21 Inspirational Stories That Will Leave You Motivated & Emotionally Moved

Inspirational Stories

The power of short inspirational stories lies in their simplicity

You can always find a moral at the end of them, and they’re so easy to digest.

Some of them are legends hundreds of years old, so whether they’re true or not is another question.

These stories, however, are so powerful and inspiring that some of them really do have the ability to make you think and even make you speechless.

The Best Inspirational Short Stories

Over the past couple of weeks, I have read plenty of short stories and found their lessons to be truly wonderful. Therefore, I decided to write an article about the most inspiring and moving short stories we’ve heard of.

 

1. The Elephant Rope

Inspirational Stories - The Elephant Rope

 

During his walk through an elephant camp, a gentleman noticed that the elephants weren’t caged or chained.

The only thing stopping them from fleeing the camp was a small piece of rope tied to one of their legs.

Observing the elephants, the man was puzzled as to why they didn’t just break the rope and escape the camp with their strength. Yet they didn’t even try to do so, even though they easily could have.

He was curious about the elephants’ behaviour, so he asked a trainer nearby why they stood there and never tried to escape.

The trainer replied;

“when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

There was only one reason why the elephants didn’t break free and escape the camp: they began to believe that it was impossible.

Moral of the story:

Always believe that what you want to achieve is possible, no matter how much the world tries to hold you back. To achieve success, you must first believe it is possible.

2. Thinking Out of the Box 

Inspirational Stories - Thinking outside the box

A small business owner owed a large sum of money to a loan shark in a small Italian town hundreds of years ago. The loan shark was an old, unattractive-looking man who just so happened to like the business owner’s daughter.

The businessman was offered a deal that would erase all of his debt to him. There was one catch, though: the debt would only be erased if he married the businessman’s daughter.

The proposal was agreed with a look of disgust.

The loan shark said that he would put two pebbles in a bag, one white and one black.

A pebble would be picked out of the bag by the daughter. The loan shark would marry her if it were black, and the debt would be wiped. If it had been white, the debt would have also been wiped, but the daughter wouldn’t have to marry the loan shark.

On a path strewn with pebbles in the businessman’s garden, the loan shark bent down and picked up two of them.

The daughter noticed that he picked up two black pebbles before placing them both in the bag.

He then asked the daughter to reach into the bag and pick one.

There were three options available to the daughter:

  1. Refuse to pick a pebble from the bag.
  2. Expose the loan shark for cheating by taking both pebbles out of the bag.
  3. Pick a pebble from the bag fully well knowing it was black and sacrifice herself for her father’s freedom.
 

In attempting to reach it, she drew out a pebble and dropped it ‘accidentally’ into the midst of the other pebbles. She said to the loan-shark;

“Oh, how clumsy of me. Never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”

Since the pebble left in the bag is obviously black, the loan shark did not want to be exposed, so he pretended it was white, and cleared her dad’s debt.

Moral of the story:

Despite a tough situation, it’s always possible to solve it through innovative thinking, and not by opting for the only options you think are available.

3. The Group of Frogs 

Inspirational Stories - The Group of Frogs

As a group of frogs was travelling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. Seeing how deep the pit was, the other frogs told the two that there was no hope left for them.

In spite of what the others were saying, the two frogs decided to jump out of the pit regardless of what the others were saying. 

Even after all their efforts, the frogs at the top of the pit said they should just give up. It was impossible.

Eventually, one of the frogs gave up, falling to his death, after listening to what the others were saying. However, the other frog didn’t give up. He was again yelled at by the crowd of frogs to stop the pain so he could simply die.

Finally, he made it out by jumping even harder. The other frogs taunted him, “Did you not hear us?”

It was explained to them that the frog was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

Moral of the story:

A person’s words can have a huge impact on others. Consider what you say before you say it. It might just be the difference between life and death.

 

4. A Pound of Butter 

There was a farmer who sold a pound of butter to a baker. The baker weighed butter one day to ensure he was getting the right amount, but he wasn’t. Outraged, he took the farmer to court.

The judge asked the farmer if he weighed the butter with any scale. The farmer replied, “Honor, I am primitive. Although I don’t have a proper measure, I have a scale.”

The judge asked, “Then how do you weigh the butter?”

The farmer replied;

“Your Honor, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from the baker since long before he began to purchase butter from me. As soon as the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter as he brings it. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker.”

Moral of the story:

In life, you get what you give. Don’t try and cheat others.

 

5. The Obstacle In Our Path 

During ancient times, a King placed a boulder on a roadway. Afterwards, he hid himself and waited to see if anyone would move the boulder. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers walked around it as they walked by.

