20 Minute Stories
Welcome to our collection of the Top 43 20 Minute Stories for kids to read online. These short, intriguing tales have been beautifully crafted to capture children’s imagination and keep them entertained. Each story, perfect to read aloud, comes with a wonderful theme that not only captivates kids but also reinforces learning. From hilarious anecdotes that are sure to trigger laughter in preschoolers and kindergarteners to fascinating narratives that are designed for children in elementary grades, these tales are funny while also inspiring and motivational. Each story also comes with beautiful illustrations and pictures, enhancing kids’ storytelling experience.
All these stories are available free online in English, in both Ebook and PDF formats, making them easily accessible for curious young minds anytime, anywhere. For those who prefer a more old-school approach, the stories can be print too. This incredible collection of 20 Minute Stories is an excellent tool for bedtime reading, setting kids off into dreamland with a pleasant narrative lingering in their background.
The importance of these 20 Minute Stories lies in their educational and entertainment value. Each tale comes with a moral, aiding children in understanding complex life lessons in a very simplified and enjoyable way and growing into empathetic human beings. The stories are short, ensuring they do not exceed the attention span of toddlers, preschoolers, or even early readers. Reading these best, quick tales in English will also enhance children’s linguistic skills and boost their imagination. So, let your child explore these wonderful stories today.
Top 43 20 Minute Stories for kids:
- Kanga And Baby Roo Come To The Forest, And Piglet Has A Bath: In the Forest, Kanga and Baby Roo join Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, and Owl. Rabbit suggests hiding Baby Roo and making Kanga promise to leave the Forest. They try to trick Kanga, but she catches on. Later, Piglet is mistaken for Roo, and Kanga baths and medicates him. They decide to call him Henry Pootel. Eventually, Kanga and Roo stay in the Forest, and everyone is happy.
- Eeyore Has A Birthday And Gets Two Presents: Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, is feeling gloomy on his birthday because nobody has taken notice of it. Piglet brings him a burst balloon as a present, and Pooh gives him a Useful Pot. Eeyore is delighted and realizes that the balloon can go in and out of the pot. Christopher Robin feels bad for not giving Eeyore his present earlier, a box of paints.
- The Velveteen Rabbit: Once upon a time, there was a velveteen rabbit who was loved by a little boy. The rabbit lived in the toy cupboard and was made to feel insignificant by the other toys. But one day, the rabbit learned from a wise old horse that being loved by a child makes you Real. The rabbit’s journey to become Real is filled with joy and sadness, until one day he is transformed into a real rabbit by a magical fairy. The rabbit returns to the boy, but this time as a wild rabbit. The story teaches us the power of love and the importance of being true to oneself.
Note: The story is “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams.
- Christmas wishes: King Nutcracker’s three sons each receive a wish from Santa Claus. Prince Pepin wishes to control the weather and other annoyances but soon realizes it’s not as fun as he thought. Prince Nutcracker wishes for a luck-penny to make money, but Santa warns him it will become more important than anything else. Prince Buttons wishes to marry the shoemaker’s daughter and have Christmas spirit all year round. However, the king and queen are furious and chaos ensues. Eventually, Nutcracker realizes that true happiness comes from love and family, and he uses his money to bring joy to his loved ones.
- The Christmas Princess: In the Kingdom of the Four Orts, King Brave-Heart is summoned by the Fairy of the North to help her people who are starving. The queen is upset but gives birth to a healthy daughter, Princess Ice-Heart. The Northern fairy curses her to have no emotions until her heart melts. Many suitors fail to win her over until Prince Francolin arrives disguised as a monkey and makes her laugh, causing her heart to thaw. They get married and live happily ever after.
- The Tale of Pigling Bland: Once upon a time, there was an old pig named Aunt Pettitoes who had eight pig children. The pigs got into all sorts of mischief, causing Aunt Pettitoes to send them away. Two of the pigs, Pigling Bland and Alexander, set off to go to market. Along the way, they encounter various obstacles and adventures. Meanwhile, Aunt Pettitoes takes care of the remaining pigs and reflects on her decision. Will Pigling Bland and Alexander make it to market?
- Cupid and Psyche: In a kingdom, the youngest daughter, Psyche, is so beautiful that men worship her. In jealousy, the goddess Aphrodite plots to make Psyche fall in love with a bad man. However, when Cupid sees how pure Psyche is, he refuses to harm her. Unable to find a husband, Psyche’s father consults an oracle and learns that she must be left on a rock to be devoured by a monster. Cupid saves her and takes her to a magnificent palace. Psyche’s jealous sisters convince her that her husband is a serpent, leading her to betray his trust. After facing cruel tasks, Psyche is reunited with Cupid and becomes immortal.
