Stories From Denmark
Welcome to the Top 32 Stories from Denmark for kids to read online! This fantastic collection of bedtime stories is designed especially for children, with easy and fun tales that are perfect for bedtime, story time, or just any time of the day. Available as free PDF downloads, these printable short stories are filled with learning and educational content that will pique the interest of preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students. Boys and girls alike will love these stories, and they are suitable for toddlers, EYFS, and early-years students.
The Stories from Denmark are famous around the world for their classic and good morals, providing fun entertainment with a positive message. Each story comes with pictures and audio, making it perfect for kids who prefer to read in English or listen to a story being read aloud. As an added bonus, longer fairy tales are also included for those children who prefer a more thrilling and engaging story time experience.
The importance of these Stories from Denmark lies in their ability to captivate children’s imaginations while teaching them valuable life lessons. Such bedtime stories make nighttime routines enjoyable, helping kids to fall asleep peacefully. The morals woven throughout these tales encourage learning and growth, preparing toddlers, early years, preschool, and kindergarten children for their journey through life. With our hand-picked collection of best and famous Danish stories, both girls and boys will look forward to bedtime and eagerly await each nightly adventure!
Top 32 Stories From Denmark for kids to read online:
- The Fir Tree: This is a story about a young fir tree in a forest who wanted to grow up quickly and become majestic like the older trees. He was eventually cut down and taken to a home where he was decorated for Christmas, but after the holiday, he was thrown away and eventually burned. As he reflected on his life, he realized that he had never appreciated his younger years or his time in the forest and wished that he had enjoyed them more. The story ends with the tree being chopped up for firewood, and the moral is that everything has an end.
- Little Claus and Big Claus: Two men, one called Big Claus and the other Little Claus, lived in a village. Big Claus had four horses, Little Claus had only one, and on Sundays, Big Claus let Little Claus borrow his horses to plough his land. Little Claus would shout “Hup, my horses” to give the illusion that he owned five horses when people passed by. Big Claus beat Little Claus’s horse to death after finding out he was lying about the number of horses he had, prompting Little Claus to sell the horse’s hide and stay overnight at a farm where he witnessed the farmer’s wife and sexton enjoy a delicious feast. Little Claus tricked the farmer into thinking his horsehide bag contained a magician and a sexton inside a coffin who had magical powers, ultimately making a fortune from it. Big Claus tried to steal Little Claus’s wealth, but Little Claus outwitted him, resulting in Big Claus drowning in a bag and Little Claus taking all of his possessions.
- Little Ida’s Flowers: Little Ida’s Flowers is a story about a girl who hears from her cousin that flowers come to life and dance at night. Skeptical of this story, Ida puts her wilted bouquet in her doll’s bed and as she sleeps, the flowers come to life and have a grand ball. They invite the doll and thank Ida for the bed, but warn that they will wilt again and die, so Ida and her cousin find a place in the garden to bury them so they can return in the summer.
- The Little Match Girl: The story is about a poor little girl who is wandering in the cold on New Year’s Eve, trying to sell matches. She is freezing and without shoes when she tries to warm herself by lighting matches. Each time she lights one, she is transported to a magical world before the flame burns out. Eventually, she lights all her matches to keep her dead grandmother by her side and finally freezes to death with a smile on her face. She and her grandmother spend the new year happily in heaven.
- Sandman: The Sandman is a story about a magical creature who visits children while they are asleep, using his magic umbrella to give them wonderful adventures in their dreams. The Sandman tells different stories to a little boy named Hjalmar every day, taking him on exciting and fantastical journeys. Each night, Hjalmar has a new adventure, from wandering through gardens, traveling across a rough sea, attending the wedding of two mice, and meeting the Sandman’s brother, Death. This charming and imaginative story is available for download as an eBook.
- The Emperor’s New Clothes: In this story, an emperor who loves new clothes is tricked by swindlers who convince him to buy invisible fabric that only stupid and dishonest people cannot see. The emperor and his subjects pretend to see the nonexistent clothes, until a child points out the truth and the emperor ultimately decides to continue pretending. An ebook version of the story is available for download.
