Bedtime Stories for Kids

40 Best Bedtime Stories for Kids

The wicked lion and the hare

The foolish tortoise

The Starfish

Hari And The Cloud

Snow White and the Good Witch

The hunter and the magical bird

The Musical Donkey

The Blue Jackal





Cat’s Day Out

The Wind and the Sun

The Princess And The Faithful Knight

Snow White

The Princess Who Never Smiled

A Baker’s Dozen

The Intelligent Merchant

The Elephants and The Mice

The Snowman Goes Visiting

The Moon Rabbit

The Lonely Princess


The Undersea Adventure of The Blue Diamond

The King and The Drum

The crane and the crab

The Kettle Who Gave Birth

The Mice That Ate Iron

The Elephant And The Dog

The Brahmin’s Dream

The Princess And The Pea

Princess And The Magical Ring

The wicked lion and the hare

There was once a mad and wicked lion in a forest that ruthlessly killed every animal that crossed his path whether he wished to devour them or not. Tired of losing kith and kin each day, the animals of the forest gathered to put an end to this. They went to the mighty lion and pleaded with him to stop killing all the animals in the forest. In return, they offered to send one animal a day to his den to satiate his hunger. The lion agreed to the offer and made it clear that he will begin his ruthless killings once again if the animals went back on their word.

A lion hunting a deer at nightfall.

The wicked lion was more than happy to have his supper brought to his doorstep.

So, every day, an unlucky animal was picked to be sent to the lion. On one such day, a hare was chosen to be sent to the lion. He did not wish to get killed and walked towards the lion’s den sadly.

When he reached the lion’s den, the lion was furious that no animal was sent to him all day and was smacking his lips thinking of killing all the animals. He saw the hare walking towards him and roared at him. He was disappointed that the hare was a tiny animal that wouldn’t satiate his hunger. The hare then told him that he arrived late because he was stopped by another lion that killed four other hares that were to come with him. He said that the lion challenged the wicked lion to a duel.

Agitated, the lion followed the hare to the other lion’s den. The hare took the lion to the well and showed him his own reflection and told him that he was the other lion that challenged him. The wicked but foolish lion jumped into the well to attack his own reflection, and drowned. The hare went back to the forest and told all his friends about how he saved the day. The animals praised him for his wit and thanked him for saving all their lives.

Moral: When you face a challenging situation, use your wit to overcome it.

The foolish tortoise

A tortoise and two geese lived near a lake for many years. The three were very good friends and the tortoise always kept them entertained with his constant chatter. The lake they lived by started drying up due to a drought that hit their region. They decided to move to another lake many miles away. The geese could easily fly to the new lake but the tortoise wouldn’t be able to cover such a huge distance. The geese then came up with an idea to carry the tortoise with them. They asked the tortoise to hold on to a stick with his mouth so that they could each hold on to either side of the stick, and fly.

The geese clearly told the tortoise that he wouldn’t be able to chat along the way. Even before they took off, the geese cautioned him about opening his mouth mid-flight. They took off and crossed a village where residents saw the rare sight of two geese carrying a tortoise with a stick; and started shouting and laughing at them. The tortoise got annoyed and opened his mouth to snap at them. Before he knew it, the tortoise ended up falling to his death.

Two geese flying together in the sky.

The tortoise’s chatty nature ultimately cost him his life.

Moral: Always listen to friendly advice and check your impulses.

The Starfish

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean every morning. He would first take a leisurely stroll along the beach, and then would sit down to do his writing.

One night, there was a dreadful storm. In the morning, the big storm had passed and the old man walked down to the beach. He found the vast beach littered with starfish. They stretched as far as the eye could see, in all directions.

Far in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy walking towards him. However, the boy was not walking directly towards him. Instead he would pause every so often, bend down as if to pick up something from the sand. Then he would straighten up and throw something far out into the sea.

As he grew closer, the old man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what is it that you are throwing into the sea?”

The young boy walked straightened, and walked up to the old man with a starfish in his hand. He replied “I am throwing the starfish back into the ocean. The storm washed them up on to the beach last night. Now the tide is far out, and the starfish cannot return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets too high, they will die because of the heat. So I am throwing them back into the water before that happens.”

The old man was bewildered and wondered if the boy was simply stupid. He did not however want to sound rude. “But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. It is impossible to save all of them. I’m afraid you won’t be able to make much of a difference”, he said.

The boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the water. Then he turned and smiled at the old man, and said, “I saved one more starfish. It did make a difference to that one!”

Hari And The Cloud

I love stories which begin on a once-upon-a-time note, don’t you? So here it goes.

“Once upon a time there lived a farmer Hari Singh. People found him peculiar. He did not want to hang out with his friends, sit idle or chat or smoke with them. You would never find him loitering in the bazaar or playing cards with the good for nothing work shirkers. Every village has a number of them, you know. Otherwise, he was caring, sensitive, supportive, a great listener and a loyal person.

Hari was a very hard working person. He kept to himself and his fields. In today’s parlance you can say he was an introvert. He listened to everyone but kept aloof. He was highly focused. He loved his farming work and was not afraid of working hard. Naturally nature favored him – his fields had the best yield.

The Oracle announced that there would be a famine; there would be no rains for a long time. People were very upset. People discussed and planned. They tried to appease Gods. Special yagnas were performed. Animals were sacrificed, while everyone knew one should be kind to animals. Everything possible was being done. The fields became neglected, abandoned. Even the weeds stopped growing.

Hari as usual kept to himself. He told his wife to give contribution asked for all the collective activities. He would go to his fields in the morning and plough them. Others regarded him mad and made fun of him. Hari’s wife felt insulted and tried to stop him, but he told her not to pay attention to them. The soil called to him – he was the soil’s true son.

One day a small cloud was watching Hari till the soil. The small cloud had also heard the comments, sniggers and snickers behind Hari’s back in the village. He was curious. He looked down from the sky and asked Hari, ‘Don’t you know there are going to be no rains for a long time? Why are you working in your fields?’ Hari looked up and realized it was a small cloud and not somebody from his village teasing him. He was an innately polite person. So he made an effort to explain, ‘Son, I am a farmer and am doing my work. It’s my habit to work in the fields daily. I know about no rains… if I won’t do my work for a long time I might even forget to do it. If rains decide to come then my field, my furrows will be ready for them.’

The power of suggestion is very strong. The little cloud was impressed by Hari’s logic. He got worried, ‘What? Hey, this can happen to me also. If I do not rain for a long time, I also may forget to drop my rain.” So he decided to get to work. It rained in Hari’s fields.

Other villagers and clouds also decided to get back to business.”

If we do not procrastinate, do our allotted work – we live happily. Why should we be frightened of things that happen, might happen, might not happen? Always – always do your best. Form good work habits. Push yourself and don’t waste your time in day-dreaming. Success is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failures.

Snow White and the Good Witch

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away (for all fairy tales begin like that) a queen gives birth to a baby girl. The girl is beautiful, with “skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood and hair as black as ebony”. They name her Snow White. Sadly, the queen dies after giving birth to her. Soon after, the king marries again. The step-mother envies Snow White as she is the fairest maiden in the whole land. She hatches a plan. She tells the King that Snow White was going away to live with her Aunt for some time. The she orders a huntsman to take Snow White to the forest, kill her and bring back her heart and liver as a proof. The huntsman takes Snow White into the forest but is unable to kill her as he was loyal to the old queen. So he leaves her in the forest with a promise that she will never return to the palace.

After wandering in the forest for days, Snow White discovers a tiny cottage. She knocks, but finds no one at home.

Since she is hungry, she enters the cottage and eats some food from the kitchen. She looks around the house and finds the whole place in a mess. So she sets about tidying up the place. Soon the birds and animals living in the forest join her and help her in her work. The cottage belongs to seven dwarfs. As evening falls, the dwarfs return home. They are surprised to find Snow White there. After she tells them her story, they invite her to stay with them.

