Welcome to our amazing collection of Top 35 Poverty Stories for kids to read online during bedtime, filled with moral values and lessons that will engage children in learning and fun! These short and educational stories are perfect for early years (EYFS), preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students who want to enhance their skills and knowledge. Our Poverty Stories are completely free to explore and are available in pdf, so you can quickly download and print them to read anytime, anywhere.
These best bedtime tales come in various formats such as with pictures, easy to read text, and audio versions, making them suitable for boys and girls of all ages. Whether you’re looking for a classic fairy tale or a fun adventure that focuses on overcoming poverty, our collection of stories has something for everyone. English story time is both enjoyable and informative for children, helping them grow their vocabulary and comprehension skills while having a good time.
Reading stories about poverty can not only teach kids about empathy for those less fortunate, but also offer valuable life lessons that will help them develop into compassionate and understanding beings. These famous night-time stories are perfect for read-aloud sessions, whether it’s at home or in class, turning ordinary story time into an engaging and memorable experience.
In this vivid collection of stories, children will embark on amazing journeys full of life lessons that will leave them eagerly waiting for the next bedtime to come. The tales are easy to follow, and the colorful illustrations are sure to captivate young imaginations. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the wonderful world of Poverty Stories and begin our night-time adventures. Happy reading!
Top 35 Poverty Stories for kids to read online:
- King Trushbeard: In this story, a king wants his arrogant daughter to get married. After ridiculing all the men at a party, the king forces her to marry the first beggar who comes to the door. The couple is thrown out of the castle and the princess learns life skills while her husband supported them. She then sells pots and pans but gets her stock destroyed by a drunken man. Her husband then helps her to get a job as a kitchen maid in the king’s castle where she watches the king’s eldest son getting married. When the son sees her at the door, he takes her hand and takes her to the ballroom where she embarrasses herself. Eventually, it is revealed that the beggar was, in fact, King Thrushbeard who disguised himself as a way to teach the arrogant princess a lesson and marries her for real.
- Little Thumbling: The story is about a poor woodcutter’s family with seven sons. They are struggling to find food, so the parents decide to leave the children in the forest to save them from starving. The youngest son, Little Thumbling, saves the day by leaving clues to find their way back home. Later on, the parents decide to leave the children in the forest again, and Little Thumbling leads them to a giant’s house. The giant tries to eat them, but Little Thumbling outwits him and manages to bring home a lot of riches, ensuring they will never be hungry again. The giant has a change of heart and decides never to eat another child again.
- Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp: The story of a poor young man named Aladdin who is tricked by a wizard, discovers a lamp with a powerful genie inside, becomes wealthy and marries a princess. However, the jealous wizard steals the lamp and the palace along with the princess. After using the power of the genie to get them back, Aladdin and his wife live happily ever after. An ebook version of the story is available for download.
- The Little Match Girl: A poor little girl walks through the snowy streets on New Year’s Eve, trying to sell matches. Cold and hungry, she lights the matches one by one to warm herself, and each time she sees a beautiful vision, from a warm stove to a lovely Christmas tree. In one vision, she sees her deceased grandmother, and begs her to take her away. The girl dies on the cold street, but the next morning, people see her with a smile on her face and assume she tried to keep warm. However, the truth is that she and her grandmother are together in the joyful heavens to celebrate the new year.
- The Red Shoes: The story is about a poor girl named Karen who is given a pair of beautiful but ragged red shoes after her mother’s death. She is eventually taken in by an old, rich lady who throws away her shoes and gives her new clothes. Karen becomes envious of another girl’s red shoes and buys herself a pair against the old lady’s wishes. The shoes take control of her, and she dances uncontrollably until they are chopped off by the executioner. Karen returns to a quiet life with wooden feet and never seeks pretty things again.
- The Big Sausage: During a famine in Königsberg where citizens have resorted to eating rats and dogs, the town elders come up with a plan to boost morale: to make a big sausage from the last coins in the town treasury and give everyone a piece. Two people are sent to source pork, spices, and salt while the butchers in town make the sausage, and when it’s ready, it is carried in a long procession to a festive party terrain where the whole town gathers to the sound of music and singing. The children are especially happy to eat their fill, and there is enough sausage left over for everyone to take home. Hope is restored, and the following year, the harvest is successful, ending the famine.
