10 short stories for adults, with explanations - psychology - 2023



Probably most of those who read these lines remember the stories that their parents, brothers, uncles, teachers, friends or legal guardians told them in their childhood.

Among them, some classics are "The Three Little Pigs", "Hansel and Gretel" or "Little Red Riding Hood", for example. But although the genre of stories is generally associated with childhood, we can also find a great variety of them that are more appropriate and / or understandable for adolescents, young people and even adults.

As a sample, throughout this article we will see a selection of short stories for adults (or young people about to enter adulthood), dealing with topics such as love, the need to take into account the perspectives of others or human nature.

  • Related article: "The 10 best short legends (for children and adults)"

A selection of stories for adults

Those that we will see in the following lines are especially understandable stories and relevant to people in adulthood.

Obviously any adult could read and extract learning from many apparently children's stories, but the ones that we have here may require a greater capacity for reflection than an infant would generally have (given the nuances that can be extracted from each of them, they can be made a little more difficult for a child to understand).

Some of them are drawn from popular folklore and the tradition of different cultures (in this case, mostly oriental), while others are elaborations of well-known authors.

1. The white butterfly

“Once upon a time in Japan there was an old man whose name was Takahama, and who lived from his youth in a small house that he himself had built next to a cemetery, on top of a hill. He was a man loved and respected for his kindness and generosity, but the locals often wondered why he lived alone next to the cemetery and why he had never been married.

One day the old man became seriously ill, being close to death, and his sister-in-law and nephew came to take care of him in his last moments and assured him that everything he needed would be with him. Especially his nephew, who did not separate from the old man.

One day when the bedroom window was open, a small white butterfly crept inside. The young man tried to scare her away on several occasions, but the butterfly always came back inside, and finally, tired, he let it flutter next to the old man.

After a long time, the butterfly left the room and the young man, curious about its behavior and marveling at its beauty, followed it. The little being flew to the cemetery that existed next to the house and went to a grave, around which it would flutter until it disappeared. Although the tomb was very old, it was clean and neat, surrounded by fresh white flowers. After the disappearance of the butterfly, the young nephew returned to the house with his uncle, to discover that he had died.

The young man ran to tell his mother what had happened, including the strange behavior of the butterfly, to which the woman smiled and told the young man why the old Takahana had spent his life there.

In his youth, Takahana met and fell in love with a young woman named Akiko, with whom he was going to marry. However, a few days before the link, the young woman died. This plunged Takahama into sadness, from which he would be able to recover. But nevertheless he decided that he would never marry, and it was then that he built the house next to the cemetery in order to be able to visit and take care of the grave of his beloved every day.

The young man reflected and understood who the butterfly was, and that now his uncle Takahama had finally met his beloved Akiko. "

A beautiful tale of Japanese origin that tells us about love, specifically of a love capable of transcending time and even death. An everlasting love

2. The six blind wise men and the elephant

“On one occasion there were six wise elders who did not enjoy the gift of sight, being blind and using the sense of touch to experience and know the different realities, beings and objects of the world. None of these wise men had ever seen an elephant, and after learning that their king had one, they humbly requested to meet him. The monarch decided to grant their request and took them before the pachyderm, allowing the elders to approach and touch him.

The wise men approached the animal and, one by one, touched the elephant in order to know what it was said to be.

The first touched a tusk, and considered that the elephant was smooth and sharp as a spear. The second sage approached and touched the elephant's tail, replying that it was actually more like a rope. The third would come into contact with the trunk, referring that the animal looked more like a snake. The fourth would indicate that the others must be erring, since after touching the elephant's knee he concluded that it was something similar to a tree. The fifth denied it by touching the ear of the being, assessing that it resembled a fan. Finally the sixth sage came to the conclusion that in reality the elephant was like a strong rugged wall, having touched its back.

Having reached different conclusions, the wise men they started arguing about who possessed the truth. Since they were all vigorously defending their positions, they enlisted the help of a seventh sage who could see. This made them see that in reality all of them had part of the reason, since they had been describing a single part of the whole of the animal, at the same time that even without being wrong none of them had been able to know it in its entirety.

A classic tale from India; This story tells us about the need to take into account that our point of view is not the only one that exists about reality: we must value that the opinions, beliefs or knowledge of other people can be as valid and true as ours, without need that neither of us is wrong.

  • You may be interested: "The 10 most interesting Japanese legends"

3. The hidden deer

There was once a woodcutter from Cheng who found a deer in a field, which he killed and later buried with leaves and branches to prevent others from discovering the piece. But soon after, the woodcutter forgot the place where he had hidden the animal and came to believe that in reality the whole thing had been a dream.

Shortly after, he would begin to tell his supposed dream, to which one of those who heard him reacted by trying to find the deer. After finding it, he took it home and told his wife about the situation, which told him that perhaps it was he who had dreamed the conversation with the woodcutter, despite the fact that having found the animal the dream would be real. To this, her husband replied that regardless of whether the dream was his or the lumberjack's, there was no need to know.

