Top 20 Short Moral Stories for Children

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There was a time when storybooks were the only means of entertainment for children. A decade or two ago, kids spent their time reading stories and role playing their favourite characters from the stories. However, times have changed now – in the age of the internet, kids spend most of their time playing games on smartphones or watching cartoons or videos on YouTube.

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But if you want your kids to take a break from screens and experience your childhood, you can read short stories to them. By narrating stories to your kids, you will impart wisdom to them and also spend much-needed quality time with them. We have a collection of some popular short stories with moral values that you can read to your kids.

Also Read: Short Stories of Mahabharata for Kids with Moral Lessons

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Video: Short Moral Stories for Kids – Part 1

Fun and Entertaining Short Moral Stories for Your Children

If you want to imbibe good habits in your kids from early on and watch them grow up to become good individuals, read moral stories to them. Here are 20 children’s stories with moral values that you can read to your kids!

1. The Lion and the Mouse

A lion was once sleeping in the jungle when a mouse started running up and down his body just for fun. This disturbed the lion’s sleep, and he woke up quite angry. He was about to eat the mouse when the mouse desperately requested the lion to set him free. “I promise you, I will be of great help to you someday if you save me.” The lion laughed at the mouse’s confidence and let him go.

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One day, a few hunters came into the forest and took the lion with them. They tied him up against a tree. The lion was struggling to get out and started to whimper. Soon, the mouse walked past and noticed the lion in trouble. Quickly, he ran and gnawed on the ropes to set the lion free. Both of them sped off into the jungle.

Moral of the Story

A small act of kindness can go a long way.

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Also Read: Childhood Stories of Lord Krishna for Kids

2. Count Wisely

One day, king Akbar asked a question in his court that left everyone in the courtroom puzzled. As they all tried to figure out the answer, Birbal walked in and asked what the matter was. They repeated the question to him.

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The question was, “How many crows are there in the city?”

Birbal immediately smiled and went up to Akbar. He announced the answer; he said there were twenty-one thousand, five hundred and twenty-three crows in the city. When asked how he knew the answer, Birbal replied, “Ask your men to count the number of crows. If there are more, then the relatives of the crows must be visiting them from nearby cities. If there are fewer, then the crows from our city must be visiting their relatives who live outside the city.” Pleased with the answer, Akbar presented Birbal with a ruby and pearl chain.

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Moral of the Story

Having an explanation for your answer is just as important as having an answer.

Also Read: Fascinating Ramayana Stories for Children

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3. The Boy Who Cried Wolf

In a village, lived a carefree boy with his father. The boy’s father told him that he was old enough to watch over the sheep while they graze in the fields. Every day, he had to take the sheep to the grassy fields and watch them as they graze. However, the boy was unhappy and didn’t want to take the sheep to the fields. He wanted to run and play, not watch the boring sheep graze in the field. So, he decided to have some fun. He cried, “Wolf! Wolf!” until the entire village came running with stones to chase away the wolf before it could eat any of the sheep. When the villagers saw that there was no wolf, they left muttering under their breath about how the boy had wasted their time. The next day, the boy cried once more, “Wolf! Wolf!” and, again, the villagers rushed there to chase the wolf away.

The boy laughed at the fright he had caused. This time, the villagers left angrily. The third day, as the boy went up the small hill, he suddenly saw a wolf attacking his sheep. He cried as hard as he could, “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!”, but not a single villager came to help him. The villagers thought that he was trying to fool them again and did not come to rescue him or his sheep. The little boy lost many sheep that day, all because of his foolishness.

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Moral of the Story

It is difficult to trust people who lie, so it’s important to always be truthful.

4. The Fox and the Stork

One day, a selfish fox invited a stork for dinner. Stork was very happy with the invitation – she reached the fox’s home on time and knocked at the door with her long beak. The fox took her to the dinner table and served some soup in shallow bowls for both of them. As the bowl was too shallow for the stork, she couldn’t have soup at all. But, the fox licked up his soup quickly.

