Tears
from the Unicorn

by Lin Stone

***

ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED
This is NOT public domain

***

No matter what the calendar said, it was the first day of Spring.

Joe breathed deep and his gaze clung to the fresh white buds springing forth on the wild plum trees. The new grass was knee high to a grasshopper and Joe's old clod hoppers were soaked with fresh dew.

A Blue Jay was arguing with an Northern Mocking Bird that Joe couldn't see and a full busted Robin Red Breast perched on a lower limb with his eye cocked at a worm hole in the grass. A little Tufted Titmouse flitted through the brush and claimed the fiery flowered redbud tree for his own.

No matter what the calendar said, it was the first day of Spring and Joe was glowing with the strong wine sap of youth.

Even in the winter time Joe walked a mile or two every day across country dells but on this first day of spring he walked three - and by going one mile more he found the baby Unicorn's nest.

 

2. The Myths From Man's Past

There are two kinds of myths that cling to man's troubled past.
First is the monsters we have invented in order to frighten little children into seeing the dark shadows of night ebb and flow into demons worse for never been. "Here comes the bogey man with claws like knives that can rip away that heart from your breast."

The inventions strike fear in the youthful heart and nightmares stream from shadows made too dark by the idler's tail.

The Second Myths are made from musings men have seen in bright of day because we see something new, different and the youthful heart hopes they might have been.

It is strange, the myths meant to frighten have dimmed and floated away while the myths of the hopeful heart sharpen and grow more clear. Two mythical sightings have been with us since man left his caves behind. One is the little men, and the other, is the Unicorn. It is said that both hide their treasures and are seen best in sparks of sudden light. All true believers know, they might have been.

"Aye, me laddie, and they still might be."

As the last fleeting shadows are stamped out and explored, many myths have been found, and others have at least been explained. Myths still linger about the Unicorn and the Little Men. Man knows with a sigh that they must have been -- and the tales linger on with a light that cannot be quenched.

You are invited to continue reading in the next frame.

Yes,

At first he thought the baby unicorn was a fawn. His foot halted in mid-air and he grinned with delight. It was wonderful to see a fawn nestled down in the freckled brush, not knowing it was seen. Joe determined to hold the moment dear for an hour if the fawn didn't move. Three minutes, four minutes, maybe even five he waited frozen in place. Then he saw the tiny, budding horn and realized he was seeing a miracle, a baby unicorn fresh from the womb. Maybe it couldn't even walk yet, it was so still. The mother? Joe's gaze raked the forest glen and saw her not. "Gone for water most like."
Joe put his foot down with his heart hammering. He knew just what he was going to do, snatch that baby unicorn up into his arms and carry it home with him.

Like all the forest people Joe knew that when a unicorn cried its tears turned into diamonds. How much trouble could it be to make a baby unicorn cry? A little pinch? A dip of snuff? And every tear would turn into a diamond.

Joe took his clod hoppers off and set them to one side. Touching his clod hoppers made him sick that day; all the kids in school wore oxfords or even brand-name sneakers. His clod hoppers were old too, coming apart. "With my first diamond I'll get a dozen pair of shoes, and with my second one I'll get new clothes. Won't nobody make no more fun of me! No sir."

He inched forward half way on tippy-toes, hardly breathing - he went so slow. Then he slowly lowered himself to the ground and crawled the rest of the way. Only inches from his prize Joe noted the deep breaths taken by the unicorn and wondered how he had come so close. Then his mind worried about something else. "How do you catch a unicorn with your bare hands?

Around the neck? it could twist away. One hand around the throat and the other behind the rump, like it was a fawn? its little hooves could rip him to pieces. Could you catch it by the horn? its little horn might be fragile and break in a sudden snap. Oh my. Oh my. How do you catch a unicorn? Nobody had ever told him that!

Joe decided to slip his strong right arm around the creature's belly and with his left draw that little horned head beneath his arm pit. No sooner thought than done, Joe lunged forward and caught the unicorn just that way.

