Short Stories For Adults

Short Stories For Adults

Welcome to our collection of the Top 28 Short Stories for Adults to read online. This treasure trove of stories, tales, and read aloud adventures is specially designed for older people. 

Whether you and your little ones prefer a hard copy to hold and flip or like your bedtime stories on an Ebook, we are delighted to provide both options. Our vast collection of stories are not only available for free to read online, but you can also download them in a convenient PDF format to print and enjoy at your leisure.

Each story is endearingly accompanied by colorful illustrations and vivacious pictures, making reading time more interactive and enjoyable for toddlers. The importance of these Short Stories for Adults lies in their ability to subtly impart life lessons, morals, and values, while still retaining fun and humor. 

Remember, every story has a lesson to teach and a tale to tell. So, come along, dive into our fascinating compilation, and make reading a memorable and learning-filled adventure!

Top 28 Short Stories For Adults

  1. The Paradise Of Children: Long ago, two children, Epimetheus and Pandora, were given a box to keep safely. Pandora was curious about the box and asked many questions, but Epimetheus refused to answer. One day, Pandora couldn’t resist and opened the box, releasing all the Troubles of the world. However, a cheerful fairy named Hope also escaped and promised to stay with them forever. Pandora and Epimetheus learned the importance of hope and the consequences of curiosity.
  2. The Gift of the Magi: In this story, a young couple, Della and Jim, are facing financial hardship leading up to Christmas. Della sells her beautiful long hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch, only to find out that Jim sold his watch to buy combs for Della’s hair. Despite their sacrifices, they realize that their love is the most precious gift of all.
  3. Christmas Jenny: The story is about an elderly man named Jonas Carey who has a tantrum on his way to visit Christmas Jenny. He repeatedly sits down on a wall because his shoelace keeps coming undone. His wife is upset and pleads with him to let her tie it for him, but he remains stubborn. Eventually, they reach Jenny’s house, where they enjoy a Christmas meal and spend time with the little deaf-and-dumb boy Jenny has taken in. The story portrays Jenny as a kind-hearted woman who cares for animals and those in need.
  4. A Child’s Christmas in Wales: The narrator recalls Christmases from their childhood in a seaside town. They remember the snow, the anticipation of presents, and the chaotic events that took place, like a fire in their neighbor’s house. The story is filled with vivid descriptions of winter scenes, family gatherings, and the joy and magic of the holiday season.
  5. A Christmas tree: This story describes the joy and memories associated with a Christmas tree, that is adorned with various toys and decorations. The narrator reflects on their own childhood and the magical experiences they had during the holiday season. The story also includes supernatural elements and ghostly encounters. Overall, the story celebrates the spirit of Christmas and the joy that comes with gathering around a decorated tree.
  6. The Adventure Of The Blue Carbuncle: In recent Pegasus spyware developments, an investigation revealed that the tool has been used by various governments to target journalists, activists, and political leaders worldwide for surveillance and potential harm. The spyware’s capabilities have raised concerns about privacy, freedom of speech, and the need for regulation to prevent abuse of such powerful tools.
  7. The Burglar’s Christmas: Two young men, down on their luck and hungry, contemplate their desperate situation on a cold Christmas Eve in Chicago. One of them decides to try his hand at thievery, but his plans are interrupted when he encounters a woman who recognizes him as her long-lost son. Filled with remorse and shame, the young man confesses his intentions to his mother, who forgives him and offers him unconditional love. They share a heartfelt reunion and reflect on the mysteries and injustices of life.
  8. A Christmas Memory: In this heartwarming story, a seven-year-old boy and his older cousin, who is like a best friend to him, prepare for Christmas by baking fruitcakes and making special gifts. They share their joy and friendship with others in their small town. However, as time passes, they are separated and their Christmas traditions change. The story ends with a bittersweet note, as the boy reminisces about the past and the special bond he had with his cousin.
  9. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County: This story is about the narrator’s encounter with Simon Wheeler, who is known for his long-winded storytelling. The narrator asks Wheeler about a person named Leonidas W. Smiley, but Wheeler goes off on a tangent and tells a lengthy tale about a man named Jim Smiley and his various unusual bets and experiences, including his celebrated jumping frog. The narrator eventually interrupts and leaves, feeling that he won’t get any useful information about Leonidas W. Smiley from Wheeler.