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The stork was angry and upset, but she didn’t show her anger and behaved politely. To teach a lesson to the fox, she then invited him for dinner the next day. She too served soup, but this time the soup was served in two tall narrow vases. The stork devoured the soup from her vase, but the fox couldn’t drink any of it because of his narrow neck. The fox realised his mistake and went home famished.

Moral of the Story

A selfish act backfires sooner or later!

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Also Read: Indian Mythological Stories for Kids

5. The Golden Touch

Once there lived a greedy man in a small town. He was very rich, and he loved gold and all things fancy. But he loved his daughter more than anything. One day, he chanced upon a fairy. The fairy’s hair was caught in a few tree branches. He helped her out, but as his greediness took over, he realised that he had an opportunity to become richer by asking for a wish in return (by helping her out). The fairy granted him a wish. He said, “All that I touch should turn to gold.” And his wish was granted by the grateful fairy.

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The greedy man rushed home to tell his wife and daughter about his wish, all the while touching stones and pebbles and watching them convert into gold. Once he got home, his daughter rushed to greet him. As soon as he bent down to scoop her up in his arms, she turned into a gold statue. He was devastated and started crying and trying to bring his daughter back to life. He realised his folly and spent the rest of his days searching for the fairy to take away his wish.

Moral of the Story

Greed will always lead to downfall.

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6. The Milkmaid and Her Pail

Patty, a milkmaid milked her cow and had two full pails of fresh, creamy milk. She put both pails of milk on a stick and set off to the market to sell the milk. As she took steps towards the market, her thoughts took steps towards wealth. On her way, she kept thinking about the money she would make from selling the milk. Then she thought about what she would do with that money.

She was talking to herself and said, “Once I get the money, I’ll buy a chicken. The chicken will lay eggs and I will get more chickens. They’ll all lay eggs, and I will sell them for more money. Then, I’ll buy the house on the hill and everyone will envy me.” She was very happy that soon she would be very rich. With these happy thoughts, she marched ahead. But suddenly, she tripped and fell. Both the pails of the milk fell and all her dreams were shattered. The milk spilt onto the ground, and all Patty could do was cry. “No more dream,” she cried foolishly!

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Moral of the Story

Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.

Also Read: Popular Fairy Tale Stories for Kids

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7. When Adversity Knocks

This is a story that explains how adversity is met differently by different people. There was a girl named Asha who lived with her mother and father in a village. One day, her father assigned her a simple task. He took three vessels filled with boiling water. He placed an egg in one vessel, a potato in the second vessel, and some tea leaves in the third vessel. He asked Asha to keep an eye on the vessels for about ten to fifteen minutes while the three ingredients in three separate vessels boiled. After the said time, he asked Asha to peel the potato and egg, and strain the tea leaves. Asha was left puzzled – she understood her father was trying to explain her something, but she didn’t know what it was.

Her father explained, “All three items were put in the same circumstances. See how they’ve responded differently.” He said that the potato turned soft, the egg turned hard, and the tea leaves changed the colour and taste of the water. He further said, “We are all like one of these items. When adversity calls, we respond exactly the way they do. Now, are you a potato, an egg, or tea leaves?”

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Moral of the Story

We can choose how to respond to a difficult situation.

8. The Proud Rose

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.

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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.

Moral of the Story

Never judge someone by the way they look.

Also Read: Bible Stories for Children

9. The Tale of the Pencil

A boy named Raj was upset because he had done poorly in his English test. He was sitting in his room when his grandmother came and comforted him. His grandmother sat beside him and gave him a pencil. Raj looked at his grandma puzzled, and said he didn’t deserve a pencil after his performance in the test.

