Stories: Classic Stories by Appeal


General Appeal

Stroies marked with a green dot do not emphasize either gender. They may appeal equally to both boys and girls.

Animals and other non-human Protagonists

Stories marked with a gray dot feature animals and other non-human protagonists. They will likely appeal equally to both boys and girls.

Female Protagonist

Stories marked with a pink dot emphasize female protagonists. They may appeal more to girls.

Male Protagonist

Stories marked with a blue dot emphasize male protagonists. They may appeal more to boys.

General Appeal

The Blind Men and the Elephant

[2:40]
Blind men argue whether an elephant is a snake, spear, wall, tree or something else; a boy sees the truth all along, but doesn’t bother to argue with them. 370 words.

The Three Wishes

[5:08]
A fairy grants three wishes to a man and wife who squander them; the wife nearly winds up with a sausage attached to her nose. 765 words.

The Elves and Shoemaker

[6:06]
By secretly making shoes, two elves save a poor shoemaker and his wife; the man and wife make clothes to reward the elves, who leave when their help is no longer needed. 830 words.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

[7:12]
Town officials hire a piper to play music to lead rats away; when they try to cheat him, he plays beautiful music and leads the children to heaven, away from the dishonest adults. 967 words.

The Gingerbread Man

[7:39]
The Gingerbread Man speaks rudely, brags, and outruns all the people and animals until the fox’s help, is tricked and swallowed. 1095 words.

The Little Engine that Could

[9:19]
After larger and more powerful engines refuse to help, a small engine helps the train of toys cross the mountain so the children will have their Christmas toys. 1168 words.

The Bremen Town Musicians

[9:16]
When their owners plan to do away with them, four animals leave to become musicians; they trick some robbers, chase them away, and make a new home in the robbers’ house. 1450 words.

The Emperor's New Clothes

[13:08]
Lying thieves claim they can make magical clothes invisible to bad and stupid people; the emperor parades naked, adults pretend to see clothes, until a child speaks the truth. 2126 words.

The Fisherman and His Wife

[16:37]
A fisherman catches a magic fish and releases it; his wife keeps demanding the fisherman ask more and more favors from the fish, until finally the fish takes everything back. 2211 words.

Hansel and Gretel

[22:01]
Abandoned in the forest because of a wicked stepmother, a boy and girl find a candy house, are captured by a witch, trick her, and return home with riches for their father. 3154 words.

Animals and other non-human Protagonists

The Oak Tree and the Reeds

[2:18]
A big, strong oak tree doesn’t allow sun to reach the little reeds until a storm; the reeds bend and survive, but the oak tree breaks and falls, leaving the reeds in the sunshine. 286 words.

The Dog and His Shadow

[2:20]
A greedy dog, not satisfied with his own bone, barks to get another dog’s, but as his own bone splashes in the water he realizes he had only barked at his own reflection. 353 words.

The Lion and the Mouse

[2:51]
A lion releases a mouse, believing it’s too small and weak ever to return the favor, but when the lion is trapped in a net the mouse gnaws the threads and releases the lion. 395 words.

The Rooster and the Fox

[3:12]
A fox traps a rooster by flattering the rooster’s singing voice, but the rooster escapes when he convinces the fox to taunt and trash talk his pursuers. 436 words.

The Little Red Hen

[3:14]
Lazy animals refuse to help the hen plant the seed, harvest the grain, or bake the bread, so the hen refuses to share the baked bread with the lazy animals. 477 words.

The Country Mouse and the City Mouse

[3:44]
A country mouse enjoys the luxuries of city life until a frightening city cat convinces him a simple life with safety is better than a rich life full of danger. 434 words.

How Sun and Moon Came to the Sky

[3:53]
Sun and his wife Moon invite Sea to visit, but when their home fills with water and fish, Sun and Moon retreat to a new home in the sky. 538 words.

The Grasshopper and the Ants

[4:07]
The grasshopper plays, making fun of ants who work and prepare for the future, but in winter they have food, are warm, and relax, while the grasshopper is cold and hungry. 686 words.

Chicken Little

[4:39]
An acorn falls on Chicken Little’s head and convinces him and his friends the sky is falling; they go to tell the king, but the fox lures them into his den. 743 words.

The Turtle and the Rabbit

[6:25]
A modest turtle races a speedy rabbit who brags, shows off, and takes a nap; by slowly and steadily moving ahead, never stopping or quitting, the turtle wins the race. 880 words.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

[6:41]
Two billy goats trick a mean troll into waiting for their brother; with his horns the big brother knocks the troll off the bridge. 891 words.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Female Reader)

[7:29]
Peter disobeys his mother and enters Mr. MacGregor’s garden, where he is almost captured and put into a pie; Peter escapes and returns to his mother who scolds him. 933 words.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Male Reader)

[7:29]
Peter disobeys his mother and enters Mr. MacGregor’s garden, where he is almost captured and put into a pie; Peter escapes and returns to his mother who scolds him. 933 words.

Tortoise, Elephant, and Hippo

[7:10]
Elephant and Hippo bully other animals until Tortoise tricks them into a tug of war; thinking it’s Turtle, each pulls against each other; humbled, they then treat others nicely. 984 words.

The Three Little Pigs

[6:34]
Two pigs squander their money and build shabby houses; their smarter brother saves and works hard to build a brick house which protects them all from the big bad wolf. 986 words.

