10 Fun Spanish Folk Tales for Kids
Traditional Spanish folk tales are an excellent resource for enhancing your kids’ Spanish learning curriculum. Folklore tales and other Spanish fairy tales are literary narratives passed on from generation to generation throughout many centuries.
Spanish folk tales also present elements and references from daily life in Spanish-speaking countries. These traditional stories talk about common problems and recommendations to follow for specific scenarios and struggles in life. They also combine fantasy, mysticism, and imaginary characters with reality.
Implementing Spanish folk tales and storytelling to your children’s Spanish education allows them to improve their fluency and understanding of the language, while also teaching them valuable lessons and the difference between good and bad.
When it comes to Spanish folk tales characteristics; the morale, playful tone, and approach to fantasy is worth highlighting. It differentiates them from any other type of children’s story.
There’s all sorts of Latin American folktales that cover different themes. The majority of Spanish folk tales are highly creative, joyful, amusing, and unique.
Keep reading for a list of 10 fun Spanish folk tales for kids you can use at home or in the classroom.
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1. La Leyenda de la Araña (The legend of the spider)
One of many Spanish folk tales of Quechúa origin, la leyenda de la araña tells the tale of Princess Uru, a beautiful heiress to the Incan throne and empire.
Princess Uru grew spoiled and surrounded by lavish luxury. She was her father’s favorite and he focused on preparing her for the throne in the most ethical and responsible way. The Princess however, didn’t seem interested in her father’s teachings. She would neglect her studies and focused only on her gifts, fashion, and traveling. She usually got away with being spoiled and didn’t mind stepping over others to get her way.
Unfortunately, her father passed away sooner than expected and Princess Uru became the Queen at a young age. During her first days as ruler, Princess Uru responded wonderfully to her father’s advisors and to the people’s needs. This didn’t last long and as the days passed, the Queen became more difficult to approach. She wasn’t interested in the common good of her kingdom and began complaining of how boring her new responsibilities were. Anybody that opposed her or tried to teach some sense to Princess Uru was imprisoned or punished.
She became a tyrane and people feared her. Legends say that on one occasion, the Queen was about to lash an innocent person and her arm froze. It’s believed an Incan Goddess appeared and stripped her of her good looks, strength, and riches. She punished Queen Uru for being selfish and transformed her into a small hairy spider.
By the time Queen Uru noticed, it was too late. She wasn’t able to complain anymore and was now forced to weave spiderwebs as small insects, making her work for the rest of her life.
Read the full Spanish folk tale here.
2. La Mazorca de Oro (The golden corn cob)
The Spanish folk tale of la mazorca de oro is also of Peruvian origin. It tells the tale of a humble family of farmers with five children. The family was so poor they only had access to a small corn field as an income and source of food. In spite of their limitations, the mother was able to invent all sorts of different recipes to make the most of their mazorcas (corn cobs) and make her children happy. She even saved a bit of corn they would sell in the market.
Mom did all the heavy lifting at home; she took care of the kids, cooked, cleaned, and worked in the fields. All of this while the father enjoyed long naps.
One day, mom was so tired that she wasn’t able to collect as much corn as usual. She was so concerned to be able to make ends meet, but her body couldn’t anymore. She even thought about what things would be like if she had help from her husband. She could barely stay awake while overthinking and finally decided to go take a nap just like her husband did.
The following morning she woke up renewed and ready for work. As she approached the corn fields, she noticed a reflection of light that shined brightly. Mom thought she was hallucinating but went up close to see what it was. She couldn’t believe her eyes! It was a corn cob made entirely out of gold.
She rushed home to wake her husband and showed it to him.He was also blown away and saw this as a blessing from the Gods for all her hard work. He got down on his knees, apologized to her, and promised to help her in all her daily tasks.
The family sold the golden corn cob at the market. With their earnings they were able to buy more corn seeds, new clothes, and fixed up their tiny home. Dad stopped being a slacker and started working in the fields with mom, making them more productive and resourceful. Finally, he understood the value of working as a team for achieving better results.
Read the full Spanish folk tale here.
3. Los Loros Disfrazados (The parrots in disguise)
The folk tale of los loros disfrazados is originally from Ecuador. It tells the story of two children who lived in a rich and extraordinary land where an unusual phenomenon occurred.
Every time it rained, there was a mountain that grew taller and stayed dry.
Legends say that the Gods sent a flood to earth precisely at the moment when the two kids were in that mountain. The heavy rain flooded everything around the mountain and forced the children to take shelter inside a cave. Both kids were very sad to see their villages under water and were even more worried about how they would survive without any food.