- The Flying Trunk: A young, wealthy man inherited his father’s riches but quickly spent all that he had. With only a pair of slippers and a nightgown left, he was given a magical flying trunk by an old man, which led him to the land of the Turks. There he fell in love with the Sultan’s daughter and was asked to tell a beautiful fairy tale to win her hand in marriage. The son impressed the royal family and was rewarded with the princess’s hand. However, when he went back to his trunk to leave, he found it burnt, and he couldn’t return to the Princess again.
- The Little Mermaid: The Little Mermaid is a story about a mermaid who dreams of the world above the water. After saving a Prince from drowning, she falls in love with him and visits him on land. She seeks help from a sea witch to turn her tail into legs, but there is a price she must pay. She gets to be with the Prince, but she can never become a mermaid again, and if the Prince marries another, the next morning her heart will break. Despite this, she goes with the Prince on his journey and witnesses him falling in love with another girl. Her sacrifice saves the Prince’s life, and she becomes a floating creature who tries to do good deeds for 300 years to get an immortal soul.
- The Naughty Boy: A good-natured poet takes pity on a cold and wet little boy outside his home during a storm, offering him warmth, food, and drink. The boy, who introduces himself as Amor, seems sweet and innocent, but he turns out to be a naughty boy who shoots his bow and arrow at anyone he encounters, regardless of their age or innocence. Despite his mischievous nature, Amor is quite clever and often manages to trick those who try to avoid him. The story ends with a warning to watch out for the mischievous Amor.
- The Princess and the Pea: The story tells of a prince searching for a real princess to marry, and his ultimate test to determine the authenticity of a candidate’s claim. In a stormy night, a girl arrived, claiming to be a princess, and was given a bed with a pea underneath twenty mattresses and twenty down blankets. Only a real princess could feel the discomfort of the pea, and the test proved that the girl was indeed royalty. The prince married her, and the pea ended up in the Royal Museum.
- The Snow Queen: In this story, an evil troll creates a mirror that shows only ugliness and badness. When the mirror shatters into countless pieces, anyone who gets a splinter in their eye can only see bad things. If a shard goes into the heart, it turns to ice. The story follows two children, Kay and Gerda, as Kay gets a shard and is taken by the Snow Queen. Gerda goes on a long journey to save him and, with her warm tears, thaws his heart and frees him from the Snow Queen’s clutches. They return home as grownups but with the same hearts they had as children.
- The Steadfast Tin Soldier: The story is about a tin soldier with one leg who falls in love with a beautiful dancer. After being separated from her and going through many adventures, they end up together forever. The story teaches us about perseverance and the power of love.
- The Swineherd: A handsome prince wants to marry the emperor’s daughter, but she is not impressed with the beautiful gifts he sends her. The prince disguises himself as a swineherd and creates magical instruments that the princess desires. She agrees to pay his price of kisses and is caught by the emperor, who throws her out. The swineherd reveals himself to be the prince but rejects the princess for her lack of honesty and true affection. The story ends with the prince walking away, leaving the princess alone in the rain.
- The Tinderbox: In this story, a soldier encounters a witch who gives him access to treasure guarded by dogs. The witch asks for her tinderbox in return, but the soldier steals it from her after getting the treasure. Using the tinderbox, the soldier gains immense wealth and helps a princess escape from her castle. However, he is caught and thrown in jail but is saved by his loyal guard dogs, who also kill the king and queen. The soldier becomes the new king and marries the princess.
- The Travelling Companion: After his father’s death, lonely Johannes sets out to see the world and ends up making a strange traveling companion with magical skills. Upon arriving at a city where the evil king’s daughter would kill every man who couldn’t solve her riddles, Johannes decides to marry her despite his traveling companion’s warnings. Using his companion’s cues, Johannes solves the riddles and gains the princess’ hand in marriage. It is later revealed that Johannes’ traveling companion is a ghost who repaid a debt when Johannes paid off his debts to “bad men” and then disappeared, leaving the couple to live happily ever after.