  10. The Great Stone Face: In a valley with a grand natural phenomenon called the Great Stone Face, a young boy named Ernest grows up with the belief that a great man, who will resemble the stone face, will one day appear. He eagerly awaits the fulfillment of this prophecy, but becomes disappointed when various individuals fail to live up to the likeness of the stone face. However, Ernest remains hopeful and continues to believe that one day the man of prophecy will come. Years later, a renowned poet visits the valley and Ernest hopes that he might be the one. But the poet confesses that he too falls short of the resemblance to the stone face. However, the poet recognizes that Ernest himself embodies the kindness and wisdom of the stone face. Ernest continues to hope that a wiser and better man than himself will eventually appear, bearing a true resemblance to the Great Stone Face.
  11. The Monkey’s Paw: A father and son are playing chess when a visitor arrives, carrying a monkey’s paw that can grant three wishes. Although warned of the consequences, the father wishes for two hundred pounds. Later, they receive news that their son has died in an accident at work and are given two hundred pounds as compensation. The mother insists they use the paw to wish their son back to life, but the father is frightened and wishes for the knocking at the door to stop. The knocking ceases, and they discover their son is not outside. They are left in despair.
  12. To Build a Fire : In this chilling story, a man in the Yukon braves freezing temperatures and treacherous conditions as he journeys to meet his companions. Despite the extreme cold and lack of sensation in his hands and feet, he pushes on, determined to reach safety. But as his situation deteriorates, he is faced with a life-or-death struggle against the freezing elements. The story explores themes of survival, the power of nature, and the limits of human endurance.
  13. An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge: In this story, a man is about to be hanged on a railroad bridge during the American Civil War. Just as he is about to be pushed off the bridge, he has a vivid daydream in which he escapes and reunites with his wife. However, his daydream is abruptly interrupted, and it is revealed that he has actually been hanged and his body is swinging beneath the bridge.
  14. A Dark Brown Dog: A child and a dark-brown dog form a friendship, despite the child occasionally beating the dog. The dog’s loyalty to the child is unwavering, and they become inseparable, except when the child’s family mistreats the dog. One day, the father of the family, in a drunken state, throws the dog out of a window. The child finds the dog’s lifeless body and sits by it in grief.
  15. The Cask of Amontillado: The narrator seeks revenge on Fortunato for an insult and lures him into the catacombs with the promise of rare wine. As they descend further, the narrator chains Fortunato and bricks him into a niche while he is still alive. The story ends with the narrator sealing the niche and leaving Fortunato to die.
  16. The Story of an Hour : This story is about Mrs. Mallard, who is informed of her husband’s death in a railroad accident. She initially weeps, but then feels a sense of freedom and joy for the first time in her life. She envisions a future living for herself, without the control or expectations of others. However, her husband unexpectedly returns home, and she dies from the shock, as the doctors say she died of “the joy that kills.”
  17. The Luck of Roaring Camp: In Roaring Camp, the only woman, Cherokee Sal, is in dire straits during childbirth. The rough and reckless men of the camp rally around her, but she doesn’t survive. However, her newborn baby, known as the Luck, is taken in by the camp and cared for by Stumpy and a motherly donkey. The camp undergoes a transformation, becoming more civilized and caring. But a devastating flood sweeps through the camp, and only the baby and one of the men, Kentuck, survive. Kentuck dies holding the baby, believing that he now has the luck with him. The story ends on a somber note, with the loss of both Kentuck and the baby.
  18. Young Goodman Brown: “Young Goodman Brown” is a short story about a man named Goodman Brown who leaves his wife to go on a journey in the woods. Along the way, he encounters a mysterious stranger who leads him to a gathering of devil worshippers. Goodman Brown is shocked to discover that many respected members of his community, including his wife, are part of the group. The story explores themes of temptation, sin, and the loss of faith.
  19. The Minister’s Black Veil: In a small village, the minister, Mr. Hooper, begins wearing a black veil that covers his face. The villagers are disturbed and intrigued by this, and rumors start to spread about the reasons behind it. Mr. Hooper continues to wear the veil, even on his deathbed, refusing to reveal the secret behind it. The story explores themes of sin, secrecy, and the fear of the unknown.
