15 Short Motivational Stories with Moral Lessons

Last Updated on January 6, 2023

Life as a student is undoubtedly exciting but exhausting from hours of studying and attending classes.

You’re meeting new people, going to exciting places, and learning many things simultaneously.

Of course, the tough gets going too when completing a project or prepping for a test.

When you feel overwhelmed, one of the best things you can do is to read inspirational and thoughtful stories.

These inspiring short stories can be the pick-me-up you might need to get back on the right track.

Motivational stories can also be shared with friends and family who might be going through challenging times.

By sharing inspirational stories for youth, you can ease their burden even for a little time.

So here now are the best short meaningful story with moral lessons you can share with friends, coworkers, and family members.

10 Inspirational Short Stories for Students

Here are some of the most insightful motivational and amazing stories in English we’ve gathered from all over the web.

These inspirational stories are great icebreakers, too, so you can share them with people you’ve just met.

And since these are kid-friendly, you can also share these moral stories for a school assembly or on social media platforms.

Inspirational Short Story 1: A Short Story About Foolish Monkeys

A Short Story About Foolish MonkeysPin

Here’s one of the funnier inspirational short stories I’ve come across:

It was a cold and silent night. The weather was cold. A group of monkeys was on a tree. They were clinging to its branches. One of the monkeys said, “I wish we could find some fire. It will help us to keep warm.”

Suddenly they noticed a flock of fireflies. One of the young monkeys mistook it for fire, so he grabbed the firefly. He put it under a dry leaf and started blowing at it. Some other monkeys also joined in his efforts.

Meanwhile, a sparrow came flying to its nest on the same tree the monkeys were sitting on.

She noticed what they were doing. The sparrow laughed. She said, “Hey silly monkeys, that is a firefly, not real fire. I think all of you should take shelter in a cave.”

The monkeys did not listen to the sparrow. They continued to blow at the poor firefly.

After some time, the monkeys became very tired. Now they realized that what the sparrow had said was correct. They set free the firefly and moved to a nearby cave.

Moral of the Story

While persistence is one of the most defining qualities of a good student, there’s always something new to be learned every day!

The monkeys in the story sure are persistent, but their hard work doesn’t pay off because they refused to listen, at least initially.

Always listen to your elders, they know better!

Inspirational Short Story 2: The Young Boy and His Greed

Portrait of a happy nerd counting his money

Here’s an inspiring short story about a little boy who cannot control his greed.

Sam and Tom were identical twins. They were so identical that even their mother found it difficult to distinguish one from the other.

But apart from their looks, the two boys couldn’t be any more different. The first young boy, Sam, had no problems making friends.

Meanwhile, the other little boy, Tom, was terrible at keeping them. Sam loved sweets, but Tom loved spicy food. Sam was mommy’s pet, and Tom was daddy’s pet.

Sam was generous and selfless. Tom had a nasty temper and was very greedy.

This is where this motivational story gets interesting.

As Sam and Tom grew up, their father wanted to share his fortune equally. However, Tom disagreed and argued that whoever proved more intelligent and strong would have to get a more significant share of the wealth.

Sam agreed. Their father decided to organize a competition between the two. He asked the two sons to walk as long as they could and return home before sunset.

The wealth would be divided in proportion to the distance covered. As a rule of the competition, they were not permitted to carry a watch to keep track of the time.

The following day, Sam and Tom set out to walk. It was a relatively sunny day. Sam walked slowly and steadily, while Tom broke into a sprint as he was bent on winning the race and a more significant portion of his father’s wealth.

Sam knew that it would be ideal to walk as far as possible until noon and then heading home by noon as it would take the same amount of time to walk back home. And so he did.

However, Tom—with his greed to earn more wealth—did not attempt to return home even after mid-noon.

He walked twice as long as Sam and thought he would still be able to return home before sunset. He hurried back when he saw the sun turn orange.

See also
2 Best Short Stories About Anger With Morals

Unfortunately, he could not even make it halfway. Darkness slowly engulfed his path, and he had to drag his tired feet back home.

He had lost the race because of his greed.

Moral of the Story

This is one of the better short motivational stories floating around. And it’s one of my favorite motivational stories ever.

It’s tempting sometimes to pull a fast one to get ahead of everyone else.