- The Twelve Months: Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved her own daughter, Holena, but hated her stepdaughter, Marushka, because Marushka was more beautiful. Marushka did all the work while Holena lived a lazy life. The stepmother wanted Marushka gone because she feared Marushka’s beauty would attract suitors. They mistreated Marushka but she remained kind and became even more beautiful. One day, Holena demanded violets in January, and Marushka found them with the help of the Twelve Months. The same happened when Holena wanted strawberries and red apples. Holena went to get more apples for herself and froze to death, along with their stepmother. Marushka inherited everything and lived happily ever after.
- The Fairy Sleeping Beauty: In the story, two fairies named Thistledown and Lily-Bell venture out into the world. Thistledown is mischievous and causes trouble, while Lily-Bell is kind and helpful. Thistledown eventually learns his lesson and seeks forgiveness from those he has harmed. He embarks on a journey to obtain a golden magic wand, a sunshine cloak, and a diamond crown to awaken his friend Lily-Bell from an enchanted sleep. With the help of various creatures and spirits, Thistledown succeeds in his tasks and is crowned as the king alongside Lily-Bell.
- How the bluebird was chosen herald: Arthur, a curious boy, meets the Wise-and-Wonder-Man in the woods. He asks why the bluebird is the first bird of spring. The Wise-and-Wonder-Man tells Arthur the story of how the bluebird became the herald of spring. Springtime wanted a bird to carry his colors and play the fife, but couldn’t decide who. The birds held a committee meeting and consulted the wise owl. In the end, the bluebird, humble and aware of his faults, was chosen as the herald. Now, he announces the arrival of spring with his song.
- The runaway princess of winter sleep town: In a town where the residents sleep through the winter, Princess Theolette decides to run away and experience the wonders of the winter world. She encounters adventures and danger along the way, but eventually returns home. The story ends happily with Theolette marrying a prince and becoming the Princess of the North.
- The Prince and the Princess from the Forest: Once upon a time, a prince and his mother, the queen, ventured into a forest. They found a cottage with a suit of armor and a sword that protected them from danger. The prince later encountered a captured princess and freed her. However, the queen betrayed the prince and handed him over to the robber chief. He was blinded and left in the forest, where he met a group of men. They went to work for a troll and answered his questions correctly, earning bags of gold. Meanwhile, the prince found the lamp of the princess and learned she was in a cave. He disguised himself as a merchant and reunited with the queen and robber chief. He revealed his identity, defeated the robber chief, and rescued the princess. They married and lived happily ever after.
- The Bamboo Cutter and the Moon Child: In this ancient Japanese folktale, an old Bamboo Cutter discovers a tiny Moon Child while harvesting bamboo. He raises the child as his own, and she grows up to be a beautiful princess named Princess Moonlight. Suitors from all over the world come to see her, but she sets them on impossible quests. Eventually, the moon people come to take her back, and she bids farewell to her foster parents and the emperor. The story ends with the emperor burning an elixir of life on Mount Fuji.
- A Halloween story: Babette and Anton, the children of a poor lumberjack, decide to have a Halloween party. Their vegetable garden comes to life, and they join a lively procession of vegetables, witches, and black cats. They have a wonderful time at the party, but eventually have to return home. The next day, they discover two bags of gold, bringing them lasting prosperity. Every year on Halloween, they go to the party on a witch’s broomstick, and the black cat stays with them, bringing them luck.
- The Story of the Four Little Children Who Went Round the World: Once upon a time, four little people set sail in a big blue boat to see the world. They encountered various adventures, including a land of veal cutlets and chocolate drops, a gathering of singing Blue-Bottle Flies, and a meeting with a Cauliflower. Eventually, their boat was destroyed by a Sea-Spider, and they continued their journey on the back of a rhinoceros. After eighteen weeks, they returned home to a mix of reception. As a token of gratitude, they had the rhinoceros stuffed and used it as a doormat.
- How Thor’s Hammer was Lost and Found: Thor’s magic hammer, Mjölnir, goes missing and he suspects it has been stolen. Loki helps Thor discover that the giant Thrym has the hammer and insists on marrying Freya in exchange for its return. To rescue Freya, Thor disguises himself as a bride and goes to Giantland. During the feast, Thor reveals his true identity, retrieves the hammer, and defeats Thrym and the giants. The story ends with Thor and Loki returning to Asgard.
- The Toad: This is a story about a toad that lives at the bottom of a well. The toad is curious about the world outside the well and embarks on a journey to explore new places. Along the way, the toad encounters various creatures and experiences, all while seeking something higher and more beautiful. Ultimately, the story explores the themes of longing, adventure, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment.
