7 Short Stories About Showing Courage and Bravery

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It’s easy to simply tell people that they should overcome their fears, but without giving some kind of motivation or reasoning, it’s not very effective. People tend to learn lessons through some kind of anecdotal evidence, which can be offered through storytelling.

Stories can be a great way to teach lessons, and over time, they can start to shape people’s perspective.

Fear is a real part of life for many people. And while fears are oftentimes unrealistic, people still dwell on the worst-case scenario, even if it is about events that aren’t likely to ever happen.

By hearing an alternative narrative that shows how someone can be courageous when facing a fear, it can help people overcome their lack of bravery. Stories of bravery can help reshape people’s perspective.

Here are 7 short stories about showing courage and bravery that could help you and your loved ones.

Let’s get started.

7 Short Stories About Showing Courage and Bravery

1. Daily Habits

A cowardly man once approached a master of martial arts, asking him to teach him bravery. The martial arts master looked at him and said, “I will teach you under one condition: you will need to live in the city for one month and tell every person you come into contact with that you’re a coward.

This seemed like a scary task to the man. However, living with his cowardice was so unbearable that he decided to travel to the city to accomplish his goal.

When he saw the first passersby, he got nervous, lost his speech, and couldn’t talk to them. However, he had to complete the master’s task, so he started to overcome himself.

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If you want to be brave, you must move forward into your fears.

When he approached the first person to tell about his cowardice, he felt he would die from fear. But he got more confident with every passing day, until there came a moment when he realized he wasn’t scared anymore. The more he completed the master’s task, the more he was convinced that he was over his fear.

After a month passed, he returned to the master and said, “Thank you, teacher. I finished your task. Now I’m not afraid anymore. But how did you know that this task would help me?”

The master replied by telling the man that cowardice is only a habit. And by doing the things that scare us the most, we can negate the stereotypes and overcome our fears.

He told the man that bravery is also a habit. So if you want to be brave, you must move forward into your fears. Then the fear will subside and bravery will take its place.

2. Manute the Brave

There was once a tribe in which all of the members regarded the best man as being ‘Manute the Brave’. Anyone could see how brave he was, as he would jump to the ground from tremendous heights, fight poisonous snakes, catch scorpions with his hands, and even cut his own palm without flinching.

In the same tribe, there was a man named Pontoma, who was known for his lack of bravery.

They met one day in the forest, and Manute was showing Pontoma a coral snake he had just caught. It started to rain harder than anyone had ever seen. They both ran to shelter under some thick bushes, and they stayed there until the rain stopped.

However, when they were leaving the shelter, they heard a tiger’s roar only a couple meters away. The bushes were very dense, and the tiger wouldn't be able to get through it to attack them.

But the tiger was very close to the entrance hole. If it happened to come in and find the two tribesmen there, they certainly wouldn't get out alive. Manute was getting restless. He wanted to get out of that tight hole and confront the tiger in the open where he could use his great hunting skills.

Pontoma was gesturing at him to keep still and be quiet, but Manute, tired of being stuck with a coward, leapt out of the thicket, surprising the tiger.

The tiger suffered a few deep wounds, but recovered quickly and hurt Manute with two swipes of its paw, throwing him to the ground. The tiger leapt upon Manute, but Manute's spear, in Pontoma’s hands, interrupted the attack.

The tiger turned away, wounded, but the spear moved as fast as a beam of light, and with incredible precision, hurting the animal again and again, until it fell to the ground.

Manute, shocked and bleeding freely from his injuries, witnessed all this while lying flat on his back on the ground. Never before had he seen anyone take on a tiger with such calmness and strength as he had seen Pontoma do just now.

Neither of them spoke. Manute's grateful expression didn’t need to be explained with words. From that day on, people gradually spoke less about Manute's bravery. They thought maybe he was less courageous than before. What the people noticed was that Manute's old spear was now among Pontoma's things.

But Manute just smiled, and remembered the day he learned that true bravery lay not in seeking out danger, but in controlling one's fear when danger crosses your path.

3. Leo and the Bullies

There was once a boy named Leo who lived in a small village. He was a small, slim child, and he lived forever in fear because some boys from a neighboring village would harass him and try to have fun at his expense.