- The Christmas Masquerade: In this story, the Mayor of a city throws a Christmas masquerade and hires a shopkeeper whose costumes are exceptional. However, the next day all the children were unable to remove their costumes, and they all started to behave according to their character. A wise woman advised the council to give the children castor oil, but it didn’t work, and the shopkeeper disappeared. Months passed, and the Mayor’s eldest daughter went to the cherry man for help, and he helped to rescue the children. The shopkeeper agreed to release the children from the costumes, and in return, he asked for two things: a law ensuring all poor children receive Christmas stockings filled with gifts and for the cherry man to marry the Mayor’s daughter. The mayor agreed to both requests, and a grand wedding took place with all the children throwing flowers, and the shopkeeper left them with beautiful wedding gifts.
- The Elves and the Shoemaker: The story is about a poor shoemaker who, after cutting the leather in the evening, wakes up to find it has been turned into a perfect pair of shoes, by magical little elves. His business prospers thanks to the elves’ help, and he and his wife decide to show their gratitude by making clothes for the little men. The elves are delighted with their gifts and dance happily before disappearing, never to be seen again. The shoemaker and his wife live happily ever after. An ebook of the story is available for download.
- Little Gretchen and the wooden shoe on Christmas morning: In this story, which takes place in Germany, a little girl named Gretchen and her grandma live in a small log hut near a forest. Despite being poor, they find ways to make each other happy and spread joy, especially during the Christmas season. Gretchen hopes for a Christmas gift, but her grandma tells her they can’t afford it. However, on Christmas morning, Gretchen finds a little bird in her wooden shoe and takes care of it. They have a beautiful Christmas day, filled with love and gratitude.
- Uncle Wiggily’s Christmas: In the story, Uncle Wiggily braves a snowy day to go Christmas shopping with Grandfather Goosey Gander. On his way home, he overhears two boys talking about how their chimney is too full of soot for Santa Claus to come down, so Uncle Wiggily enlists the help of some black crows to deliver presents to the boys and their sisters. The next morning, the boys wake up to find delightful presents that they had not expected, and all over the land, people celebrate a happy Christmas. The story concludes with a link to download an ebook version.
- Uncle Wiggily’s New Year’s Horn: In this children’s story, the boys and girls in a village are excited about celebrating New Year’s Eve, and one boy plans to blow his Christmas horn to signal the end of the old year and the start of the new. However, a poor boy doesn’t have a horn, and a kindly bunny named Uncle Wiggily Longears has the idea to make horns from a goat’s discarded antlers. Uncle Wiggily delivers the horns to the boy and his sister anonymously, and they happily join in the celebrations with the other children, blowing their new “tooters” to welcome the New Year.
- Was it the field fairy?: The story is about two orphans named Jack and Nina who are taken in by a man named Simon. Simon is harsh and unkind, making the children work hard for little food and sleeping on a cold floor. One day, Simon sends Jack to lead their beloved cow to the butcher. But while waiting by a stream, Jack encounters a Field Fairy who offers to save Cow’s life by turning Simon into a kind and good man instead. Simon eventually changes his ways, becoming Uncle Simon and treating the children as his own. Cow never speaks again, but the children believe she knows the Field Fairy saved her.
- Winter Solstice Celebration: In a small farming village, a family celebrates winter solstice by slaughtering their cattle and enjoying a feast together before the famine months. As they reflect on their year and look forward to the longer days ahead, they bond through storytelling, singing, and games. The night ends with the family feeling content and ready to face the challenges of the winter months ahead. An ebook download of the story is available.
- Goody Two Shoes: The story tells of a little girl named Margery, who was called “Goody Two Shoes” by people in her village. Margery and her brother, Tommy, were poor and had no parents to take care of them. They wandered around and often went hungry. A kind gentleman took pity on them and arranged for them to have a better life. Margery received a new pair of shoes from a cobbler that made her very happy and excited. She showed them to everyone in the village, and because of this, people started calling her “Goody Two Shoes.”
- The Foundling: The story revolves around a poor woman and her daughter, Masha. One day, Masha finds a red-skinned baby wrapped in rags outside their door and brings it inside. Although her mother wants to give it away to the chief, Masha convinces her to keep it and takes care of the baby.
- The Peasant and the Cucumbers: The story is about a peasant who plans to steal cucumbers, sell them, and use the profits to buy a hen, then reproduce and sell the offspring to eventually purchase a mare and establish a garden. He imagines having watchmen to protect the cucumbers, but when he shouts to them as part of his daydream, the real watchmen hear and beat him up.
- The spring-tide of love: The story is about a little girl named Elsa who gets lost in the woods while searching for flowers and ends up at a mysterious house where she is taken in by a rough hunter named Ulric. Ulric teaches Elsa many things and grows fond of her, but there is a mystery surrounding the house. After five years of living with Ulric, Elsa learns the curse that has been placed on him, and ultimately helps him break the curse and bring back spring to their lives.