Meanwhile, the evil step-mother discovers with the help of her Magic Mirror, that Snow White is still alive and is living in the forest. She poisons an apple and, dressed as a farmer’s wife, goes to the dwarfs’ cottage and offers it to Snow White. Snow White takes a bite and falls into an eternal sleep.

The dwarfs return and are surprised to find Snow White lying on the floor. They take Snow White to the good witch of the forest. The good witch places some herbs on Snow White’s forehead and Snow White wakes up. She tells the good witch all that happened with the farmer’s wife. The good witch looks into her Mirror of Truth and finds out that it was actually the evil stepmother who was disguised as the farmer’s wife and poisoned Snow White.

Along with Snow White and her seven dwarfs, the good witch goes to the palace, and shows the king the truth in her Mirror. The king is shocked and angry and throws the evil step-mother into the dungeon as a punishment. He decides to make Snow White the ruler of his kingdom. Snow White and her friends, the seven dwarfs, then live in the palace happily ever after.

The hunter and the magical bird

There was once a magical bird in the mountains whose droppings turned to gold when it fell on the ground. A hunter, walking by one day, noticed these golden droppings. Excited about his find, he set up a trap in the bird’s tree to capture it. The bird, unaware and careless, was captured in the hunter’s trap. While the bird repented its careless mistake, the hunter dreamed of becoming rich by selling all the golden droppings. He then thought that people would grow suspicious if he became rich overnight. Out of fear, he decided to gift the bird to the king.

A bird perched on a tree branch.

Who’d have thought people would go after bird droppings!

The hunter told the king and his ministers about the magical bird. The ministers ridiculed the man for his story. They asked the king to free the bird and punish the hunter for misleading them. The king freed the bird and it sat on a gate nearby. Soon, the ministers realised that the hunter was speaking the truth when the magical bird’s dropping turned to gold.

The ministers sent men far and wide to capture the bird but never found it. Even if they managed to find the bird, no one was ever successful in capturing the bird. The magical bird had learnt its lesson and decided never to be careless again. Thus, she roamed about freely till the end of her life.

Moral: Always learn from your mistakes and never repeat them.

The Musical Donkey

Once there lived a washerman and his donkey in a village. During the day, the donkey would carry the washerman’s bags. During the night the washerman would set him free in the field to eat grass. However, the donkey would sneak into nearby farms and eat the fresh vegetables there.

One day, while wandering thus, he met a jackal. They became friends and the donkey invited the jackal to join him on his rendezvous at night. They started meeting every night. By day break, the donkey would be back home.

This went on for many days. One day the jackal said, “Uncle, I have discovered a new field with ripe, juicy cucumbers not very far off. It is nothing less than a feast for you. I am sure I will also find some small animals for myself in that field. Let’s go there tonight.”

So both of them went to feast on the cucumbers. The donkey feasted to his full, and said, “Nephew. I m so happy today. Look at the full moon. It is so beautiful that it makes me want to sing.”

The jackal said, “Uncle, we are stealing from this field. We cannot make ourselves heard. If you sing, the farmers will wake up and we will be caught. It is better to eat and forget about singing!”

The donkey was annoyed. “A wild animal like you cannot appreciate music. I will show you what real music sounds like.”

The jackal saw that the donkey was determined to sing. So he said, “Uncle, if you want to sing, please wait till I go out of the field so that I can keep an eye on the farmers.” Saying this the jackal ran out and hid himself.

The donkey lifted his face to the moon and started braying at the top of his voice. The farmers woke up and in the light of the full moon, could clearly see him standing in the field. They chased him with sticks and stones and beat him black and blue.

As the donkey limped out of the field, the jackal came out of his hiding place and laughed. “Uncle, that was very nice singing. I see that the farmers have rewarded you well!”

Moral: There is a time and place for everything. 

The Blue Jackal

In a jungle, there lived a jackal. One day, looking for food, he wandered into a nearby village. A pack of dogs saw him and surrounded him. They attacked him and tried to drive him away. In order to save himself, the jackal ran into a nearby house. This house belonged to a washerman.

The front yard of the washerman’s house was full of big vats. The jackal jumped into one of these vats to hide himself. The dogs followed him but could not find him anywhere and went away.

After a while, the jackal came out of the vat. What he did not realize was that the vat in which he had hidden was full of blue dye and now his whole body was dyed blue. When the dogs saw him, they did not recognize him. Instead they thought it was some strange animal and ran away terrified.

The jackal went back to the forest. Everywhere he went the animals would run away from him. The jackal could not understand why all the animals were so terrified of him all of a sudden. He went to the river and looked at his reflection. When he saw that he had been colored blue by the dye, he understood that all the animals were running away from him because they were terrified.

He called out to them, “Friends! Do not be afraid of me. The Creator of this jungle, the Almighty God has sent me to be your king. I am here to protect you. Do not fear me.”

The other animals were convinced and obeyed every instruction the jackal gave them. First he made them chase away all the other jackals from the forest. Next they were to hunt and bring him food everyday. The jackal lived this way for some days.

One day, when he was sitting surrounded by all the other animals, he heard a pack of jackals howling in the distance. Having been away from others of his kind for so long, he was overcome with joy at hearing other jackals. He raised his head and howled in response. Hearing him, all the other animals realized that they had been fooled by an ordinary jackal. They all attacked him and tore him to pieces.

Moral: The true nature of a man cannot be hidden for long.


Princess Merida is a beautiful daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, who rule the kingdom of DunBroch in Scotland. She has three brothers, who are triplets. Queen Elinor tries to teach Merida to behave like other princesses but Merida is a free-spirited girl, who enjoys archery.

One night, while the family is having their supper, the queen announces that three men are visiting soon to compete for a matrimonial alliance with their daughter. Merida is angry and rebels against it. The following day when the suitors arrive they try to impress Merida with their skills at shooting and archery but all of them fail miserably.

Princess Merida marches into the field and leaves everyone in awe of her skills at archery. Queen Elinor is angry and scolds Merida for her act. But Merida fights with her mother, tears a tapestry of their family, leaves the castle and goes deep into the forest.

There, Merida discovers an old witch in a cottage. She asks the witch to change her mother’s mindset. The old witch gives a spell cake to Merida, which is to be fed to the queen.

Merida gives it to her mother, and when the queen takes a bite of the cake, she falls sick and turns into a bear. Merida’s brothers, who too take a bite from the cake, turn into bears.

Worried Merida tries to help her mother and she rushes to the old witch’s cottage. She does not find her but reads a message on the wall of the cottage, “Fate be changed, look inside, mend the bond torn by pride.”

Merida figures out the hidden meaning behind the message on the wall. She hops on to her horse, goes to the palace, and sews the tapestry that she tore.

She places the tapestry, which is now mended, on her mother and the three little brothers. “I want you back, Mum,” Merida cries. “I love you.”

Queen Elinor and her sons turn into humans again, King Fergus is happy to have his family back. The happy family returns to the castle and Merida is granted all the freedom she desires.


Centuries ago, there was a young girl named Mulan in ancient China. She lived with her parents and a dog whose name was Little Brother. Her father was once a great warrior but not anymore as he was injured in a war.

One day, terrible news comes that China’s enemy, the Huns, have invaded again. The emperor orders all the men in the country to fight. As her father could not fight, Mulan comes up with a plan. She offers a prayer to her ancestors, cuts off her hair with a sword and changes into her father’s warrior clothes.

While her parents are asleep, she takes along Mushu, a dragon, jumps on to Khan, her father’s horse, and goes to join the army, where everyone believes her to be a man. She meets Captain Li Shang at the training camp.

Mulan struggles at the training camp but impresses everyone by accomplishing the toughest task to retrieve an arrow from the highest pole.

Meanwhile, the Huns army surrounds the Chinese army. Mulan gets an idea and she uses Mushu’s fire to light a canon. This causes a huge avalanche and Huns get buried under the snow.

But when the snow starts racing, Khan and Mulan see that Shang is in danger and they pull him to safety. During the war, Mulan injures herself and a medic on duty discovers that she is a woman. The angry Shang leaves Mulan behind.

