L1 – Beginner

Stories for beginner-level students, equivalent to CEFR A1-A2.

You Can’t Please Everyone

‘Why do you have a donkey, but you don’t ride it? Donkeys should be ridden.’
So the man said to his son, ‘Get on the donkey and ride it.’
They kept on going. A few hours later, a group of old women walked past.
‘Look at that lazy young boy,’ said one of the women. ‘Shame on him! He makes his father walk while he rides. His father should ride on the horse.’

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Why the Sea is Salty

Once there were two brothers. One brother was a poor farmer. He worked in the fields, and when the weather was bad, he had no food. But he was kind and worked a lot. The other brother was a rich man who worked on a ship. He was not kind, and he often cheated people. In this time, there was no salt in the sea, so he travelled to other countries to get salt. He brought the salt back, and the King paid him lots of money.

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The Crying Woman

Once, there was a woman called Inmaculada. Her friends called her Inma. She lived in a village in Mexico. Inmaculada was indigenous, and her mother and father died when she was very young. She was poor, and she washed clothes for other people in the village. She wanted to leave the village and travel the world, but she thought it would never happen.

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Once there was a young boy called Lyman. He worked in the field and looked after the sheep. He was a shepherd. His father was a shepherd, and his grandfather was a shepherd and his grandfather’s father was a shepherd. Everyone told Lyman, ‘One day, you will be a great shepherd.’ But Lyman didn’t want to be a shepherd. He wanted to be a hunter. Hunters fought wolves, and they were big and strong. Shepherds weren’t big and strong.

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Stone Soup

Once, a man was travelling across the country. He was very poor. One day he arrived in a town, and he had no more food. He asked the people for food, but nobody wanted to talk to him.
So he went into the centre of town with a big cooking pot. He made a fire, put a stone in the pot, and filled it with water.
An old woman walked past and saw the pot. ‘What are you making?’ she said.

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Hold On, Little Pot!

Once, there was a builder. He worked very hard, but he was happy. He had a good home and a beautiful wife.
One day, the King came to him and said, ‘Dear builder! I have heard that you are the best builder in the country. I want to see your work. Build a house for my son.’

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The Wolf and the Fox

Once, there were a wolf and a fox. The fox worked for the wolf, and he hated him. The wolf was very bad, and made the fox do everything for him. The wolf was ugly and greedy, but he was stronger than the fox, so the fox had to do what he said.

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Put the Lid Back On!

Once, a poor man was coming home at night. All he had was a gun and a single silver coin. He was riding a horse, but both he and the horse were very tired. They saw a graveyard, and the grass there was very long. So they stopped, the horse ate the grass, and the man lay down on one of the graves. He tried to sleep, but he could not sleep at all.

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The Three Feathers

Once there was an old king. He knew that he would die soon, and he had to decide who to give his kingdom to. He had three sons. The older two sons were tall, clever and strong, and the youngest son, Stu, was short and stupid. They all called him Stupid Stu.
The King knew he wanted to give the kingdom to one of his older sons, but he didn’t know which he wanted to give it to. He decided to have a competition. He would let Stupid Stu play, because he knew that he would not win.

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Puss in Boots

Once there was a young man called Jack. He lived on a farm with his two older brothers and his father. His father made all the decisions on the farm, and as he got older, the farm got smaller. The boys did not like to work, and so many of the animals died or left. Finally, the father died, and he gave his things to his sons.
To the oldest son he gave the house, to the middle son he gave his horse, and to Jack, the youngest son, he gave his cat.

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