His grandma explained, “You can learn many things from this pencil because it is just like you. It experiences a painful sharpening, just the way you have experienced the pain of not doing well on your test. However, it will help you be a better student. Just as all the good that comes from the pencil is from within itself, you will also find the strength to overcome this hurdle. And finally, just as this pencil will make its mark on any surface, you too shall leave your mark on anything you choose to.” Raj was immediately consoled and promised himself that he would do better.

Moral of the Story

We all have the strength to be who we wish to be.

10. The Crystal Ball

Nasir, a small boy, found a crystal ball behind the banyan tree of his garden. The tree told him that it would grant him a wish. He was very happy and he thought hard, but unfortunately, he could not come up with anything he wanted. So, he kept the crystal ball in his bag and waited until he could decide on his wish.

Days went by without him making a wish but his best friend saw him looking at the crystal ball. He stole it from Nasir and showed it to everyone in the village. They all asked for palaces and riches and lots of gold, but could not make more than one wish. In the end, everyone was angry because no one could have everything they wanted. They became very unhappy and decided to ask Nasir for help. Nasir wished that everything would go back to how it was once – before the villagers had tried to satisfy their greed. The palaces and gold vanished and the villagers once again became happy and content.

Moral of the Story

Money and wealth do not always bring happiness.

11. A Bundle of Sticks

Once upon a time, three neighbours living in a village were having trouble with their crops. Each of the neighbours had one field, but the crops on their fields were infested with pests and were wilting. Every day, they would come up with different ideas to help their crops. The first one tried using a scarecrow in his field, the second used pesticides, and the third built a fence on his field, all to no avail.

One day, the village head came by and called the three farmers. He gave them each a stick and asked them to break it. The farmers could break them easily. He then gave them a bundle of three sticks, and again, asked them to break it. This time, the farmers struggled to break the sticks. The village head said, “Together, you are stronger and work better than you do it alone.” The farmers understood what the village head was saying. They pooled in their resources and got rid of the pests from their fields.

Moral of the Story

There is strength in unity.

12. The Ant and the Dove

On a hot scorching day of summer, an ant was walking around in search of water. After walking around for some time, she saw a river and was delighted to see it. She climbed up on a small rock to drink the water, but she slipped and fell into the river. She was drowning but a dove who was sitting on a nearby tree helped her. Seeing the ant in trouble, the dove quickly dropped a leaf into the water. The ant moved towards the leaf and climbed up on it. The dove then carefully pulled the leaf out and placed it on the land. This way, the ant’s life was saved and she was forever indebted to the dove.

The ant and the dove became the best of friends and days passed happily. However, one day, a hunter arrived at the forest. He saw the beautiful dove sitting on the tree and aimed his gun at the dove. The ant, who was saved the dove saw this and bit on the heel of the hunter. He shouted from the pain and dropped the gun. The dove was alarmed by the voice of the hunter and realised what could have happened with him. He flew away!

Moral of the Story

A good deed never goes unrewarded.

13. The Fox and the Grapes

On a hot summer day, a fox wandered across the jungle in order to get some food. He was very hungry and desperately in search of food. He searched everywhere, but couldn’t find anything that he could eat. His stomach was rumbling and his search continued. Soon he reached a vineyard which was laden with juicy grapes. The fox looked around to check if he was safe from the hunters. No one was around, so he decided to steal some grapes. He jumped high and high, but he couldn’t reach the grapes. The grapes were too high but he refused to give up. The fox jumped high in the air to catch the grapes in his mouth, but he missed. He tried once more but missed again. He tried a few more times, but couldn’t reach. It was getting dark and the fox was getting angry. His legs hurt, so he gave up in the end. Walking away, he said, “I’m sure the grapes were sour anyway.”

Moral of the Story

We pretend to hate something when we can’t have it.

14. The Ant and the Grasshopper

Once upon a time, there were two best friends – an ant and a grasshopper. The grasshopper liked to relax the whole day and play his guitar. The ant, however, would work hard all day. He would collect food from all corners of the garden, while the grasshopper relaxed, played his guitar, or slept. The grasshopper would tell the ant to take a break every day, but the ant would refuse and continue his work. Soon, winter came; days and nights became cold and very few creatures went out.