But that same night the woodcutter who hunted the animal dreamed (this time for real) of the place where he had hidden the corpse and of the person who had found it. In the morning he went to the house of the discoverer of the body of the animal, after which both men they argued about who the piece belonged to. This discussion would be tried to settle with the help of a judge, who replied that on the one hand the woodcutter had killed a deer in what he believed to be a dream and later considered that his second dream was true, while the other found said deer. although his wife considered that he was the one who dreamed of having found him based on the history of the first.

The conclusion was that no one had actually killed the animal, and the case was ordered to be resolved by dividing the animal between the two men.Later, this story would reach the King of Cheng, who would end up wondering if it really was not the judge who had dreamed of distributing the deer. "

The tale of "The Hidden Deer" is a Chinese folk tale that tells us a story based on the differentiation between dream and reality and how difficult it can sometimes be to do it. It is one of the short stories for adults that tells us about the possibility that we can live in various planes of existence.

4. The Profitable Ghost (Daniel Defoe)

“Once upon a time there was a gentleman who owned a very, very old house, built using the remains of an old monastery. The knight decided that he wanted to tear her down, but nevertheless he considered such a task would involve too much effort and money, and he began to think of some way to achieve it at no cost to him.

The man then decided to create and start spreading the rumor that the house was haunted and inhabited by a ghost. He also made a white suit or disguise with sheets, along with an explosive device that generated a flare and left behind the smell of sulfur. After telling the rumor to several people, including some incredulous, he convinced them to come to his house. There he activated the ingenuity, causing the neighbors to be scared and believe that the rumor was true. Little by little more and more people would see this spectral entity, and the rumor grew and spread among the locals.

After that, the gentleman also spread the rumor that the reason that the ghost was there could be the fact that there was in the house a hidden treasure, so before long he started digging to find it. Although it did not, the neighbors also began to believe that there could be some treasure in the place. And one day, some neighbors asked him if they could help him dig, in exchange for the fact that they could take the treasure.

The owner of the house replied that it would not be fair for them to tear down the house and take the treasure, but magnanimously offered that if they excavated and removed the debris that their action generated and in the process found the treasure, he would accept that they take half. The neighbors accepted and went to work.

In a short time the ghost disappeared, but in order to motivate them the knight placed twenty-seven gold coins in a hole in the fireplace that he later closed. When the neighbors found it, he offered to keep it all as long as the rest they found they shared. This further motivated the neighbors, who hoping to find more they dug to the ground. In fact, they did find some valuables from the old monastery, something that spurred them on even more. In the end, the house was completely demolished and the rubble removed, the gentleman fulfilling his wish and using only a little ingenuity to do so. "

This tale was created by Robinson Crusoe writer Daniel Defoe and tells us a story in which we can see the value of intelligence and cunning, as well as the fact that being greedy can lead us to be manipulated and used without even realizing it.

5. The wise man and the scorpion

“There was once a wise monk who was walking with his disciple on the banks of a river. During your walk, saw how a scorpion had fallen into the water and was drowning, and made the decision to save it by pulling it out of the water. But once in his hand, the animal stung him.

Pain caused the monk to release the scorpion, which fell back into the water. The wise man tried again to remove it, but again the animal stung him causing him to drop it. This happened a third time. The monk's disciple, concerned, asked him why he continued to do so if the animal always stung him.

The monk, smiling, replied that the nature of the scorpion is to sting, while his was none other than to help. Having said this, the monk took a leaf and, with its help, managed to lift the scorpion out of the water and save it without suffering its sting. "

Another story from India, this time explains that we should not fight against our nature no matter how much others harm us. You have to take precautions, but we must not stop being who we are nor act against who we are.

6. The Chinese mirror

“Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer who was going to the city to sell the rice crop that he and his wife had been working on. His wife asked him, taking advantage of the trip, not to forget to bring her a comb.

The man came to the city and once there he sold the harvest. After doing so, he met and met with several colleagues and they began to drink and celebrate what they had achieved. After that, and still a bit disoriented, the peasant remembered that his wife had asked him to bring him something. However, he did not remember what, with what went to a store and bought the product that most caught his eye. It was a mirror, with which he returned home. After giving it to his wife, he went back to work in the fields.

The young wife looked at herself in the mirror, and suddenly began to cry. Her mother asked her why she had such a reaction, to which her daughter handed her the mirror and she replied that the cause of her tears was that her husband had brought with him another woman, young and beautiful. Her mother also looked at the mirror, and after doing so she told her daughter that she had nothing to worry about, since she was an old woman. "

A tale of Chinese origin, by an anonymous author. Is about a very short narrative that has different possible interpretations, but among other things, it tells us about how we see ourselves reflected in the world, and the difference between how we think we are and how we really are, often underestimating or overvaluing ourselves.

To understand the story, it is necessary to take into consideration that none of the characters had ever seen themselves reflected in a mirror, not knowing what they really see. Thus, the wife is not able to understand that the beautiful young woman she sees is herself, while the mother also does not see that the old woman she sees is her. It is also observed that while the former worries why she considers what she sees in the reflection to be more beautiful than herself, the second critically undervalues ​​it, practically mocking his own image.