- The story of Romulus and Numa: Aeneas of Troy married Lavinia and founded the city of Lavinium. His son, Ascanius, later founded the city of Alba. The descendants of Aeneas ruled Alba for twelve generations until Amulius stole the throne from his brother Numitor. Amulius then killed all of Numitor’s male children, but Numitor’s daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to twin sons said to be fathered by the god Mars. The babies were abandoned but miraculously survived and were raised by a she-wolf. The twins, Romulus and Remus, grew up to build the city of Rome. Remus was killed in a dispute over the naming of the city, and Romulus became the first king of Rome. Numa Pompilius succeeded Romulus as king and introduced various reforms, including the establishment of priests and the division of the year into twelve months.
- Maya the Bee gets into trouble: Maya the Bee gets caught in a spider web and is trapped by a cruel spider. Just as she starts losing hope, Bobbie the dung beetle comes to her rescue and frees her from the web. The spider is defeated and Maya regains her freedom, flying back to the jasmine flowers and thanking Bobbie for his help. Maya is grateful and will never forget his kindness.
- The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body: Once upon a time, there was a king with seven sons. The king kept one son at home while the others went out to find princesses to marry. However, they forgot to find a bride for the youngest son. The brothers encountered a giant who turned them all into stone. The youngest son, Boots, set off to rescue them with the help of a raven, a salmon, and a wolf. He discovered the giant’s heart was in an egg, which he squeezed to defeat the giant and save his brothers and their brides. They returned home and celebrated with a grand wedding feast.
- The Three Lemons: A sultan’s son goes on a journey to find a princess to marry. He encounters four sisters representing the seasons, who guide him to his true love. He receives three lemons as magical gifts and must offer water to the princess who appears when he cuts them open. He fails twice, but on the third try, he successfully finds his bride. However, an ugly girl sabotages their meeting and takes her place. Eventually, the true princess is restored, and they live happily ever after. The story highlights the importance of seeing beyond appearances and the power of true love.
- The Adventure of the Daughter of the King of Ireland: King Hettel of Denmark wants to marry the beautiful Hilda, daughter of King Hagen of Ireland. Yarl Wate, along with his companions, is sent as a messenger to King Hagen’s court. They impress King Hagen and Hilda with their skills and talents. Hilda agrees to marry King Hettel and leaves with Yarl Wate and his companions. King Hagen later attacks Denmark, but peace is eventually made, and the wedding between King Hettel and Hilda is celebrated.
- Robinson Crusoe: The Footprint of a Man in the Sand: The narrator describes their life on the island as the ruler with absolute control over their subjects. They mention their desire for a different life and their decision to explore the island’s coast. They describe their appearance and preparations for the journey. They discover the cause of the stagnant water and come up with a plan to get their boat back across the island by observing the tide. They consider building another canoe but worry about the dangers. They describe their two settlements on the island and their efforts to cultivate wheat and keep goats. They encounter a mysterious footprint on the shore, which fills them with fear and uncertainties about the island’s inhabitants. They contemplate various courses of action for their safety, ultimately deciding to build a second fort and fortify their dwelling. They reflect on the measures they’ve taken and express the belief that their fear was not unfounded.
- The Story of Prince Agib: A prince becomes stranded at sea and ends up on an island with his crew. They encounter a mountain with a mysterious rider, and their ships are destroyed. The prince survives, climbs the mountain, and is instructed to shoot the rider. He is then rescued by a boat and taken to a safe island. Later, he accidentally kills a young man and is blinded by a magical horse. The prince meets ten blind men and learns that they also suffered from their curiosity. He leaves them and becomes a beggar monk in Baghdad.
- Robinson Crusoe: Alone on a deserted island: After being shipwrecked, the protagonist wakes up to find that the storm has passed and their ship has been lifted out of the sand. Determined to retrieve supplies from the ship, they swim to it and manage to climb on board. They find dry provisions and rum, and start building a raft to transport the supplies to shore. Once ashore, they build a makeshift shelter and continue to salvage useful items from the ship. They explore the island, discovering it is uninhabited, and eventually make multiple trips to retrieve as much as they can from the ship before a storm forces them to abandon it. Despite losing some cargo, they are grateful for what they were able to salvage. Downloads for the story are also available.