Oh what a frenzy of frantic struggles it put up. It whinnied, it bleated, it kicked, it jerked and it struggled but, with his heart set on diamonds, Joe snatched up his prize and hurried away home. There was a little place in the barn where no one ever went and to this secluded little stall Joe carried his prize, little horn and all.

You are invited to continue reading
in the next frame.

Just to be sure the unicorn could not escape, Joe put an old gate across the top.  Then he put in a flake of choicest hay for the little fellow to eat.  But the unicorn did not eat.  "He'll be hungry enough to eat by in the morning," said Joe.  He watched his prize with awe until his mother called him into the house for breakfast.

Johnny cake and sorghum molasses was all they had, but with visions of little diamonds dancing in his head, Joe ate it all and asked for more.  "He's a growing boy and worth a fortune to his mom," said his mother as Joe's father looked askance at the empty plate.

Joe wanted to hug himself with that thought, a fortune?  Oh, if only she knew.  "There will be a handful of little diamonds to put on my plate this morrow."

His eyes glowed.  "All I have to do is make my unicorn cry."

As the second day of spring came aspringing Joe clad his feet in the clod hoppers and carried himself right outside.  What a glorious golden sun glowed in the morning sky.  Little blue birds twittered as they tugged little twigs and straw to build their nest in the budding plum tree. A flaming red cardinal dipped to a halt upon the handle of the pump and studied the wall of the well for his ration of morning sun flower seed. A golden-throated meadow lark trilled from the meadow and the grass glistened with gleaming dew.

Joe dragged in a deep breath of fresh crisp air and sailed with clod hoppers only skimming to the barn to see if there his treasure still lay.  Sweet horn looking soft, yes the unicorn was still there.  Not so white, nor even so gleaming as he was the day before, the little unicorn still would not eat nor let Joe moisten its tongue with water from the mrlted snow.  The shine from his coat was gone and the hay had stained his cheek a scummy green.  "Cry a little, just for me," Joe pleaded.  "Diamonds I do want, I do - but only a few.  Cry a few tears please, just for me.

The little unicorn stared at Joe as if his eyes were made of horn and would if he could bore a hole through Joe's breast and trample him beneath his feet.  Joe backed away just a step and said:  "Another day of hunger shall bring tears to your eyes.  A pocketful of diamonds is all I ask.  Why, you won't mind at all." 

You are invited to continue reading
in the next frame.

.

Joe backed away into the sun.  Away from the shadows of that old barn did he flee, and soon he was flying down the trail of his morning walk.  As the white buds of the wild plum trees closed him in Joe breathed deep and his eyes clung to the new grass was just knee high to a robin as it stamped its foot near the open hole of a worm. A blue jay was arguing with an eastern mocking bird he couldn't see and a red tailed hawk skimmed the cloudy fleece that danced across the sky..  No matter what the calendar said, it was the second day of Spring and Joe was glowing with the radiant wine sap of youth.  And then he saw the unicorn.

Bigger than a red welsh pony but gleaming white, the unicorn was tippy toeing from brush to brush and sniffing hopefully at each one.  "Why, it's the mother of the little unicorn I have caught," thought Joe.  "Her heart must be breaking, aching for sight of the little guy.  How like my mother she must be, with a heart full of love, just for me.  She must be hurting now.  Oh this I cannot stand."

Joe turned.  Back through the rows of daffodils he fled.  Back to the barn he ran.  Into his arms he gathered once more the little unicorn he had stolen.  His clod hoppers were only skimming the fresh glistening dew as he carried his treasure back to the forest glen.

The mother saw him coming and noted what he hauled.  She whinnied frantic greeting but backed away from the boy.  Tears glistened from her eyes and fell to the ground like rain.  Not a one of her tears turned into a diamond.  Not a one turned even into metal of precious weight.  Her tears were like salt water and soaked into the ground. 

The stories were untrue.  "I was risking his life for something the little fellow could not do,"  Joe said.

Instead of trying to get closer, he put down his burden and it raised up on shaky feet.  A whinny it shrilled across the forest glen so still.  Joe urged it forward and with glistening eyes watched it go.  When the noses of the twain did touch Joe sank down upon the ground, his chest was so tight.  His joy was so full he wanted to hug himself with all his might.