In the story, Tom thought that he could accumulate an extra portion of his inheritance by outsmarting his twin brother. His greed caused him to overestimate his abilities, leading him to lose the race — and money in the process.  

Meanwhile, Sam won by analyzing the situation and being smart about the whole thing.

Analyze every situation and you’ll make smarter decisions.Click to Tweet

Inspirational Short Story 3: The Proud Teak

Beautiful teak tree path with fallen dried leaves on the groundPin

This is one of those inspirational stories about pride and how it can lead to one’s downfall.

There was a proud teak tree in the forest. He was tall and robust. There was a small herb next to the tree.

The teak tree said, “I am very handsome and strong. No one can defeat me.” Hearing this, the herb replied, “Dear friend, too much pride is harmful. Even the strong will fall one day.”

The teak ignored the herb’s words. He continued to praise himself. A strong wind blew. The teak stood firmly. Even when it rained, the teak stood firm by spreading its leaves.

During these times, the herb bowed low. The teak made fun of the herb. One day, there was a storm in the forest. The herb bowed low. As usual, the teak did not want to bow.

The storm kept growing stronger. The teak could no longer bear it. He felt his strength giving way. He tried his best to stand upright, but in the end, he fell. That was the end of the proud tree.

When everything was calm again, the herb stood straight. He looked around. He saw that the proud teak had fallen.

Motivational Short Story: What’s the Moral of the Story?

Inspirational stories like this one want to warn us about the dangers of showing too much pride.

Do not let your pride get in the way of overcoming great difficulties. The teak was filled with too much pride.

He thought he was stronger than the howling wind. His inability to yield eventually caused his downfall.

Inspirational Short Story 4: Three Sons and a Bundle of Sticks

Sicks and twigs, wood bundle isolated on white background

Once upon a time, an old man lived with his three sons in a village. The three sons were hard workers. Still, they quarreled all the time.

The old man tried a lot to unite them, but he failed. The villagers appreciated their hard work and efforts, but they made fun of them in their fights.

Months passed by, and the old man fell sick.

He told his sons to stay united, but they didn’t listen to him. So, he decided to teach them a practical lesson so they would forget their differences and stay united.

The old man called his sons. He told them, “I will give you a bundle of sticks. Separate each stick, and you will have to break each stick into two. The one who breaks the sticks quickly will be rewarded more.” The sons agreed.

The old man gave each of them a bundle of 10 sticks and asked them to break each stick into pieces.

They broke the sticks into pieces in minutes. And again, they started to quarrel about who came first.

The old man said, “Dear sons, the game is not over. Now I will give another bundle of sticks to each of you. You will have to break the sticks as a bundle, not as separate sticks.”

The sons agreed and tried to break the bundle of sticks. Though they tried their best, they could not break the bundle. They failed to complete the task. The three sons reported their failure to their father.

The old man replied, “Dear sons, See! You could easily break the single sticks into pieces, but you could not break the bundle! So if you stay united, nobody can do any harm to you. If you quarrel every time with your brothers, anyone can easily defeat you.” And so the father suggested that they stick together.

The three sons understood the power of unity and promised their father they would stay together, whatever the situation.

Moral of the Story

What is this inspiring short story trying to say?

When solving problems, it’s much easier to work together as a group rather than spend all that time bickering.

This goes especially for projects that are nearing their deadlines. It’s essential to focus on the task and help each other to overcome roadblocks rather than argue.

This is one of the essential inspirational short stories to share, considering that we live in divisive times. Make sure your friends hear short inspirational stories like this one so they keep an open mind.

It’s more important to focus on the task at hand and help each other to overcome roadblocks rather than argue.Click to Tweet

Inspirational Short Story 5: The Greedy Mouse

mouse and sausagePin

A greedy mouse saw a basket full of corn. He wanted to eat all the corn, so he made a small hole in the basket. He squeezed in through the hole. He ate a lot of corn until he was full and happy.

Now he wanted to come out. He tried to come out through the small hole. He could not. His belly was full. He tried again. But it was of no use.

The mouse started crying. A rabbit was passing by. It heard the mouse’s cry and asked, “Why are you crying, my friend?”

The mouse explained, “I made a small hole and came into the basket to eat the corn. Now I am not able to get out through that hole.”