One day, a young wizard was passing by the village and saw Leo being made fun of. When the other boys left, the wizard went over to Leo and gave him a beautiful lion’s tail, along with a small tie that allowed Leo to hang the lion’s tail from his belt.

“It’s a magic tail,” the wizard explained. “When the person wearing it acts bravely, he or she will turn into a ferocious lion.”

Because the boy had seen the young wizard’s powers before, Leo didn’t doubt his words. He wore the lion’s tail hanging from his belt, hoping that the mean kids would turn up so he could teach them a good lesson.

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Bullies and other cowardly individuals seldom muster the courage to face a genuinely brave boy.

But when the boys came along, Leo was scared and he tried to run away. However, they soon caught up with him and surrounded him.

The usual jokes and pushing started, then Leo felt the lion’s tail hanging from his belt.

Then, summoning up all his courage, Leo tensed his body, made two fists, and looked up, fixedly into the eyes of each of the boys, and with all the calmness and ferocity in the world, he promised that if they didn’t leave him alone then they would regret it forever.

He kept looking them in the eye, with his hardest expression, ready to do what he had promised.

Leo felt goosebumps all over. This must be the sign that he was turning into a lion, because the looks on the boys’ faces were definitely changing. They all took a step back, looked at each other, and finally ran off.

Leo wanted to take off after them and give them a good beating with his new body, but when he tried to move, he felt his legs were short and not normal, so he had to abandon the idea.

Not far off, the wizard observed, smiling. He ran over to Leo. Leo was very happy, though a bit disappointed that his new lion body had lasted only a short time, and he hadn’t managed to fight them.

“You wouldn’t have been able to anyway,” the wizard told him. He went on to explain that no one fights with lions because lions are both brave and ferocious, so, everyone runs away.

It was true. Leo couldn’t remember ever having seen a lion fighting. Leo became filled with thought, looking at the lion’s tail. And then he understood everything.

There had been no magic, no transformation…nothing. What happened was that a good friend had shown him that bullies and other cowardly animals never dare to confront a truly brave boy.

4. Monster In the Closet

There was once a boy who was afraid of the dark because he thought that when it was dark his bedroom filled up with monsters. But there came a time when he was too old to be allowed to keep sleeping with the light on.

That first night he was paralyzed with fear. So much so, that he went over to his wardrobe to get a torch. But when he opened the wardrobe door he came face to face with a monster, and he let out the loudest scream in the world.

The monster took a step back, grabbing its multicolored hair with its tentacles and started crying. The monster cried for so long that the boy's shock and fear subsided. He calmed the monster as much as he could and started talking to him, asking him why he was crying, and what he was doing there.

The monster told him he lived in the wardrobe, but almost never went out, because he was afraid of the boy. When the boy asked him why, the monster told him the boy's face seemed to him the most horrible thing he'd ever seen with eyes, ears, and a nose. The boy felt exactly the same way about the monster, who had an enormous head full of mouths and hair.

The two of them talked so much that they became quite friendly, and they realized that both of them had been afraid of the same thing: the unknown. To lose their fear all they had to do was get to know each other.

Together they traveled the world, seeing lions, tigers, crocodiles, and dragons. It was the first time either of them had seen such creatures, but they made the effort to get to know them, and ended up dispelling their fear, and becoming friends.

And, although his parents weren't too happy, because they thought he was too old to still believe in monsters, the truth of it was that all kinds of creatures visited the boy's bedroom each night. And, instead of fearing them he had learned to get to know them and befriend them.

5. Beast In the Attic

Once a boy who lived in a home went up to the attic to find a book. There, he noticed two eyes watching him intently with a horrific expression on its face. They were big eyes, about a meter apart, giving some idea of the size of that terrible being's head.

The boy yelled loudly and ran out, locking the door and leaving the monster in the attic. For the next two days the people in the village lived in terror. The growls and the beating on the attic door continued, and news of the beast’s cruel nature spread across the land.

The behavior got worse, but no one was brave enough to go up to that attic and confront the beast.

Before long, a fisherman passed by whose ship had sunk. The man seemed like a formidable old character who didn’t fear anything, so some men in the village asked him to help them confront the awful creature.

