World Stories to Help You Learn

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Every year, people celebrate the tradition of Storytelling in the month of March. In honor of this holiday, Spotlight shares three world stories with important lessons.

Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

We begin today’s program with a story.

Click here to follow along on YouTube.

Voice 2 

Kwesuka sukela – once upon a time – there lived a woman named Manzandaba and her husband Zenzele. They lived in a traditional home in a small Zulu village. At night they sat around their open fire with their many children. “Mama” the children cried. “Sifuna izindaba! We want stories! Tell us some stories, mother!” Manzandaba would think and think. But she and Zenzele did not know any stories. They asked their neighbors, but their neighbors did not know any stories. They listened to the wind. But the wind did not know any stories. There were no stories anywhere.

Voice 1 

Can you imagine a world without stories? This story we just began is a story from the Zulu people of Southern Africa. It is a well-known imaginary story. It tells how all stories began. In the story, stories were a gift to a mother long ago.

Stories are important to every culture in the world. They are a way to entertain us, teach us, preserve our culture, and to help us make good choices. Around the world, people celebrate the telling of stories on World Storytelling Day in the month of March. So today, we will celebrate this day with you! Today’s Spotlight is on stories. First, we continue the story of Manzandaba.

Voice 2 

Manzandaba did not know any stories. So, she kissed her husband and children goodbye and left her home to find some stories. Manzandaba decided to ask every animal she met if they knew any stories. She asked each animal. Some were kind, but some were not kind at all. Some of the animals lied to her and said they had stories they would not share. Other animals tried to help her by giving advice. But none of the animals had any stories for Manzandaba.

A sea turtle
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Finally, a big sea turtle offered to take Manzandaba to the Spirit People under the sea. She held onto the turtle’s shell very tightly until she reached the very bottom of the ocean. The Spirit People agreed to give Manzandaba stories if she would give them a picture of her home on the dry land. Manzandaba gave them the picture. They gave her a large, beautiful shell. They told her “Whenever you want a story, just hold this shell to your ear and you will have one!” When Manzandaba returned to land, her children asked her:

“Sifuna izindaba! We want stories! Tell us some stories, mother!” Manzandaba sat down on the shore. She held the shell to her ear, and she began: Kwesuka sukela…

And this is how stories began.

Voice 1 

World Storytelling day is not just a celebration of good stories. It is a celebration of the art of storytelling. Throughout history there have been many famous storytellers. William Shakespeare. Rabindranath Tagore. Aesop. Nasreddin Hodja. These are all famous storytellers from around the world. They make stories with interesting characters and wonderful events.

But some storytellers use stories to teach good advice or give a moral lesson. Even simple stories can have big lessons. Usually these stories are called fables. This is the story of the Wise Old Man.

an old man
Image by Yogendra Singh from Pixabay
Voice 3 

In a village, there was a very old man. Every day, people came to the old man complaining about the same problems. One day the old man told them a joke. Everyone laughed and laughed. After a few minutes, the old man told them the joke again. A few of the people smiled. The old man told them the joke a third time. This time, no one laughed at all.

The old man told them: “You cannot laugh at the same joke over and over. So, why are you always crying about the same problem?”

Voice 1 

In this story, the wise old man tries to teach people a lesson. Worrying and complaining cannot solve any problems. It will only waste your time and energy.

Our final story also has a moral meaning behind it. It comes from Nigeria. This is the story of The Two-Colored Coat.

Voice 2 

Two boys were great friends. They promised they would remain friends forever. When they got older, they built their houses opposite each other. A small path formed a border between their two farms.

One day a trickster came from the village. He decided to play a trick on the friends. He clothed himself in a two color coat. One side of the coat was red. And the other side was blue. The trickster walked along the narrow path between the houses of the friends. The two men were working opposite each other in their fields. The trickster made noise as he passed. He wanted to make sure each man looked up and saw him passing.

At the end of the day, one friend said to the other:

“Did you see that man today with his beautiful red coat?”

“Do you mean the blue coat?” The other replied.

“No. His coat was red. I saw the man clearly as he walked between us!” said the first.

“You are wrong!” said the other man. “I saw it too. And it was blue!”

“I know what I saw!” said the first man. “The coat was red!”

“You do not know anything!” the second man replied angrily. “It was blue!”

The two men argued over and over. They insulted each other. And then, they began beating each other!

The trickster returned. He watched the two fighting men. He listened to their shouts. “Our friendship is over!”

The trickster laughed. And he showed them his two-colored coat. The men were angry! They shouted:

“We have lived side by side all our lives – like brothers! Now you have started a war between us!”

