his daughter, and before he realized, he turned her into a lifeless, golden statue! Aghast, midas ran back to the garden and called for dionysus. He begged the god to take away his power and save his daughter. Dionysus gives midas a solution to change everything back to how it was before the wish. Midas learned his lesson and lived the rest of his life contented with what he had.
Moral: do not get greedy. Be happy and content with what you have.
A golden egg
Once upon a time, a farmer had a goose that laid a golden egg every day. The egg provided enough money for the farmer and his wife for their day-to-day needs. The farmer and his wife were happy for a long time. But one day, the farmer got an idea and thought, “why should i take just one egg a day? Why can’t i take all of them at once and make a lot of money?”
The foolish farmer’s wife also agreed and decided to cut the goose’s stomach for the eggs. As soon as they killed the bird and opened the goose’s stomach, to find nothing but guts and blood. The farmer, realizing his foolish mistake, cries over the lost resource!
Moral: think before you act.
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The camel and her baby
One day, a camel and her baby were chatting. The baby asked, “mother, why do we have humps?” The mother replied, “our humps are for storing water so that we can survive in the desert”.
“oh”, said the child, “and why do we have rounded feet mother?” “because they are meant to help us walk comfortably in the desert. These legs help us move around in the sand.”
“alright. But why are our eyelashes so long?” “to protect our eyes from the desert dust and sand. They are the protective covers for the eyes”, replied the mother camel.
The baby camel thought for a while and said, “so we have humps to store water for desert journeys, rounded hooves to keep us comfortable when we walk in the desert sand, and long eyelashes to protect us from sand and dust during a desert storm. Then what are we doing in a zoo?”
Moral: your strengths, skills, and knowledge are useless if you are not in the right place.
The milkmaid and her pail
Patty the milkmaid had just finished milking her cow and had two full pails of fresh creamy milk. She put both pails on a stick and set off to the market to sell her pails of milk. Along the way she started to think of all the milk in her pails and all the money she would get for them.
‘once i get the money, i’ll buy a chicken’, she thought. ‘the chicken will lay eggs and i will get more chickens. They’ll all lay eggs and i can sell them for more money. Then i’ll buy the house on the hill and be the envy of everyone in the village. They’ll ask me to sell the chicken farm, but i’ll toss my head like this and refuse’. So saying, patty, the milkmaid tossed her head and dropped her pails. The milk spilled onto the ground while patty cried.
Moral: do not count your chickens before they hatch. Be patient.
The lonely elephant
A lonely 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 them 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 has been attacking all the animals.
The elephant wanted to save the other weak 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”.
Moral: friends come in all shapes and sizes
The other side of the wall
A young woman inherited a beautiful garden from her grandmother. She loved gardening too and was very proud of her garden. One day, she saw a very beautiful plant in a catalog and wanted that for her garden. She ordered it and planted it at the base of the stonewall in her backyard. She took great care of the plant, which grew quickly and had beautiful green leaves on it.
Months passed, but not a single flower bloomed on the tree. Vexed, she almost wanted to cut the tree down. At such a time, her invalid called and said, “thank you so much for the beautiful flowers. You have no idea how much i enjoy looking at the blooms of the vine you have planted”.
Hearing this, the young girl rushes to the neighbor’s side of the wall and sees the most beautiful flower in bloom. All the care she took had paid off. Only the vine crept through the crevices because of which it did not flower on her side of the wall but did generously on the other side.
Moral: just because you cannot see the good results of your efforts does not mean that it bore no fruit.
The dog at the well
A dog and her pups lived on a farm, where there was a well. The mother dog told the pups, do not go near the well or play around it. One of the pups wondered why they shouldn’t go to the well and decided to explore it. He went to the well. Climbed up the wall and peeked inside.
In there, he saw his reflection and thought it was another dog. The pup saw that the other dog in the well (his reflection) was doing whatever he was doing, and got angry for imitating him. He decided to fight with the dog and jumped into the well, only to find no dog there. He barked and barked and swam until the farmer came and rescued him. The pup had learned his lesson.
Moral: always listen to what your elders say. Question them, but do not defy them
There was once a young boy who had problem controlling his temper. When he became angry, he would just say anything that came to his mind and hurt people. So his father gave him a bag of nails and a hammer and said, “every time you get angry, hammer one nail into the fence in our backyard”.