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Irrational fear can lead people into foolish actions, often leaving them vulnerable to being exploited by others.

The fisherman did not hesitate to help in return for a little money. But when he approached the attic and heard the growls of the monster, his expression changed and he went downstairs to ask for a lot more money.

He also asked for some tools, a big net, and a cart. If he was to triumph against the beast, he wanted to take it away as a trophy.

All the village folk gathered around and watched as the fisherman opened the attic door, and went inside to be met by deep, shuddering growls. After the fisherman had been inside for a short while, the noises stopped.

Never again would the villagers see the fisherman or hear the sounds of the beast. Neither did anyone ever dare to go up to the attic again.

So what happened behind that door?

Well, when the fisherman opened the door, he could see the eye of Olaf, his enormous and fierce helmsman. But the eye was reflected in a mirror, giving the impression of both belonging to the same head–but Olaf's other eye had been covered by a patch for years.

The whaler told his imprisoned friend that the nervous villagers had given him so much money that they would be able to buy a new ship and carry on fishing.

Together they managed to find a way to escape the attic, get to the cart, and disappear forever.

And so it was that fear alone impoverished the whole village and enabled the fishermen to recover.

And this is what happens to this day. Senseless fear drives people to foolishness, and often allows others to take advantage of us.

6. The Cave of Fear

There was once a town that had a “cave of fear” where everyone feared getting lost at night. No one had ever returned from there, and whenever anyone got lost and ended up there, the last that the villagers heard was a great cry of terror, followed by a few enormous guffaws.

The townsfolk lived in terror that one day a monster would come out from the cave, so they regularly left gifts and food at the mouth of the cave, which always soon disappeared.

One day, a young man came to town and decided to enter the cave and confront the monster. He asked for some help, but everyone was so afraid that no one would approach the mouth of the cave with him. He went inside alone, finding his way with a torch, and calling out to the monster.

At first, the monster had a good long laugh, and the young man followed the sound of the monster's voice. But then the monster went quiet, and the young man had to carry on, not knowing his way.

He eventually arrived at a large cavern, and he thought he could see the monster at the bottom. As he approached it, he felt something hit him hard on his back, pushing him forward towards a hole in the rock. He fell through it and let out a loud cry. Then he heard the guffaws.

“The monster has swallowed me,” he said, while falling.

However, as he fell, he heard music and voices. They got clearer, and when he made a soft landing at the bottom, he found himself among a group of people having a big party. The partygoers were all those people who had never returned to the town.

They explained to him that this place had been the idea of an old mayor of the town who had tried to accomplish great things, but was always held back by the fears of the people around him. So the mayor invented the story of the monster to demonstrate to people how such an attitude was so limiting.

So the young man stayed there, enjoying the party and the company of all those who had dared to approach the cave while the people in the town still believe that entering the Cave of Fear is the worst of all punishments.

7. The Carpathia

There were three ships around one sinking ship when a distress signal was being sent. The first one, Sampson, was only 7 miles away from the sinking ship, but they turned their backs because the crew aboard the ship had been involved in illegal hunting of seals and they didn’t want to get caught.

There was another ship about 14 miles away from the sinking ship. The Californian saw the distress signals, but they were surrounded by ice and it was night time, so it didn’t feel safe to move. They decided to wait until the morning for the conditions to improve.

The third ship, Carpathia, was about 60 miles away and moving in the other direction when they heard the cries over the radio. The captain, Arthur Rostron, decided to try to help. He just prayed to God for direction and turned his boat. The ship drudged through ice fields in the dark and kept going.

The shipwreck it sailed to was none other than the Titanic. They saved 705 lives that night because one man had the courage to look beyond his own comfort and choose the right over the easy.

Courage is not about intense bravery. It’s just about having the guts to let go of what’s important to you because someone else is in need.

Final Thoughts on Short Stories About Showing Courage and Bravery

Hopefully these stories about showing courage and bravery have helped give you another perspective on some intimidating situations. Think back to these stories next time you’re in a situation where you could show more courage.

Check out this article to learn why courage is not the absence of fear.

If your are looking for more short stories, check out these blog posts:

Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.

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