- The Wild Swans: In this story, a king with eleven sons and one daughter marries an evil queen who casts a spell on the princes, turning them into wild swans. The queen sends the daughter, Elize, away, and years later, when Elize returns, the queen disguises her and sends her away again. Elize searches for her brothers and finds them as swans, and learns that she can break the spell by sewing jumpers out of nettle, but she can’t speak while doing it. Elize is caught, accused of being a witch, and imprisoned. She finishes sewing the jumpers just in time and breaks the curse before her execution.
- Thumbelina: This story is about a woman who desperately wants a child and gets a special barley grain from an old witch which grows into a tulip with a little girl inside named Thumbelina. She is no bigger than a thumb and lives in a nutshell cradle, where she plays all day until a toad carries her away to marry her son. Many hardships and adventures follow until she is finally rescued by a swallow and meets a kind boy with wings who becomes her husband. They name her Maja and she receives wings to fly from flower to flower.
- The Snowman: In the story, a snowman wishes he could move and experience different things in the world. He talks with a hoarse yard-dog who tells him about the sun and the moon. The snowman becomes fascinated by a stove he sees through a window and dreams of sitting next to it despite the yard-dog warning him he will melt. The winter ends and the snowman melts away, leaving only a broomstick standing.
- The snowdrop: This is the story of a snowdrop flower that lay dormant and protected under the snow-covered earth until one day, rain fell and a sunbeam pierced the snow, stirring the flower within. Despite the cold and harsh weather, the snowdrop persevered and eventually bloomed into a beautiful, delicate flower. The flower was picked by a child and carried into a warm room, then journeyed in a letter to a dear friend before eventually being discovered and admired in a book many years later. Despite being overlooked and discarded by some, the snowdrop remained a symbol of hope and perseverance throughout its journey.
- Beauty and the horse: A wealthy merchant, who has three daughters, makes a promise to a magical horse after he accidentally trespasses its garden. The horse requires the merchant to give him his youngest daughter, Beauty, who agrees to go to the horse’s palace. There, at the palace, Beauty learns that the horse can shape-shift, and he is actually a prince who has been cursed by his wicked stepmother. She agrees to stay with the prince in his horse form, which breaks the curse, and transforms him back. The prince and Beauty get married, and her father comes to live with them happily ever after.
- Clumsy Hans or Jack the Dullard: In this story, two clever but arrogant brothers set out to woo the King’s daughter, who will only marry a man who can out-talk her. The third brother, known as “Jack the Dullard,” joins them, riding a goat. His brothers tease him for bringing a dead crow, an old shoe, and wet clay to impress the Princess. When it’s his turn to speak, though, Jack surprises them all by being clever and funny, impressing the Princess enough to win her hand in marriage and become a king.
- Under the Willow Tree: The story is about two children who love playing together under an old willow tree. They hear a story from a candy man about two gingerbread cookies who loved each other but never spoke, leading to a silent love that went nowhere. The children grow up and, eventually, the girl becomes a famous singer. The boy travels to see her and confesses his love, but she only sees him as a friend. He continues to travel the world and has a dream about the gingerbread cookies coming to life and finding love. When he wakes up, he is frozen to death under the willow tree.
- Prince Autumn: Prince Autumn stands atop the hills blowing his horn, calling for the beginning of autumn. His colorful cloak flutters in the wind as he calls forth the season. Everything comes to a standstill as he blows the horn, but as soon as he stops, all the trees, birds, and animals come back to life and begin their activities once again. Prince Autumn walks through the valley with Prince Summer, and as Summer leaves to go south, Autumn takes his place and begins his reign. He blows his horn again to signal the start of the harvest and the preparations for winter. As the days go by, Autumn continues to blow his horn, indicating the end of his reign. Eventually, the storm comes, and Prince Autumn bows his head and goes away in it, leaving behind the flowers of autumn.
- The Money Pig: The story is about a proud piggy bank on top of a wardrobe in a child’s room filled with other toys. It looked down on the other toys and believed it could buy them all. The toys planned a play and invited the piggy bank to watch but, in the end, the piggy bank fell off and broke into pieces, leading to the coins freely rolling around. The pieces were thrown away, and a new piggy bank was placed, but it was empty. The story ends with the new piggy bank’s beginning.
