Booklists Stories for Children

40 Short Panchatantra Stories You MUST Read to Your 3-10 Year Olds

The Panchatantra collection of short stories was written in Sanskrit by Indian scholar and author, Vishnu Sharma, between 1200 CE – 300 CE. Some scholars also believe that it was written in around 3 CE. Panchatantra stories are one of the most widely translated books in the history and are known for their wisdom on practical life. The stories themselves are delightfully narrated, with animals and birds often being the central characters. Thus they provide valuable life lessons in a light-hearted manner. While some of the stories may not be appropriate for children in this age group, most of them appeal to early stage learners, due to the colorful characters.

Here we list the most famous stories from the Panchatantra for kids. These stories can be used by parents, teachers and children for storytelling sessions, role plays, moral educations classes, school competitions etc.

1. The Monkey and the Crocodile

monkey and the crocodile panchatantra

The most popular and most widely narrated of the Panchatantra stories. The monkey and crocodile become friends, but the crocodile’s wicked wife has other intentions. She wants to eat the monkey’s heart! Read the complete story here.

Moral of the story: Choose your friends wisely.

Kids love the monkey who saves his skin from a deceitful friend through quick thinking. The story teaches kids the importance of choosing the right friends and also possessing presence of mind. Both of these are valuable lessons for your toddlers as they set out to meet their first friends at school.

2. The Stork and the Crab

the stork and the crab panchatantra

An old stork finds an easier way of hunting fishes. He promises them that he will take them safely to a bigger lake, with lots of water; but instead carries them to a rock where he kills and eats them. However, he soon meets his match in the form of the crab. How? Read it here.

Moral of the story: A sharp mind is the greatest strength.

Another story that teaches the importance of choosing the right friends and also the importance of the presence of mind. Kids will love the crab that turns a hero for all the fish in the tank by killing the bad stork.

3. The Loyal Mongoose

The Loyal Mongoose which was killed by a woman Panchatantra Story

“Think before you act” ! Once a loyal mongoose is left to guard his master’s sleeping infant. When the mongoose sees a snake coming to bite the infant, he attacks and kills the viper. The farmer’s wife, who has not seen the snake and mongoose fight, sees the blood on the mongoose’s mouth on returning home and expects the worst. She kills the mongoose in a fit of anger, only to realize her mistake later. [Complete Story]

Moral of the story: Think before you act.

The message is conveyed in a brutal yet effective manner. Although kids rarely think before they act, it never harms to start teaching them this habit early.

4. The Brahmin’s Dream

Building castles in the air never gets you anywhere. Once a poor Brahmin (pious man) is gifted a pot of flour. He returns home and daydreams about all that he will achieve with a pot of flour. Only to wake up in the end, and find himself surrounded by broken pieces of the earthen pot and covered in flour!

Here is the complete tale.

Moral of the story: Do not build castles in the air. They will fall.

The story is full of actions and sounds; enact it to your kids and they will love it. On a serious note, it will remind kids that hard work is more important than day-dreaming.

  • Buy the Complete collection of 365 Panchatantra short stories in English from Amazon (IN) and Amazon.com.
5. Union is Strength

Long ago, there lived a flock of pigeons in a dense forest. One day all the pigeons were caught in a hunter’s net. How did they get out? By being united of course. Flap, flap your wings and fly away! Read the complete story here.

Moral of the story: Unity is strength.

This story is as much for adults as for kids, serving as a reminder that the greatest obstacles can be overcome by staying united. Kids at this age have their first encounter with the outside world. You can stress how important it is to stay together and not discriminate.

6. The Cat’s Judgement

The Rabbit, Partridge and the the Cat's Judgement Panchatantra Story

A partridge and a rabbit get into an argument. They decide to find a third person to settle their argument and come across a praying cat…Read this story to find out what happened next (Hint: It’s not so difficult to guess!)

Moral of the story: Never trust a stranger, even though he may seem very friendly.

7. The Tiger, The Brahmin and The Jackal

The Brahmin Tiger and Jackal panchatantra story the clever jackal who saved the brahmin from tiger

Once a tiger promises a brahmin to set him free from his cage, promising him no harm. But once free, the tiger tells the brahmin that he is hungry and would he should prepare for death. When the brahmin pleads the tiger to spare his life, the tiger agrees to abide by the decision of the first three things the Brahmin chose to question as to the justice of the tiger’s action. The brahmin asks a tree, a buffalo and a jackal. Find what happens next.

8. The Elephants and the Mice

The Elephants And The Mice Panchatantra story for kids

A herd of elephants looking for water pass through a deserted city, populated only by mice. The mice, afraid of being trampled by the large herd, request the elephants to take a different path, a request their leader graciously agrees. Years later, the mice hear of the elephants that the King’s hunters have captured for his army, and rush to help them. They gnaw at the ropes tying the elephants and set them free.

Tell your child the importance of standing up for your friends just as the mice stood by their friends, the elephants, and saved them from the King’s hunters.

Moral of the story: A friend in need is a friend indeed.

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Team Tell A Tale

The team at Tell-A-Tale that loves telling stories, reading stories and talking about stories.

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