The first few days the boy hammered so many nails that he emptied half the bag. Over the weeks, the number of nails he hammered to the fence reduced and gradually, his temper was much in control. Then came a day when he didn’t lose his temper at all. His father asked him to remove one nail each day that he manages not to lose his temper.
Finally, on the day the child was removing the last nail, his father says, “you have done well, boy. But do you see the holes in the wall? The fence is never going to be the same, even after repainting. When you say mean things in anger, you will leave a scar in the person’s mind, as the nails did to the fence”.
Moral: anger is a dangerous weapon like a knife. When you put a knife in a man and draw it out, the wound heals but the scar remains.
A wealthy businessman was worried about his son’s bad habits. He sought counsel from a wise, old man. The old man met the man’s son and took him out for a stroll. They walked into the woods, and the old man showed the boy a small sapling and asked him to pull it out. The boy did so with ease, and they walked on.
The old man then asked the boy to pull out a small plant. The boy did that too, with a little effort. As they walked, the old man asked the boy to pull out the bush, which he did. The next was a small tree, which the child had to struggle a lot to pull out. Finally, the old man showed him a bigger tree and asked the child to pull it out.
The child failed to pull it out even after trying several times, in different ways. The old man looks at the boy, smiles and says, “so is the case with habits, good or bad”.
Moral: bad habits are hard to get rid of once they have settled in our system. It is best to get rid of them early on.
The proud rose
Once upon a time there was a rose who was very proud of her beautiful looks. Her only disappointment was that she grew next to an ugly cactus. Every day, the rose would insult the cactus on his looks while the cactus stayed quiet. All the other plants in the garden tried to make the rose see sense, but she was too swayed by her own good looks.
One summer, the well present in the garden grew dry and there was no water for the plants. The rose began to wilt. She saw a sparrow dip her beak into the cactus for some water. Though ashamed, she asked the cactus if she too could have some water. The kind cactus readily agreed and they both got through the tough summer as friends.
Moral: never judge someone by the way they look.
Good company, bad company
Two parrots built a nest in a banyan tree. They lived with their two young ones, which they took good care of. The mother and the father parrot went out to gather food in the morning and came back home by evening. One day, when their parents were away, the young parrots were taken by a cruel hunter.
One of the birds managed to escape and flew away from the hunter. He ended up at a hermitage and grew up listening to kind words and compassion. The hunter put the other parrot in a cage, and soon it learned a few words and phrases. The hunter and his family were crude and didn’t care much about kind words.
One day, a passerby was resting outside the hunter’s hut. Sensing someone outside, the parrot said, “fool, why are you here? Fool! Leave! I’ll cut your throat”. Scared, the traveler went away, and on his journey, he reached the hermitage where the other parrot was. The parrot at the hermitage spoke, “welcome traveler. You are free to stay here as long as you want”.
Surprised, the traveler told the parrot that he encountered a similar parrot elsewhere and it was very cruel. How is that you are so kind?” The parrot replied, “that must be my brother. I live with the sages, and my brother lives with hunters. I learned the sage’s language, and my brother learned the hunter’s language. The company we keep decides who we will be”.
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”.
Moral: treat everyone around you like you want to be treated. Adhere to your own rules or ethics, not theirs.
The crab and his mother
One day, a young crab and his mother were on the beach, spending some time together. The young crab gets up to move, but it can only walk sideways. His mother scolds him for walking sideways and asks him to walk forward by pointing his toes out front. The young crab responds, “i would like to walk forward mom, but i do not know how to”.
Hearing this, his mom gets up to show him how, but even she is unable to bend her knees forward. She realizes that she was being unfair, apologizes sheepishly, and sits back in the sand.
Moral: don’t condemn someone for not doing something that you yourself are unable to do.
True friends love you
Lord krishna and sudama were childhood friends. While krishna thrived and prospered, sudama didn’t. He lead the life of a poor brahmin man, living in a small hut with his wife and kids. Most days, the kids wouldn’t even get enough to eat from what sudama got as alms. One day, his wife suggested that he go and ask his friend krishna for help.
Sudama was reluctant to seek favors, but he also didn’t want his kids to suffer. So his wife borrows some rice from the neighbors to make some rice snacks that krishna liked, and gave it to sudama to take it to his friend. Sudama took it and set out to dwaraka. He was amazed at the gold that was used to build the city. He reached the palace gates and was obstructed by the guards, who judged him by his torn dhoti and poor appearance.