  20. The Tell-Tale Heart: In this chilling and suspenseful story, the narrator professes their sanity and recounts how they carefully planned and committed the murder of an old man. The motive for the crime was the old man’s supposedly evil and unsettling eye. After killing him, the narrator dismembers the body and hides it beneath the floorboards. However, when the police come to investigate, the narrator becomes overcome with guilt and believes he can hear the sound of the old man’s heart beating from beneath the floorboards, leading to a confession.
  21. Bartleby the Scrivener: In this story, a group of teenagers embarks on an adventure to solve a mystery surrounding a hidden treasure. Along the way, they encounter numerous challenges and puzzles that test their wits and problem-solving skills. With teamwork and determination, they ultimately unravel the secrets and find the long-lost treasure, teaching them valuable life lessons along the journey.
  22. The Purloined Letter: In this detective story by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator’s friend, C. Auguste Dupin, is visited by the Prefect of the Parisian police who seeks his help in solving a case. It involves the theft of a document from the royal apartments, which is still in the possession of the thief. The Prefect has searched extensively for the document but without success. Dupin deduces that the Minister, who is both a poet and a mathematician, has not hidden the letter at all but has displayed it openly, disguising its significance. Dupin replaces the letter with a facsimile and waits for the Minister to reveal his true intentions.
  23. A Jury of Her Peers: Scientists have discovered a massive, previously unknown structure in the universe, a galactic wall made up of thousands of galaxies, stretching for 1.4 billion light-years. This discovery challenges current models of the universe’s structure and could improve our understanding of how galaxies are formed and arranged.
  24. The Lady, or the Tiger?: In a kingdom governed by a semi-barbaric king, justice is administered in the form of the king’s arena. When someone is accused of a crime, they are given a choice: open one of two doors, behind one of which is a hungry tiger that will kill the accused, and behind the other is a beautiful lady who will become their wife. The decision of which door to choose lies with the accused, and the outcome is determined solely by chance. The story focuses on a dilemma faced by the king’s daughter, who knows which door holds which fate for her lover. The story ends without revealing the choice made, leaving it to the reader to decide.
  25. Papa Panov’s Special Christmas: In the city, there lived a shoemaker named Martuin Avdyéitch. He was an old man who began to think more about his soul and get nearer to God. One day, he had a dream where he heard a voice telling him that the Lord would come to visit him. Throughout the day, Martuin encounters various people in need, and he helps them as an act of kindness, realizing that he is serving Christ himself. At the end of the day, he reads from the Gospels and understands the significance of his day’s experiences. Martuin learns the importance of living for God and showing compassion to others.
  26. Merry Christmas: In this short story, the narrator is visited by Father Time who disagrees with their belief that Christmas has lost its magic. Father Time calls in Father Christmas, who is a tattered and broken figure. The narrator and Father Time take pity on Father Christmas and try to bring back the joy and spirit of Christmas. They realize that despite the horrors of war and the cruelty in the world, it is important to protect the innocence of children and bring back the kindness and charity of Christmas.
  27. The Errors of Santa Claus: On Christmas Eve, the Browns and the Joneses exchange presents. However, the gifts get mixed up, and everyone ends up with the wrong presents. Despite the mix-up, they all enjoy their gifts and have a wonderful Christmas morning together.
  28. A Stolen Christmas: In this story, Marg’ret Poole, an old woman living in a small village, is envious of her neighbor, Mrs. Luther Ely, and her perceived wealth. Marg’ret steals some Christmas gifts from a store for her grandchildren but later returns them when she realizes they were actually meant as a gift from the store owner. She learns a valuable lesson about gratitude and humility. The story explores themes of envy, ambition, and the consequences of one’s actions.

To conclude, the Top 28 Short Stories For Adults offer a rich variety of engaging content that people can enjoy online. These compelling narratives, steeped in moral values, life lessons, humor, and thrilling adventures, not only stimulate imagination but also foster a love for reading. Whether the tales feature enchanting fairy tales, heroic adventures, or slices of everyday life, they teach people about the world and capture their interest, demonstrating that reading can be both fun and educational.