The next morning, they woke up to find plenty of fruit, vegetables, meat, and seeds for them to eat in front of the cave. They were starving and didn’t hesitate to take it, even with the uncertainty of not knowing who was feeding them. This kept happening every day, so the kids managed to stay alive for a while.
One day, they stayed up to see who was feeding them. The kids were surprised to find it was two colorful parrots that brought them the food every morning. As soon as they noticed, they broke out in laughter. The parrots didn’t take this mockery well and stopped showing up.
The kids started to get hungry again and realized how ungrateful their attitude was. They started going outside of their cave to scream for forgiveness to the sky. The parrots, being so noble and selfless, decided to return. The rain finally cleared up and the kids decided to return to their homes, even with the idea that everyone was gone after a massive flood.
To their surprise, hundreds of parrots followed them back and transformed into people of all ages. Bringing back life to their villages and families.
Read the full Spanish folk tale here
4. El Conejo en la Luna (The rabbit on the moon)
The tale of el conejo en la luna is one of many Mexican folktales about the moon. It tells the tale of how Mayan God Quetzalcoatl decided to travel around the world in human form. He climbed many mountains and went through thick forests all around.
After much exploration, Quetzalcoatl was tired and needed to rest. He sat on a rock and contemplated the clear skies that were illuminated by the stars and a bright orange moon. He thought it was the most beautiful image he had ever seen.
While he was contemplating the scenery, he noticed a small rabbit was eating grass next to him. Quetzalcoatl asked the rabbit what he was eating and the rabbit offered to share his food with him. The God didn’t accept his offering and told him that humans didn’t eat grass.
The rabbit told him he looked tired and hungry, and that he could be his food even though he wasn’t very large and wouldn’t fill him up.
Quetzalcoatl was moved by the kindness and tenderness of the small rabbit. He was offering his life to save him from starvation.
The God thanked the rabbit for his gesture and told him that kindness like his would always be remembered. Legends say he picked up the rabbit and took him to the moon, where his image was stamped on the surface and brought him back down.
The Mayan God kept his promise and it’s believed to this day that with clear skies if you turn to the moon you’ll be able to see the rabbit’s image.
Read the original Spanish folk tale here.
5. Anahí y la Flor de Ceibo (Anahí and the Ceibo flower)
This Argentinian folk tale for kids tells the story of a young guaraní woman named Anahí who lived on the shores of the Paraná river.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Argentina they took her captive along with other people from her village. Anahí was able to escape one night but was discovered.
Her punishment was a terrible fate for such a young soul. Anahí was to be tied to a tree and burned alive.
On the day of her execution, Anahí began to sing as she passed away and transformed into a tree. The next morning, the tree was completely covered in red flowers. This tree became the national flower of Argentina. It’s highly treasured and known as “Flor del Ceibo”. The tale of Anahí became a symbol of strength, resilience and courage for Argentinians.
Read the full Spanish folk tale here.
6. El Puma Recibe una Lección (The mountain lion gets a lesson)
This folk tale from Mexico tells the story of a very rare black mountain lion.
El puma was so unique that his mere presence would spook animals around him. The task of spooking and startling the others became a hobby of his which he really enjoyed. He was a prankster and the other animals grew tired of his mischievous behavior.
One day, the mountain lion was running in the jungle and suddenly stepped over a cricket’s house and wrecked it. The saltamontes (cricket) was very upset and confronted the mountain lion about his terrible attitude and reckless behavior.
The cricket demanded that the mountain lion pay for the damages in his home, which he immediately refused. He didn’t even apologize and walked away. The cricket challenged him to a fight in which he would bring his army to show the mountain lion he was just as strong as him.
The mountain lion mocked him and agreed to the battle. He gathered an army of foxes, while the cricket rounded up an army of wasps.
They met up in the battle field with the foxes and mountain lion attacking them without hesitating, however they weren’t prepared by the wasps secret weapon: their stingers.
The wasps charged against the foxes and mountain lion and stung them heavily, forcing them to retreat into the water nearby.
They were forced to stay under water all day to prevent any more wasp stings. By the end of the day, the water was getting colder and the mountain lion learned his lesson and apologized.
The cricket reminded him that life isn’t about how strong or big you are, even the smallest individuals are strong when they unite against danger and work together.
Read the full Spanish folk tale here.
7. Las Orejas del Conejo (The rabbit ears)
It’s believed that thousands of years ago, rabbits looked very different to what we’re used to and didn’t have long ears. The majority of the animals at the time were pleased with their looks, except the rabbit who was very small.
The rabbit wished to be large like elephants or lions and constantly complained about his small size. Meanwhile all the other animals were growing tired of his whining and told him to ask a God who lived near the river to help him out.
