Every night, my father would tell me a story before I went to bed. Sometimes they were stories he made up on the spot and other times they were stories he had read out of books. All of them were interesting in their own way, but what’s most important is that these bedtime stories helped me to dream better and sleep better. And I’m sure your kids will love them too!
King Midas and the Golden Touch
Once upon a time, there lived a King called Midas. He loved gold more than anything else. One day a stranger came to his palace and offered him a magic touch. The stranger said that if the King touched anything, it would turn to gold. Midas was very pleased with the offer and accepted it.
He started touching everything in his palace to gold but when he grew hungry he could not even eat as even his food turned to gold.
He soon realized that the magic touch was not as great as he thought it would be. To comfort him, his daughter hugged him and she too turned into gold. King Midas was very sad and wished that he had never accepted the offer.
Then the stranger appeared and King Midas asked him to help him. The stranger said that if he took bath in his palace river and sprinkled its water on all things gold, they will turn back to normal. King Midas did what was asked and he got his daughter back.
The moral of the story is that we should Be Careful What We Wish For because it Might just Come True.
The Mice who ate Iron (A Panchtantra Tale)
I read this story in my son’s story book and it really resonated with me as these Indian stories have so much to learn from for all ages. You can read this to any age group and even elders can learn from this one.
Once upon a time, there was a business man named Hari. He was not able to make ends meet and had to sell off everything till he was left with just an iron beam. He took this iron beam and went to the city in search of work. He decided to keep the iron beam with one of his friends Nandu till he got some money. Nandu said, ” Yes, I will keep the beam safely for you.”
Hari left for work and travelled to different cities till he earned some money. After many years, he returned to the city to take his iron beam back form Nandu. When he met Nandu, he asked for his iron beam. Nandu had turned greedy and did not want to return the iron beam. He said, “Oh, Hari, I had kept the iron beam in the store room but the mice ate all the iron . I’m very sorry.”
Hari understood the intentions of Nandu but kept his calm.
“No problem Nandu, do not be sorry as it is not your fault.” Nandu thought that Hari had fallen for his trick and felt that Hari was very silly.
Hari asked Nandu to send his son home with him as he had got gifts for his friend. Nandu immediately asked his son Chotu to go with him to get the gifts.
Once they reached home, Hari locked Chotu in a cellar room . When Chotu did not return home till late evening, Nandu got worried.
In the morning, he went to meet Hari and asked him ,” Where is my son Chotu? “. Hari very sadly replied, ” Oh, I am very sorry but when we were coming to my home, a hawk swooped down and carried your boy away. I followed the hawk to a distance but could not keep the pace. I am very sorry friend.”
On hearing this, Nandu was furious. He accused Hari of lying as a hawk could not carry a 12-year old boy. They started fighting and decided to go to court.
Nandu told the magistrate that this man was lying as no hawk could lift a 12-year old boy and that Hari had stolen his boy. But Hari insisted that he was telling the truth and the hawk had actually taken the boy away.
The magistrate said that it was not possible. To this Hari replied, ” If mice can eat an iron beam then why a hawk cannot carry off a boy!” The magistrate understood that there was something wrong and asked Nandu to explain everything in detail.
Nandu too understood that he was caught in his own trap and pleaded guilty. The magistrate ordered Nandu to return the iron beam immediately and Hari returned his son.
Moral of the story – We should not be Greedy and be Satisfied with what we have.
The Gingerbread Man
Bedtime stories for kids can be made more interesting for your child as per the time and imagination that they have. This bedtime story can be modified to add more animals chasing the gingerbread man and a different ending to suit your child.
One day, a woman was baking gingerbread cookies in the shape of men. She put three ingredients into her bowl – one part sugar, one part molasses, and one part butter. Then she added some ginger and cinnamon before putting the dough in the oven.
The cookies came out of the oven looking like little gingerbread men. The woman was so excited that she decided to take one of the cookies to her husband. When the man saw the cookie, he was so amazed that he wanted to eat it right away. But his wife said, “No, we need to save it for the party tomorrow.”
The next day, all of the guests at the party were eating the gingerbread cookies and they were delicious! But then, one of the guests saw the gingerbread man and decided to take him home.
The gingerbread man was so happy to be out of the house that he started running away. The guest chased after him, but the gingerbread man was too fast. He ran all the way to the river and crossed it without looking back.
The moral of the story is that you should Never Underestimate Someone just because they look different from you.
GoldiLocks and the Bears
This is one of the simplest bedtime stories for kids as it is sweet, simple and you can ask your child to narrate it to their friends.