The trickster replied,

“Do not blame me for the fight. Both of you are wrong. And both of you are right. What each one saw was true. You are fighting because you only looked at my coat from your own side of the path. You did not think there was another way of looking at the situation.”

Voice 1 

Simple stories can have deep truths. They can show us life in a different way. They can teach us how to live. They are one of the most ancient traditions surviving today. Think about a story that you have learned from. Is it an old story or a new one?

What is your favorite story? Do you enjoy telling stories? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at You can also find us on Facebook and YouTube.

The writer of this program was Liz Waid. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All stories were adapted for this program. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at This program is called “World Stories to Help You Learn”.

Visit our website to download our free official App for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!


What is your favorite story? Do you like telling stories?

Join the discussion

  • I really like the story telling about stopping complain and worry about problems.
    It is deep meaningful, we are very difficult to laugh with a funny thing for 2 time but we can be willing to spend a lot of time to complain and sad about the same problem.
    we are easy to wast our value time.
    from fan of Spotlight – Viet Nam
    Thank you for this topic and these stories.

  • my favorite story is crimes and investigation .I read the some story in the past about this topic it was beautiful it is called ( the crimes of ages) I recommend you for reading this book .

  • Yeah I so enjoyed to lessen the story,
    And I have a lot of story like this in my mind, the old men or women always telled a wonderful story

  • The significance of the history of the two-tone coat is very important, which teaches us not to look at things only from our own point of view. Another beautiful story, read some time ago on Spotlight, is that of the two Chinese vases, one with a crack and one perfect. The story ends by saying that only on the side of the path traveled by the vase with the crack were beautiful flowers born. The message of the story is an encouragement to accept oneself with one’s flaws. Happy Easter

  • Cinderella is one of the best stories that I love when I was a child, and I still love it as a girl. Yes, I love telling stories to the children of our family very much, and I love playing with them a lot. Thank you I very much enjoyed the lesson.

  • I don’t like telling stories but i like leastening their .
    I am not perfect at telling stories

  • Interesting topic I really like stories but I also noticed some story creater they are really expert to imagine a story and give a real shape to it. We all have one person in our relatives who is a story maker.

  • My favorite story is The Two-Colored Coat because today the people must learn to listening the point of the view the other.
    I don’t like telling but listen the stories,

  • I like to read more of stories especially the criminal is attack your mind to ask why he did that, but when I tell stories to my kids I told to them about me when I was a kid and what must to be do or not do

  • Many people look at the situation from their side and thinking that gives them the right to judge.
    I believe if we looked at both sides and we listening to each other we will be better and our relationships will continue forever.

  • Two story are interesting ..
    the wise old man we learn about him if have same problems you continue our live and shouldn’t sad and be positive

  • Life will become interesting if it has many stories. And my life is too. Having a lot of stories with sad stories, happy stories. I am really pleased with my life since there are many stories that help me be happier and become more mature. I only telling stories with close relatives like my parents, my younger brother or my grandmothers… And I also tell stories with my friends. When I tell stories with them, it helps the relationship between me and them become better and closed. Besides, it helps me feel more comfortable. Moreover, these stories in the book, I prefer to read to listen to stories. But when I read some of the stories I can record for someone in a short way and easy to understand.

  • I don’t particularly enjoy telling stories, but I simply love listening to them because they have a significant affect on me. Fables that are particularly cruel, for example, are the kinds of stories I enjoy reading. A student in a small class was once regarded as extremely stupid by his friend because, when presented with two options, one cent is worthless but weighs a great deal and one cent is worth much but weighs a small amount, he always chose the cent of a large weight. When his teacher inquired as to why he chose this, he replied that if he chose the cent of a small weight, his friend would not give him any more, making him appear to be extremely intelligent.

  • You cannot laugh at the same joke over and over , so , why you are always crying about the samr problem.
    It’s a deep truth.

  • My favorite story is The Little Match Girl
    I enjoy listening to stories and I have a lot of stories in my mind, my grandmother used to tell us a story everyday

  • My favorite story is Tam-Cam, it’s a Vietnamese folk tale. I don’t usually tell stories because I don’t have time

  • When I was a child, I really like my grandmother telling fairy stories every night before went to bed. I was interesting by her lovely stories. I breamed of one day become to princess. I was pleasure with my life because many stories that help me be happier and become more mature.

  • Telling stories is helps for the children to make their life more easy and good to remember it.
    I don’t think a story will benefit adult person particularly stories often is It has a childlike nature.

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