The mother unicorn glanced his way, stamped her foot as if in threat, and urged her son into the thickening shadows.  A breeze wafted sweetly through the trees whence they had gone, and Joe smiled through his tears. 

His clod hoppers scarcely touched the ground as he hurried home.  He burst into the house and threw his arms around his mother.  "Mama, mama.  I love you."

She laughed and laughed.  She stepped back from the stove so she could hold him better.  "Oh my little Joe.  You are worth a sack full of gold to me." 

When she let him go Joe stepped back and looked up into her eyes: "Mama, "I saw a unicorn and I held him in my hands, but I let him go." 

She knew the legend of the unicorn too.  "Why did you let him go?" she asked softly.

"When I saw that his mother missed him, I thought of you."  he replied.

"Oh, Joe," his mother cried, and swept him into her arms again.  "You have made me so happy."

Something hard struck Joe's hand and he glanced up to see tiny little diamonds falling from his mother's eyes.  Suddenly he knew why there had been no diamonds there when the mother unicorn had cried for her lost foal;  "It's only when our actions cause tears of happiness to flow that they can turn into diamonds."

the end

If you have enjoyed this story
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About the author:  Lin Stone takes keen delight in producing articles that parents can read to their bright children.  ""If children tried to read this story by themselves, this would be over their heads.   But when the parent reads one of these subjects to them it opens up to become a dialogue between parent and child that can lead to better family togetherness."  Parents can find other suitable topics, just Click HERE to see a larger index of the writings of this author.

Mr. Stone also maintains a National Directory of the best insurance companies on the web and a National Directory of the best car insurance companies on the web.

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FREE eBOOKS From Elsewhere
Worth Reading!

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Single books, tell me the title and genre
Multiple titles, tell me how many and where they fit!
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UNIQUE Books

Geronimo's Adventures features 9 good size books on the adventures of Geronimo the teddy bear for online viewing.

The Literature for Children Collection a resource from the University of Florida (USA) featuring children books published from before 1850 to beyond 1950.  These are JPG scans visible in their viewer.  Warning that some of these books have racist language.

FloridaDisaster.org  offers three books on hazardous weather for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade readers in download in PDF.

Foboko has 12 free unique ebooks in their children's ebook section.  These are all available for free reading online without registration. Free registration is required to download in a variety of formats.  There is a limit of 5 free downloads per month.

The Pomple mousse has three original stories about the adventures of Pomplemousse, intended for children and adults.

TheManorSchool offers a collection of Greek myths and legends for online viewing.  Featured within the stories is the artwork of children of the school.

TheMoonlitRoad has 11 stories for children for online reading.  A mix of ghost stories, folktales, myths and legends from the American South.

CyberKids  offers free books, written by children, for online viewing.  Unique collection divided into several genre categories.  Also offers some interactive stories, music and activites.

East of the Web  offers 23 free short stories for children for free online reading.  This is a mix of classic and original modern works.

e-booksDirectory has some classic children's books available for online viewing and some for download.  Some are the usual classics, but also some unusual entries here.   Additional free childfren's books are available here at this pageeduplace  offers 14 "leveled" books for online reading or printing.

Animated Tall Tales uses flash to tell semi-animated story of Paul Bunyan, Jerry Muskrat and many other tales. Turn your sound down before volunteering to listen. free reading online.

British Council has flash animated song and audio read-a-long stories.  

EasyMediaBroadcast   has a nice little collection of classic children's books with many of Beatrix Potter's works.  The works are available for download in TK3 and as .exe.

eBookJunkie has about 65 free ebooks for children available for free download in PDF without registration.  These are unique entries not found elsewhere.

Building Rainbows is a site where children may post reviews of books they have read. They also have 15 free classic novels available for free reading online.

Children's Bedtime Stories offer 20 free stories for free reading online.  These are original stories by Gordon Dioxide.

All Books Free a website dedicated to the premise of giving away free novels, children's books, short story collections, and poetry books. All books are provided courtesy of their authors and/or publishers. Many of these are titles that are not available elsewhere.