7. The world (Eduardo Galeano)

“A man from the Neguá people, on the coast of Colombia, was able to ascend to high heaven. On the way back, he counted. He said that he had seen human life from above. And he said that we are a sea of ​​little fires. "That is the world," he revealed, "a lot of people, a sea of ​​little fires." Each person shines with their own light among all the others.

There are not two equal fires. There are big fires and small fires and fires of all colors. There are people of serene fire, who do not even notice the wind, and people of crazy fire that fill the air with sparks. Some fires, silly fires, do not light or burn; but others burn life with such passion that you cannot look at them without blinking, and whoever approaches it lights up. "

More than a short story, it is a micro-story created by Eduardo Galeano (one of the most prominent Uruguayan and Latin American writers) and published in his book “El libro de los abrazos”. It focuses on the vision of the world as a wonderful place full of people who are very different from each other, but who are still people. It also makes us see the relevance of daring to live intensely.

8. The Chained Elephant (Jorge Bucay)

“When I was a kid I loved circuses, and what I liked most about circuses were animals. I also like others, later I found out, the elephant called my attention.

During the performance, the huge beast displayed its enormous weight, size and strength ... but after its performance and until a while before returning to the stage, the elephant was only held by a chain that imprisoned one of its legs to a small stake driven into the ground. Nevertheless, the stake was just a tiny piece of wood barely buried a few inches in the ground.

And although the chain was thick and powerful, it seemed obvious to me that this animal capable of uprooting a tree by its own strength could, with ease, tear the stake and flee. The mystery is clear: What keeps it then? Why don't you run away?

When I was five or six years old, I still trusted the wisdom of the great. So I asked a teacher, a parent or an uncle about the mystery of the elephant. Some of them explained to me that the elephant does not escape because it was trained. So I asked the obvious question ... if he is trained, why do they chain him? I don't recall receiving any coherent response.

Over time I forgot the mystery of the elephant and the stake… and only remembered it when I met others who had also asked the same question. Some years ago I discovered that luckily for me someone had been wise enough to find the answer: the circus elephant does not escape because it has been attached to a similar stake since it was very, very young. I closed my eyes and imagined the little newborn holding the stake. I am sure that at that moment the little elephant pushed, pulled, sweated, trying to get loose. And despite all his efforts, he could not.

The stake was certainly very strong for him. He would swear that he fell asleep exhausted, and that the next day he tried again, and also the other and the one who followed him ... Until one day, a terrible day for his story, the animal accepted its impotence and resigned itself to its fate. This huge and powerful elephant, which we see in the circus, does not escape because he thinks - poor man - that he cannot. He has a record and memory of his helplessness, of that helplessness he felt shortly after he was born. And the worst thing is that that record has never been seriously questioned again. He never ... ever ... tried to test his strength again ... "

One of the best known stories by Jorge Bucay; this narration tells us how our memories and previous experiences can give us knowledge, but also generate stagnation and blocks that prevent us and that can sabotage us even when their original cause is no longer present. The narrative pushes us to keep trying to test ourselves despite the fact that what we have experienced may have made us believe that we cannot.

9. The landscaper

“Once upon a time, there was a very talented painter who was sent by the Emperor of China to a distant and recently conquered province, with the mission of bringing back painted images. After a long journey in which he visited in depth all the territories of the province, the painter returned, but nevertheless he did not carry any image. This generated surprise in the emperor, who ended up getting angry with the painter.

At that time, the artist requested that they leave him a wall canvas. In it, the painter drew in great detail everything he had seen and traveled on his journey, after which the emperor came to see him. Then the painter explained each of the corners of the great landscape that he had drawn and explored in his travels. When he finished, the painter approached a path that he had drawn and that seemed to be lost in space. Little by little, the painter entered the path, getting into the drawing and getting smaller and smaller until he disappeared around a curve. And when it disappeared, the entire landscape did, leaving the wall completely bare. "

This tale of Chinese origin is somewhat complex to understand. To do this, we must put ourselves in the position of the painter and what he does throughout history: on the one hand he observes reality, but on the other, and how it is seen at the end when he joins his work, it is an intrinsic part of it . It is an allegory that although we can be observers of what happens in the world whether we want to or not we are part of it: if something happens in that reality it affects us, since we are part of it, while what happens to us is not far from reality.

10. You rule your mind, not your mind you

“Once upon a time there was a Zen student who lamented that he could not meditate because his thoughts prevented him. He told his teacher that his thoughts and the images he generated did not let him meditate, and that even when they left for a few moments, they soon returned with greater force, not leaving them alone. His master told him that this depended only on himself, and to stop brooding.

But the student continued to indicate that the thoughts confused him and did not allow him to meditate in peace, and that each time he tried to concentrate, thoughts and reflections appeared continuously, often unhelpful and irrelevant.

To this the master suggested that he take a spoon and hold it in his hand, while he sat down and tried to meditate. The student obeyed, until suddenly the teacher told him to put down the spoon. The student did so, dropping her to the ground. He looked at his teacher, confused, and he asked him who was holding whom, if he to the spoon or the spoon to him. "

This short story starts from Zen philosophy and has its origin in Buddhism. At we are made to reflect on our own thoughts, and the fact that we should be the ones who have control over them and not the other way around.