- Blanca and Rosalinde: The story is about a kind-hearted mother and her two daughters, where the youngest one offers help to an old woman who suddenly turns into a sorceress and rewards the sisters. The eldest becomes a queen, but becomes unhappy due to the tricks of jealous court ladies. She visits the content and happy life of her younger sister and realizes the true meaning of happiness lies in peaceful and contented living. The sorceress appears again, revealing that she became queen as punishment, and grants her wish to end her misery. The story teaches that a lavish lifestyle and glory do not bring true happiness.
- The Maker of Rainbows: The story is about a poor village in November where an old man with a strange device arrives and changes a little girl’s tear into a rainbow. He then changes a crazy woman into a beautiful girl and transforms a barren field into a waving cornfield. The villagers don’t believe he’s a wizard and mock him, but when he mentions a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, they follow him. However, he mysteriously disappears, leaving the children to remember the rainbows. The story highlights the power of hope and imagination in bleak times.
- Dr. Dolittle has more financial problems: The story follows Dr. Dolittle and his animal friends. After the Doctor starts treating animals again, many of them come to stay with him, including a monkey named Chee-Chee and a crocodile. As a result, his sister leaves. The animals pitch in to help with housework and start selling vegetables and flowers to make money, but they struggle when winter comes. Despite the financial difficulties, Dr. Dolittle remains optimistic and believes being happy is what matters most.
- The Dreamer: A poor man named Peter dreams of becoming rich and is told to wait on a bridge in a nearby town for three days. Despite his wife’s objections, he goes, but no one comes to him. On the third day, a tailor approaches him and tells him about his dream of finding a chest of gold at Peter’s house under an old apple tree. Peter rushes home, finds the chest, and becomes rich. He later visits the tailor, pays him for his services, and shares his wealth. The story highlights the importance of believing in one’s dreams and taking risks.
- The Turnip: The story is about a poor soldier who becomes a gardener and grows a giant turnip. He presents it to the king, who rewards him with wealth and land. His rich brother becomes jealous and tries to obtain the same reward by giving the king gold and horses, but fails. He then hires thugs to kill his brother but a student passing by saves him. The student is tricked into getting into the sack of wisdom, which the gardener ties shut and leaves him behind.
- The Black Bowl: The story is about a poor girl who takes care of her sick mother. Her mother instructs her to put a black bowl on her head to hide her beauty, so no one but the Gods can help her. One day, a kind farmer employs her in his fields, and she lives and works happily. When the farmer’s son returns home, he courts her despite his family’s objections. On their wedding day, the black bowl explodes, revealing treasures, and the groom tells his bride that her eyes shine more beautifully than any jewels.
- The Child of Maria: The story is about a poor woodcutter’s daughter who is taken to heaven by Maria, the mother of baby Jesus, where she is cared for and given the keys to heaven’s doors. She disobeys Maria’s warning and opens the forbidden thirteenth door, turning her finger to gold. Maria takes away her ability to speak and sends her to live alone in a wilderness. She is rescued by a king, falls in love and marries him. Maria reappears and takes away their children every time the queen denies her disobedience. The queen is sentenced to death as people accuse her of being a cannibal. She finally confesses, and Maria forgives her while restoring her speech and her children.
- The Story of the Three Beggars: In the story, a merchant named Mark refused to help three old beggars who came to his door, but his kind-hearted daughter Anastasia allowed them to stay in their attic. In the night, she overheard the beggars magically name a boy born in a nearby village Vassili and gave him Mark’s possessions. In an attempt to prevent the prophecy, Mark paid the child’s father to take Vassili away and had him thrown off a cliff, but the child was rescued and raised in a monastery. As a young man, he married Mark’s daughter and helped him with some difficult tasks, including a visit to the Snake King. Through these tasks, Vassili discovered the truth about his past, and Mark received his comeuppance.
- The spindle, the shuttle, and the needle: In this story, a young girl is taken in by her godmother who teaches her how to spin, weave, and sew. When the girl inherits her godmother’s cottage and tools after she passes away, she continues to work hard and becomes both poor and rich. The son of the King, looking for a bride, decides to marry the poorest and richest woman at the same time. He first encounters a rich girl in the village, but when he reaches the girl’s cottage, he sees her spinning and falls in love with her. Her spindle, shuttle, and needle guide the prince to her, and they eventually marry grandly at the royal palace.
- Sweet Porridge: A poor girl meets an old woman in the forest who gives her a magic pot that cooks sweet porridge with a simple command. The girl shares the pot with her mother, but when her mother greedily eats too much and doesn’t know how to stop the pot, the porridge overflows and fills the house and the town. The girl returns home and stops the pot with the magic word, and whoever wants to leave the town must eat their way through the sweet porridge.