Excited about this great opportunity, the rabbit set out on an adventure to get his wish. After a long journey he finally arrived at his destination and awoke a sleeping God from his nap.
The God told him he could grant his wish but required the rabbit to bring him the skin of a crocodile, the skin of a monkey, and the skin of a snake.
The rabbit rushed back to the forest to ask his friends for help. All of them cared deeply for the rabbit so they didn’t mind lending him their skin for a few hours. Once again the rabbit rushed back to the river.
Once he arrived, the God was impressed with the wit and efficiency of the rabbit. He told him he would help him but not exactly like the rabbit hoped so. Instead of increasing his size, he increased the size of his ears. Assuring him they would be more of use to him than being a large animal, as these big ears would warn him of all dangers and predators. He also told the rabbit that they would be a perfect compliment to his audacity and genius.
The rabbit loved his gift, as big ears allowed him to live peacefully and fully aware of his surroundings no matter his size.
Read the full version of this Mexican folk tale in Spanish here.
8. La Vainilla (Vanilla)
This folk tale tells the story of a beautiful young woman who belonged to upper class Mexican society. Her name was Xanath and she lived in a palace with all the luxuries you can imagine.
One day, Xanath went for a walk in the forest and encountered a handsome young man named Tzarahuín. He was of humble origins and lived in a small modest cabin. Immediately they fell in love and she would sneak out of her house to meet him.
The more time they spent together, the more they fell in love. Xanath knew that her parents would never accept him because he had nothing to offer her. Sneaking around was their only option for being together.
Following a visit to her beloved, Xanath was walking back home and passed the temple of the God of happiness. The deity was struck by her beauty and asked her to marry him; she immediately rejected his proposal and continued her journey home.
The God didn’t take rejection well and turned Xanath into a yellow and delicate flower, vowing that if he couldn’t have her, nobody would.
The flower she was transformed to is known today as the orchid where vanilla pods are found. Her moving story and sweetness are now in charge of bringing flavor and scent to the yummy desserts we know and love.
Read the folk tale in Spanish here.
9. ¿Por qué los perros se huelen la cola? (Why do dogs sniff each other’s tails?)
The tale of why dogs sniff each other’s tails is from Central America and tells of a time where dogs and humans co-existed with the Gods.
Ever since birth, puppies are 100% loveable and faithful to humans. They are known to be man’s best friend. Unfortunately not all humans respond well to such love and kindness and many mistreated the dogs.
One day, fed up with the whole situation and looking for better treatment, the dogs decided to make a change. They chose one of their pack members to seek out the rain God Tlaloc and wrote him a letter asking for protection.
The chosen dog had nothing to keep the letter, so he hid it under his tail and began his journey. Unfortunately the dog never returned and is believed to still roam the world seeking the rain God.
After such a long time, dogs no longer remember the chosen dog’s face and that’s why whenever a dog meets a new dog they sniff each other’s tails. Hoping to see if he has the letter under his tail and is the chosen one to help them.
Read the whole folk tale in Spanish here.
10. Popocatepetl e Iztaccihuatl
The folk tale of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl is of Aztec origin. It tells the tale of an Aztec Prince named Popocatepetl who loved the daughter of an Aztec chief. Her name was Iztaccihuatl and she was very beautiful and pursued by many who wanted to marry her. Nevertheless, she was in love with the Prince only.
Before Popocatepetl left for war, he said his goodbyes to her and promised to return for her.
While she waited, one of her suitors started spreading the news that Popocatepetl was killed in battle.
Iztaccihuatl was devastated when she heard the news and took her own life. A while after, Popocatepl finally returned home and couldn’t find her loved one. He couldn’t bear the sadness and broken heart and passed away.
The Aztec Gods were so moved by their love and affection, they transformed both souls into Mexico’s tallest volcanoes so they could continue to see each other. These two volcanoes are named after the lovers: Volcán Popocatepetl y Volcán Iztaccihuatl.
Read the full love folk tale in Spanish here.
Time for Storytelling in Spanish!
Now think of your favorite in English and prepare your kids to translate folktales to Spanish!
Going over this list of Spanish folk tales is guaranteed to keep them entertained for a while, as they also expand their vocabulary and learn how to say what they’re thinking in Spanish. If you wish to move one step ahead and elevate their Spanish abilities even more, you can sign them up for a free trial class with us at Homeschool Spanish Academy.
Our certified, native, Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala are prepared with even more kid-friendly Spanish folk tales, vocabulary, and more. The classes can be tailored to your needs and offer flexible scheduling options. We have over 10 years of experience and teach more than 24,000 actively enrolled students each month.
Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity of elevating their Spanish learning and moving one step closer towards speaking fluently and confidently.
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