We all have had those sleepless nights in our childhood when we would nag our parents ( or grandparents for some) to tell us bedtime stories with the promise of sleep. Then the books with the colorful pictures would open, and the magical worlds of kings and queens and animals and dragons and fairies would come to life! We have grown up and grown out of them, but the stories have still lingered somewhere deep without our souls.
Looking back as an adult, I realize that there were a ton of morals that those bedtime stories gave us, which is applicable even in our adult lives. Here’s walking down the memory lane and reminiscing about our top 6 bedtime stories which we loved to hear again and again (and back!) as children:
It would be an injustice to the entire world of classics if I didn’t kick off the list with one of the most ageless, timeless classic bedtime stories.
Cinderella was a beautiful and kind girl who lived with her stepmother and her two stepsisters. After her mother’s death, her father had remarried, then passed away soon, leaving her with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters who did her work all day long and mistreated her. Cinderella never complained and did all the housework like a servant. One day, a royal announcement came. All the maiden in town were invited to a royal ball where the young Prince was going to choose his bride. The stepsisters were elated, and it fell upon Cinderella to make their gowns and pretty them up. But when she expressed her wish to attend the ball, her stepmother and stepsisters laughed at her and left her alone for the ball. While she was sitting and crying alone, suddenly, a fairy appeared in front of her. She was Cinderella’s godmother. She used her magic to put Cinderella in a pretty blue gown and created a beautiful carriage and horse riders to take her to the ball. Before going, the fairy warned her that all the magic would disappear after midnight.
Once at the ball, everyone was struck by her beauty, but no one could recognize her. The Prince fell in love with pretty Cinderella, and they danced all night. When the clock struck 12, Cinderella ran out of the palace, leaving one of her glass shoes behind. The Prince followed her but couldn’t catch up. He took the glass shoes and announced in town that whoever will fit into those glass shoes, will be his bride. Every maiden in town tried the shoes but could not fit in. When they came to Cinderella’s house, the stepsisters tried to hide her but failed. Cinderella put on the shows, and they fit her perfectly! The Prince married her, and they lived happily ever after.
The tale teaches that no matter how cruel someone is to you, if you are kind and forgiving, you will see magic at the end. This makes Cinderella and classic and one of the most famous bedtime stories that both boys and girls love.
2. Goldilocks and The Three Bears
This story about a family of bears and a nosy little girl will scare children to behave properly.
Once upon a time, there lived a family of bears – daddy bear, mama bear, and baby bear. They made porridge for breakfast and went out for a while. A little girl named Goldilocks went to the forest for a walk. She came across the bear’s house and went inside. On the table, she saw three different sized bowls of porridge. She was starving, so she decided to eat them. The biggest bowl of porridge was too hot for her. The middle-sized bowl was too cold. Lastly, she tried the smallest bowl. It was just right. She ate up the whole porridge. But under her weight, the chair broke. Now she was feeling exhausted. So she went upstairs and found three different sized beds. The largest bed was too hard for her. The middle-sized bed was too soft. Now the third and the smallest bed felt just right. She hopped in and slept.
When the three bears returned, they found their house in a mess. Someone had been inside their house! Baby bear saw that his bowl was empty, and his chair was broken. Daddy bear got very angry. They went upstairs and saw their room was in a mess. They found Goldilocks sleeping in the baby bear’s bed. Daddy bear growled in anger. This woke up Goldilocks. She got very scared and ran away, never to return.
This is one of those bedtime stories that had scared us quite a lot as kids but also taught us to respect other people’s private properties and not to take anything without permission. Or else, everyone isn’t as forgiving as the bear family!
3. Little Red Riding Rood
One of the most timeless classic bedtime stories is the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
She was a little girl who was dearly loved by all. Her grandmother had made her a red hood, which she always had on her, hence the name “little red riding hood”. One day her mother gave her some cake and a bottle of wine to offer her ailing grandmother who lived far in the woods. Her mother instructed her not to talk to any strangers and quickly reach her grandmother’s house. Little Red riding hood set out into the forest. On her way, to granny’s, house she met a wolf who asked her where she was headed.
Not knowing what a wicked creature it is, Red riding hood told him everything. He distracted her by showing her all the flowers in the forest, and she went around plucking flowers. In the meantime, the wolf reached the grandmother’s house and devoured her. Putting on her clothes, it lay on her bed, waiting for a red riding hood. When she reached the house, she saw someone sleeping on her grandmother’s bed. Upon asking why she appears so strange, the wolf revealed itself and was going to devour her too when a huntsman who was passing by heard the commotion and ran inside to save the red riding hood. He cut open the wolf’s belly and took out her grandmother. The wolf ran away and never came back again.
