Top 10 Inspirational Short Stories with Valuable Moral Lessons

When you are searching for inspiration, all it can take is an inspirational short story. Whether fictional or not, these stories with morals have the potential to encourage you to follow your dreams, work harder, be kind, and never give up on yourself. Enjoy reading the 10 best inspirational short stories with valuable moral lessons on Astrum People.

10. Black and White Pebbles

We’ve all heard the saying, “Think outside your box.” The saying has become synonymous with creative thinking and being innovative. Obviously, this quality often proves beneficial to people trying to push themselves. This short story is one of the best examples of thinking outside the box, which can be amazing.

It began in a small Italian town hundreds of years ago. A small business owner found himself in a large debt to a money loan shark who was old and unattractive.

The shark-loan was interested in the business owner’s daughter. Of course, this meant he offered the businessman a deal: he would eliminate the debt if he could marry the businessman’s daughter.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Alice Alinari on Unsplash

This proposal was desirable for neither the daughter nor the businessman and was met with disgust.

However, it came with a twist. The loan shark would place two pebbles into a bag; one would be white, and one would be black. The daughter would then be told to reach into the bag and pick a pebble.

The debt would be wiped if the daughter picked the black pebble, but the loan shark would marry her. If the daughter chose the white pebble, the debt would also be wiped, but the daughter would not have to marry the loan shark. The latter is the desirable outcome for both the daughter and the businessman.

As the loan shark picked up the two pebbles, the daughter noticed that he had picked up two black stones in an attempt to guarantee his plan.

The daughter then had three choices:

  1. Refuse altogether to pick any pebble from the bag.
  2. Expose the two black pebbles and the loan shark for cheating.
  3. Pick a pebble that would determine her horrid fate.

Thinking outside the box, the daughter drew out a pebble and decided to drop the stones “accidentally” on the ground into the midst of the other pebbles. She then told the loan shark that it didn’t matter, as they could all decipher which pebble she picked by looking at the pebble left in the other bag.

The loan shark did not want to be exposed and played with the fact that the daughter had picked a white pebble. The debt was wiped, and the daughter didn’t have to marry the loan shark.

The takeaway of the story:

Use your creative thinking. You can always overcome a challenging situation by stepping outside the box to which it is confined. You may think you have limited options, but there are creative ways to get around it.

9. A Pound of Butter

You may have heard people talk about a “pound of butter,” which is a story about honesty. The story introduces a farmer who sold one pound of butter to a baker on a regular basis. One day, the baker wanted to check if he was getting the right amount. He quickly realized he wasn’t and angrily took the farmer to court.

When in court, the judge asked the farmer if he was using any unit of measure to weigh the butter. The farmer stated that though he had a scale, he didn’t have a proper measure.

Baffled, the judge asked how the farmer could possibly measure the amount of butter without a proper form of measurement.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The farmer replied, stating that the baker had been selling a pound of bread to the farmer every single day. Almost like an exchange, the farmer used his scales and gave the baker the same amount of butter as the baker gave him bread.

It soon dawned on the judge that the baker had been lying to the farmer. In turn, the farmer had mimicked the weight and accidentally scammed the baker.

The takeaway of the story:

In life, you have to be honest. If you try to deceive others, you will be deceived back, almost like you get what you give.

Honesty is always crucial in terms of inspiration. Don’t attempt to make a little bit more money while lying to others. To gain respect and be treated with fairness and respect, you have to respect and be honest with others.

Like the farmer, you will always prevail if you’re completely honest with good intentions. Also, if you feel like the world is against you or something is going wrong, honesty and innocence will prevail, just like in the farmer’s case.

8. Laziness Won’t Benefit You

This short story comes from ancient times. It is believed that a King ordered his men to place a boulder on the roadway. He then hid in the bushes to see if anybody would move the boulder out of the way.

The story states that the King’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers walked past the boulder without batting an eyelid. They assumed moving the boulder was a job beneath them. Somebody else would do it.

