The Mermaid

The Mermaid: A fisherman saves a mermaid one day, and out of gratitude, she offers him help whenever he should need it. He releases her back into the sea. He looks in vain for her but she never reappears. People think him mad. Then one stormy night he is in trouble. And who should come back to fulfil her promise? (952 words) Themes: Kindness, Good deeds are repaid (Zip Stage 5) (Flesch grade 2.7) (Lexile 330)

Eliza and the Troll

Eliza and the Troll: Henry and Eliza are woken from their sleep one night. A troll wants their help – for his wife is having a baby. Eliza agrees to trust the troll and goes to help. Their trust and bravery are handsomely rewarded with a sack of gold. (965 words) Themes: Trust, Bravery, Don’t judge by appearances (Zip Stage 7) (Flesch grade 4.2) (Lexile 630)

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle: The classic Washington Irving yarn about a man who goes to sleep for twenty years. Rip is walking one day in the mountains with his trusty dog when he is asked by a little person for help. He ends up in a cave, full of other dwarfs. But after he drinks the fairy beer, he falls asleep. When he wakes up, everything has changed forever. (1167 words) Themes: Endurance, What goes around comes around (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 3.2) (Lexile 410)

Why Dogs Sniff Tails

Why Dogs Sniff Tails: A folk tale from Papua New Guinea. During a meeting with the Dog Chief all the dogs must remove their tails. The hut catches on fire, and in the commotion most dogs end up with the wrong tail or no tail at all! To this day they are still trying to find their lost tails. (643 words) Themes: Tolerance, Fighting solves nothing (Zip Stage 5) (Flesch grade 2.3) (Lexile 570)

The Minotuar and the Maze

The Minotaur and the Maze: The people of Minos are in terror of a terrible monster, half bull and half man, who lives in the maze under the palace. Every year seven boys and seven girls are sacrificed to the Minotaur. Only Theseus is prepared to confront the monster and save the day. (744 words) Themes: Bravery, Self belief, Ingenuity (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 3.5) (Lexile 450)

The Rainbow Serpent

The Rainbow Serpent: A simplified retelling of the Aboriginal classic. In the dreamtime, when only people inhabited Australia, the rainbow serpent came down out of the sky to become kin with the people. But while things started well, problems arose when the serpent fell out with the people. (829 words) Themes: Indigenous culture, Loyalty (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 3.7) (Lexile 480)

The Pearl Dragon

The Pearl Dragon: A lovely Chinese myth about a boy, Chang, who goes on a quest to find answers to three questions from the great god in the mountains. Along the way he meets a magic dragon, who will completely change his life. A very uplifting story. (971 words) Themes: Bravery, Self belief, Ingenuity (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 3.4) (Lexile 460)

The Pied Piper

The Pied Piper: A retelling of the classic moral tale. Hamelin is infested with a plague of rats. One day a strange man, a piper, arrives and offers to get rid of the rats. He does so, but when he comes to claim his payment, the town elders betray him and send him away. Little do they know that he has a terrible way of making them regret their misbehaviour. (983 words) Themes: Justice, Lying, The importance of honesty (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 3.8) (Lexile 440)

The Magic Statue

The Magic Statue: Pygmalion scoffs at love, but is overheard by the goddess Aphrodite. She decides to teach him a lesson and he falls in love with the statue he carves of a woman. Eventually Aphrodite takes pity on him and turns the statue into a real woman. (864 words) Themes: Arrogance, Love (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 4.2) (Lexile 410)


Medusa: Perseus is set an impossible challenge by the wicked king of his island: bring back the head of the Medusa. She is a snake-haired monster whose very gaze is death. Against impossible odds, and with the help of the gods, Perseus fulfils his task, and comes back to get his just desserts. (1168 words) Themes: Bravery, Self belief, Ingenuity (Zip Stage 6) (Flesch grade 3.7) (Lexile 430)


Hercules: A simplified retelling of the tale of the ultimate Greek hero. Hercules has mistakenly sinned, and as punishment must carry out twelve impossible labours. One by one, he works through them, year after year, using a combination of extraordinary bravery and ingenuity. (1885 words) Themes: Bravery, Self belief, Ingenuity (Zip Stage 7) (Flesch grade 4.3) (Lexile 620)

The Faithful Prince

The Faithful Prince: A traditional Indian folk tale. A prince participates in a competition to find a wife. To everyone’s horror, the wife whom he finds he must marry is a monkey. Everyone tells him to forget his promise, but he is faithful to her. Is the monkey all she seems to be? A charming story of love and loyalty rewarded. (1175 words) Themes: Loyalty, Love, Selflessness (Zip Stage 8) (Flesch grade 4.7) (Lexile 790)