There were a lot of people who loudly criticized the King for not keeping the roads clear, but no one did anything about getting rid of the stones.

A peasant then appeared carrying a load of vegetables. As the peasant approached the boulder, he laid down his load and tried to push it out of the road. With a lot of effort, he finally succeeded.

When the peasant returned to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying on the road where the boulder had been.

There were many gold coins in the purse, along with a note explaining that the gold belonged to the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

Moral of the story:

Despite obstacles we face in life, each one gives us a chance to improve our circumstances, and while the lazy complain, the others are creating opportunities through their kindness, generosity, and willingness to get things done. 

 

6. The Butterfly 

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.

A small opening appeared one day. As the butterfly struggled to force its body through the tiny hole, he watched it for several hours.

All of a sudden, it seemed to be stuck and no longer made any progress.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He snipped off the remainder of the cocoon with a pair of scissors. The butterfly then emerged, although its body was swollen and its wings were shrivelled.

He sat there waiting for the wings to grow so he could support the butterfly and didn’t think anything of it. It never happened. For the rest of its life, the butterfly crawled about with tiny wings and a bloated body, unable to fly.

In spite of the kind heart of the man, he failed to understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle the butterfly had to go through the small opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the butterfly’s body into its wings. As it prepares to fly once it is released from the cocoon.

Moral of the story:

We develop our strengths as a result of our struggles in life. We cannot grow and get stronger without challenges, so we must be able to deal with challenges on our own and not depend on others for assistance. Although help is needed on some occasions, it’s important we learn to face our challenges on our own from time to time. 

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7. Control Your Temper 

Once there was a little boy with a very bad temper. The boy’s father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he would have to hammer a nail into the fence.

37 nails were hammered into that fence by the boy on the first day.

Over the next few weeks, the boy gradually began to control his temper and started hammering fewer nails into the fence.

As it turned out, it was easier to control his temper than to drive those nails through the fence.

A day came when the boy did not lose his temper at all. The boy told his father the news, and the father suggested he should now pull out a nail every day if he kept his temper in check.

As the days passed, the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails had been pulled out. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

“you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

Moral of the story:

Be careful with your anger, and avoid saying things in the heat of the moment that you may regret later. There are some things in life that you cannot take back.

 

8. The Blind Girl 

A blind girl hated herself just because she could not see. The only person she didn’t hate was her loving boyfriend since he was always there for her. She said she would marry him if she could see the whole world.

She had been blind since birth, but one day, someone gave her a pair of new eyes. She now saw everything, even her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”

When she found out her boyfriend was blind as well, the girl refused to marry him. He walked away in tears, and then wrote a letter to her saying:

“Just take care of my eyes dear.”

Moral of the story:

As our circumstances change, so do our minds. It is possible that some people will not be able to appreciate the way things were before. From this story, we can learn many things.

I was left speechless by this inspirational short story.

 

9. Puppies for Sale 

 

A shop owner posted a sign above his door that read: “Puppies For Sale.”

A sign like this always attracts children, and it was no surprise that a boy saw the sign and approached the owner; 

“How much are you planning to charge for the puppies?” he asked.

“Anywhere between $30 and $50,” the owner replied.

As he pulled some change out of his pocket, the little boy smiled. He had $2.37 in change, “May I see them?”

The owner of the shop smiled and whistled. He saw Lady running down the aisle of his shop with five teeny, tiny balls of fur following her.

There was one puppy that was considerably behind. As soon as the little boy saw the limping puppy, he asked, “What is wrong with it?”

Upon examination by the vet, the shop owner discovered that the little puppy lacked a hip socket. The puppy walked with a limp. There was no way it could be cured.

His excitement grew. “That is the puppy that I want to buy.”

“No, you don’t want to buy that little dog,” said the store owner. “I’ll just give him to you if you really want him.”

The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said;

“I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.”

The owner of the shop countered, “I really don’t think you should buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.”

The little boy rolled up his pant leg to reveal a severely twisted, crippled left leg, supported by big metal braces. He looked up at the shop owner, he softly responded, “Well, I don’t run well myself, and the little puppy needs someone who understands!”

 

10. Box Full of Kisses

One day, a father punished his daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. He became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree because he didn’t have enough money.

Nevertheless, the little girl went the next morning to give her father the gift and told him, “This is for you, Daddy.”

He was embarrassed by his overreaction earlier, but his anger continued when he saw that the box was empty. The man shouted at her, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a gift, you’re supposed to put something inside?”

Tears welled up in the little girl’s eyes as she looked up at him;

“Oh, Daddy, it isn’t empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

It crushed the father. In begging for his little girl’s forgiveness, he put his arms around her.

An accident took the child’s life only a short time later.

