Folktales

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Children’s folktales, fables, fairy tales and legends

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


99 items in this section. Displaying page 9 of 10

How Iron was Found

Long ago, there lived a craftsman called Intupwa. Intupwa was an unhappy man because he tried, and failed, to cut wood with sharp stones. Then one day he dreamt of something better called iron. So he began his search for it. “Where can I find iron?” Intupwa asked the trees. “If we tell you, you’ll make an axe and cut us down,” the trees replied. How Iron was Found [Illustration by Sudheer Nath] “Where can I find iron?...

A Frog's Friendship

A Frog's Friendship

From ‘When the World was Young’, by Verrier Elwin. The book is a fascinating collection of folktales from the tribal peoples of India. Elwin was a pioneering anthropologist; he spent his entire life getting to know the ways of life of the tribal peoples. There was a time when the Frog had thick legs and he lived on land. He was so very different from the frogs that we see today, with their thin spindly legs and their watery homes....

The Crane's Walk

The Crane's Walk

A family of crabs lived on the shores of a giant blue sea. They frolicked in the sands and ate mussels, clams and other small sea creatures. One day the mother crab saw a beautiful crane walking about in the sand, a straight graceful walk in its long reed-like legs. “How graceful that crane looks,” she thought to herself. Then she caught sight of her son waddling towards her and felt very irritated. “And how clumsy my son is....

Monkey Business

Monkey Business

A temple was being built in a town. There were many different workmen busy with their work. The masons were building the walls. The sculptor was finishing the idols. And the carpenters were making wooden frames from logs of wood. In the afternoon, all the workmen used to sit together for lunch. One day while the workmen were eating, a group of monkeys came to the temple site. They started playing with the things the workmen had left behind....

Shebu and Moonmoon, the Long Haired Goat

Shebu and Moonmoon, the Long Haired Goat

Shebu and Moonmoon, the Long Haired Goat [Illustrations by Kusum Chamoli] “Bajai,” as we called grandmother, was the best storyteller in the whole world, says Madhu Gurung. She lived in the foothills of Mussoorie in a tiny village called Johri Gaun. And she always started her stories with a saying, “To the listener a garland of gold, to the storyteller a garland of all forest flowers and this tale that I tell you today will be heard in heaven....

The Mango Charm

The Mango Charm

A wandering youth once met Bholu, an illiterate villager, who knew how to perform a miracle. Everyday Bholu would go into the forest, stand under a mango tree and utter a charm. The tree would immediately become heavy with fruit. The next moment the mangoes would ripen and then they would fall to the ground. Bholu would collect them, eat some and distribute the rest among his neighbours who were poor. Keshav the youth fell at Bholu’s feet, even though the latter belonged to a lower caste, and begged him to teach him the charm....

The Donkey monkeys Around

The Donkey monkeys Around

Gopu the donkey was happily going munch munch on an extremely green patch of grass right in the heart of the meadow. So intent was Gopu on eating, that he did not hear anyone approaching until he looked up and gave an involuntary shiver. For standing right in front of him, was Shikari, the wolf. Gopu began to limp and make a lot of ooh aah noises while doing so. Shikari watched him in silence for a while and then asked what was wrong....

The Favour

The Favour

There lived a wolf called Lalu in the Himalayan forests. Lalu was very mean and selfish. He thought only about himself and none of the other animals liked him. The rest of the wolf pack also avoided meeting him. At most, they would say a polite ‘Hello’ and then go their own way. After all, when they were hungry, Lalu never offered to share his meal. So the wolves avoided him, as they did not want to be impolite....

Why Monkeys Mean Trouble

In the village of Sholingur in Tamil Nadu, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. The temple is on top of a small hill. In and around the hill in the thick forest live a group of monkeys. All they do is scare people and create trouble — even when people worship them as symbols of Hanuman. And there’s a story behind why they create trouble.… The story goes back a long time....

How Humans Got Eyes

How Humans Got Eyes

Retold from ‘When the World was Young’ by Verrier Elwin When God created humans, he forgot to add eyes so that they could see. Most people had a very tough time as a result. They couldn’t walk without tumbling and tripping over each other. Life was so difficult. People couldn’t see where they were going, what they were eating, who they were meeting. The Earth used to be beautiful then. There were fragrant flowers, colourful birds and butterflies, dense, green forests, and clear, gurgling streams....

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