- The Seven Families of Pipple-Popple: Once upon a time in the land of Gramble-Blamble, seven families lived on the edges of the Pipple-Popple lake. Each family had two parents and seven children of their respective species – parrots, storks, geese, owls, guinea pigs, cats, and fish. The families had their unique habits and diets, but they lived happily together. One day, the parents decided to send their children out into the world with some money and advice. However, tragic events befell each group of young animals, resulting in their untimely deaths. In the end, the parents of the forty-nine children also met their demise and arranged to be showcased in a museum. If you ever visit the museum in the city of Tosh, remember to look for their preserved bodies on display.
- The Shipwreck of Robinson Crusoe: The narrator, who has been living in Brazil and trading on the Guinea coast, is approached by fellow merchants and planters who propose a secret expedition to Guinea. The narrator agrees and prepares for the journey, but their ship gets caught in a violent storm and ends up stranded on an unknown island. The narrator is the sole survivor and is left without supplies or weapons, fearing for their life. They find fresh water and take refuge in a tree for the night.
- The Black Bowl: In a village near Kyoto, there lived a poor but honest couple with their daughter. When the mother fell ill, she told her daughter to wear a big black rice bowl on her head to hide her beauty and find work. Despite the challenges and ridicule she faced, the girl eventually found employment as a farm worker. The son of the rich farmer fell in love with her, and they got married. On their wedding day, the black bowl on the bride’s head exploded, revealing a shower of precious jewels. But the groom cherished his bride for who she was, and they lived happily ever after.
- The Sea King and the Magic Jewels: This beloved Japanese tale tells the story of Prince Fireflash and Prince Fire Fading, two brothers who exchange their luck as a fisherman and a hunter, only to regret their decision. Prince Fading Fire loses his brother’s fishing hook in the sea but receives help from the Jewel Princess, daughter of the Sea King, who retrieves the lost hook from a fish. Prince Fading Fire returns the hook to his brother, resolving their conflict, and marries the Jewel Princess. However, when he breaks his promise not to look at her in her true form, she disappears, leaving behind a heartfelt song.
- The Peony Lantern: In Yedo, a samurai named Hagiwara loses a special shuttle during a game. He becomes obsessed with finding it and enters a garden, where he encounters a girl who leads him to the Lady of the Morning Dew. Hagiwara falls in love with her, but she warns him that leaving her will mean death for both of them. Hagiwara eventually loses the Lady and searches for her, but she has passed away. He continues to be haunted by her spirit and the two are briefly reunited before his death.
- The Clock of the Earth and the Clock of the Sea: Once upon a time, a brave sailor named Altair had a strong desire to sail on the sea. He embarked on a journey and became a captain, but one day he heard of a great gathering of ships called by the King of the South. Altair joined the ships and sailed to the kingdom, where the King asked the captains to find the most beautiful bell in the world. Altair eventually found it on an island of bells, but a jealous captain named Kraken tried to destroy it. However, a fisherman’s daughter named Thyrza rang the bell in a stormy night, saving Altair’s ship. Altair searched for Thyrza but couldn’t find her until he met the Queen of the Kingdom of the Moon, who turned out to be Thyrza. They got married and lived happily ever after.
- How Thor Went to Jotunheim: On a journey to Jotunheim, Thor and Loki spend the night in a poor countryman’s house. Thor kills his two goats for dinner, but warns the family not to break the bones. Thialfi breaks a bone and Thor is mad. In the morning, Thor resurrects the goats, but one limps. Thialfi confesses and asks for forgiveness. Thor forgives him and they continue their journey. They encounter a giant named Skrymir, who challenges Thor to various contests. Thor fails each one, unknowingly competing against illusions. The giant reveals his true identity and warns Thor not to return to Jotunheim. Thor leaves in disappointment, but learns a valuable lesson about himself.
- The Golden Bird: In ancient times, a King had a park with a tree that bore golden apples. When the apples started disappearing, the King sent his three sons to guard the tree. Only the youngest son succeeded in shooting a golden bird and bringing back a feather. The King then sent his sons on quests for a golden horse and a princess. The youngest son was betrayed by his brothers but was ultimately rescued by a fox. In the end, the fox was freed from its enchantment and everyone lived happily ever after.
- Why the Sea Moans: Once upon a time, there was a lonely princess named Dionysia who befriended a kind sea serpent named Labismena. They played together every day, but as Dionysia grew older, she was forced to marry an old king. Desperate for help, she called upon Labismena, who advised her to ask for specific dresses before agreeing to the marriage. With Labismena’s guidance, Dionysia escaped and sailed to a new island where she found work as a maid. She attended a festival in disguise and caught the attention of a prince who fell in love with her. They eventually married, but Dionysia forgot to fulfill her promise to Labismena, causing her to remain a sea serpent forever, moaning in sadness.
