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Short Moral Stories For Adults (and kids)

aesops fablesAh, the moral of the story. Snuck into books for kids so that they can learn without knowing they’re learning, and glaringly placed in books for infants so that the parents can be reminded of things they’d rather not think about. My hand is raised. My son is two years old and I have had more morals thrown at me in the last two years of reading to him than in the last 10 years of my reading as an adult. I can ignore the messages in 300 page books, but it’s different when it’s a board book and there are only about 100 words in there.

But you’re here looking for short moral stories for adults, not board books for babies. So I’d like to share my two favorite collections of fables and parables. Every story has a lesson, and every story can be interpreted on many different levels and by many different ages groups. I’m also trying to select two books with few or zero overtly  religious themes so there will be something for everyone.

First up is:

Aesop’s Fables

The tortoise and the hare, the lion with the thorn in its paw, the grasshopper and the ants. These three stories, and the many more that good old Aesop recorded, are not a bad guide as far as How To Live A Good Life And Be A Good Person. They preach prudence, thrift, foresight, and work ethic. And it’s never a bad thing to be reminded that we should treat each other well.

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

These are not quite as obviously moral-heavy, but they are there for anyone willing to dig them out. Just So Stories are tales about animals and how they acquired certain characteristics. For instance, How The Camel Got His Humps, or How The Whale Got Its Throat. The stories are very imaginative and every time I revisit them I’m stunned again at just how creative Kipling was. For all of the many faults that people find with his writing, he was a great storyteller.

So if you’re an adult looking for short moral stories to use in a lesson, a presentation, or just for your own entertainment, I would start with these two. I’m going to come back and add to this as I find more stories, or remember more.


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