Sudama requested the guards to at least inform krishna that his friend sudama has come to meet him. The guard, although reluctant, goes and informs the lord. On hearing that sudama was here, krishna stops doing whatever he was doing and runs barefoot to meet his childhood friend.
Krishna hugs sudama welcomes him to his abode and treats him with utmost love and respect. Sudama, ashamed of the poor man’s rice snacks he got for krishna, tries to hide it. But the all-knowing krishna asks sudama for his gift and eats his favorite rice snacks that his friend brought for him.
Krishna and his friend spend time laughing and talking about their childhood but sudama, overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion showed by his friend, is unable to ask krishna for help. When he returns home, sudama finds that his hut has been replaced by a huge mansion and his wife and kids are dressed in fine clothes.
Sudama realized how lucky he was to have a true friend like krishna. He didn’t even ask, but krishna knew what sudama wanted and gave it to him.
Moral: true friends do not distinguish between rich and poor. They are always there for you when you need them.
The farmer and the well
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.
Moral: cheating will not get you anything. If you do cheat, you’ll pay for it soon enough.
The bear and two friends
Two best friends were walking a lonely and dangerous path through a jungle. As the sun began to set, they grew afraid but held on to each other. Suddenly, they saw a bear in their path. One of the boys ran to the nearest tree and climbed it within quickly. The other boy did not know how to climb trees by himself so he lay on the ground pretending to be dead. The bear approached the boy on the ground and sniffed around his head. Thinking that the boy was dead, the bear went on its way. The boy on the tree climbed down and asked his friend what had the bear whispered in his ear.
He replied, ‘do not trust friends who do not care for you.’
Moral: a friend in need is a friend indeed.
The cows and the tiger
Four cows lived in a forest near a meadow. They were good friends and did everything together. They grazed together and stayed together, because of which no tigers or lions were able to kill them for food.
But one day, the friends fought and each cow went to graze in a different direction. A tiger and a lion saw this and decided that it was the perfect opportunity to kill the cows. They hid in the bushes and surprised the cows and killed them all, one by one.
Moral: unity is strength.
The miser’s gold
An old miser lived in a house with a garden. The miser hid his gold coins in a pit under some stones in the garden. Every day, before going to bed, the miser went to the stones where he hid the gold and counted the coins. He continued this routine every day, but not once did he spend the gold he saved.
One day, a thief who knew the old miser’s routine, waited for the old man to go back into his house. After it was dark, the thief went to the hiding place and took the gold. The next day, the old miser found that his treasure was missing and started crying loudly.
His neighbor heard the miser’s cries and inquired about what happened. On learning what happened, the neighbor asked, “why didn’t you save the money inside the house? It would’ve been easier to access the money when you had to buy something!”
“buy?”, said the miser. “i never used the gold to buy anything. I was never going to spend it.”
On hearing this, the neighbor threw a stone into the pit and said, “if that is the case, save the stone. It is as worthless as the gold you have lost”.
Moral: a possession is just as worthy of what it is used for.
The four students
There were four friends who hated studying. They partied all night before their exams and planned to skip the test by lying to the professor. So they went to the dean and told him that they had been to a wedding the previous night and on their way back, they had a flat tire. They continued to say that they had to push the car all the way back, as they didn’t have a spare tire and hence, were not in a position to write the exam.
The dean listened and agreed to let them take the test on a later date. Happy that they got a second chance, the four friends studied hard and were ready for the exam. On exam day, the dean asked the students to sit in separate classrooms, which the students agreed to.
The examination paper had only two questions, for a total of 100 marks. The questions were thus:
which tire of the car burst: a) front left b) front right c) rear left d) rear right
Moral: you may be smart, but there are people smarter than you in the world.
The tortoise and the bird
A tortoise was resting under a tree, on which a bird had built its nest. The tortoise spoke to the bird mockingly, “what a shabby home you have! It is made of broken twigs, it has no roof, and looks crude. What’s worse is that you had to build it yourself. I think my house, which is my shell, is much better than your pathetic nest”.
“yes, it is made of broken sticks, looks shabby and is open to the elements of nature. It is crude, but i built it, and i like it.”
“i guess it’s just like any other nest, but not better than mine”, said the tortoise. “you must be jealous of my shell, though.”
“on the contrary”, the bird replied. “my home has space for my family and friends; your shell cannot accommodate anyone other than you. Maybe you have a better house. But I have a better home”, said the bird happily.