On a cold day of winter, a colony of ants was busy drying out some grains of corn. The half-dead grasshopper, cold and hungry, came up to the ant who was his friend and asked for a piece of corn. The ant replied, “We work day and night to collect and save up the corn so that we don’t die hungry on cold winter days. Why should we give it to you?” The ant further asked, “What were you doing last summer? You should have collected and stored some food. I told you as much before.”

The grasshopper said, “I was far too busying singing and sleeping.”

The ant replied, “You can sing all winter as far as I am concerned. You will not get anything from us.” The ant had enough food to last through the winter, without any worries at all, but the grasshopper didn’t and he realised his mistake.

Moral of the Story

Make hay while the sun shines.

15. The Bear and Two Friends

One day, two best friends were walking on 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 in a jiffy. The other boy did not know how to climb the tree 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. After appearing to whisper something in the boy’s ear, the bear went on its way. The boy on the tree climbed down and asked his friend what the bear had whispered in his ear. He replied, “Do not trust friends who do not care for you.”

Moral of the Story

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

16. Friends Forever

Once upon a time, there lived a mouse and a frog, who were the best of friends. Every morning, the frog would hop out of the pond to visit the mouse, who lived inside the hole of the tree. He would spend time with the mouse and go back home. One day, the frog realised that he was making too much of an effort to visit the mouse while the mouse never came to meet him at the pond. This made him angry, and he decided to make things right by forcefully taking him to his house.

When the mouse wasn’t looking, the frog tied a string to the mouse’s tail and tied the other end to his own leg, and hopped away. The mouse started getting dragged with him. Then, the frog jumped into the pond to swim. However, when he looked back, he saw that the mouse had started to drown and was struggling to breathe! The frog quickly untied the string from his tail and took him to the shore. Seeing the mouse with his eyes barely open made the frog very sad, and he immediately regretted pulling him into the pond.

Moral of the Story

Don’t take revenge because it can be harmful to you.

17. The Elephant and Her Friends

Once upon a time, a lone elephant made her way into a strange forest. It was new to her, and she was looking to make friends. She approached a monkey and said, “Hello, monkey! Would you like to be my friend?” The monkey said, “You are too big to swing like me, so I can’t be your friend.” The elephant then went to a rabbit and asked the same question. The rabbit said, “You are too big to fit in my burrow, so I can’t be your friend.” The elephant also went to the frog in the pond and asked the same question. The frog replied, “You are too heavy to jump as high as me, so I can’t be your friend.”

The elephant was really sad because she couldn’t make friends. Then, one day, she saw all the animals running deeper into the forest, and she asked a bear what the fuss was about. The bear said, “The lion is on the loose – they are running from him to save themselves.” The elephant went up to the lion and said, “Please don’t hurt these innocent people. Please leave them alone.” The lion scoffed and asked the elephant to move aside. Then, the elephant got angry and pushed the lion with all her might, injuring him. All the other animals came out slowly and started to rejoice about the lion’s defeat. They went to the elephant and said to her, “You are just the right size to be our friend!”

Moral of the Story

A person’s size does not determine their worth.

18. The Woodcutter and the Golden Axe

There was once a woodcutter, working hard in the forest, getting wood to sell for some food. As he was cutting a tree, his axe accidentally fell into the river. The river was deep and was flowing really fast – he lost his axe and could not find it again. He sat at the bank of the river and wept.

While he wept, the God of the river arose and asked him what happened. The woodcutter told him the story. The God of the river offered to help him by looking for his axe. He disappeared into the river and retrieved a golden axe, but the woodcutter said it was not his. He disappeared again and came back with a silver axe, but the woodcutter said that was not his either. The God disappeared into the water again and came back with an iron axe – the woodcutter smiled and said it was his. The God was impressed with the woodcutter’s honesty and gifted him both the golden and silver axes.