As Mulan sits disheartened, she hears Hun’s voices and realizes that they are alive and planning to attack the Chinese emperor. Mulan informs Shang about what she heard but he does not trust her.

When Shan Yu, the leader of the Huns, kidnaps the emperor, Mulan and Shang pair up to rescue the emperor. They defeat the Huns and free the emperor. Mulan is appreciated and praised for her bravery, by everyone including Captain Shang and her father.


A young girl called Moana lived on a Polynesian island called Motunui. The inhabitants of Motunui worship the goddess Te Fiti, who brought life to the ocean. But one day, a shape-shifting demigod, called Maui, steals the heart of Te Fiti and gives humanity the power of creation.

Eventually, Maui is attacked by a volcanic demon called the Te Ka. During the fight, Maui loses his magical giant fish hook and the heart that was stolen from Te Fiti. A thousand years later, the Ocean chooses Moana to bring the heart back to Te Fiti.

Moana is an adventurous teenage girl and sets out on her pursuit. She has no fears about her journey as she is determined to save her people at Motunui. During her journey, Moana comes across Maui, who helps her in accomplishing her purpose.

Moana and Maui sail across the ocean together, fighting many obstacles on the way. They encounter various gigantic monsters and deal with impossible odds. En voyage Moana finds Te Fiti’s heart, helps Maui to find his fish hook and returns successfully to Motunui. This adventure also helps her in finding her identity, which was her long cherished dream.


There lived a princess called Pocahontas, who belonged to the Powhatan tribe in Tsenacommacah, North America. The free-spirited girl loved running and exploring her homeland and sometimes headed on adventures outside the boundaries.

Pocahontas had two dear friends, Meeko, who was a raccoon and Flit, a hummingbird. They often visited Grandmother Willow, a spiritual talking tree who spoke of dreams and various supernatural things.

One day, Grandmother Willow predicts and alerts Pocahontas about the Englishmen arriving at her native land. Capt. John Smith, his English sailors and soldiers arrive at Tsenacommacah to loot the riches of Pocahontas’ native land. Meanwhile, Chief Powhatan pledges his daughter’s alliance with the village’s greatest warrior Kocoum.

But Pocahontas wants to be free and does not want to marry Kocoum. Her life changes when the English ship lands near her village. One fine day, she meets Captain John Smith and in a couple of meetings, they develop a strong bond and fall in love with each other. Kocoum discovers their love and tries to kill John Smith. But Kocoum gets killed and John Smith is captured by the army of Chief Powhatan.

Pocahontas confesses her love for John Smith and begs for mercy. The execution of John Smith is revoked. He decides to go back to England and asks Pocahontas to come with her. But she says she wants to stay back with her people.

Cat’s Day Out

Once upon a time there was a cat. Her name was Pussy . She used to live in a small, beautiful house in a village.

It was summer and the sun was shining brightly in the sky. Pussy, the cat, was getting bored at home and thought, “Why shouldn’t I go out for a drive in the countryside and then to the beach.”

She came out of her house and took out her red-colored car. She started driving towards the beach.

Suddenly she heard a sound – “maa- maa“.

She looked around and saw, there was a sheep standing by the road.

The sheep asked Pussy, “Hi! Can you drop me to the market please? I need to buy some vegetables and I have missed my bus”.

Pussy replied, “Yes off course, please come in”.

Both the cat and the sheep started driving towards the market. They reached the market and Pussy dropped the sheep off.

Pussy thought, “I must rush now otherwise I will be late for the beach.” She started driving again.

Suddenly a big bear came and stopped in front of her car. The bear said, “Where are you going silly cat?”

Pussy was scared and replied, “I am going to the beach”.

The bear said, “Can you take me along with you?”

Pussy thought, “If I say no to him, then he might harm me.” So she said, “Yes Sir, please come in”.

Now both the cat and the bear started towards the beach.

They were about to reach the beach, but suddenly… the car stopped in the middle of the road.

The bear asked the cat, “What happened? Why the car has stopped?”

Pussy replied, “Sir, please wait, let me check”.

Pussy checked the car – she checked under the bonnet and looked at the wheels – but she could not find the problem. She looked around to see if there was anyone she could ask for help.

She saw a monkey sitting on a tree, eating bananas. Pussy asked the monkey, “Can you please help me? My car has stopped suddenly and I need to go to the beach”.

The monkey told her, “Wait, let me finish my bananas, then I will come down’. Both the cat and the bear waited for the monkey to finish the bananas.

Finally the monkey finished his bananas and came down. He looked around the car and peeked at the engine. He fiddled around with a few wires and soon had the car fixed. The car was now working perfectly.

Pussy and the bear were happy. Now they could go to the beach.

Pussy said, “Thank you” to the monkey.

Monkey said, “If you are really thankful, then please take me along to the beach with you”.

Pussy replied, “Of course, please come in”.

All three of them set off for the beach and finally reached. On the beach they enjoyed splashing in the water. They played ball together and ate yummy food such as strawberries, potato bites, ice-cream and juice.

Soon enough the sun started setting. It was sunset!

All three of them decided it was time to leave. They sat down in the red colored car and went back to their houses.

The Wind and the Sun

There was once an argument between the wind and the sun about who was stronger than the other. They argued for a long time but neither of them emerged the winner. It wasn’t too long before they spotted a man walking on the road. Looking at the man wearing a coat, an idea struck them both.

They challenged each other that the one who succeeded in removing the coat from the man’s back was the strongest.

The wind volunteered to try first. It began to blow hard, raising gusts of air and making it harder for the man to take a step further.

But, the man clutched his coat tight around him and resumed walking with great difficulty.

The wind continued blowing harder and harder, but the man held on to his coat tighter and tighter. And continued his journey forward. Finally, the wind was exhausted and gave up. His efforts had been futile.

It was now the turn of the sun. He looked at the man and began to gently shine upon the path the man was walking on.

The man looked up at the sky – surprised at the change in weather.

The sun did not spend much energy, neither did he apply any effort. He just continued shining upon the man’s head gently.

Soon the man was huffing and puffing, and sweating profusely.

Unable to bear the rising heat, the man finally took off his coat and headed to a nearby tree to rest for a while under its shade.

Moral: Sometimes gentle persuasion is mightier than the strongest force.

The Princess And The Faithful Knight

Long long ago, there lived a beautiful princess who was praised by everyone for her beauty. She was also a kind-hearted young girl and was raised to be a fair and a just ruler.

One bright sunny day, a prince arrives at her palace, meets her and eventually, they fell in love. One night, the prince takes the princess to a shady grassland at the edge of the woods. He says if the princess truly loves him, she must pick a rare flower called the scarlet rose for him. She tries hard to find the flower as she wants to prove her love for the prince. Finally, she finds the scarlet rose. But as soon as the princess touches the flower, she falls asleep.

The cunning prince steals all the jewelry and riches of the princess and leaves her alone in the deep woods. The king gets worried about his daughter and sends his army to find the princess. The soldiers return disappointed.

Many months later, the princess is found lying unconscious in the deep meadow. She is taken back to the castle. The advisors discover that the princess touched a scarlet rose, and cannot be woken up. Therefore, they suggest the king let the venom run its course.

The king declares that anyone who is desirous of marrying the princess must prove their faithfulness by waiting by her bedside until she awakens. Many suitors turn up hoping to marry the beautiful princess when she wakes up.

But time passes by and the weary men leave one after the other. But one hopeful knight truly waits beside the princesses for her to wake up.

One fine day, the princess wakes up and finds the knight kneeling. He narrates the entire story of her falling asleep. The princess is moved to tears and the king is overjoyed. The king announces the wedding and a grand celebration takes place in the kingdom.

Snow White

Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess called Snow White. She was kind, gentle and had many friends who were animals. One fine day, Snow White meets a handsome, charming prince. They become friends and their bond grows.

The Queen, who is Snow White’s evil stepmother, discovers about their relationship and out of jealousy, orders a huntsman to kill Snow White. But the huntsman could not gather the courage to hurt Snow White and requests her to escape and run to a faraway land.

