Aesop, Felix Maria Samaniego or the Indian and Chinese oral tradition have been some of the sources of creation of countless funny fables for children of all ages, all of them with a moral behind.

Next we will see a selection of fun and pedagogical short fables for children , many of them widely known, that not only serve to pass the time, but to learn life lessons.

10 short fables for children

Along these lines we will see a few of the best known fables.

1. The three blind men and the elephant

Once upon a time there were three very old friends who, besides having great intelligence and knowledge in common, were all blind.

As they gathered one day near the river and chatted about their knowledge, they suddenly heard a roar. One of the three elders shouted, asking ‘Who’s there?

Luckily for them, the person coming was just a traveller accompanied by his pet, a peaceful but huge elephant.

‘Sorry if I scared you. – said the traveller. “My elephant and I have come to the river to drink.

The three wise men, hearing that they were near an elephant, could not contain their great emotion, one of them asking ‘An elephant? did I hear right?

The traveller noticed that all three were blind and therefore could not have noticed the animal despite its large size.

We had heard about them, but we had never had the chance to have an elephant so close to us. Said another old man. “Can we touch it?

Seeing the curiosity of the three elders, the traveler agreed to have his pet pet stroked.

The three elders stood up and touched the animal.

An elephant is like a huge column,’ said the first old man as he stroked the quadruped’s leg.

What do you say, my friend? An elephant is like a fan, which refreshes you with a delicate breeze!’ said the second, as he felt the ears.

‘You’re both wrong,’ said the third, playing the horn. An elephant is like an eel, or a snake, long and thick.

As the three elders commented on what they were touching, the owner of the animal was left wondering how curious it was that three people were touching the same elephant and came to such different conclusions.

Moral: people give their opinions based on what they know and experience , which is why we can reach such different conclusions. We should try to have a more holistic view of things. The absolute truth does not exist.

2. The two dogs of the hunter

A man lived in the country with his two dogs . One of them helped the man when he went out hunting, while the other watched over the house in his absence.

The hunting dog enjoyed going hunting, although he always returned exhausted. His mission was to detect prey. Sometimes he succeeded, and sometimes, unfortunately, he couldn’t find any.

On the days when he didn’t get any prey, he was very disappointed, thinking about the great effort he had invested for nothing, but when he was lucky, he felt really fulfilled.

When they returned home, the guard dog would come to greet them in a very cheerful way, effusively welcoming their owner, licking his face and wagging his tail.

With the master and the two dogs at home, it was time for dinner. If they had managed to catch something, the owner, who was very generous, always gave a piece of the hunt to each of his pets.

Thus, both the hunting dog and the guard dog were equally rewarded and, of course, the former did not agree with this, since it was he who had worked to obtain the food for both of them.

One day, fed up, the hunting dog said to the guard dog:

‘I’m offended by what’s happening! Me, every day of hunting, helping the master so that, when you come back, you, after a day of doing nothing, get a good plate of what I’ve got!’

On hearing this, the guard dog replied:

‘Dude, you’re absolutely right, but what do you want me to do? I’ve been trained to watch the house. If you want to complain, complain to the master, who in the end is the one who distributes the goods indiscriminately from our work.

Despite the hunting dog’s anger at the situation, the truth was that the guard dog had hit the nail on the head. If he complained, he should go to the master, and he did. He explained to his owner what he thought and, the man understood.

From then on, he started training the guard dog to be a great retriever and then took it out to train with the other dog to earn his dinner.

Moral: in life, not everything is given away . You have to learn to work hard to get a good reward in return.

3. The fox and the grapes

There was a very hungry, thirsty bitch in the woods. The poor thing had been looking for prey for hours, with no luck.

After spending all day wandering through the forest he managed to see a bunch of succulent grapes , which were hanging from a high vine. The fox, desperate, wanted to reach them. She jumped and jumped, but she could not reach them. After many attempts, the fox got tired.

‘Bah, I don’t care anymore. Anyway, why do I want to eat those grapes? I’m sure they’re green and hard as rocks! Let someone else eat them…’

And after being convinced of this, she began to think herself very worthy of giving up the much desired fruit .

Moral: if something is unattainable or seems impossible, others or circumstances should not be blamed. Everyone has his or her own abilities and also limitations.

4. Peter and the Wolf

Once upon a time there was a young shepherd called Peter. Every day he took his sheep out to graze in the fields.

One day, bored, Pedro decided to play a joke on his neighbors . He climbed up a hill and started shouting:

‘The wolf is coming! The wolf is coming! Help me, please!