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3 Hilariously Funny Stories with Morals

The rabbit said, “It is because you overate. Wait till your belly shrinks.”

The rabbit laughed and went away. The mouse fell asleep in the basket.

The following day his belly had shrunk. But he wanted to eat some more corn.

He forgot all about getting out of the basket. So he ate the corn, and his belly was huge again.

After eating, the mouse remembered that he had to escape. But he could not. So he thought, “Oh! Now I will go out tomorrow.”

The cat was the next passerby. He smelt the mouse in the basket. He lifted its lid and ate the mouse.

Motivational Short Story: What’s the Moral of the Story?

Being greedy will be your undoing. While it’s great to make the most out of a successful venture, do not be too greedy that you’re hoarding all the rewards.

Don’t be like the greedy mouse who did not realize his predicament until it was too late!

Being greedy will be your undoing.Click to Tweet

Inspirational Short Story 6: The Indecisive Frog

Fun frogPin

Once there was a frog that fell into a vessel of hot water. The water was still on a gas stove. The frog did not try to jump out of the vessel and stayed in it instead.

As the water temperature rose, the frog adjusted its body temperature accordingly.

As the water started reaching the boiling point, the frog could no longer maintain its body temperature according to the water temperature.

The frog tried to jump out of the vessel, but with the water temperature reaching its boiling point, it could not bear it and couldn’t make it. The frog died.

Motivational Short Story: What’s the Moral of the Story?

Sometimes, things do not happen the way we want them to. But no matter how unhappy we are with the situation, we must spring to action to face the problem head-on.

The frog in the story is indecisive and stubborn. Instead of jumping out of the water immediately, he waited until he could no longer bear the heat, dying in the process.

Know when to adjust to specific situations and take appropriate action before it’s too late!

Inspirational Short Story 7: The False Friend

Fake friends, backstabbing conceptPin

Once two friends were walking through the forest. They knew that anything dangerous could happen to them anytime in the forest. So they promised each other they would remain united should they face danger.

Suddenly, they saw a large bear approaching them. One of the friends immediately climbed a nearby tree. But the other one did not know how to climb. Led by his common sense, he laid down on the ground and pretended to be a dead man.

The bear came near the man lying on the ground. It whispered something in his ears before slowly leaving the place.

Now the friend on the tree came down and asked his friend on the ground, “Friend, what did the bear tell you?” The other friend replied, “The bear told me not to believe a false friend.”

Motivational Short Story: What’s the Moral of the Story?

Being in new surroundings with a new set of friends is indeed exciting if you’re a student. But beware of the people who are just posing as your friend. In the same way, you have to be supportive of your friends and stand by them in any situation.

You have to be supportive of your friends and stand by them in any situation.Click to Tweet

Inspirational Short Story 8: Cat in a Hole

Small kitten in paper side torn hole isolated on white

An excellent inspiring story about life and struggles, one day, an old man was taking a stroll in the forest when he suddenly saw a little cat stuck in a hole.

The poor animal was struggling to get out. So, he gave him his hand to get him out. But the cat scratched his hand out of fear.

The man pulled his hand while screaming with pain. But he did not stop. He tried to give a hand to the cat again and again.

Another man was watching the scene. He screamed, “For god’s sake! Stop helping this cat! He’s going to get himself out of there”.

The other man ignored him. He just continued saving the animal until he finally succeeded.

And then he walked to that man and said, “Son, it is the cat’s instincts that made him scratch and hurt. And it is my job to love and care”.

Moral of the Story

Always treat everyone, including animals, with respect and kindness but do not expect other people to treat you the way you want to be treated.

We cannot control how others react to certain situations, but we can control our own.

Inspirational Short Story 9: Five More Minutes

Vector Sleep mask red cat shaped and quote five more minutes. Cute Blindfold greeting cardPin

While at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground.  “That’s my son over there,” she said, pointing to a little boy in a red sweater who was gliding down the slide. 

“He’s a fine-looking boy,” the man said. “That’s my daughter on the bike in the white dress.”

Then, looking at his watch, he called to his daughter. “What do you say we go, Melissa?”  Melissa pleaded, “Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes.” 