Snow White escapes into the woods. Exhausted and trembling in fear, she knocks at a cottage door. When nobody answers, she steps inside. She finds the cottage in a mess and very untidy and decides to clean it with the help of her friends from the forest.

As she explores the rest of the cottage, she finds seven tiny beds and assumes they are for little children. She curls up on the bed and falls asleep.

After a long day of work, seven dwarfs head back home to their cottage in the forest and find the beautiful girl sleeping on their bed. When Snow White wakes up, she is mesmerized by the Seven Dwarfs: Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, and Doc.

Snow White narrates her painful story and the dwarfs decide to protect the beautiful princess from such an evil queen.

When the evil queen learns about Snow White, she is infuriated. She makes a magic potion and injects it into an apple. Next day when the dwarfs are off to work, the queen disguises herself as an old hag lady and offers an apple to Snow White.

When Snow White takes a bite of the poisoned apple, she falls asleep and a spell is a cast which can be broken only by true love. The dwarfs discover the evil act of the queen and with the help of all the animals, they trap her on the top of a cliff. She reaches the edge of the cliff when lightning strikes she loses her balance and falls into the valley and dies.

Eventually, Snow White’s Prince Charming finds her in the forest. He awakens Snow White with his first kiss, thus breaking the spell. Snow White and the Prince return to the kingdom and live happily ever after.

The Princess Who Never Smiled

Long ago, there lived a princess who never smiled or laughed. One day, her father declares that whoever could make her daughter smile can marry her. Many try but fail.

Meanwhile, an honest laborer lived across the town. He worked sincerely for his master. At the end of the year, the master offered him a sack full of money and said he could take how much ever he desired.

As the man isn’t greedy and did not want to sin, he picks just one coin. He goes to drink water from a well and accidentally drops the coin into the well. The same happens in the second year too.

During the third year, the master places the sack and the laborer takes just one coin just like the previous years. This time when he goes to drink water, his coin does not fall. In fact, the other two coins from the past also float up to the surface.

He decides to see the world using these coins. But a mouse asks for help and the man gives him a coin. Similarly, a beetle and a catfish ask for help too and he gives away the remaining coins.

Wandering, he arrives at a castle and notices the princess looking at him. This astounds the young man and he falls in the mud. The catfish, the beetle, and the mouse come to help him. The princess laughs looking at them. Everyone around the princess get stunned to see her laughing.

She points at him and expresses an interest in him. He is brought into the castle and is transformed into a handsome man. The delighted king announces his daughter’s wedding to the honest man. They get married and live happily ever after.

A Baker’s Dozen

Do you know where the phrase ‘Baker’s Dozen’ came from? Long ago, there lived a successful baker in Albany, New York, who owned a thriving business and a big family. One day, an ugly old woman visited the baker just as he was about to close his shop. The old woman wished to buy a dozen of the special Saint Nicholas cookies that were laid out on a tray. The good baker carefully counted out twelve cookies and handed them over to the lady.

The lady had a frown on her face. She counted the cookies again and questioned the baker as to why he had given her only twelve cookies when she had asked for a dozen. The baker looked surprised for a moment. Then he realized that a few of the other bakers in town would give an extra cookie or two to their customer. So the old woman was confused about how many were a dozen. But he was not one of them.

It took quite some time for the baker to make the old woman understand that a dozen meant only twelve and he had given her the right amount of cookies. When the old woman adamantly demanded an extra cookie, the baker told her that he had a big family to take care of and had no intentions of giving away anything free of cost. He curtly asked her to leave if she did not wish to take what was given to her.

The lady left the shop silently leaving behind all the cookies.

From then on, it appeared as though bad luck had entered the baker’s life. His cakes were stolen and the thieves were never caught. Week after week, his bread would either become too heavy and fall through the oven into the fire or rise high above and float out of the chimney. For the first time in his life, the baker was scared. He remembered the old woman and realized that he had been cursed.

The old woman once again came to the baker’s shop the next week asking for the baker’s dozen of the freshly made cookies. Misfortune had made him so angry that he cursed her and slammed the door against her face.

The week that followed was even more unfortunate than the preceding one. The bread always turned out either burnt or soggy, cakes and cookies lost their flavor. Word got around that the baker was getting old and the bakery was losing its quality. Soon the customers fell away and started visiting other bakers.

The baker was crestfallen. Finding no other way, he decided to seek the help and blessings of Saint Nicholas, the patron Saint of merchants to save his failing business.

The Intelligent Merchant

Long ago, there was a king who was very unjust and cunning. He used to look for opportunities to tax his subjects and was least interested in their welfare. He was always surrounded by people who would praise him for whatever he did, however wrong it may be. The king used to dislike people who pointed out his mistakes and disagree with his deeds. He used to particularly hate one of the merchants in his kingdom. 

This merchant was an extremely proud and intelligent person. He believed that it was a king’s duty to protect his subjects and it was the duty of the subjects to pay taxes to the king and remain loyal to the king. He hated all the sycophants that surrounded the king.

One day, while at the king’s court, the merchant proudly said that as long as a person is ready to use his intelligence, he can make a living. The king, already annoyed with the merchant, was looking for such an opportunity. He ordered that the merchant from now on will stay in the stable along with his family. He would not be given any salary, would not be allowed to go out of the stable and within a month, he will have to earn 1000 gold coins, using his intelligence, and submit the money in the royal treasury.

The merchant was disappointed with the king’s decision but did not lose his heart. He requested the king that he should be allowed to carry his weighing scale with him. The king readily agreed. He moved to the stable along with this family. In the stable, he started weighing the horse’s manure. The hostlers (people employed in the stable to take care of horses) first thought that the merchant had lost his mind. Then they approached him and enquired what he was doing. The merchant told them that the king has ordered him to find out if the horses in the stable are being properly tended. He would weigh the manure from each horse and find out if the horse is being given adequate amount of food. If the weight of manure is less for the horses, then he would know which hostler was not feeding his horse adequately.

The hostlers had indeed been selling the food meant for royal horses in the market. They immediately begged the merchant not tell anything to the king. In return they would take care of him and his family and also agreed to return whatever money they had earned through these illegal means. Within a month, the merchant collected 1000 gold coins from the hostlers and deposited it in the treasury. The king was utterly displeased and refused to believe that the merchant had earned this money while being in the stable. He accused the merchant of arranging the money from somewhere.

So this time, he decided that the merchant be sent to a river front. He would have to stay in a small cottage near the river with his family. As earlier, he would be given a weighing scale only and no money. Within a month he will have to earn 2000 gold coins and deposit it in the royal treasury.

The merchant had no option but to agree to the king’s unjust demand. He moved into the small cottage near the river. He was allowed to carry his weighing scale. There, he started weighing water using the weighing scale. Out of curiosity, the boatmen asked the merchant what he was doing. The merchant told them that the king had asked him to find out which boatman is overloading his boat by taking extra passengers and thus jeopardizing the life of the passengers.

Now, all the boatmen had been overloading their boats. They pleaded with the merchant to not tell anything to the king. In return they promised to load their boats correctly in the future. They also agreed to pay extra tax for all the previous years. The merchant told them to deposit the money with him. Within a month, the merchant was able to collect 2000 gold coins which he deposited in the royal treasury.

The king, finally had to concede that an intelligent person can thrive under any condition.

The Elephants and The Mice

Long ago there was a beautiful city with lots of large temples and houses. The city was prosperous and its residents were always very happy and cheerful. Close to the city was a large and clean lake. The water in the lake was very sweet.

But with the passage of time, the city turned into ruins and its residents moved to far away towns and cities in other kingdoms. They took all their belongings along including their cattle, bullocks, goats and horses. Even the stray dogs and cats decided to follow the residents of the city and moved out with them.

Only the mice in the city decided to stay back. Even without any residents, the natural vegetation in the city supplied enough food for the mice that they decided to stay back. The city was lined with a lot of fruit trees. They could now eat a variety of fruits and vegetables that grew in the city. Slowly, the mice grew in number and the entire city turned into a city of mice!