Thunderbolt Kids Siyavula presents free illustrated workbooks and comic books for grades 4 through 6 for free download in PDF.  These are natural science and technology related works.  Free teacher guides are also available.

Toddler Tales

Books For Toddlers

ToddlerSchool has a small collection of illustrated books to read and listen to online. Also has educational games for younger children.  Suggested by Sefi

Baby School   has a small collection of online flash books for toddlers and young children.

B For Ball offers books geared to preschoolers.

Billy Bear 4 Kids offers story books and coloring books

Book Box has 20 free books.

Amazing Adventure Series  "June the Prune" is available for your free reading online. The key to getting ahead with this book is to hover near the top right corner of the book cover picture.  The story can also be heard by pressing the audio button at the top of the page.

Your Bedtime Story you can personalize.  Coloring pages go along with the stories.

Antique Books hearkens back to the day of Little Golden books that could be bought for 39 cents. Thus site maintains 20 of the classic Golden Books for free online viewing. No registration is required, but, boy could I have used some help in the navigation..

Childrenstory offers a smaller collection of fairy tales, nursery rhymes and holiday stories.  There is also a story that was written and illustrated by 2d grader children.  Caution that many of the other links lead to items for sale.

ChildStoryHour offers a good number of stories for free reading online.  Included are Beatrix Potter, Andersen Fairy Tales, Native American folklore as well as other stories and poems.  There are also other activities at the site

ChildStoryTeller has a good number of short stories and nursery rhymes for reading online.  No illustrations to speak of and most of the stories are classics that can be found elsewhere, but there are a few unique entires here.

Cindi In Education  offers 2 free educational comic books for middle school and high school children.

Cinnamon Bear Free stories and other activites about Paddy O'Cinnamon, the bear.

Clarkness xhas a large collection of free ebooks for kindergarden and first grade children.  These are available in PDF for free download.

Disney.Go offers the free picture book, Lady and the Tramp, for free reading online in their flash player.  No registration needed.

DLTK-Teach   offers free printable children's books.  Most are geared towards pre-schoolers, including a set on the alphabet, but there are some stories for older children also.    Suggested by Cathy of PuzzlEd. 

Don't Spank Hank  David Peters offers this picture ebook for download

Hiyah offers some reading skills software for children 18 months to 6 years of age, which may also be used online without download.   

CLASSICS

Bookie Jar has almost 2,000 free ebooks in its Children's Books Free Classics category.

Young Peoples Zone classic literature for children.

Classic Literature Library (Fairy Tales) Small collection, but a nice collection of the Oz and Peter Pan books along with Lewis Carroll's children's books available for online viewing.

Classicly has a nice collection of free books for children and young readers.  Most are available for download in pdf, kindle or MP3 (audiobook).

eBook Takeaway has 226 free classic ebooks in their Fiction-Children/Juvenile category available for free download in PDF, TEXT and HTML without registration.

ClassicReader (Young Readers) Several hundred classic books for young readers available for online viewing.

Classics For Young People an alphabetical listing of authors of classic novels for young readers with links to online versions of appropriate works by each author.

Grand Inventory

Aaron Shephard's World of Stories folktales, fairy tales, tall tales, myths, legends, magical tales, and sacred stories, plus original fables, humor, and historical fiction—all from award-winning author Aaron Shepard. Most of the stories have been published in top children’s magazines like Cricket and Australia’s School Magazine, while some are from Aaron’s picture books and early readers. The listings give the appropriate age for reading, length of the story and origin.

Arthur's Classic Novels has a large and impressive collection of free classics for children, as sorted out by Arthur.

Bedtime-Story has a large collection of illustrated books for online viewing.

eBooks@Adelaide has a large listing of free classic children's novels in chronological order.

Electric Scotland has over 800 free children's books, for children of all ages, available for free reading online.  These are unique and original stories and many are illustrated.

ePubBooks has an interesting collection of classic fairy tale books, with some unique entries.  These are available for free download in EPUB.

ETextCenter the electronic text center of the University of Virginia has a large collection of works for children and young adults available for online viewing.  These are classic works and many are availble elsewhere, but there are some unique ones.  Books are sorted by author name.