Hearing this story as a kid, we learned not to talk to strangers, always our parent’s instructions, and not to get distracted in our tasks.
4. Hansel And Gretel
The story of two very brave and intelligent children gave many of us lots of inspiration as kids and was one of my most favorite bedtime stories.
A very poor woodcutter and his wife lived with their two little children, Hansel and Gretel. Hansel and Gretel’s favorite pass time was skipping stones. Once a huge famine hit the land where they lived. Unable to make ends meet, their mother suggested their father leave the children in the woods. Reluctantly their father agreed. The children overheard this and got very scared and upset.
Hansel thought of a plan. The next day when their mother took them out to the woods, Hansel carried some skipping stones with him, which he went on dropping as they walked. Midway, their mother asked them to wait for her and went away with an excuse. The children got terrified, knowing what their mother was up to. They then followed the trail of the stones and returned to their home safely. The next day their mother tried again to take them to the woods.
Their father, feeling very sorry for them, handed hansel a loaf of bread. While on their way, they found that a bird had stolen their stones. Hansel started dropping the breadcrumbs instead. Again, like last time, making an excuse, their mother left them midway. Hansel and Gretel both started feeling scared. Suddenly they got a smell. Following the smell, they reached a house that was made of candies and chocolates! Unable to resist themselves, they started eating the goodies. Suddenly a voice beckoned them inside. Looking around, they found an old strange looking woman who was asking them to come inside and feast on more chocolates and candies.
Gretel got suspicious, but despite her protests, Hansel took her in. But to their utter horror, they found the inside to be made of steel and filled with gold! The old woman was a witch! She locked them up and started to prepare a boiling pot to devour them. Hansel and Gretel sought out a plan to escape. They tricked the witch and pushed her inside the pot. They took as much gold as they could and ran away. But to their surprise, the breadcrumbs were gone and were replace with the stones form the last day. It was that same bird! They followed the stones and reached their home. Their mother had died out of food poisoning. Their father hugged them on their return. They survived with the gold they had brought. They never had to starve again and lived happily ever after.
This is one of the most famous bedtime stories that taught us to be brave and never lose hope even during the worst of adversities.
5.The Three Little Pigs
How can any list of bedtime stories be complete without our little piglets?!
The story starts with a family of pigs. The old mother pig, unable to take care of her young ones, told them to go out into the world and learn to live on their one. The three little pigs set off to make their living. The first pig was very lazy. He only wanted to play around. He made a house of straws. The second pig was also lazy but worked more than the first pig and built a house of sticks. Then they both went back to playing and enjoying themselves. But the third little pig was very hardworking. He worked all day and built a splendid house of bricks, even with a fireplace. One day, a wolf was passing by, and he came across the staw house and smelled the pig inside. He asked the first pig to let him in, and when he refused, the wolf broke his house down with ease and chased him.
The pig ran and hid inside the house of the second pig. Now the wolf came across the second house. He smelled the two pigs inside and asked to be let in. Upon refusal, he started breaking down the second house. With a little difficulty, he succeeded. Again, the two pigs ran and hid inside the third pig’s house. The wolf growing greedy followed till the third house and asked to be let in. Upon refusal, he tried breaking down the house but failed. He tried coming down the chimney. The third pig cleverly put a large pot of water to boil. The wolf came down and fell into the pot and died.
This is one of those bedtime stories that taught us always to be hardworking and never laze off, or else we will have to pay a much higher price later.
6. The Princess and the Pea
Last on our list of bedtime stories is a rather funny and ironic one.
There was a prince once who was in look for a bride. He would marry none other than a true princess. He searched a lot but could not find anyone who matched up to his expectations. Something or the other fell short in the princesses, which didn’t make them feel real. One day, om a rainy night, a girl knocked on the palace doors. She was completely drenched and in a mess. She claimed to be a princess who had lost her way. To test her, the queen welcomed her to stay for the night. In her bedroom, the queen placed a pea on the bed and then topped it with twenty mattresses.
The next morning, she asked the girl if she had slept well. The girl complained of feeling something hard underneath her, which made her unable to sleep all night. She claimed to have turned red and blue out of discomfort, Only a true princess would be so delicate to feel the poke of a pea under 20 mattresses, concluded the queen. The Prince proposed marriage to the princess. Soon they got married and lived happily ever after.
This story taught us two things: one, we should not jump to any conclusions just by looking at someone’s appearance, and second, a true noble is not defined by wealth but my sensitivity. So a true rule which is sensitive enough to feel a pea under 20 mattresses symbolizes someone who will be responsive to his people’s needs.