Whenever he was discouraged, her father took out an imaginary kiss from the gold box and reminded himself of her love. He kept the box by his bed for many years.

Moral of the story:

Love is the most precious gift in the world. Never take it for granted and cherish your time with loved ones.

 

11. Three Feet From Gold

After mining in Colorado for several months, a man quit, as he hadn’t yet struck gold and the work was becoming boring.  His equipment was sold to a man who resumed mining where it had been left off. His engineer told him that gold was only three feet away from where the first miner stopped digging.

The engineer was right, so prior to quitting, the first miner was a mere three feet away from striking gold.

Moral of the story:

Try to persevere through adversity when things get hard. Most people give up on following their dreams because the work becomes too difficult, tedious, or tiring-but you are often closer to the finish line than you may think, and if you just push a little harder, you will succeed.

 

12. Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand

In a philosophy class, a professor once stood up with a large empty mayonnaise jar. After filling the jar full of rocks, he asked his students if the jar was full.

All of his students agreed that the jar was full.

Then he added a few small pebbles to the jar and gave it a little shake to allow the pebbles to disperse among the larger rocks. “Is the jar full now?” he asked again.

According to the students, the jar was still full.

To fill up the remaining empty space, the professor poured sand into the jar.

They agreed again that the jar was full.

Moral of the story:

The metaphor here is that if you start with putting sand into the jar, you will not have room for rocks or pebbles. This holds true with the things you let into your life. If you spend all of your time on the small and insignificant things, you will run out of room for the things that are actually important.

In order to have a more effective and efficient life, pay attention to the “rocks,” because they are critical to your long-term well-being.

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13. A Wise Man’s Jokes

A wise man once faced a group of people whose complaints were the same time and time again. He told a joke one day instead of listening to the complaints and everyone crack up with laughter.

He then repeated the joke. There was some laughter.

The man repeated the joke a third time, but no one responded.

“You won’t laugh at the same joke twice,” he said. “Therefore, why do you keep complaining about the same thing?”

Moral of the story:

You won’t get anywhere if you keep complaining about the same problem without fixing it. Complaining and expecting others to keep reacting to it is a waste of time. You should take positive action instead.

 

14. It’s Never Too Late

In the 1940s, a 65-year-old man lived off of $99 in social security checks in a small house and drove a beat-up car.

It was time for a change, so he considered what he could offer that could benefit others. His mind went to his fried chicken recipe, which his friends and family loved.

A Kentucky native tried to sell his recipe to restaurants by travelling throughout the country. The recipe was even offered for free, only asking for a small percentage of the money earned.

He was turned down by most of the restaurants. In fact, 1,009 restaurants said no.

Despite all of the rejections, he persisted. It was a recipe for chicken that he truly believed in and in himself.

After visiting restaurant #1,010, he was greeted with a YES.

Who is he? Colonel Hartland Sanders.

Moral of the story:

This story teaches us a few lessons. First, you can achieve success at any age. We often celebrate young, successful people in society, so it’s easy to become convinced that you won’t succeed after a certain age. Colonel Sanders shows that this isn’t the case.

The story also illustrates the power of persistence. You must believe in your work in order for others to believe in it as well. Any person who tells you “no” should be ignored.

 

15. Dirty Money

During a seminar, a well-respected speaker showed 150 people a crisp $20 bill. The speaker asked, “Who wants this $20 bill?”

There was a unanimous nod from all 150 people.

Then he proceeded to crumple up the bill. “I am giving this money to someone….” he said.

The crowd was asked again if anyone wanted it.

All 150 hands were raised in the air.

After dropping the money on the floor, the speaker stomped on it.

The crowd was then shown by him raising it in the air. It was filthy.

“Who wants it now?”

All hands went up.

According to the speaker, no matter what he did to ruin the money, people still wanted it because its value remained unchanged. The value of $20 remained unchanged.

Moral of the story:

We are often beaten up by life to the point where we feel inadequate. There are times when we face bad circumstances and make bad choices we will regret later. Your value will never change, no matter what happens. There is something special about you that no one can take from you.

 

16. The Ultimate Test

Despite knowing they had a test the next day, four college students stayed up late partying one night. They devised a plan the following morning to get out of taking the test.

Each student rolled around in dirt before going to the teacher’s office.

The students told the teacher that they had gotten a flat tire the night before and had spent all night pushing their car back to campus.

After listening to the students, the teacher offered a retest three days later.

Students went to their teacher’s office on the day of the test. To take the test, the teacher placed all four students in separate rooms. The students were okay with that because they had been given a chance to study.