The man nodded, and Melissa continued to ride her bike to her heart’s content. Minutes passed, and the father stood and called again to his daughter. “Time to go now?”

Again Melissa pleaded, “Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes.”  The man smiled and said, “OK.”  “My, you certainly are a patient father,” the woman responded.

The man smiled and said:

“Her older brother Tommy was killed by a drunk driver last year while riding his bike near here. I never spent much time with Tommy, and now I’d give anything for just five more minutes with him. I’ve vowed not to make the same mistake with Melissa.  She thinks she has five more minutes to ride her bike. The truth is, I get five more minutes to watch her play.”

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Taking Responsibility for Your Actions: 15 Ways

Motivational Short Story: What’s the Moral of the Story?

Life as a student can be downright hectic, but as long as your priorities are straight, you’ll be able to make the most out of your hard work.

In the story, the man learned the hard way to prioritize his family on top of all others.

No matter how busy things get, don’t forget to manage your time well and spend time with people that matter to you!

Inspirational Short Story 10: The Smart Worker

Portrait of bearded lumberjack dressed in a green shirt holds the red axe.Pin

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job with a timber merchant — and he got it. The pay was excellent, and so were the work conditions.

For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do its best. His boss gave him an ax and showed him the area where he was supposed to work. On the first day, the woodcutter brought 21 trees.

“Congratulations,” the boss said. “Go on that way!”

Motivated by the boss’ words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could only bring 17 trees.

He tried even harder on the third day, but he could only bring ten trees. Day after day, he was bringing fewer and fewer trees.

“I must be losing my strength,” the woodcutter thought. He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on.

“When was the last time you sharpened your ax?” the boss asked. “Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my ax. I have been swamped trying to cut trees.”

Moral of the Story

This is one of those inspirational stories meant to teach us about working smarter. Even if you’re the hardest-working student in your university, you’ll still fall behind if you’re not smart about your decisions.

Inspirational Short Story 11. Potatoes, Eggs, and Coffee

Coffee cup and saucer on a wooden table. Foam in the form of the heart.

One day, a girl was overwhelmed by the challenges in her life and complained to her father, a chef.

He took her into the kitchen and showed her three pots of boiling water, each containing a different ingredient: potatoes, eggs, and coffee beans.

After twenty minutes, he removed the potatoes, which were soft and weak after being boiled, the eggs, which were hard and strong, and the coffee, which had changed the water to create a new, rich and delicious beverage.

He asked his daughter which of these three items she resembled when faced with adversity. Did she become soft and weak, like the potatoes? Did she build strength, like the eggs? Or did she change the situation, like the ground coffee beans?

Moral of the Story

This story suggests that we can choose how we respond to adversity and build strength or change the situation rather than become discouraged.

Inspirational Short Story 12. To Marry or Not to Marry?

Black and white stones background

A small business owner owed a banker a considerable sum in a small Italian town long ago.

The banker was an old, unattractive man who desired the business owner’s daughter.

He offered to forgive the debt if the daughter would marry him, but the businessman and his daughter were reluctant to accept this arrangement.

The banker proposed a game to determine the outcome: he would put two black and one white stone into a bag, and the daughter would blindly choose one.

If she chose the black stone, the debt would be forgiven, and she would have to marry the banker. But if the white stone were chosen, all debt would be erased and she would not have to marry him.

The daughter watched as the banker placed two black stones into the bag, and then, when it was her turn to choose, she pretended to drop the stone and asked the banker to check the remaining stone in the bag to determine her choice.

Knowing that the remaining stone was black, the banker pretended that the daughter had chosen the white stone and forgave the debt, allowing the daughter to avoid marriage to him.

Moral of the Story

This story demonstrates the power of quick thinking and resourcefulness in overcoming difficult situations.

Best Inspirational Short Stories: Conclusion

So what do these very nice stories for students teach them?

These motivational short stories want to convey that as a student, you want to be more thoughtful about the decisions you make while in school. While these stories for inspiration are fictional, the life lessons they share have been passed on for decades.

You’ll be wise to heed the advice that these motivational stories are passing on to the next generation.

And make sure you share these inspirational moral stories with your friends and family. You never know who needs to hear inspiring stories to get through their day.

BONUS: More Inspirational Stories

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Make Everyday Count - Stay Motivated!

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