Stories

Looking for stories to read in a range of African languages and English? Try our growing collection of stories to print out or read aloud. 

Story of the month

Why the moon gets smaller and bigger

Long ago, Mother Moon lit up the sky every night. She had a blanket woven from the most beautiful golden thread. Her blanket shone so brightly that there was enough light for all people to see their way through the darkness.

Story of the month

Why the bat flies at night

Once upon a time, Legotlo, the bush rat, was very good friends with Mamanthwane, the bat. But Mamanthwane was jealous because everyone liked Legotlo more than they liked him, and so he does a terrible thing that changes both their lives forever. 

Story of the month

Wait until I’m fat enough!

Long ago there was a goat that lived in the Transkei. In the early months of summer she always moved to the hills to find the best food. One day, as she walked towards the hills, she met an enormous leopard who wanted to eat her. She convinced the leopard to only eat her at the end of the summer, when she would be much fatter, and therefore a better meal. But what would happen at the end of the summer? Would the goat escape from the hungry leopard again? 

 

Story of the month

UKoketso ulahle iinkukhu

Qho kusasa uKoketso wayencedisa uMakhulu xa esipha iinkukhu ukutya ehokweni engasemva eyadini. Ngenye intsasa uMakhulu kwakufuneka ehambile waze uKoketso wanyanzeleka ukuba aziphe ukutya yedwa iinkukhu. UMakhulu wamkhumbuza uKoketso ukuba aze aqinisekise ukuba ihoko uyivalile, kodwa uKoketso walibala zaze zaphuma zonke iinkukhu eyadini! Nangona abahlobo bakhe bamncedisa ukuzikhangela iinkukhu, uKoketso wayengaqinisekanga ukuba baya kuze bazifumana zonke, kwaye uMakhulu wayeza kuba nomsindo!

Story of the month

Thoko’s first library book

When Gogo takes Thoko to the library to choose her first library book, Thoko is very excited. The librarian shows Thoko where the picture books are and Thoko chooses the storybook that is just right for her. When she takes the book to school for her teacher to read to the class, all the children love it. They want to hear it again and again! Thoko puts the book back in her bag, but later when she gets home, it is missing! Where could it be? Will she ever find it again? 

Story of the month

The two brothers

Two brothers, Kabelo and Lefa, set off for the city to find work to help their family. Along the way they meet an old man carrying a very heavy sack. When the old man asks them to help carry his sack, Kabelo is mean and greedy, but Lefa is kind and offers to help. Lefa carries the heavy sack all the way back to the village and there he receives a wonderful gift! 

Story of the month

The Three wishes

There was once a woman who lived with her husband next to the Hlimbitwa River. Every day the woman left their home and went to the forest to chop wood. Every day her husband would give her a bottle of water and some food so that she had something to drink and eat while she was deep in the forest. See more 

 

Story of the month

The small seed

It is time for the chief to choose the next ruler. One morning he gathers all the oldest boys in the village and gives them each a seed. He tells them to plant the seed and to look after it for one year. But how will this help him to choose the next chief?

Story of the month

The sky is falling down!

One sunny day, Little Chicken went out to look for food. She was walking under a clump of marula trees, when suddenly THWACK! – a fruit from one of the trees fell on her head. 

Story of the month

The pouch of gold

One morning, a very hungry homeless man tries to find some food in a village market. But none of the villagers want to help him. In desperation he goes to the rubbish dump to try to find some food, but instead he finds a pouch with a hundred gold coins! Because he is an honest man, he wants to return the pouch to its rightful owner, but only the king can decide who the rightful owner is

Story of the month

The old woman’s soup

Once upon a time, there was an old woman who sold the best soup at the village market. It was delicious, hot chicken soup. Nobody in the village knew the old woman’s name. Nobody knew where she lived. And nobody knew why her soup was so tasty nor why it was so hot.

Story of the month

The leopard, the otter and the mouse

Once, a very long time ago, all the animals were thin because there was not enough food to eat. But Otter and his family had found a shallow lake full of fish, and therefore did not go hungry. They hide the fish from all the other animals, until Leopard discovers their secret. When Leopard tries to take Otter’s food, Otter tricks Leopard, but Mouse comes along and Leopard asks him for help. Will Mouse be able to help Leopard? And will Leopard reward Mouse if he does? 