FableLibrary has an interesting and unique collection of childrens works.  Most are available for viewing online, including some flash versions.  But a few are available for download.  Suggested by Cathy of PuzzlEd.

FarmhouseFables offers 5 short story books about the little creatures that have made their home in the meadow next to the old farmhouse.

Feedbooks (Fairy Tales) has a small but unique collection of fairy tale books from around the globe available for download in Kindle, ePub and PDF.

Fiction eBooks (Children's Illustrated) 8 of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit books very nicely illustrated.

FictionPress has 2695 free works in its Kids Fiction Archive.  These appear to be original and unpublished works and most are short stories.  These are available for free reading online.

FreeChildrenStories offers 17 free stories for online reading.  Stories may be sorted by difficulty or age.  For children aged 1 to 10.

FreeKidsBooks has a nice collection of original children's books available for free download in PDF.  Age range is from toddlers to young adults.

GailSpencerLamm  offers her illustrated ebook, Emily's Patience, for free online viewing or download.

Giggle Poetry a large collection of funny poetry for children available for free reading online.  Also, a poetry class for children to learn to write poetry and other activites are available for free.

Gilead.org  provides many of the fairy tales and stories of Hans Christian Andersen.  These are available for free reading online without registration.

Giraffian offers a nice collection of books for pre-schoolers, covering the alphabet, numbers colors and other topics.  Suggested by Cathy of PuzzlEd.

GoldenGems   a collection of little golden books and other illustrated books for children for online viewing and saving as jpg.

Google Book Search (Fairy Tales) 578 works for online viewing, from the 1850s-1920s.

Grammaropolis has a book, video, songs and games to help children learn proper grammar. 

GrimmFairyTales has a small collection of The Grimm's fairy tales for free reading online in a flash player.  Also available are some associated activities.

InklessTales  offers 15 stories for online viewing as well as games, poems and activities.

International Children's Digital Library nice collection of children's books from around the world in a variety of languages and nicely categorized, available for online viewing.

IPL2 has 10 free stories for free reading online without registration.

JesusandKidz offers a good number of illustrated bible stories for free reading online.  Also available are coloring pages, puzzles and songs.

Joggoon has 30 classic children novels available for free reading online.   There are some unique listings here.

Kellscraft (Children's Books) nice collection (100) of childrens books from the 1890s-1920s.

Kids Learning Centre Free books and other activites for children. 

KidsKnowIt  is not a book site, but it does have a lot of reading for children, along with educational puzzles and games.

KidsNurseryRhymes a British site featuring over 1200 nursery rhymes for online viewing.  Also has sing along rhymes (must have midi player-available there) and some nursery rhyme disco recordings available for download in MP3.

Kidspace A small collection of childrens books, available for online viewing, from the Internet Public Library.

KidsPages offers free illustrated ebooks for reading online as well as other learning activities for younger children.  These stories are generally classic children stories.

KidStoriesOnline offers free stories online (with optional audio), free ebooks, audio books and videos.  Some require providing an email, but most are available to all.

Kids World Fun has 81 free ebooks for children available for free reading online or free download in PDF without registration.  There are also 21 animated read-a-long stories available for free viewing online.  There are also free poems and short stories as well as games at the site.

Kindersay is a site for free preschool learning activities.  ABCs. short stories and sign language subjects available in a free flash player presentation.  Free registration is available for extra features, but not necessary to access subjects.

Kindersite offer a good number of stories in flash for reading and listening online as well as lullabies, music and games for younger children.

Knowledgerush has a small, but interesting, collection with a good listing of Oz and Tom Swift books, along with some other classics for viewing online.  Also a young adults section.

KOL Jr has 44 free picture ebooks for free reading online in a flash player.  These all come with audio for read-a-long.  No registration needed.

Land of Magic has a large collection of free books.  Many are available for free reading online and some for free download in PDF.  Also, a large amount of audio books and other activities.

Land of Nursery Rhymes large collection of nursery rhymes for free reading and listening online.  Other activities available.