- The Star Money: The story is about a kind and pious little girl who, despite being poor and having nothing, gives away all her possessions to help others in need. As a result of her selflessness, she is rewarded with money falling from the sky and becomes wealthy for the rest of her life. A downloadable version of the story in PDF format is also available.
- The Bogey-Beast: This is a story about an old and cheerful woman who finds a big black pot full of gold pieces while walking home. She tries to drag the heavy pot home and along the way, the pot turns into a lump of silver, an iron, and finally a big stone. The woman is delighted with each transformation as she sees each new object as good luck. Upon arriving home, the stone transforms into a bogey-beast (a mythical creature). The woman is pleased to have seen such a rare creature and goes to bed laughing over her good luck.
- The Gift of the Magi: In this short story, a young couple named Jim and Della are facing financial hardships during Christmas. Della has saved for months to buy Jim a gift, but she only has $1.87. She decides to sell her most prized possession, her long hair, to a wig maker for money. Meanwhile, Jim sells his own treasured possession, a gold watch, to buy Della a set of combs for her hair. On Christmas Eve, the couple reveals their sacrifices to each other while exchanging gifts. Even though they are left with no physical gifts that reflect their love, they realize they are each other’s greatest treasures. The author concludes with the sentiment that Jim and Della are like the wise men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus in the manger.
- The Gingerbread Rock: The story is about two children, Hans and Lisbeth, who live with their miserly uncle after their parents died. One night they go into the woods looking for food and stumble upon a gingerbread rock that is actually a house. They meet a kind old man who not only forgives them for eating his house but shares breakfast with them and helps them uncover a hidden treasure their uncle had been hoarding. The old man disappears but the children learn a lesson about kindness and never forget about the gingerbread rock. A PDF download of the story is available.
- The Knight of the Bright Star: The story is about a prince named Lorenzo who, after his father was killed, lived in poverty with his mother and servant. Lorenzo desired revenge on his father’s enemy and wished to restore his family’s grandeur. His mother advised him to seek happiness in the world but to keep his Star of Hope, an enchanted silver star, bright. Lorenzo journeyed to the City of Pleasure, where he became selfish and forgot about his mother’s advice. Realising his mistake, he left the city and discovered happiness in helping others. His Star of Hope shone brightly, and he was rewarded by the return of his kingdom, now rightfully his.
- The Dolphin’s Bride: The story is about a poor little beggar girl named Nitta who is turned away by her aunt and left alone in the woods. As she cries by the ocean, a dolphin comes up and offers her a home. She agrees and rides on the dolphin’s back, and they reach a beautiful house where the dolphin resides. Nitta is surprised when the dolphin starts playing a piano and reveals that he was a prince cursed by a witch into becoming a dolphin until a pretty woman should strike off his head. Nitta, in an attempt to help the dolphin, picks up the sword and swings it and then finds herself slipping into the bottom of the ocean. When she opens her eyes, she meets a handsome prince who had been transformed into a dolphin by the same witch. Because of Nitta’s bravery, she broke the spell, and they got married and lived happily ever after.
- The Story of the Silver Box: The story is about two orphans, Hans and Nella, who offer food and shelter to an elderly stranger. The next day, they find a silver box left behind by the old man and bury it in the garden. To their surprise, a tree grows above the spot and opens up to a tunnel leading to a mountain of gold. They decide to take only enough gold to buy a horse and a cart, but upon returning, they find a charming white cottage furnished perfectly for two. The tree seems to bless them, and they believe it is the old man returned to protect his box and watch over them. A download link to the eBook is also provided.
- Nim-Nim’s Golden Wings: This story is about a little fairy named Nim-nim who cannot earn her golden wings despite wanting them very much. The Queen decides to go with Nim-nim on her mission of good deeds and takes her to the city where they find plenty of sorrow and suffering. Nim-nim finally realises that good deeds can be found in humble places like helping a crippled boy, an apple-woman with rheumatism, and a little flower-girl. After doing many acts of kindness, Nim-nim forgets about earning her golden wings but eventually receives them when the Queen deems her worthy and impressed by her selfless nature.
In conclusion, the Top 35 Poverty Stories provide an enlightening and engaging opportunity for kids to learn about the various aspects of poverty around the world. These stories present real-life situations, challenges faced by individuals and communities, and the positive efforts being made to fight against this global issue. By reading these stories, children gain a better understanding of the importance of empathy, compassion, and taking action to support those in need. These powerful narratives not only spark conversations and connections among young readers, but also inspire them to become informed and active global citizens in their own communities.