The boulder remained on the road for many days. Many people started to get quite angry at the King, blaming him for the state of the roads. However, not one person took the time to move the boulder.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by pen_ash from Pixabay

Until one day, a peasant came along carrying vegetables. He approached the boulder and, without hesitation, decided that he would try to move it. He attempted to push the stone away, which took a lot of effort and time. With much pushing and straining, he finally managed, and the boulder was finally moved.

The peasant returned to where the boulder sat to collect his vegetables. To his surprise, a purse was lying on the road, containing an array of gold coins and a note from the King. It explained that whoever moved the boulder would receive the gold.

The takeaway of the story:

Our life is an opportunity. You shouldn’t expect other people to do everything for you in life. Though it may be difficult, you should push yourself and better yourself. Not only this, but sometimes you have to make decisions that benefit the greater good.

Of course, you may not always be treated with a purse of gold. However, you will be in direct control of your future. The story’s moral is that hard work and independence will always benefit you in life.

7. The Elephant Rope

This is one of the more popular inspirational stories around, and all with good reason. The elephant rope isn’t only an engaging story, but it is incredibly motivational, too.

The story begins with a man who passed elephants that were tied up. He suddenly stopped in his path and became confused by the fact that such a tiny rope held the massive creatures. Of course, these elephants could escape easily and quickly. There were no chains, no cages. For some reason, these elephants did not break away from their tiny bit of rope.

Curiously, he asked the trainer nearby why these elephants were just standing there. Why were they not attempting to get away despite it being clear they could?

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Jayakody Anthanas on Unsplash

The trainer explained that the elephants were tied to the wall using that same bit of rope when they were younger. The rope was strong enough to stop them from escaping at that age. As they grew up, despite getting bigger, they were conditioned to believe that the rope was holding them. They never tried to break free because they assumed the rope could hold them.

In short, the elephants believed that they couldn’t, so they never tried. This baffled the man. Now, it’s a solid metaphor for what many of us do in everyday life. We often fail once and never try again. We go through life holding onto a simple belief that we cannot do something because we tried once, and it didn’t work out.

The takeaway of the story:

Life isn’t about control. It’s about learning, and we should never give up. We have to keep trying. Otherwise, we will metaphorically be trapped and contained. If something prevented you the first time you tried, don’t let that make you lose hope.

Imagine if the elephants had tried just one more time.

6. Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken

Of course, we must include a real-life motivational story. Colonel Sander’s story is one of the best around, regardless of whether you agree with KFC or not. It’s a great story of resilience and proof that age is just a number.

Let’s paint the picture in your head. Imagine an older man living from one social security check to another. He lived in a tiny house and drove around in a distressed car. At 65 years old, he decided that he had to change his life – and considering what he had to offer, he went with his chicken recipe.

Many of his friends and family had complimented his cooking, so he decided that was his best shot at changing his life.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Jason Yuen on Unsplash

So, Harland Sanders traveled all across the United States, trying to sell his chicken recipe. He told restaurant owners he would give the recipe away for free if he were entitled to a small percentage of sales. Unfortunately, Harland Sanders heard “no” over 1,000 times. Notably, he didn’t give up. He knew that he had something special and finally heard a yes.

Of course, you know the rest – KFC was born and remains one of the most successful businesses.

The full Colonel Sander biography is available at Astrum People.

The takeaway of the story:

Never give up. It’s never too late to start doing what you love and want.

5. The $20 Bill

If you watch a lot of motivational speeches on YouTube, there’s a good chance you’ve come across this. Many have recreated this fantastic story, as it is enlightening. It starts with a famous speaker holding up a $20 bill. The speaker asked: “Who would like this?”

Of course, all the hands went up. He then proceeded to crumple up the $20 bill and said: “Who still wants the $20 bill?”

All the hands in the room went up again. With that, he dropped the money on the floor and stood on it. He then asked: “Who wants it now?”

Again, every single hand was raised. Little did everyone know the $20 bill being crumpled was a big metaphor.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash

It didn’t matter how crumpled or dirty the $20 bill got. The value of it never decreased. It was still worth $20.

In life, we will metaphorically be crumpled and stood on. Why, then, do we feel entirely worthless and less valuable after this?