LearningPage  has a series (38) of printable "Tommy" story books suitable for about 8-10-year-olds, plus some other printable books, for free.  Requires free registration.  Suggested by Cathy of PuzzlEd.

LibraryofCongress  maintains a nice collection of classic children's books in its Childrens Literature collection of its Rare Book section.  these are available for online reading and download in pdf.  These are illustrated copies and are a nice mix of well known and unusual.

Light Up Your Brain is primarily known as an children's audio book site, but they also provide a copy of the stories for free reading online.  No registration needed.

LilFingers Storybooks Small collection of books for very young children for reading and being read to.

Little Critters A dozen free stories in their interactive read and play section presented in a flash player.  Other activities also available.  The library section is just a listing of books that are for sale.

LiverpoolMuseum offers the stories of 4 children taken into slavery on their trip from Africa to the Americas in 1780.  The stories start with their life in Africa and continue until the Americas.  Some make the trip alive and some do not.  Each is from a different tribe in Africa.

LongLongTimeAgo is a large collection of fables, myths, folk tales, fairy tales and more from around the world.  These are available for reading online. 

Loyal Books has a 7,000 array of Childrens and Fairy Tales books available for download in plain text format. Graphics are magical.

Magickeys small, but interesting and unusual, collection for online viewing

ManyBooks (Young Readers)  2390 books available for online viewing or download in an extremely large variety of formats.

MegaMouseBooks offers two dozen books by Emma Laybourn for free reading online or free download in ePub or Mobi formats.  Age range is from 5 to 12.  Associated crossword puzzles are also available.

MemoWare (Children's eBooks) 686 books available for download in varying formats

MerpyStories offers several animated flash stories, with accompanying music, for online viewing.  The unique stories of Merpy, Jeremy Dragonfly and Rufus the Firefly available in English and Spanish.  Other activities available.

Michael Hardgrove  offers his illustrated book, "The Echo and the Pixie" for free reading online.

Mother Goose Club  a collection of nursery rhymes available for free reading online without registration.  Also, some songs, videos and coloring pages.

MrsPStorytime reads a few classic stories, some childen written stories and animal stories read by Mrs P in a youtube video, with readalong capttions.

Munsey's (Children Books) 2283 free books available in HTML or a good variety of downloads.

Munsey'sMobile has over 2000 free books in its Children's category.  These are all available for free viewing online and are also available for download in PDF, PRC and ePUB.  These appear to be different works than those available on the regular Munsey's site, above.

MuseumofUnnaturalHistory has a small collection of illustrated childrens' stories for online viewing. these are unique stories not found elsewhere.

MyKidsCorner offers a good number of stories, interactive stories, rhymes, alphabet, games and puzzles and pictures for children aged 3 to 7.  All are available for free online reading.

MysteryNetKids has a good size collection of mysteries for children to solve.  There are 28 "Solve-It" stories, 29 "Chiller" stories from the Darkmaster,  28 "Quick Solve" stories, 28 Magic Tricks and 21 mystery stories written by children that won the mystery writing contest at the site.

MyYoungChild has a good variety of free stories designed for value building in children aged 3 to 7.  Some are read only, presented as images and some are listen alongs, presented in videos.

Neverpedia  has a complete listing of the Peter Pan novels available for free reading online.

OxfordOwl has over 250 free ebooks for free reading online in a flash player.  Age range is from 3 to 11.  Audio and associated activites are also available for most, if not all, the free ebooks.  Thanks to Katharine for this nice link.

PBSKids has a few read along stories as well as several short educational videos for young children.

Most people think there is only the one Wizard of Oz book, but actually there are 40 "official" books in the Oz series and several more "unofficial" Oz books.  The official series started in 1900 and actually continued until 1963.  

PlanetOzKids has an interesting collection of stories relating to myths about animals.  Also available are detective stories to work along with.  All available for online viewing.

Popular Children's Stories  a nice collection of stories for children available for free reading online without registration.  Most are short stories, with some longer ones.

Professor Garfield  Garfield the cat hosts a website with a good collection of original and unique stories for younger readers (press the Read button on the home page).  Most of the content is available for free reading online in a flash viewer without registration.  There are also some books available for free download in PDF without registration.

