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Folktales for Children

The best children’s folktales, fables, animal lore, folklore, myths, fairy tales, legends and folk tales from around the world! We have collected tales for kids from India, China, Burma and many other countries… Some of these tales will make you think, some of them will make you laugh, some will make you wonder, but almost all of them have hidden wisdom for you to discover!

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The Shepherd’s Mistake

The Shepherd’s Mistake

Early every morning, a shepherd took his flock of sheep out in the fields to graze. He would sit by watching – as the sheep lazily munched on fresh grass. After they had eaten, he would round them up and walk back home. Sometimes while watching his flock, he would curl up in a quiet corner and go off to sleep. One day, the shepherd caught a wolf which had strayed into the field, eyeing his sheep. However, it was some distance away and it made no effort to come nearer. The shepherd at first stood on guard against the wolf, as against an enemy, and kept a strict watch over its movements.

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The Mighty

The Mighty

At the edge of a forest, stood a big tree. Its branches spread out majestically and so did its roots. It shielded people from the sun under its shady leaves, and provided shelter to countless birds and other small creatures in its branches. It buzzed with activity all the time. At the foot of the tree grew a little plant. The plant was willowy and delicate, and tended to keel over at the touch of the slightest breeze. One day, the two neighbours were having a little chat. “Well, little one,” said the tree to the plant, “Why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?”

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What’s for Dinner!

What’s for Dinner!

A little hen lived at the edge of a forest colony. She lived all by herself and did all her work on her own. Early in the morning she hunted around for worms in the forest; in the day she cleaned up the house; then she cooked, ate and spent the rest of her time in peace. In short, hers was a happy life. Close by lived a middle-aged fox with his old mother. And, as you can imagine, if the fox was a little elderly, mother fox was quite definitely ancient. One day the fox and his mother had nothing to eat at home. He had been too lazy to go hunting for food for a few days and now he wondered how best to get hold of some food without too much exertion. All of a sudden he remembered the hen.

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The Wooden God

The Wooden God

Bablu hated the ritual of prayer and fast that his family had been observing for as long as he could remember. The entire family had to wake at dawn and have a dip in the village pond, even if it was in the middle of the bitterest winter. A chilly winter day would find a shivering Bablu trying hard not to think of the million ice-cold needles that would pierce him when he entered the pond to bathe. The very idea of the bath would of course have driven all traces of sleep from his mind. But there was no relief even after that. On his return home, he had to sit and recite shlokas or prayer for an hour without fail. And this, under the eagle eyes of his grandfather!

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A Tale of Two Sons

A Tale of Two Sons

A businessman had two sons. While he showered the younger son with affection and gifts, he neglected the older son shamelessly. It was completely baffling and no one knew why he did it. While the older son could do nothing right, the younger one could do nothing wrong. When the boys grew up, they were asked to manage the father’s business. But there was a world of difference in the management practices the father expected his boys to follow. The elder son was initiated into the nitty-gritties of the business. From morning till late in the evening, he was on his toes, trying to figure out how the business ran. His father was a hard taskmaster, who pushed him relentlessly so that he would give the business all he got. Within a few years, he was able to master the ropes of the business and even expand it.

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Appearances are Deceptive

Appearances are Deceptive

One day Bina the ant was scurrying about in search of food. Summer was almost over and autumn was approaching. Soon it would be winter and food would be difficult to find. Bina knew it was necessary to stock as much as possible so that her ant colony could have enough to eat during the difficult months ahead. She had collected quite a bit already. Now she was on the lookout for bits of sweetmeats that younger members of her colony loved to munch on after their meal. Darting to and fro between trees and shrubs, Bina suddenly smelt the sweet aroma of pastry. She quickly went around the bush and there she saw it – a large bit of pastry with a whole raisin in it!

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Abdullah’s Gold

Abdullah’s Gold

Abdullah was one of the richest men in town, but you could easily mistake him for a beggar. It was his theory that since there were so many people out to rob a rich man, it was safe to pretend to be poor. And so he did. But he really didn’t have to pretend. Stingy to the core he found it very easy to be poor. So what if people sniggered and children called out, “Kanjoos! Kanjoos!” (miser, miser), whenever he passed by in his worn-out clothes. Abdullah became more and more content with his growing pile of money as the years went by. One day, he bought a huge lump of gold with all the money he had amassed. He dug a hole in the ground near an unused well and buried the gold there. He was sure that no thief would be able to find that place. With this happy thought, Abdullah checked on his treasure daily.

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Qui Jun and the Arrogant Monk

Qui Jun and the Arrogant Monk

There once lived a monk called Shan, in a village in China. He had earned a great name for himself. But he was very arrogant. Qui Jun heard of his arrogance and wanted to teach the monk a lesson. He went to meet Shan who neither greeted him nor acknowledged his presence. Just then a servant of the monk came with a message: “The son of an army officer is here to see you.” The monk said, “I will go and greet him.” Shan welcomed the son of the army officer with respect. After the army officer’s son had departed Qui Jun asked Shan the reason for his double-faced behaviour. “Why is it that you greeted the army officer’s son so respectfully, yet behaved so arrogantly towards me?”

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