Story of the month

The bouncing cabbage

Story of the month

The best, best friend

Layla’s best friend is Shireen, except that Shireen always has to be the best at everything! Layla loves jigsaw puzzles and she takes out a new one from the library each week. So when Shireen comes to play, Layla wants to build her new puzzle. Shireen has other plans and only wants to play the games that she is best at. This could ruin their friendship.

Story of the month

The best detective

Story of the month

Palesa's List

Mama writes a shopping list for Palesa and Gogo who are doing the shopping for her. But Gogo forgets the shopping list in the taxi and then they can’t quite remember what Mama wanted them to buy! 

Story of the month

Mulalo and the giant

Mulalo can talk to animals and they can talk to him too. One day, while he is out walking, he sees some animals who need help, and he helps them all! But then a mean giant sits down in the road in front of Mulalo and prevents him from passing. Luckily Mulalo has many animal friends who are happy to help him, and perhaps even teach the giant a lesson along the way. 

Story of the month

Mom’s best vase

Ashley and her older brother, Ben, want to give their mom a special surprise gift for Mother’s Day. But when things go wrong, Ashley has to come up with a new plan to try to save the day. 

 

Story of the month

Menzi and the spider

One day Menzi was walking in the forest when he found a spider’s web. It stretched out between two trees and it shone in the early morning sun. In the very middle of the web was a big, fat spider with its eight legs spread out. Menzi leaned in close to look at the big, fat spider. Its legs were hairy and it had lots of black eyes on its head. They seemed to watch Menzi. It sent a shiver up his spine. 


 
“You’re scary,” said Menzi, blowing on the spider’s web. 
 
The spider pulled its legs in close. Menzi laughed. “I know what I’m going to do,” he thought. 
 
Menzi dug around in the bushes next to the path. He found a stick. It was long, but not too long and it was brown and smooth. Menzi took the stick and pushed it into the spider’s sticky web. The spider raised its front legs and when the stick came near, it scuttled across the web and climbed onto a tree branch. 
 
“What are you doing?” asked a deep voice from the tree tops. 
 
Menzi stopped. “Who said that?” he asked. He looked up, but he could not see anything. 
 
Suddenly there was a fluttering of wings and a beautiful blue feather floated down through the leaves. This was followed by a bird. It flew down and landed next to Menzi. The bird was not an ordinary bird. Menzi had seen many ordinary birds before. This bird was different. It had yellow legs, bright blue feathers all over its body and a great yellow beak. The bird looked at Menzi and said, “What a horrible thing to do! Why have you broken the spider’s home?” 
 
Menzi looked from the bird to his stick. The stick had bits of broken web at the end that made it look like it was covered in cotton wool. 
 
“The spider was scary,” Menzi said. But he knew he had done something bad. 
 
“That was a nasty thing to do!” said the bird. You should not have broken the spider’s house. Now it cannot eat and it must wait until you leave before it can build another web.” 
 
“Well, what good are spiders anyway?” asked Menzi. “My father says they are dangerous.” 
 
The blue bird shook its head. “Some spiders are dangerous, that is true. So, to be safe, we should never play with them. But, spiders are special. They are very useful. Without them, our lives would be a lot more difficult.” 
 
“Oh, really?” frowned Menzi. “How?” 
 
“Well,” said the bird. “Do you like flies?” 
 
“Of course not, flies are the worst!” said Menzi. He thought of the summer months when flies would zip and zoom around the room and land on his head, or crawl about on his food if he left it on the kitchen table for too long. Yuck! 
 
“And what about mosquitoes?” asked the bird. 
 
“They’re even worse!” answered Menzi as he thought of those warm nights when the mosquitoes were all over the room. He thought how much he hated it when they buzzed in his ear and bit him on his toes and fingers, so that he would itch for hours and hours in the morning. 
 
“Well,” said the bird. “Aren’t you lucky then that spiders eat flies and mosquitoes? Without spiders, your house would be buzzing with flies and you would have to sleep in a cupboard at night to hide from the mosquitoes. How would you like that?” 
 
“That would be terrible,” said Menzi. “I’m sorry. I was wrong about spiders.” 
 
“Yes, you were,” said the bird, stretching out his great blue wings and flying back to the tree tops. The last thing it said was, “You know what to do now.” 