Once upon a time there was a little girl named GoldiLocks who went for a walk in the forest. She found a house and knocked on the door. When no one answered, she went inside.
She saw three bowls of porridge on the table. One bowl was too hot, one bowl was too cold, and one bowl was just right, so she ate that porridge.
She saw three chairs. One chair was too big, one chair was too small, and one chair was just right, so she sat down in that chair.
Then She saw three beds. One bed was too hard, one bed was too soft, and one bed was just right, so she lay down in that bed.
Suddenly, the owners of the house, three bears, came home.
The mother bear said, “Who’s been eating my porridge?”
The father bear said, “Who’s been sitting in my chair?”
The baby bear said, “Who’s been sleeping in my bed?”
GoldiLocks was so scared that she jumped up and ran out of the house.
The moral of the story is that you should Never Go into Someone Else’s House without Permission.
The Three Little Pigs
One of my kids’ early favorite bedtime stories is the three little pigs. It brings up the value of working hard for your child.
Once upon a time there were three little pigs who lived with their mother. One day, she told them that they had to leave the house and go out into the world to build their own homes.
The first little pig built his house out of straw. The second little pig built his house out of sticks. The third little pig built his house of bricks.
One day a big bad wolf came and saw the three little pigs, so he wanted to eat them. He went to the first pig’s house to eat the little pig but the pig ran inside his house. The wolf said, “Come out you little piggy or I will blow away your house.” But the little piggy sat inside the house. The wolf huffed and puffed and blew the house away.
The little piggy ran to his second brother and they hid in the house made of sticks. The wolf said, “Come out you little piggies or I will blow away your house.” But the little piggies sat inside the house. The wolf huffed and he puffed and blew the house away.
The little piggies ran to their third brother and all the pigs hid together. The wolf said, “Come out you little piggies or I will blow away your house.” But the little piggies sat inside the house. The wolf huffed and he puffed but nothing happened as the house was made of bricks. He kept huffing and puffing but the house did not move.
But the wolf did not give up as he was very hungry by now. So he decided to enter the house from the chimney on the roof. The third pig heard the sound and decided to light the fire in the chimney and as soon as the wolf reached the chimney he was burnt! He screamed in pain and ran away into the forest and never came back. The three little pigs lived happily.
Moral of the story – Never be lazy, Hard Work Pays just as it did for the third pig who built his house slowly and steadily with bricks.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
This one is one of the classic bedtime stories for kids.
One day a queen was sitting at her window sewing when she pricked her finger with the needle. As three drops of blood fell into the snow, she wished for a daughter as white as the snow, as red as the blood, and as black as the wood of her window frame.
Soon after, she had a baby girl who was as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as ebony wood. The queen named her Snow White.
The queen died when Snow White was still a baby, so the king married again. His new wife was very beautiful, but she was also very vain. She had a magic mirror, and she would stand in front of it and say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
The mirror would always answer, “Queen, you are the fairest one of all.”
But then one day it said, “Queen, Snow White is the fairest one of all.” The queen was so angry that she ordered her huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and kill her.
The huntsman couldn’t bear to kill her, so he let her go. Snow White ran deeper and deeper into the forest until she came to a little cottage. She went inside and found seven little beds.
She also found seven plates, seven spoons, and seven bowls. Snow White was so tired that she ate a little from each plate and then fell asleep in one of the beds.
Later that evening, the seven dwarfs came home. They were very surprised to find Snow White in their house!
“Who are you?” they asked.
“My name is Snow White,” she said. “Can I stay here with you?”
The dwarfs agreed, and Snow White became their housekeeper.
One day, while the dwarfs were at work in the mines, the queen went to the cottage disguised as an old woman. She gave Snow White a poisoned apple.
“If you eat this, my dear,” she said, “you will be as white as snow and as red as blood.”
Snow White was so hungry that she ate the apple. She fell to the ground unconscious. The dwarfs came home and found her lying there. They couldn’t wake her, so they put her in a glass coffin.
A prince happened to be passing by, and he saw Snow White in the coffin. He loved her so much that he wanted to take her back to his castle, but the dwarfs wouldn’t let him.
Finally, they agreed to let him take her if he promised never to tell anyone that she was still alive. The prince took Snow White back to his castle and placed her in a room. A year later, he was out hunting and saw the same old woman who had given Snow White the poisoned apple.
He chased her until she fell over and died. As she died, she turned back into the queen. The prince went back to the castle and found Snow White lying in the same position as before. He kissed her, and she woke up. They got married and lived happily ever after!