The takeaway of the story:

It doesn’t matter what happens to us or how oppressed we get. We are still valuable and deserve the same love and respect as before. We are all unique and valuable. Never forget that.

4. University Exams

Here goes a funny story to make you smile. One night, four University students decided to stay out late. As they were partying and having a great time, they paid no interest in the test they had the next day. Obviously, they didn’t study.

In the morning, they felt slightly tired and full of regrets. As a team, they created a master plan. They covered themselves in the dirt and headed to the lecturer’s office. They told him they had been to a wedding, and on the way back, their tire had gone flat, and they had to push their car back to campus.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Dids from Pexels

The lecturer wilfully listened to their tale and agreed that they could retake the test in a few days. The students were delighted and believed they had got away with it.

On the day of the test, all students were separated. They were then given the test, which shockingly had one question:

”Which tire burst?”

The takeaway of the story:

Always be honest. Don’t lie to get out of something you could have been prepared for. It’s also worth stating that these students could have made a much more reasonable decision.

3. An Older Man and Joke

Some people complain about life. This story gives us the chance to ask ourselves if we’re wasting time complaining.

People were continually visiting an older man, complaining about the same old problems in life. Over and over again, the older man would hear the same complaints.

One day, instead of offering advice, the older man decided to tell them a joke. People roared with laughter. A few minutes later, he told them the exact same joke and a few of them smiled. He then said the joke a third time, and nobody laughed or smiled.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Patty Jansen from Pixabay

The wise older man then asked them: “If you can’t laugh at the same joke over and over, why are you always crying over the same problem?”

The takeaway of the story:

Don’t complain. Find solutions, and learn how to gain сontrol over any situation. Instead of complaining and dwelling on various issues, make strides to change the situation.

2. The Blind Girl

The star of this story is the blind girl. Unfortunately, this girl hated herself –  purely based on the fact that she was blind. Her boyfriend, whom she loved dearly, was always there for her. She often said she would marry him if only she could see the world.

One day, whether it be a miracle or the incredible power of science, she could finally see everything. The story states that this was only made possible through a kind donation. Her dream came true, and she could now see her boyfriend. He asked her to marry him, as that was her promise.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Giorgio Encinas on Unsplash

However, the girl was shocked to discover that her boyfriend was also blind. She refused to marry him and broke his heart. He walked away in tears.

The girl later discovered that her boyfriend was the donor, and with the donation, he lost his sight.

Though rather farfetched, this short story is a fantastic lesson.

The takeaway of the story:

When our circumstances change, our mind changes too. Not only do you have to stay true to yourself and appreciate everything, but you never know what’s happening behind closed doors.

1. Bethany Hamilton

We have another true story. Bethany Hamilton was a surfing prodigy and was destined for extraordinary things.

When she was 13 years old, the Hawaii native was attacked by a tiger shark and lost her entire left arm. However, at this moment, when most people would completely give up, she didn’t lose sight of her dreams.

Inspirational Short Stories

Photo by Pexels from Pixabay

She has always wanted to be a professional surfer and was back on the board less than a month after the accident. Not only is this admirably brave, but it also shows that anything is possible.

Bethany Hamilton is now in her twenties and a pro surfer.

The takeaway of the story:

No matter what, believe in yourself, even when no one does.

There we have it – the top ten most inspirational short stories. Hopefully, some of these have persuaded you to keep trying, always be kind, and find new ways to look at life.

Here’s the summary of the 10 best inspirational short stories with valuable moral lessons:

  1. Bethany Hamilton (Hope)
  2. The Blind Girl (Love)
  3. An Older Man and Joke (Self-control)
  4. University Exams (Fairness)
  5. The $20 Bill (Self-worth)
  6. Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken (Perseverance)
  7. The Elephant Rope (Belief)
  8. Laziness Won’t Benefit You (Opportunity)
  9. A Pound of Butter (Honesty)
  10. Black and White Pebbles (Creative Thinking)

It’s been a great pleasure to share these inspirational short stories with morals, and we hope you are feeling excited.

Which one was your favorite inspirational short story?

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