At the boy’s screams, the villagers got scared and ran to help him, only to see the young man laugh out loud.

‘Innocents! See how I have deceived you all!

The villagers, very angry, turned around and went home.

The next day, Peter, while pulling his sheep out again, decided to make the same joke:

Help! I saw the wolf! He’s coming for my sheep, help me!

This time, the villagers went again, trusting that the boy was now telling them the truth, but to their surprise they had again been the victims of a deception.

‘How I have deceived you again! Ha-ha-ha-ha.

The people, even angrier, returned to their homes.

The summer continued to pass and Peter continued to take his animals out, bored as usual, but one day something different happened: he heard a growl. Suddenly, he saw the wolf coming towards the sheep to take them as an appetizer. Peter cried out, being sincere:

‘Help! The wolf has come! The wolf is coming, the wolf is coming! He will eat my sheep!’.

The villagers heard the boy scream, as always, but this time they did nothing . They were convinced that it was another lie, that he was pulling their leg.

The wolf ate all the sheep without Peter being able to prevent it, seeing how he lost his animals as well as understanding the grave error of having deceived all the people.

Moral: no lies should be told, because the day a truth is told, it is possible that no one will believe it .

5. The hare and the tortoise

In the countryside lived a swift hare and a slow tortoise. The hare ran constantly, while the tortoise moved slowly because of its heavy shell.

The hare was making fun of the tortoise, bragging about how fast she was while her companion needed a lot of effort to get her to take just one step.

After days of mocking, the tortoise got angry with the hare and proposed that he compete in a race, which the hare, with a mocking air, gladly accepted. The next day, the hare and the tortoise got together to start the race.

Both animals prepared and, when the starting gun was fired, they started to move. The tortoise was going step by step, softly, gently, while the hare had shot out.

The hare, turning his head, saw the great advantage that the reptile had, and decided to stop and wait for it while he mocked it.

Run, turtle, what’s the point of running if you’re so slow? Why compete if the result is sung? Ha ha ha ha.

The tortoise caught up with the hare, but the hare gave another push to get ahead. Every time the tortoise managed to reach the hare, the fast animal gave itself another impulse .

After doing this several times, the hare approached the finish line. Instead of crossing it, the hare decided to make a stop a few meters from the end of the race, bored, so much so that he fell asleep.

The tortoise, who had not stopped moving, was getting closer, very slowly, to the goal, without the hare waking up when it was so close.

When the tortoise was about to cross the finish line, the hare woke up, quickly realizing what was happening, and running to catch up with her, but the tortoise got there before her.

For the first time in her life, the hare, who boasted of being fast, had just been defeated by the one she thought would never beat her .

Moral: we must be humble and understand that objectives are achieved with patience and dedication. Never underestimate the least skilled person, because they may be the most constant and committed to achieving their goal.

6. The Milkmaid’s Tale

A young girl lived on a farm with her parents. One day, the girl’s mother, who was ill, asked her to run an errand.

My daughter,’ said the woman. ‘I have plenty of milk and it’s going to go to waste, since you’re old enough, could you go to the market and sell it?

“Sure, Mom,” said the helpful young lady.

Seeing how obedient her daughter was, the woman told her that all the money she would get from that milk would be for her .

The girl, on her way to the market, was thinking about how she could invest the money she earned from the milk she sold.

‘With the money I’ll buy twelve eggs, which I’ll make my hens hatch. When they are born and grow up, I will sell the chickens and buy a piglet,’ she said to herself.

When I have grown up and become a huge pig, I will exchange it for a calf at the market, which will grow up and give me milk, which I will sell every day,’ he kept thinking aloud.

The young woman was so engrossed in her thoughts that, to her bad luck, she did not see the stone in the road and stumbled, falling to the ground. The milk spilled all over the road and erased the poor girl’s dreams.

Moral: sometimes, ambition makes you not think about the present or watch what happens in the present moment.

7. The Raven and the Pitcher

A black crow was thirsty on a hot summer day , looking for something to drink. The field was dry and there was hardly a shadow in which to take shelter. The bird had to get away from the forest and try its luck elsewhere. It flew and flew, without having much luck, until it managed to spot a clay vase.

‘What luck! A pitcher in the middle of the grass. With a bit of luck he’ll have some water left’.

He swooped down, coming closer to see the contents of the jar and could see that there was indeed some water inside it.

He put his beak through the neck of the object but the poor crow was disappointed. His beak was too short .

‘I wish I was a heron with a long beak and not a raven…’, he said to himself.