How Anansi the Spider Got Long Legs

[7:48]
Anansi once had two ordinary legs like people, but, lazy and hungry, he selfishly schemes to eat his friends’ food and winds up with eight long skinny legs. 1296 words.

Female Protagonist

The Princess and the Pea

[2:38]
A prince can’t find a real princess to marry until a pea buried under several mattresses makes a young woman too uncomfortable to sleep. 438 words.

Toads and Diamonds

[6:19]
Mistreated by her elder sister and mother, a girl is polite to a fairy who causes jewels to fall from the girl’s mouth when she speaks; toads fall from her impolite sister’s mouth. 1087 words.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

[6:13]
A nosy little girl invades the bears’ home and falls asleep; when they return and discover her, she wakes and runs away. 1092 words.

The Frog-Prince

[6:33]
A frog returns a ball for a princess who treats him badly until her parents insist she be nicer; her kind treatment breaks a spell, he becomes a handsome prince, and they marry. 1188 words.

Little Red Riding Hood

[8:47]
A girl speaks to a wolf and leaves the proper path; the wolf swallows the grandmother and girl, but a huntsman kills the wolf, opens the wolf’s belly, and rescues both of them. 1243 words.

Rumplestiltskin

[8:18]
A cruel man spins straw into gold to save a girl’s life, demanding her first child in payment; when she’s queen she saves her child by learning the man’s secret name. 1344 words.

Rapunzel

[8:31]
A witch forces a couple to give her their daughter, then locks the girl away in a high tower; the girl lowers her long hair to a prince who climbs the tower and rescues her. 1471 words.

The Goose Girl

[12:41]
A false maid betrays a princess who must work as a goose firl until she discovers a way to reveal her true identity. 2097 words.

Sleeping Beauty

[15:13]
Cursed by a bad fairy, a princess sleeps for a hundred years, but finally is awakened and rescued by a handsome prince. 2280 words.

Molly Whuppie

[12:46]
Not pretty like two older sisters, Molly is clever and brave, saving them from an ogre, and taking the ogre’s silver sword, bag of gold, and diamond pin; all three girls marry princes. 2352 words.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

[14:39]
A princess escapes a cruel stepmother and lives in the woods with seven dwarfs; the mean stepmother nearly kills her with a poison apple, but a prince saves and marries her. 2540 words.

Cinderella

[15:03]
Mistreated, hard-working Cinderella gets a beautiful gown and magic coach from her fairy godmother; when her foot fits the glass slipper a prince marries her. 2567 words.

Rose White and Rose Red

[14:12]
Two sisters befriend a bear; later they help a dwarf who is cruel and ungrateful; when he tries to harm them the bear kills the dwarf and becomes a handsome prince. 2579 words.

The Pot of Pink Flowers

[21:20]
An orphan girl has a mean brother; she treats kindly a woman who turns out to be both a fairy and her aunt; the girl’s a princess, the flowers an enchanted prince she marries. 3224 words.

Male Protagonist

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

[4:37]
Bored watching over the sheep, a boy causes excitement by lying that a wolf threatens; when a real wolf attacks, the people think the boy’s lying and won’t come to help him. 722 words.

How Fire Came to the Indians

[5:42]
A fatherless boy is mocked by children and adults, but after everyone else fails, he shoots an arrow which falls to earth bringing fire to the tribe, then he disappears. 807 words.

The Queen Bee

[5:15]
Two elder brothers call a boy Numbskull, but ants, ducks, and bees reward his kindness and help him accomplish tasks to win princesses as brides for himself and his brothers. 886 words.

The Golden Goose

[10:46]
Bullied by his brothers, Knucklehead is kind to people in need, and with their help he gains a magical goose and other things which lead to him marrying a princess. 1702 words.

The Hardy Tin Soldier

[10:28]
A one-legged toy soldier loves a cardboard dancer; a cruel goblin causes the soldier to fall from a window, get swallowed by a fish, and be tossed in a stove with the dancer. 1705 words.

Puss in Boots

[10:18]
After his master buys him some boots, a cat tricks a king and an ogre and arranges for his master to marry a princess 1789 words.

Jack the Giant Killer

[11:48]
Clever and brave, Jack travels the country killing a series of giants, rescues some ladies, marries a duke’s daughter, and receives a castle from King Arthur. 1911 words.

The Quern at the Bottom of the Sea

[12:36]
Sent to “the bad place“ by his mean rich brother, the poor younger brother trades for a magic grindstone, becomes rich, and sells it to a sea captain who grinds too much salt. 1983 words.

Jack and the Beanstalk

[18:24]
Jack trades a cow for magic beans which grow into a beanstalk; he climbs to the clouds, from a giant takes gold, a magic hen, and a magic harp, and makes his mother happy. 2588 words.

Tom Thumb

[15:05]
Though no bigger than a thumb, Tom is clever and tricky; he helps his father and mother, outwits thieves, is swallowed by a cow and a wolf, but escapes and returns home. 2659 words.

The Tinder Box

[20:24]
With a witch’s help, a soldier gets a tinder box (used to make fire, before matches) which controls three magic dogs who help him become rich and marry a princess. 3043 words.

The Brave Little Tailor

[21:29]
A tailor brags he killed seven flies, but others think he meant men; he outwits two giants, catches a unicorn and wild pig, and wins a princess who at first dislikes him. 3648 words.

The Princess on the Glass Hill

[21:27]
A bullied younger brother braves earthquakes and storms, winning three horses; in disguise, he rides each farther up a glass hill to win the hand of a princess. 3786 words.