Moral of the Story

Honesty is the best policy.

19. The Needle Tree

There lived two brothers near a forest. The elder one was very mean to the younger brother – he would finish all the food and wear all the new clothes of his younger brother. One day, the elder brother decided to go into the forest to get some firewood and sell it in the market. As he went around, chopping tree after tree, he stumbled upon a magical tree. The tree said, “Oh kind sir, please do not cut my branches. If you spare me, I will give you golden apples.” He agreed, but was left disappointed with the number of apples the tree gave him. As greed overcame him, he threatened the tree that he will cut the entire trunk if it didn’t give him more apples. The magical tree, instead, showered upon the elder brother, hundreds and hundreds of tiny needles. The elder brother lay on the ground, crying in pain, as the sun set.

The younger brother was worried and so he went in search of his elder brother. He found him lying in pain near the tree, with hundreds of needles on his body. He rushed to his brother and removed each needle, lovingly and gently. After he finished, the elder brother apologised for treating him badly and promised to be better. The tree saw the change in the elder brother’s heart and gave them all the golden apples they would ever need.

Moral of the Story

It is important to be kind and gracious, as it will always be rewarded.

20. The Greedy Lion

On a hot day, a lion in the forest started feeling hungry. He was starting to hunt for his food when he found a hare roaming around alone. Instead of catching the hare, the lion let it go – “A small hare such as this can’t satisfy my hunger”, he said and scoffed. Then, a beautiful deer passed by and he decided to take his chances – he ran and ran behind the deer but since he was weak because of the hunger, he struggled to keep up with the deer’s speed. Tired and defeated, the lion went back to look for the hare to fill up his stomach for the time being, but it was gone. The lion was sad and remained hungry for a long time.

Moral of the Story

Greed is never a good thing.

Tips on Making Storytime Interesting for Your Kids

No matter how good or engaging a story may be, the way you recite it to your kids will make all the difference. If you want to make story sessions fun (and less preachy) for your kids, here are some tips on how to narrate stories.

  1. Be creative while you read the story to your child. Usually, a personality or character of the story catches a child’s interest the most. So use different voices for each character or act out various parts from the story, to bring life to those characters. Acting out parts from the story will make story sessions fun and memorable for your kids.
  1. If you are using books or pictures, lay them in front of your kids. You can ask them to turn the pages or trace the words as you read.
  1. Talk about the story after you’ve finished reciting it. Ask your children questions along the way and discuss the moral of the story in the end. This way, you will also know if your children understood what happened in the story. Asking questions from time to time will keep children engaged plus it will promote speech development in kids. You can also point out new words in the story and tell their meanings to your kids – this will develop their vocabulary.
  1. Read aloud together with your kids. Ask your child to read with you. This will encourage reading habit in your child and also improve his reading skills.
  1. Take stories outdoors. You don’t have to sit on bed with your kids while narrating a story to them – you can take the story beyond the four walls of your home. For instance, if you are reading a story on ‘fun in the park’, take your child to an amusement park, lay a blanket under the tree in that park, and read the story there. This will make the story more life-like and your kid will enjoy it even more.
  1. Try reading stories at different times of the day. Storytime need not be bedtime always. Try reading stories to your kids at different times of the day like in the afternoon or evening to understand your child’s attention span. Once you know the time when your child’s attention span is the highest, read stories to him during that time.

Make storytime fun and exciting with the above tips. These tips will help you leave an impact on your kids and make storytime the favourite part of their day. Also, read the above short moral stories to your kids – we are sure they will enjoy listening to these stories. Furthermore, these short stories with moral values will even teach your children some important lessons which they will remember always.

Also Read:

Interesting Bedtime Stories for Kids
Short Panchatantra Stories for Children
Inspirational Stories for Kids
Bedtime Princess Stories for Children

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