Several generations started living together in the city. There were grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and lots and lots of baby mice. It was one large mice family. They held their own festivals and get-togethers. They took great care of each other, in sickness and in health.

Far away from the city, there was a very dense forest. A huge river used to pass through the forest, supplying clean water to all the animals staying in the jungle. Amongst the animals, there was a big herd of elephants. The elephants stayed in harmony with other animals in the jungle. The jungle provided them with ample food, water, and shelter.

During one summer, the river ran dry due to very less rain. The animals in the forest started dying of thirst. The Queen of the elephant herd asked all the young elephants to go in all directions in search of water. After a few days, one of the elephants came back to the Queen Elephant and told her about the lake near the mice city. The Queen Elephant at once ordered the herd to leave the forest and move towards the lake.

As soon as the herd saw the lake, they started running towards it. They had not been in the water for many months and could not stop themselves from making a dash towards the lake. In their excitement, they did not notice that hundreds of mice were getting trampled under their feet.

The mice tried to save themselves, but many were killed and injured. They also feared that on their way back from the lake, the elephants would unknowingly trample many more. An old mouse suggested that they should go and narrate the whole incident to the Queen Elephant. Further, they should request the Queen Elephant to take the herd from some other route.

The mice did as suggested by the old mouse. The Queen Elephant was very sorry for the loss that the herd had brought upon the city of the mice. She assured the mice that the herd would take a different route while going back to the forest and would never come near the city of mice. The old mouse thanked the Queen for understanding their concern. He also told the Queen that the mice family would always be ready to help the elephants if need be.

Many months passed away. The King of a nearby kingdom was raising an army and wanted a lot of elephants for his regiment. His servants went to the forest and laid traps for catching the elephants. The dug deep trenches and covered them with leaves and kept lots of bananas on them.

The elephants, while trying to reach out for the bananas, fell into the traps. The servants pulled out the trapped elephants with the help of other tamed elephants. Once out of the trenches, the servants tied them up to the trees with the help of thick ropes and went back to inform the king.

The Queen Elephant was one among those who got trapped. She kept calm and started thinking of a way to escape. At once, she thought of the old mouse and his promise of helping the elephants, whenever required. She called one of the young elephants who had not fallen into the trench and was still free. She asked the young elephant to go to the city of mice and narrate the entire incident.

The young elephant did as instructed. Soon, thousands of mice came running to the forest to help their friends in this hour of need. Within minutes, they cut loose the ropes with their sharp teeth. The elephants we free again.

The Queen Elephant thanked the old mouse for remembering the promise and for rescuing the elephants from their captors. The old mouse was happy that the mice were able to help the elephants and thus repay the debt.

The elephants and the mice became great friends. They lived in peace, ever after.

The Snowman Goes Visiting

For many centuries Yadred had lived in the mountains. The snow covered landscape had always been his home. He roamed freely feeding off the occasional sheep or yak that strayed across his path. From a distance, Yadred looked like a giant covered with white hair. He was friendly, but no one really wanted to be friends with him. Probably because of the icy winds and snow that accompanied him wherever he went.

Yadred was the only snowman left on this part of the Earth. He was three thousand years old. When he was a mere baby his father and uncle had moved from the Arctic zones to the Himalayas with their families. The change in altitude had taken its toll on all members of his family, except him and his uncle’s daughter, whom he had later married. Five hundred years ago his wife had died in an avalanche, leaving him with no children.

Initially, he had enjoyed his freedom, but now he felt lonely. The animals that inhabited the mountains were scared of him. Occasionally he had tried to visit the humans that camped in the mountains. But his size and appearance would scare everyone away. Most of them mistook him for a giant bear, and run away screaming, “Yeti! Yeti!”

He assumed Yeti was the human word for ‘run’.

Yadred never understood why. He looked similar to the humans, except that he was a lot hairier and was taller than them by two heads. His face looked nothing like a bear. He knew it because he had seen himself in the big lake one summer.

Yadred often wondered where these humans came from. They traveled in groups, so he knew there were many more of them. One day he decided to follow their tracks and see where they came from. He came to a village. There were many small houses in the village. It was dark, and he could see lights at the windows. He walked up to the house closest to him and peered inside. There were two humans sitting at a table.

“Honey, it’s really windy outside. Could you please shut the windows and pull the curtains.” said the woman inside.

“The weather is really taking a turn for the worse.” replied the man. “Wonder how long this will continue.” The man closed the windows and pulled the curtains shut blocking out Yadred’s view.

Yadred walked a little distance down the road where he saw a small boy playing in the snow.

“Hi. Will you let me play with you?” Yadred asked the boy.

“Sure. I am building a snowman, and you can help me make it bigger ‘coz you are so tall.” replied the boy.

“Dhiman, come inside. It’s getting colder outside.” A woman called from the inside the house. The boy quickly ran into the house.

Yadred felt bad. He decided to go to another village. But the same fate met him there as well. He went to a third village and a fourth. But wherever he went, people would lock themselves up in their houses. The one or two people who saw him on the road would either stare at him or run away from him, scared.

Soon his sadness changed to anger. He was a nice person and all he wanted was to be friends with these people. As he got angrier the wind around him became colder, and it started snowing. This was a problem because he had reached the plains where it never snowed.

Depressed, he sat down on the banks of a wide river. Cold winds howled around him and it was snowing heavily. The water in the river had turned to ice. Across the river, a small pup was playing in the snow. All alone, it was jumping up and down trying to catch the snowflakes drifting to earth, yapping merrily. Yadred watched the play. The sight of the pup made Yadred smile. After a while, another dog came and nudged the pup, and both of them ran away together.

Realization struck Yadred. He would go back to the rest of his people in the Arctic. That was where he belonged. He had finished ‘playing’ in the Himalayas. It was time for him to go back home.

The Moon Rabbit

A monkey, an otter, a jackal and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the day of the full moon.

They saw a very old beggar, who was begging for food. “Poor beggar,” they thought. “He looks hungry and has no food. Let us give him some food.”

First, the monkey plucked some fruits from the trees. He brought the fruits and laid them in front of the old beggar.

Next, the otter collected some fish and brought it to the old beggar.

The jackal was too lazy to find something that the beggar could eat, so he caught the first animal he could – a lizard, and placed it in front of the old beggar, along with some water.

The rabbit did not know what to get for the old beggar. He was not good at catching animals or fish, nor could he scale trees and get fruits. He only knew how to gather grass, but humans didn’t eat grass. He sat in a corner unhappily.

Suddenly he remembered that humans like to eat rabbit meat. So he got up happily, prepared a fire and jumped into it.

Oh! But what was this! The fire did not burn the rabbit!

The old man revealed himself to be Sakra, the ruler of Gods. “You have been very kind and selfless.” he said to the rabbit.

Touched by the rabbit’s selflessness and virtue, he drew the likeness of the rabbit on the moon.

“Henceforth, for all ages, all those who will look at the moon, will see your shape in it and remember your kindness.” he said.

The Lonely Princess

Long long ago, there lived three young princesses in the Kingdom of Glora. Of the three sisters, Isabelle was the youngest. She was a kind and warm person, friendly to everyone. The other two sisters, Rose, and Juliette, were very beautiful but cruel and heartless.

Isabelle always played with her dolls and did not pay attention to her appearance. Rose and Juliette would tease Isabelle and she felt lonely. King Paul loved Isabelle the most.

On a bright summer morning, King Paul tells his three daughters that a Prince named Geoffrey from the Kingdom of Meadowhill was on his way to the Kingdom of Glora in search of a bride. Rose, Juliette, and Isabelle get excited to meet Prince Geoffrey.

Prince Geoffrey speaks to Juliette first. He compliments Juliette on her hair but gets bored when she talks only about her hair and nothing else. Then Geoffrey starts talking to Rose, she tries to impress him by sharing the achievements of her father’s court and all the famous noblemen and knights. Prince Geoffrey soon grows bored and moves his attention to Isabelle.