 
Menzi threw the stick back into the bushes and he walked over to where the spider’s web had been. He looked around for a while, then he found the spider peeping out from behind a branch. 
 
“I am sorry for breaking your home, Spider. You are wonderful and you make the world a better place. I will tell everyone to look after you from now on,” said Menzi. 
 
Then Menzi went home. 
 
When he was in the forest the next day, he saw that a new web hung between the two trees. It looked beautiful in the morning sun. Menzi smiled and greeted the spider. 
 
“Thanks for gobbling up all those mosquitoes last night,” said Menzi. 
 
The spider lifted its tiny leg and waved, but Menzi did not see. He walked on – around the web this time – thinking about spiders and wondering about the strange blue bird and whether he would ever see it again. 

Story of the month

Lolo fixes the internet

Lolo was a clever little girl who lived in the village of the Batswana people. This beautiful village was like no other in the world. The people there were really clever and they were ahead of their time. Lolo was the smartest of them all. In Lolo’s village, the internet was the most important tool. If you visited the village, you’d find school children using their computer tablets to find the information they needed to finish their schoolwork.

 

Story of the month

Little Mouse

Lesedi is scared of everything and so everyone calls her Little Mouse. One night Lesedi decides that she has to try to be brave, but just as she settles down in her bed, she hears a strange noise. And the worst is, the noise is coming from inside her room! 

Story of the month

I want to be a chef!

When Kabelo tells the other children in his class that he wants to be a chef when he grows up, they laugh at him and tease him saying that cooking is only for girls. Then Kabelo enters a cooking competition on TV and gets through to the finals! Will this make the children in his class change their minds? 

Story of the month

Hanna’s friends

Hanna’s dad is a fisherman and is away from home for days and days. Hanna’s mom works very hard and has to work every day of the week for a whole month! This makes Hanna feel very lonely. It also means Hanna has to stay with Tannie Taliep who wants to do nothing more than drink her tea while watching her soapie. When Tannie Taliep sends Hanna to the shop to buy bread and milk, Hanna finds an old piece of paper with lots of pictures of a girl called Jamela. Hanna looks everywhere for Jamela, but can’t find her, that is until her class visits the library one day …

Story of the month

Granny’s roast chicken

One Sunday morning, Granny comes to visit Zahara’s family. She brings them a delicious roast chicken for lunch. Everyone is enjoying their morning – Granny and Mama are watching TV, Zahara is drawing a picture, Uncle Joe is mending his car and David and Lebo are playing outside. Daddy has to go to work. But when it is time for lunch, Mama gets a big surprise …

Story of the month

Ginger

Dimpho and Sello’s mom had a problem. “My feet felt like blocks of ice last night!” she told the children one Monday morning. “They were so cold I couldn’t sleep. Now I’m very tired!” 


 “I know!” said Sello. “Why don’t you wear socks in bed tonight?” 

 “What a good idea!” said Mama. “My children are so clever!” 

 That night, she put on her thickest woolly socks. “Auntie Thoko gave me these socks for Christmas,” she said. “They are very warm! I’ll sleep well tonight!” 

 

Story of the month

Flying a kite

Tshepo and Motlatsi are flying their kite when it accidently ends up on their neighbour’s roof and breaks her TV aerial. The boys hide because they are scared they will get into trouble. What will the neighbour do? And what will the boys do?

 

Story of the month

Everyone’s special

One day Mandla goes for a walk in the forest. Along the way, he meets Elephant, Giraffe and Waterbuck. He discovers that they can all do special things that he can’t do. This makes him feel sad … until his mother explains that we are all special in different ways.

Story of the month

Crocodile and the lost boy

Crocodile is very hungry! But when he sees a lost little boy sitting on the river bank crying, Crocodile decides he can’t eat an unhappy boy – he would get a stomach ache! So, Crocodile makes a plan to cheer up the boy. Will Crocodile be able to eat the happy boy once they become friends? 

Story of the month

The tortoise’s song

During a terrible drought the animals decide that the only way to find water, is to dig a deep well. Even though Tortoise wants to help dig, the other animals won’t allow her because they say she is too slow. After months of digging without finding water, all the animals are exhausted, and that is when Tortoise finally has a chance to start digging … 

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