ProfessorGarfield offers 11 free books for beginner readers.  These are nicely illustrated and are read in their "toon reader".  There is an option to have the book read aloud using human voices as the child reads.  Interesting and unique collection.  Available in several languages.  Other activities also available at the site.

Read.Gov offers 23 classic illustrated books for children for free reading online or free download in PDF.

Reading Bear A phonics learning site for begining readers.  Free audio and visual presentations.

Read Free Book  links to several free children's ebooks at Smashwords, which means they are available for free reading online or free download in several formats.  Half of the books listed are no longer free and half are still free.

Reading Games has 6 free classic illustrated stories for younger children available for free reading (and read-a-long) online without registration.  There are also some reading and vocabulary games for readers at the site.

ReadingHawk has a large collection of Dolch Sight Word stories available for free reading online and some are also available for free download in PDF.  These are intended for begining readers.

ReadingIsFundamental offers a variety of free reading and listening activities for toddlers and preschoolers in flash presentations.

RIF Reading Planet  has an interesting collection of books for online viewing that changes monthly.  Also has activities and games as well as Asian/Pacific, Caribbean, Hispanic and native American sections with books and activities.

Robert Munsch has about 60 books by Robert Munsch for reading online and read by him available for download in MP3 format.

RodCockle offers a nice collection of illustrated books for online viewing, as well as games and puzzles for 4-8 year olds. Suggested by Cathy of PuzzlEd.

RobTowner has about 15 original stories of his own available for free reading online.  These are in a flash player.  There are also a few available for free download in PDF.  Separated into baby, kids, teens and young adult categories.  He will also write stories upon request.

Room108KidsStories offers about 25 animated stories, with accompanying music, for reading online.  These are unique stories not found elsewhere. 

Scholastic Small collection of children's books available for online viewing (or read to you).  Featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog, Alice in Wonderland and a couple of others.

Scholastic Mini-books has a good selection of stories available to read or print, many of which are free. Suggested by Cathy of PuzzlEd.

SebastianSwan  a collection of Sebastian Swan stories for online viewing.

Sesame Street has 5 free Sesame Street picture ebooks for free reading online.  Looks like the free books are changed weekly and email updates are available.

Shay's Imagination  offers the unique stories and poems of Shay for online reading or download in pdf.

Short Stories Free has 5 free short stories for children available for free reading online.

SillyBooks has a number of free books available for online reading.  There are also puzzles, games and contests.

Smashwords has over 300 free ebooks for free online viewing or download in a variety of formats.  These are generally unpublished works and unique to this site.  The site does also offer books for purchase, but all the works in this list are available for free.

Snapdragon  the BBC of Wales presents the story of Goldilocks for free reading online in their flash player as well as other early learning reading activities.

Between the Lions has video books with words for younger readers to follow along.

Starfall  has online flash presentations designed for first graders to entertain and educate.

StoriesForChildren has 8 Christmas stories by Carolyn Rogers for online viewing and apparently some woodland creature stories soon to come.

StoriesForMyLittleSister is a collection of original stories written by a big sister for her little sister.  Interesting collection of illustrated stories and also other activites.

StoriestoGrowBy  has a large collection of folk and fairy tales for children from around the world for online viewing.

StoryTimeForMe a nice site with unique entries aimed for toddlers through 2d grade.  Interesting combination of old fashioned animated book and flash video.

Stuart Stories has 9 free books for begining readers and about 30 free books for older children.  All are available for free reading online and most are also available for free download in PDF.

SurLaLuneFairyTales offers a very nice and large collection of fairy tales from around the world for online reading.

The Birmingham Grid For Learning  presents The Tooth Fairy, a story written and illustrated by a 4th grade class for free reading online without registration.

The Lancashire Grid For Learning titles for free reading online without registration.  

Tonight'sBedtimeStory offers 79 classic fairy tales for download or online viewing in PDF.

Topmarks  an UK learning site.  This link is to their English section, which has reading materials for children aged 5 to 18.  All are available for free reading online without registration.