The moral of the story is that Good always Triumphs over Evil.
Birbal’s Khichdi (Akbar and Birbal Series)
Among the many Akbar and Birbal stories that I heard, this story has always stayed with me even today as I felt that this was one of the wittiest and simple solution Birbal ever came up with . I hope you enjoy and remember this one.
Once upon a time, there was a great king named Akbar who ruled over a vast kingdom. He was just and fair to all his subjects and they loved him dearly. However, there was one problem that he faced – he was very curious and always wanted to know everything that was going on in his kingdom.
This led to him often asking people difficult questions. His wise ministers and advisors, Birbal chief among them, often had to come up with clever solutions to get Akbar out of these situations.
One day, Akbar went to the nearby lake and found that it was very cold. He could not believe that people could take a bath in this lake in the cold winter. So he announced a reward of 1000 gold coins to whoever could spend a night in the cold lake.
A poor man heard the announcement and decided to take up the challenge. Guarded by two royal guards, the poor man stood in the freezing cold water in the middle of the lake for 1 full night. In the morning, the poor man was taken to court. The king asked him how he could stand in the freezing water for a full night. On this, the poor man replied” My Lord, I kept looking at a lamp that was burning at a distance and spent the entire night looking at it.”
The king was furious and said ” This man is not worthy of the reward as he was getting the warmth of the lamp and hence could easily spend the night in the lake.”
The poor man felt doomed and was heart-broken. Birbal was shocked on hearing the Kings’ decision and decided to help the poor man.
After a few days, Birbal invited the King to his home for lunch. The King arrived at Birbal’s house but did not appear with the lunch for quite sometime. Hungry and curious to know, the King went into Birbal’s kitchen where he saw that Birbal was sitting on the floor beside the fire looking a ta pot that was hung almost 6 feet above the ground.
King Akbar asked him,” What are you doing, Birbal?” To this Birbal replied, ” My Lord, I am cooking Khichdi for you!.”. The king was amused and started laughing. He said” How can the food be cooked if it is so far away from the flame??” Birbal said” It is possible my King. If a poor man can stay warm by simply looking at a lamp from a distance then my Khichdi too can be cooked.”. The King understood Birbal’s meaning and immediately rewarded the poor man and appreciated Birbal’s wit.
Moral of the story – Never Underestimate People’s Worth by their Appearance.
The Tortoise and the Hare
Once upon a time there was a hare who could run so fast that he could beat any animal in the forest. He was so full of pride that the animals were tired of his bragging. One day the wise tortoise told the other animals that he will have a race with the hare. The hare heard this and started laughing as the tortoise was the slowest animal but agreed for the race.
But the tortoise told the hare that if he won he will stop bragging and be nice to everyone . The hare smiled but agreed as he knew that he was going to win.
On the race day, everyone gathered around and cheered for the tortoise. But this did not deter the hare’s confidence. Ready, Steady, Go! The race began!
The hare ran as fast as he could and soon left the tortoise behind. After a while, the hare was so far ahead that he decided to take a nap. The hare slept for a long time and when he woke up, he saw that the tortoise was slowly crossing the finish line!
The hare was shocked! He had lost the race!
The moral of the story is that Slow and Steady Wins the Race.
The Wind and the Sun
I like this simple story that my son told me and it reminded me of the saying “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”. So here it goes –
One Day, the wind and the sun were arguing one day about which one was stronger. The Wind said, “I am stronger than you because I can blow harder and make things move.” The Sun said, “I am stronger than you because I can give warmth and make things grow.” They argued back and forth until they finally decided to have a contest. They would see who could make a man remove his coat first, the Wind or the Sun.
The Wind went first. He blew and blew as hard as he could, but the man just wrapped his coat tighter around him. The harder the Wind blew, the more the man held on to his coat. Then it was the Sun’s turn. The Sun shone down warmly on the man and gradually, the man started to feel warmer. He took off his coat and sat in the Sun’s warm rays. The Sun was the stronger one because he used his power wisely.
Moral of the story: It is better to Use your Powers Wisely than to use them Forcefully.
There are numerous bedtime stories that can be shared with your child. Remember that while you tell short bedtime stories for kids to your little one, you create a bonding with him/her. Your child will start looking forward to listening to them with you before drifting off to sleep. So make each night interesting!
Comment below to tell me which ones are your child’s favorite bedtime stories?
**Tortoise and Hare Image courtesy – Nature scene vector created by brgfx – www.freepik.com