- St. George And The Dragon: In a land long ago, a spiteful fairy traded babies and left a beautiful boy named Georgos in the care of a kind ploughman. Georgos grew up to become the knight George of the Red Cross and went on a quest to fight for the Faerie Queen. Along the way, he was tricked by a wicked witch named Fidessa, but eventually, George was rescued by Una and together they confronted a fearsome dragon. George defeated the dragon, saved the kingdom, and married Una in a joyous celebration.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Search for the Wicked Witch: In this excerpt from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy and her companions reach the Emerald City and ask for directions to the Wicked Witch of the West. The Guardian of the Gates warns them of the witch’s power and tells them to keep to the West. As they continue on their journey, they encounter and defeat a pack of wolves, a flock of crows, and a swarm of bees sent by the witch. The witch then uses her magic to capture the Lion and steal one of Dorothy’s Silver Shoes. Despite the challenges they face, Dorothy remains determined to rescue her friends and find a way back home to Kansas.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Discovery of Oz, The Terrible: A group of travelers returns to the Emerald City after their adventures and finds the Wizard, who is actually a humbug. The Wizard promises to fulfill their requests for a brain, courage, a heart, and a way back to Kansas, but asks for time to think about it. However, he is unable to keep his promises. Despite this, the travelers remain optimistic and hopeful that the Wizard will come through for them.
- The frost king and the power of love: The Queen consults with the nymphs about King Frost declaring war on the flowers. Her lady-in-waiting, Star, offers to go to King Frost and show him love. King Frost refuses to listen to her and locks her up. In captivity, Star creates a beautiful garden in her cell, which catches the attention of King Frost. The nymphs declare war on King Frost, but when they see the garden and the changes in him, they decide to teach him how to be gentle and happy. In the end, King Frost becomes friends with the nymphs, and they celebrate their victory.
- Eva’s visit to Fairy-Land: Little Eva lies by the brook-side and sees a fairy boat made of a lily. The fairies invite her to Fairy-Land, but she refuses, thinking she is too large. The fairies show her that she can still go with them. In Fairy-Land, Eva learns about the good deeds of the fairies, such as healing wounded insects and comforting the sick. The fairies teach her to be patient and loving. Eva returns home, but the fairies promise to watch over her and she can visit them again by the brook-side.
- Little Bud: In a forest, Bird Brown-Breast and his mate find a white egg in their nest. It hatches into a little girl named Little Bud. She brings happiness to the forest but is saddened by the exile of some fairies. Bud goes to Fairy-Land and pleads with the queen for their forgiveness. The fairies must perform acts of kindness to regain their home, and Bud helps them along the way. Eventually, they are pardoned and welcomed back to Fairy-Land. Bud’s work is done, and she returns to the forest.
- Little Annie’s Dream of the Flower Fairy: In a large garden, little Annie meets a Fairy who offers to help her become a patient and gentle child. The Fairy gives Annie a magic flower that will reward her with a sweet fragrance when she does kind and loving deeds, but will ring a warning bell when she is unkind or selfish. Annie learns to listen to the flower and overcomes her negative emotions, becoming a better and happier child. The Fairy eventually returns and rewards Annie with the ability to see and communicate with the magical creatures in her garden. Annie is filled with joy and gratitude, and the Fairy assures her that she will return every spring to bring more gifts.
- Rosy’s Journey: Rosy, a young girl, sets off on a journey to find her father. Along the way, she encounters various challenges and receives help from unexpected friends, including a fish, a mouse, a fly, and an eagle. With their assistance, she overcomes obstacles and eventually reunites with her father, living happily together in a new city.
- The Fairy Box: May wishes for a magic bracelet like the one in her story. She hears a voice telling her to look under her pillow every night. If she’s been good, she’ll find something nice, but if she’s been naughty, she’ll find something bad. May is surprised and excited, and the next night she finds a gold box under her pillow. But when she opens it, a wasp flies out and stings her. May realizes that the bad thing in the box is a consequence of her cross words to her mother. She apologizes and the pain goes away. The next night, she finds a box with a picture book inside, and the following night she gets a white kitten and a black dog. May learns to be good and gets rewarded with a pony, a boat, and a beautiful bracelet. She also sees a real fairy before the fairy box is no longer under her pillow.
In conclusion, the top 43 20 Minute Stories offer an enriching assortment of tales that kids can read online. These stories encompass a vast range of themes – from magical adventures and tales of friendship to stories about bravery and resilience, which serve to both entertain and educate. Each narrative’s inviting length of 20 minutes guarantees a memorable reading experience, without being too long or too short. It fuels children’s imagination, nurtures their reading skills and opens up a world of fascination and learning. This collection truly represents an effective tool to instill a lifelong love for reading in children.