When Prince Geoffrey looks at Isabelle, he tells her she is very beautiful. Isabelle turns red.

But Juliette retorts, “She’s not beautiful! She’s ugly!”

“Her hair! It’s so untidy!” Rose adds.

“It’s the eyes,” Prince Geoffrey says. “She is blessed with beautiful eyes.”

“But she plays with toys!” Juliette tells Geoffrey.

Rose and Juliette leave no stone unturned to embarrass Isabelle but the prince remains unrelenting.

“So what, even I play with dolls. I got one here too! Her name is Jane, and she is my oldest friend,” he says pulling out a small doll from his pocket.

“Would you like to meet my friends, Prince Geoffrey?” Isabelle asks.

“I would love to,” says Prince Geoffrey. They head to the garden and start playing with dolls, leaving Rose and Juliette behind.


Deep in an ocean lived a sea princess Ariel, also known as the Little Mermaid. She had a dear friend called Flounder, a small fish. They loved exploring the sea beds and sometimes the seashores, but Ariel had a dream of living on the land as a Human. She was always in search of objects or treasures used by a human.

Her father, King Triton, who was the ruler of the sea, discovers about Ariel’s adventures and warns her to never visit the shore again. He assigns Sebastian, a crab, to keep a watch on Ariel.

But the stubborn Ariel continues to visit the shore. One night, a dreadful storm sweeps a ship across the sea and a young man, Eric, falls into the ocean. Ariel saves Eric and pulls him to the shore. Eric falls in love with her and it is later discovered that Eric is a human prince.

Ariel is desperate to meet Eric again and approaches Ursula, a sea witch for help. The sea witch casts a spell on Ariel, steals her voice and turns her into a human. Ariel is unaware of the hidden objective behind Ursula’s favor. Ariel is given three days time and by the sunset of the third day, if Eric does not kiss Ariel, she would become a slave of Ursula.

Eric and Ariel spend lovely time together. Ursula, disguised as a young pretty girl called Vanessa, casts a spell on Prince Eric and makes him fall in love with her. They decide to marry each other, leaving Ariel disheartened.

Ariel’s friends discover that Vanessa is Ursula and warns her about it. Sebastian goes to find Ariel’s father King Triton, while Ariel and Flounder hurry to catch Prince Eric’s cruise. Ariel stops the wedding and gets her voice back from the evil witch.

But as the sun goes down on the third day, Ariel and Eric could not kiss each other and she turns into a mermaid again. To save Ariel, King Triton gives the powers to Ursula and becomes her slave.

The prince fights and destroys Ursula by ripping her heart apart. Now King Triton regains his powers. Seeing their love, the King grants the wish of Ariel and she becomes a human. Prince Eric and Ariel get married and start living happily in a castle by the sea.

The Undersea Adventure of The Blue Diamond

Once upon a time, there was a mermaid, a crab, a sea-lion, a sea-horse and a sea turtle. They all lived together in the Great Pacific Ocean. One day as they were taking a nice cold swim, they came across a map to a treasure chest. On it was marked the Great Castle of Gold (GCG). But…there were no directions! So all the friends set off to find the Great Castle of Gold, prepared for a long swim in the ocean.

They swam for two days with no luck. On the third day, as they were swimming, they met a fish named Tory. She was lost and did not know the way home.

“Hey, can you guys help me get home?” Tory asked.

“Oh no. We can’t.” they replied.

“Come join us! We are going for a long swim to find a treasure.” Said the mermaid.

“Oh! I saw something sparkling on my way!” said Tory.

“Where did you see it?” shouted everyone excitedly.

“It was pretty far off.” Said Tory. “But I think I remember! I remember! I remember!” And she started swimming away.

Everyone followed Tory excitedly. After swimming for an hour, they reached the Great Castle of Gold.

“Now, we need to find the chest.” Said the mermaid.

Oh! I know. Let’s knock on the Castle door.” Said Tory.

So they all knocked on the door and waited.

Soon someone opened the castle door. It was the blue witch. The blue witch was a good witch. She was kind and helpful and beautiful. She had a silver and diamond tiara. All the friends were surprised to see such a beautiful witch. They thought all witches were bad.

“Hi. We are the sea creatures of the Great Pacific Ocean. We found a map to a treasure chest in the Great Castle of Gold and came here looking for it.” Said the mermaid.

“Welcome to the Great Castle of Gold.” Said the Blue Witch. “I am the guardian of this palace. I can let you take the treasure chest. But before that you will all have to complete a challenge.”

The sea creatures were all very happy to hear that. But they were also worried about what the challenge would be.

“Ooh! I love challenges!” said Tory.

The Blue Witch smiled and said, “In the castle garden, there is a very heavy Blue Diamond, which is guarded by an old mermaid. Legend says that whoever is able to pick up the Blue Diamond and put it back into the Great Castle of Gold can take the treasure chest. If you all are able to do that, I will let you take the treasure chest.”

The mermaid, crab, sea-lion, sea-horse and sea turtle set off towards the castle garden. There they saw an enormous diamond. An old mermaid was sleeping next to it.

The sea-lion walked up to the old mermaid and said, “Hello. We are here to try and take the blue diamond into the castle. May we?”

The old mermaid woke up and said, “Yes sure. But I have never seen anyone who could lift it! You may try if you want to.”

All the five friends tried picking up the diamond. But not one of them could move it an inch. Then Tory stepped up to try. The friends looked at her and said confusedly, “Ca-can you pick it up?”

Tory said, “I’ll try!” And, oh joy! She was able to lift the diamond with one hand! Everyone stared at her in wonder.

“Hey fellas, where do you want me to take this big piece of blue rock to?” asked Tory.

“Into the castle,” said everyone together.

They all walked in to the castle with the blue witch leading them. Inside the castle they placed the blue diamond inside McFee, the magical well.

The blue witch turned to the friends and Tory and said, “Congratulations, you can take the treasure chest. But since Tory was the one who picked up the Blue Diamond, you will have to make sure that she becomes a part of your group too.”

Then she turned to Tory and said, “I will give her a magical house. Whenever you go somewhere and lose your way, you just have to say, ‘Abra-ca-dabra, zippetty-zapp. Where is my home, come to me fast.’ And your house will appear in front of you. So you will never be lost again.”

All the six friends were now very happy. They took the treasure chest and the map and started swimming back home where they all lived together happily forever.

And that’s the end of this story! See you for another story next time…

In the meantime, this story was written for Colgate whom I thank for the wonderful characters in this story.

AN: This story was written (partly) and narrated (completely) by my 6 year old, who loves all undersea creatures and adventure stories!

The King and The Drum

Long ago there lived a king somewhere in the central part of India. He was very proud of his looks. He spent hours admiring himself, looking at his reflection in the mirror.

“There cannot be another king as handsome as me”, he told himself and felt very pleased. 

He dressed himself in the finest clothes and put on the finest jewellery in the land. People grew tired of him as he hardly attended to their problems or the problems of the kingdom. He made sure his hairstyle was new every day and… covered his ears. Yes covered his ears. The king had ears which looked like donkey’s ears. The only person who knew about it was the king’s barber, Baiju.

Baiju lived in a poor hut close to the forest with Gori, his wife. He constantly lived in fear as the king had threatened him with death if he ever told anyone about his donkey’s ears. He was not even allowed to cut anybody else’s hair or shave anyone in the kingdom.

The barber couldn’t sleep or eat properly. He was afraid to speak to anyone in the land because he was afraid he might mention it unknowingly. He lived a very morose and an unhappy life although he was the king’s barber.

One day, picking up courage, his wife asked him, “Ever since you have been appointed as the king’s barber you don’t speak to me or any one. I see that you hardly touch your food or sleep at night. You spend hours staring at the water in the pool near our house. We were much happier when we lived in the old city on the other side of the forest with our friends.”

The barber did not reply. He just walked out of their hut and sat by the pool. The pool was surrounded by many tamarind trees. He sat down on a big stone and kept staring at the shimmering reflection of the leaves and branches of the trees.