Toy Box Productions  offers over 20 original works for free reading online in their flash viewer.  This is split between historical works and Bible stories. 

TumbleBook Cloud Collections the Huntley Library offers free acces to the excellent collections of TumbleBooks.  The TumbleBook Library and TumbleBook Jr., collections are the best selections for youn ger readers.  There are read-a-longs and other reading learning features available.  All are available for free reading online.

uMassAmherstAesop'sFables offers a collection of Aesop's fables, with illustrations from students in the Computing in the Fine Arts course for online viewing.

UPenn Digital Library has within its A Celebration of Women Writers collection a section for Newberry honor books written by women (Newberry is an award for children books given out by the Library Association) spanning from 1922 to 1964.  These are available for free reading online without registration.

Vintage Cookbooks includes in their collection of vintage cookbooks a collection of vintage cookbooks from the late 1800s to 1950s for children.  These will popup in an online reader, but if you look on the upper left of the reader, there is a link to OPen Library where the book may be downloaded in a wide variety of ebook formats.  No registration needed.

WackyWebTales offers a good size collection of short tales for 3rd graders and above. Geared to help with parts of speech.

Walking By The Way has an impressive listing of free classic books for children.  It is called a list for Kindle ebooks, but most are available in many ebook formats.

WeGiveBooks has 198 books available for online reading in a flash player.  Reading the books helps to distribute books to children around the world.  Over 1 million books have been read and given away.  Age range is from newborn to teens.

WikiJunior  age-appropriate non-fiction ebooks for children aged birth to 12 years old available for free reading online without registration.

Archive.org (Children's Library) large collection of children's original books available for online viewing and download

Armenian Story Teller has a few Armenian stories and poems available for free reading online.

Wired For Books has a nice collection of Beatrix Potter books as well as a few others for online reading and also available in audio.

Woodlands Junior School  presents a 7 chapter interactive Pokemon story to aid in developing reading skills and apprehension.   This is a UK site with British spelling.

World of Tales  a collection of folktales, fairy tales and fables from around the world available for online viewing.

ZiggityZoom has 17 free online stories available for reading and listening.  These all are displayed in a flash player.  Geared to younger children.

Bibliotastic has 15 free ebooks.

by Gosh has about 20 illustrated classics for younger children, as well as 9 classics for older children.  All are available for free reading online.

Candlelight Stories has stories from the Arabian nights collection as well as other story books available for online reading.

C Beebies is a BBC site that offers a good number of free stories, in flash, for online reading and listening.  Also, has games, music and coloring books.

American Literature  has a collection of free stories for children -- like Aesop's Fables, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Wind in the Willows, The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen, Peter Rabbit and other stories by Beatrix Potter, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, The Pumpkin-Glory by William Dean Howells,  The Walrus and The Carpenter (an illustrated poem), and good old Cinderella!, all available for free reading online.

The Online Books Page  provides links to free books that have either won the Newberry award for outstainding children's books or have recieved an "Honor" and are in the public domain.  Download and viewing options vary as these are links offsite.

The University of Southern Mississippi  presents The Cinderella Project, which is a compilation of a dozen variations of the classic fairy tale (press on the Archives link).  Also available are the Little Red Riding Hood Project and the Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant-Killer project.

Allen Morgan The Kids From B.A.D. (detective stories) Search For The New-Moon Stones (fantasy novel) Celebrate The Season: Fall (seasonal stories) Celebrate The Season: Winter (seasonal stories) Beautiful Dreamer (novel)stories and novels for children for free reading online, without registration.

Alvie The Little Brown Burro  You can enjoy this fun and entertaining collection of free children's stories about a small, brown, toy burro named Alvie. Just click this link to see the entire collection of stories. Children of all ages will enjoy the stories about Alvie but they are specifically designed for preschoolers. There are seven Alvie stories to read online or download in MP3.

ABC Fast Phonics  is a free tutorial that uses cartoons and sounds with audio narration and clickable words to teach phonics. This method teaches just basic phonics concepts without struggle or frustration and includes rules for vowels, consonants, and blends along with practice pages.  No registration needed.