Very nervously he began to spin around the vase, ramming it to see if he was lucky enough to get a drink, but colliding with reality: he was a crow, he wouldn’t break the vase as if he had the strength of a bull.

He put his foot inside the vase to see if it at least touched the water, but even that didn’t do it.

The anguish was eating away at him, but instead of losing his cool he decided to think for a moment. After meditating, the light bulb went on.

He started to put stones inside the jug . Little by little, the water rose, while the stones occupied the base of the object. And in this way, with tenacity and determination, he obtained his much desired water and quenched his thirst.

Moral: when faced with a problem, the best thing to do is to stay calm and think . A solution will be found in a serene way.

8. The Country Mouse and the City Mouse

There lived in the country a happy mouse that had everything necessary for a rodent . In nature there was never a lack of seeds, besides being able to climb trees, sunbathe and, in his burrow, have a very spacious pantry.

Walking around one day he came across a mouse that, because of its distinguished air and clothing, was clearly from the city. The two began to talk and they liked each other very much, so much so that the country mouse invited the city mouse to his home.

The city mouse was surprised at how simple and poor his host’s house was, who offered him to eat red fruits and nuts.

I thank you for your hospitality,’ said the urban rodent. But I am surprised at how happy you are with so little you have. I would like to invite you to my house one day to see what it is like to live comfortably, with greater possessions.

A few days later, the field mouse went to visit his new friend in town. The city mouse lived in a burrow built in a huge human house , where it lacked nothing.

At lunchtime, both mice approached a table where all the food one could wish for had been placed: meat, fish, fruit and succulent potatoes.

But when both rodents approached the food, a cat appeared and went for them. The mice ran to safety, with a huge fear in their bodies.

It’s our daily bread, this cat thing. Don’t worry, I’ll treat you to a big meal later,’ said the city mouse.

They tried again, but instead of the cat appearing, the housekeeper appeared, with a threatening broom that was going to be used to try to crush them. They ran away again.

Once they saw that the lady was gone, they tried again, getting a taste this time. Their bellies were satisfactorily filled.

“I’ve never eaten so well, my friend!” said the field mouse. But, although you live in all the luxury one could wish for, so much stress and anxiety… I couldn’t stand that. I prefer my simple and quiet life, out there in the country.

They said goodbye and the field mouse returned to his daily routine, with the calm that nature offered him.

Moral: it is better to be happy with little than to have everything and to suffer .

9. The rattle to the cat

In one house lived a cat who was very dear to his human family. The cat had soon taken over the house and, having fun, chased the mice that lived there. The rodents, who could no longer go out to look for food because of the cat , were becoming increasingly emaciated. Faced with the situation, they decided to do something.

In order to keep the cat under control, they decided to put a bell on it, so that every time it moved, they would hear it and know if it was near.

The question that followed was… who was going to take care of the dreaded feat of putting the bell on the pussycat?

One mouse said he couldn’t be, that he had osteoarthritis, another, also a coward, said he was limping, and another said he was short-sighted.

All the mice were making excuses and no one decided to carry out the plan. They understood that the idea of the rattle was good, but difficult to carry out. Sadly, they went to sleep, trying to think of another way to get rid of the cat.

Moral: It’s very easy to talk and give opinions, and it’s also easy to give advice , but when it comes to being an example, that’s another matter.

10. The two snakes

Two snakes lived peacefully in the stagnant waters of a swamp , with everything they could wish for. But unfortunately, a summer came that was so hot that the waters began to dry up. Although they had stayed there, every day they saw their home getting drier and drier, but it was the only place they knew where they could live.

They waited for the rains to come, but they did not arrive and, with great regret, had to leave what had once been their precious pond.

Both snakes decided to leave. One of them told the other to go north, that she was following her, but the other, which was very clever, warned her that if they did that, going in single file, the humans would detect them and hunt them down. The wisest snake told her friend that they had to be smarter than humans, and explained how they would do it.

She told her friend to stand on her back, but in reverse, while she put her own tail inside her mouth and, also, her friend’s tail inside her mouth. Thus, instead of two snakes they would appear to be a strange, paranormal being.

They both did this and began to crawl, forming a kind of eight that moved through the grass. On the way they met peasants and travellers who, on seeing them, fled in fear before such a strange being.

As time passed, the rains returned and both snakes were able to move to a new wet spot where they could continue their lives.

Moral: when faced with a problem, what should be evaluated are the advantages and disadvantages of the situation. With calm and wisdom it is possible to find a solution.

Bibliographic references:

  • Aesop. (2007). D.L. Ashliman (Ed.), Aesop’s Fables. New York: Penguin Group.