Gori followed him and sat beside him. She pleaded, “Please tell me what is bothering you. I promise I won’t tell anyone.”

Finally Baiju said, “You see the king has ears which are like a donkey’s. And he has threatened me with death if I talk about it to anyone. I don’t know when I might blurt it out in front of someone. So now I want to keep away from everyone. But I am very unhappy as I miss my friends and I am losing them all one by one.”

The tamarind trees heard every word he spoke and absorbed them. Baiju’s wife promised that she wouldn’t talk about it to anyone. But soon, she too grew restless. So one day she went to the tamarind trees and whispered the secret to them by holding them closely. She felt better and returned happily.

Festival season was approaching and the drummers of the kingdom were busy making drums. Some of them picked up branches from the tamarind trees near the pool for the wood for the drums.

When the day of the festival came, the drummers began beating their drums BUT— what did the drums beat?

“The king has donkey’s ears”.

The king was furious and called the barber to be executed. Baiju narrated that all he did was tell his wife while sitting near the tamarind trees. The drummers were questioned and the king found out the truth. Then the wise man of the kingdom came forward and said, “No one should be punished as truth cannot be changed even if you punish the person who has divulged it. Instead, the king should be kind and rule justly. The people would love him in spite of his ears, if he was good to them.”

The king understood the truth. He kept the drums and the sticks in his chamber to remind him always to be a good king.

The crane and the crab

This is an interesting story of an old crane that lived near a big lake full of fishes and other aquatic creatures. The crane had grown so old that he couldn’t catch fishes anymore. He grew weak and hungry until he came up with a ploy to deceive the aquatic creatures. With a witty plan in mind, he sat at the bank of the lake and started crying. His friend, a friendly crab, climbed up next to him and asked him what was wrong.

The crane concocted a story about how a famous astrologer told him that the lake would soon dry up and that it wasn’t going to rain for the next 12 years. The crab informed all the other creatures about the situation and they all started to panic. The crane then stepped in and told them that he could carry each of them every day and take them to a bigger lake nearby that wouldn’t dry up even if it did not rain for the next 24 years. The innocent creatures agreed and rode on the crane’s back every day. Little did they know that the crane would fly a short distance, smash them to a rock and eat them up.

A crane flying over the trees.

So the crane found a smart way to satiate his hunger. Or did he?

The crab, one day, asked the crane why he hasn’t chosen him yet to take him to the big lake. The crane thought it would be a good idea to break the routine of eating fish every day and eat a crab for a change. So, he agreed and took the crab with him the next day. When they were in the air, the crab looked down, saw the heap of skeletons and realised the crane’s ploy. He wittily convinced the crane to stop close by. He then strangled him with his sharp claws and dragged him to the lake. The crab revealed the crab’s ploy to his friends in the lake and assured them that the lake would not dry up.

Moral: Do not always believe a story on face value.

The elephants and the king of mice

A large group of mice had once taken shelter in the ruins of a village. Every day, a herd of elephants would cross the village to go to a nearby stream and would end up killing many mice. Tired of seeing so many deaths on a daily basis, the king of mice decided to speak to the elephants on the rampage. So, the next day, the king of mice stopped the elephants on their way and requested them to take another route to the stream henceforth. The king even promised that he would return the favour someday. The elephants agreed to take a detour but laughed to think they would ever need help from a bunch of tiny mice.

A herd of elephants walking one behind the other.

The elephants proudly stomped along to the stream.

A few days later, a hunter set up a trap to capture some of the elephants near the stream. Unaware of the trap, the elephants stepped into the trap and got caught in strong nets. They then remembered the pact they had with the mice and asked one of the elephants, that wasn’t stuck in the net, to call the mice. On hearing the news, the mice, led by the king of mice, hurried to the trap and set the elephants free by nibbling away the net. The elephants were grateful for the king of mice’s help.

Moral: Never underestimate anybody’s ability to do you a favour.

The Kettle Who Gave Birth

Nasreddin Hodja admired his neighbor’s kettle a lot. It was big and beautiful, painted and glazed in many lovely colours. He wanted that kettle for himself. Being a witty and intelligent man, he decided to play a trick, by which he would get the kettle for his own. 

He went to his neighbor and said, “My dear neighbor, I need to borrow your kettle. My own has developed a leak and I have relatives visiting me shortly.”

The neighbor did not like Hodja but he was a pious man and gave his kettle anyway. Hodja took the kettle, and promised to return it the next day.

Many days passed and there was no sign of the kettle. At length the neighbor went to Hodja’s house and called, “Neighbor, I have been waiting for so many days. Why did you not bring my kettle back?”

Hodja replied, “Oh my friend! You come at a wonderful time. Your kettle was actually in a delicate condition and she gave birth to a little kettle. I was only waiting for the small kettle to be strong enough so I could bring the mother and the child kettle to you.” So saying, Hodja handed over the neighbor’s kettle, along with a smaller one back to him.

The neighbor was amazed and overjoyed. He took his kettle and the other little one, wondering at the miracle. Could a kettle have really given birth!

After a few days, Nasreddin Hodja again went and asked again to borrow the kettle. This time the neighbour was pleased to lend it and readily agreed.

Again he waited for a few days and finally went to Hodja and asked, “Neighbor, I have been waiting for many days. Why don’t you bring me back my kettle?”

“Oh my friend! How I wish I had better news!” replied Hodja, wringing his hands. “That kettle was old and sick, and she died. I looked for you so we could bury her together, but you weren’t around. Her corpse was starting to rot so finally I found some other people and we buried her together.”

The neighbor was angry and took the matter before a judge. This judge called Nasreddin Hodja and asked, “Why did you take this man’s kettle for your own?”

Hodja answered, “The kettle was old and sick, and she died. I looked for my neighbor to help bury her, but he wasn’t around. I found some other people to help and we buried her.”

“What is this?!” exclaimed the judge. “Is it possible for a kettle to die?”

“Oh yes! If a kettle can give birth to a baby kettle, it can also die. Whatever is born eventually dies.”

The judge was baffled and he asked for the complete story. Hodja narrated all the incidents that led to the kettle’s disappearance. The neighbor looked at the ground, ashamed. The judge laughed and understood that Hodja was a very shrewd man. And decided that Hodja should be given the kettle.

The Mice That Ate Iron

Once there was a rich merchant called Naduk. Time passed, and his business turned for the worse.

Soon it was so bad that he not only lost all his money but also got into debt. He decided to leave the city and find his fortune in a new place. He sold off all his possessions to pay off his debts.

All that he was left with was a heavy iron beam.

Before leaving his town, Naduk went to see his good friend, Bondu. He requested him to keep the beam with him till he returned. “Of course, my friend! I will keep the beam safe for you”, said Bondu.

Naduk thanked him and left. He travelled far and wide for many years and worked very hard. He started trading in spices and soon became rich again. He returned to his town, bought a new house and opened a very large shop.

Bondu had also heard that Naduk is back in town and has started a new business with the money that he had earned in all these years.

One day, after work, Naduk went to visit his friend Bondu who welcomed him warmly. They talked for long. As he was about to leave, Naduk asked Bondu to return his beam. Bondu had no intention of returning it as he knew that, when sold, it would fetch him a good price. He put on a sad face and said, “Something bad has happened. I had kept the beam safely in my store-room, but the mice have eaten it. I’m really very sorry.”

Naduk understood what was going on in Bondu’s mind.

“Please don’t feel sorry. It is not your fault that the mice ate the iron beam.”, said Naduk. Bondu was pleased to see that Naduk had fallen for the lie. “How stupid can one be”, thought Bondu.

Meanwhile, Naduk asked Bondu to send his son home with him so that he could hand over the gifts that he had brought for him. Bondu immediately asked his son Pindu to go with Naduk and fetch the gifts.

Naduk took the boy home and locked him in the cellar of his house. When Pindu did not return by evening, his father got worried and came to ask about the whereabouts of his son.