The test had 2 questions:

1) Your Name __________ (1 Points)

2) Which tire was flat? __________ (99 Points)

Front Right

Front Left

Back Right

Back Left

Moral of the story:

Apart from making wise decisions, you must also be responsible for your actions. In other words, you shouldn’t blame other people for your mistakes, complain about the present moment, or give in to other people’s pressure.

 

17. What a Waste

Mother camel and baby lay in the sun, soaking up the rays. “Why do we have these big bumps on our back?” he asked his mother.

The mother thought for a moment and said, “We live in a desert where there is not much water. Our humps store water so that we can survive long journeys.”

As the baby camel pondered this question, he asked, “Well, why do we have long legs and rounded feet?”

In reply, his mother said, “It’s to help us walk through the sand.”

He asked a third question: “Why do my eyelashes grow so long?”

In response, the mother explained, “Your long eyelashes offer you protection from the sand when it blows in the wind.”

Last of all, the baby asked, “If we have all these natural abilities to walk through the desert, what’s the point of camels in the Zoo?”

Moral of the story:

You won’t be able to use your skills and abilities if you’re not in the right environment.

Perhaps you have heard of someone who abandoned their career to follow their dreams-or someone who remains unfulfilled in their job without making a change.

The best way to figure out where your strengths lie that are being wasted is to do some self-reflection if you’re stuck in a career that isn’t right for you. Get the opinion of people you know well as well as professionals in any given market so you can start thinking about what may be better for you. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to try new things.

 

18. Breathing With No Air

One day, a young boy asked a wise old man what the secret to success was. After listening to the boy’s question, the wise man told him he would give him the answer at the river in the morning.

The wise man and the boy started walking toward the river in the morning. In the river, they continued on past the point where the water covered their mouths and noses.  The wise man then ducked the boy into the water.

The wise man continued to push him down as he tried to get out. A fish slipped by his leg and he squirmed to get up even harder. He eventually lifted the boy’s head so he could breathe. Inhaling a deep breath of air, the boy gasped.

The wise man asked, “When you were underwater, what were you fighting for?” The boy said, “Air!”

 As the man said, “There’s your secret to success. When you want to succeed as much as you wanted air underwater, you will achieve it. That’s the only secret.”

Moral of the story:

Success begins with a desire to succeed. Weak motivation will lead to weak results. Identify your most important goals and work toward achieving them. Don’t let others or your environment dictate what you really want. A fish swimming by may be comfortable underwater, but that doesn’t mean you will be.

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19. Walking on Water

There once was a boy who lived on a farm with his family. In the spring and summer, the boy would go down to the pond every day with the dog to practice retrieving various items. He wanted his dog to be the best hunting dog in the county during duck season, so he prepared his dog for any scenario that might arise.

They trained the dog every day until he became so obedient that he would only do what the boy told him to do.

The boy and his dog eagerly awaited the arrival of duck season with the Fall and Winter months. The first ducks flew overhead only a few minutes after the two heard them. As the boy slowly raised his gun, he fired three times before killing the duck, which fell in the middle of the pond.

In response to the boy’s signal, the dog charged through the duck blind and bushes toward the pond. As opposed to swimming in the water like he had practised so many times, the dog walked on the surface of the water, retrieved the duck, and returned it to the boy.  

Astonished, the boy looked around. The dog walked on water like magic. Having just witnessed such an incredible event, he knew no one would ever believe it. Someone else had to go down there and witness this incredible event.

On the next morning, he went to the house of a local farmer and asked him to go hunting with him. On the following morning, the neighbour went to the boy’s regular spot by the pond.

They waited patiently for a group of ducks to fly overhead, and eventually, they heard them. In response, the boy told the neighbour to shoot, which he did, killing one duck. He signalled to his dog to retrieve the duck just as he did the day before. The dog miraculously recovered the duck by walking on the water again.

He couldn’t contain his excitement when he asked his neighbour, “Did you see that?”? What do you think?!”

In response, the neighbour said, “I wasn’t going to say anything, but your dog doesn’t even know how to swim.”

Instead of recognizing that what he had just done was a miracle, the young boy sat in disbelief as his neighbour pointed out one of the dog’s potential flaws.

Moral of the story:

It’s common for people to downplay the abilities and achievements of others because they aren’t capable of performing the same task. Do not be discouraged by this. Keep trying to improve yourself. Maintaining a positive mindset is a key part of being successful.

You should also be aware of instances where you may be tempted not to give credit where it is due. You are not a superior person if you point out other people’s shortcomings.

Conclusion – Inspirational Stories

These are some of the best stories that stood out to us. We love a good short inspirational story, so if you know of any worthy of this list please leave a comment below or send us an email! We update the list regularly, so stay tuned! 

Let us know which one moved you the most in the comment! 

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