- Sunshine Stories: In this story, Wind, Rain, and Sunshine take turns telling a story about a lucky swan that brings good fortune to different people. Each person receives a gift from the swan that leads to success and happiness in their lives. The story concludes with the Wind and Rain finding the story boring, but listeners saying, “Now the story is over.”
- The Adventure of the Daughter of the King of Ireland: A young king, Hettel, seeks advice on finding a wife. One of his counselors recommends Hilda, daughter of the wild King Hagen of Ireland. Despite King Hagen’s reputation for being cruel and proud, six men, including Yarl Wate, board a ship to Ireland to seek Hilda’s hand in marriage. Horant bewitches the Irish court with his music and wins Hilda over. When the men set sail for Denmark with Hilda and two other women, King Hagen and his men pursue them and there is a fierce battle. After much bloodshed and wounds, the kings make peace and the wedding feast is celebrated for twelve days.
- The Happy Family: The story is about a forest of burdock where the last two snails live. Their family used to be honored and served on a silver platter, but now they are old and living alone. They adopt a young snail and arrange a marriage for him with a lonely snail living on a gooseberry bush. They hand over the forest to the newlyweds to continue their legacy and hope that their children will someday be served on silver platters. The story ends with the young couple having many children but never being served on the silver platter, and thinking that the castle and people have vanished from the world.
- The Rose Elf: In this story, a Rose Elf lives inside a beautiful rose in a garden. The elf befriends a loving couple and witnesses the murder of the man by the girl’s Angry brother. The girl finds out and grieves for her lover, but the Elf tells her about a jasmine plant that has grown from the earth where he was buried. She plants his head and sees jasmine flowers bloom and start to release a sweet fragrance as she grieves. The Angry Brother sleeps next to the jasmine plant and dies mysteriously, and the Rose Elf believes that it’s revenge from the flower souls.
- The Goblin at the Grocer’s: In this story, a student buys some groceries from a shopkeeper who also owns the building where the student lives. The student jokes with the shopkeeper about his lack of knowledge in poetry, which is overheard by a little goblin who lives in the house. The goblin plays a prank on the student but later becomes enchanted by the poetry book the student is reading. During a fire, the goblin saves the book and realizes that he belongs to both the student and the shopkeeper since they both provide him with food.
- The Daisy: A Daisy grows happily in a garden while learning about the goodness of God through the warm sun and the joyful bird’s songs. However, the other flowers in the garden are proud and do not pay attention to the Daisy. One day, a lark sings with and kisses the Daisy, and the flower feels immensely happy. But soon, the lark is captured and put in a cage, and the Daisy is put inside the cage too. The lark complains about the lack of water, and the Daisy feels sorry for it and wishes to comfort it, but it cannot. The next day, the lark dies, and the Daisy is thrown on the road in the dust, where no one thinks about it.
- The Proud Little Apple Blossom: In this story, a proud little apple blossom learns a lesson about beauty and value from a common yellow dandelion. While the apple blossom believed that beauty was the only valuable thing in the world, the dandelion showed how its simple beauty was appreciated by children and an old woman who used it for tea to heal the sick. The proud apple blossom learned the hard way when a princess recognized the feathery crown of a dandelion as a beautiful flower to be painted alongside apple blossoms, causing the apple blossom to blush with shame.
- The Old Oak Tree’s Last Dream: The story is about an old oak tree that had a dream on Christmas Eve where it grew and soared up towards the sun, with all the other trees and plants joining in its glory. The dream ended abruptly when the tree fell during a storm that same night. The tree’s dream and its fall were both symbolic, with the former representing a life well lived and the latter representing death. The story concludes with a hymn sung by a ship’s crew celebrating Christmas, which echoes the themes of the story regarding life and redemption.
In conclusion, the Top 32 Stories From Denmark offer kids a delightful and educational journey through the rich heritage of Danish folklore and culture. These captivating tales, filled with magical creatures, enchanting castles, and brave heroes, not only entertain but also provide valuable life lessons about love, courage, and compassion. By exploring these wonderful stories online, children gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse world of narrative traditions, helping them embrace and connect with the fascinating history and imagination of Denmark.