Watch and read free Short Moral Stories for Kids in the form of Bedtime stories, Picture stories, Aesop Fables, and Classic Fairy Tales.
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
T’was half past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat
(I wasn’t there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I’m only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfulest way you ever saw–
And oh! How the gingham and calico flew!
(Don’t fancy I exaggerate–I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about that cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)
-story by Eugene Field
A Boy was bathing in a river and got out of his depth, and was in great danger of being drowned. A man who was passing along a road heard his cries for help, and went to the riverside and began to scold him for being so careless as to get into deep water, but made no attempt to help him. “Oh, sir,” cried the Boy, “please help me first and scold me afterwards.”
Give assistance, not advice, in a crisis.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”
A milkmaid, who poised a full pail on her head,
Thus mused on her prospects in life, it is said:
“Let’s see—I should think that this milk will procure
One hundred good eggs, or fourscore to be sure.
“Well then—stop a bit,—it must not be forgotten,
Some of these may be broken, and some may be rotten;
But if twenty for accidents should be detach’d,
It will leave me just sixty sound eggs to hatch’d.
“Well, sixty sound eggs—no; sound chickens, I mean;
Of these some may die—we’ll suppose seventeen—
Seventeen!—not so many—say ten at the most,
Which will leave fifty chickens to boil or to roast.
“But then there’s their barley; how much will they need?
Why they take but one grain at a time when they feed,
So that’s a mere trifle; now then let us see,
At a fair market price, how much money there’ll be?
“Six shillings a pair—five—four—three-and-six,
To prevent all mistakes, that low price I will fix;
Now what will that make? fifty chickens, I said,
Fifty times three-and-sixpence—I’ll ask brother Ned.
“Oh! but stop—three-and-sixpence a pair I must sell ’em;
Well, a pair is a couple—now then let us tell ’em;
A couple in fifty will go—(my poor brain!)
Why just a score times, and five pair will remain.
“Twenty-five pair of fowls—now how shameful it is,
That I can’t reckon up as much money as this!
Well, there’s no use in trying; so let’s give a guess;
I will say twenty pounds, and it can’t be no less.
“Twenty pounds, I am certain, will buy me a cow,
Thirty geese, and two turkeys—eight pigs and a sow;
Now if these turn out well, at the end of the year,
I shall fill both my pockets with guineas ’tis clear.
“Then I’ll bid that old tumble-down hovel good-bye;
My mother she’ll scold, and my sisters they’ll cry:
But I won’t care a crow’s egg for all they can say;
I shan’t go to stop with such beggars as they!”
But forgetting her burden, when this she had said,
The maid superciliously toss’d up her head
When alas! for her prospects—the milk pail descended!
And so all her schemes for the future were ended.
This moral, I think, may be safely attach’d:
Reckon not on your chickens before they are hatch’d.
She was always called the bad girl, for she had once, when she was very little, put out her tongue at the postman. She lived alone with her grandmother and her three brothers in the cottage beyond the field, and the girls in the village took no notice of her.
The bad girl did not mind this, for she was always thinking of the cuckoo clock. The clock stood in one corner of the cottage, and every hour a door opened at the top of its face, and a little cuckoo came out and called its name just the same number of times that the clock ought to have struck, and called it so loudly and in so much haste that the clock was afraid to strike at all.
The bad girl was always wondering whether it was worse for the clock to have a cupboard in its forehead, and a bird that was always hopping in and out, or for the poor cuckoo to spend so much time in a dark little prison. “If it could only get away to the woods,” she said to herself, “who knows but its voice might grow sweet, and even life itself might come to it!” She thought of the clock so much that her grandmother used to say— “Ah, lassie, if you would only think of me sometimes!” But the bad girl would answer— “You are not in prison, granny dear, and you have not even a bee in your bonnet, let alone a bird in your head. Why should I think of you?”
One day, close by the farm, she saw the big girls from the school gathering flowers. “Give me one,” she said; “perhaps the cuckoo would like it.”
But they all cried, “No, no!” and tried to frighten her away. “They are for the little one’s birthday. To-morrow she will be seven years old,” they said, “and she is to have a crown of flowers and a cake, and all the afternoon we shall play merry games with her.”
“Is she unhappy, that you are taking so much trouble for her?” asked the bad girl.
“Oh, no; she is very happy: but it will be her birthday, and we want to make her happier.” “Why?” “Because we love her,” said one; “Because she is so little,” said another; “Because she is alive,” said a third.
“Are all things that live to be loved and cared for?” the bad girl asked, but they were too busy to listen, so she went on her way thinking; and it seemed as if all things round—the birds, and bees, and the rustling leaves, and the little tender wild flowers, half hidden in the grass—answered, as she went along— “Yes, they are all to be cared for and made happier, if it be possible.”
“The cuckoo clock is not alive,” she thought.”Oh, no; it is not alive,” the trees answered; “but many things that do not live have voices, and many others are just sign-posts, pointing the way.” “The way! The way to what, and where?” “We find out for ourselves;—we must all find out for ourselves,” the trees sighed and whispered to each other.
As the bad girl entered the cottage, the cuckoo called out its name eleven times, but she did not even look up. She walked straight across to the chair by the fireside, and kneeling down, kissed her granny’s hands.