Naduk said, “Oh! it was so unfortunate. While we were coming to my house, a hawk swooped down and carried the boy off. I followed the hawk for sometime but could not keep pace. I am sorry my friend”.

On hearing this, Bondu became furious. He accused Naduk of lying. He insisted that a hawk could not carry off a fifteen-year-old boy.

A quarrel started and they both went to the court.

“Your Honour, I had sent my son with this man to fetch some gifts from his house. But my son has not returned since. This man has stolen my son”, cried Bondu. The magistrate ordered Naduk to return the boy to his father.

But Naduk insisted that a hawk carried off the boy. The magistrate asked him how it was possible.

To this Naduk replied, “If mice can eat up an iron beam, surely a hawk can carry off a boy!”. The magistrate understood that there more to it than meets the eye here. He asked Naduk to explain everything in detail.

Naduk then narrated the entire story. Everyone in the courtroom had a good laugh. The magistrate ordered Bondu to return the iron beam to Naduk and Naduk to return Bondu’s son.

The Elephant And The Dog

Long ago, there was a king who had deep affection for all the animals, especially elephants. He had built a very large stable for his royal elephant. A caretaker was appointed to make sure that all the needs of the royal elephant were met. The king had also ordered that special nutritious food be served to the elephant everyday, to keep him healthy.

One afternoon, a stray dog entered the royal stable. The elephant was resting under a shady tree. The dog spotted the food leftover by the elephant and ate to its heart’s content. The elephant saw the dog eating the leftover food. From that day on, the elephant gladly let the dog share his food. Soon the two became very good friends. The dog started staying in the stable and the caretaker too did not mind it. Soon, the dog too became very healthy.

One day, a farmer saw the dog and asked the caretaker if he would sell the dog to him. He offered good money for the dog. Although the dog did not belong to the caretaker, he accepted the money and gave the dog to the farmer.

After the farmer took the dog away, the royal elephant became very sad. He lost his only friend in the royal stable. He missed his friend during mealtimes and refused to eat or drink and soon became very weak. The news of the elephant’s failing health quickly reached the King. He rushed to the royal stable to inquire.

The caretaker knew why the elephant was so desolate and refused food and water, but he did not speak up. He was afraid that if the King came to know that he sold a dog which was not rightfully his, he would be punished. So he feigned ignorance.

The royal vet was called to check the health of the elephant. Even after thorough examination, the vet was unable to ascertain why the elephant was not eating and drinking. He concluded that being an emotional animal, the elephant was very sad about something.

The King’s guards questioned all the servants in the stable to find out what could be reason for the royal elephant’s sorrow. They came to know about the dog who lived with the elephant and was his close friend. They also came to know that the dog had been missing since the last few days. The King called his Chief Minister, told him about the whole situation and asked him for a solution. Upon the Chief Minister’s suggestion an announcement was made in the entire kingdom that whoever had the dog should return it immediately and he would be rewarded handsomely.

The farmer heard the announcement and immediately reached the King’s palace along with the dog. He told the King that he had bought the dog from the caretaker of the royal elephant. The caretaker was called immediately and he confessed selling the dog even though he had no right to do so. The King ordered the dog to be returned to the stable, alongside the elephant. The caretaker was ordered to return the farmer’s money. He was also ordered to look after the dog as well, along with the elephant.

The royal elephant was very happy to see his friend back. Food was served to both of them and they ate together.

The Four Friends and the Hunter

Once upon a time in a jungle, there lived four friends – a deer, a mouse, a crow and a tortoise. They were very good friends and would spend most of their time with one another. 

One day, they saw a hunter approaching the clearing where they stayed. Quickly, the deer ran away into the trees, the crow flew to the highest branch of the closest tree and the mouse darted into a hole nearby. The turtle, being a slow creature, could not escape as fast as the others. The hunter trapped him in his net. Though the hunter was disappointed on not being able to catch the deer, he was happy that he had the tortoise and would not go hungry. 

The deer, the mouse and the crow were very worried to see their friend caught. They came up with a plan to save him. 

The crow flew high up in the sky to locate the hunter. Then, the deer overtook the hunter, unseen, and went and lay at a little distance on the path, pretending to be dead. When the hunter saw the deer lying on the ground, he thought the deer must be dead. He was very happy at having found a deer finally. He dropped the bag carrying the tortoise and went towards the deer. As soon as the hunter left the tortoise’s side, the mouse cut through the net of the bag and freed the tortoise. 

The hunter, unaware of what the mouse had done, walked towards the deer. As soon as he came near the deer, it suddenly got up and bolted into the forest. The hunter was completely taken by surprise. 

Disappointed, the hunter went back to pick up the bag containing the tortoise. But surprise! The bag was open and the tortoise was gone. 

Shaking his head at his bad luck, the hunter went back home. The four friends lived together.

The Brahmin’s Dream

Long ago, there lived a poor Brahmin in a village. He used to beg for a living and sometimes, had to go without food for many days. One day he got a pot full of flour. He was very happy. He took the pot home and hung it up near his bed. He lay on the bed and gazed at his pot. Soon, he fell fast asleep and started dreaming.

He dreamt that if a famine came to the land, he could sell the flour for a very good price. People would outbid each other. He would finally sell it for twenty rupees. With these twenty rupees, he would buy a pair of goats. He would feed these goats on green grass. Soon the goats would have lots of kids and he would trade the whole herd of goats for buffaloes and cows. The cows would have calves of their own and there would be lots and lots of milk. He would make sweetmeats with the milk, and butter and curd and sell it all in the market. Soon, he would grow very rich and build a big house with huge gardens and fruit orchards. He would now start trading in pearls, diamonds and other precious stones. The King would hear of his riches and bring along his daughter, the beautiful Princess and offer her hand in marriage.

Soon, they would have sons and daughters and they would run around the house, playing. When he would grow tired, he would pick up a stick and beat them and beat them and beat them!

Imagining he was beating the children, the Brahmin began to beat the air with his hands. Suddenly his hands struck the pot of flour, the pot broke and all its contents spilled to the ground. The Brahmin woke up to find that he was dreaming everything. There was no big house, no lovely gardens and no wife or children. Only the broken pot and flour scattered all over the floor.

Moral: Never build castles in the air.

The Princess And The Pea

A prince is in the search of a princess to marry. But whenever he meets one, something goes wrong and he fails to find a suitable alliance. One evening, there is a thunderstorm and a young lady, who is fully drenched, knocks on the castle door. She seeks shelter in the prince’s castle.

The young lady claims to be a princess and requests the king and the queen to allow her to spend the night in the castle. As her appearance is distressed and worn out, nobody believes her.

Unwillingly, the queen allows the young lady to rest in their castle. But to test if the young lady is a real princess, the queen decides to place a pea under the mattress of the guest bed. The young lady is offered a bed, which is covered with 20 huge mattresses with a pea at the bottom.

Next morning, the queen asks their guest if she slept well. The young lady narrates how sleepless her night went as something very hard under the mattress kept her awake all night.

The prince is overjoyed as he has found a true princess. Only a real princess would experience such pain in spite of having 20 feather mattresses placed on top of the pea. The prince and the princess get married and live happily ever after.

Princess And The Magical Ring

Long ago there was a princess who lived in the Norfolk kingdom. She finds a ring in her garden and asks her father about it. He tells the ring would give her five magical powers — the ability to sleep peacefully, to make fire without a flint, the ability to grow any crop, to make it rain without clouds, and lastly a power, which was also the most special, the ability to sing like an enchanted siren.

The princess enjoyed singing and loved her last power the most. She believed her voice will one day make a prince fall in love with her.

One day, a witch casts a spell on the kingdom that had adverse effects on everyone, except the princess. The witch plunders crops, rain, sunshine and everything from the kingdom.

The princess is disappointed to see her falling kingdom and decides to use her five powers to save her homeland and its people. An idea strikes her mind to sing day and night. Nothing could stop her from singing.

After almost an entire year of singing, the kingdom is set free from the deadly spell. But this results in the disintegration of the princess. She sacrifices her life for her people and the kingdom.

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