See also War
See also Dystopias
On this page you can read free short stories online with characters who demonstrate courage, bravery, or heroism. I hope you find some great stories to read. Some of these might be suitable short stories for middle school kids.
Patriotism | Yukio Mishima
A young Japanese Lieutenant and his wife commit ritual suicide. We’re taken back to witness their last days, including their final intimate evening together.
The Bridge | Nicolai Chukovski
Kostya is seventeen, awkward and shy, and his family has little confidence in him. He is going to Siberia to work for his uncle, but his grandmother and aunt don’t think he is rugged enough for the change. He takes his bicycle out for his last ride before leaving.
A Mystery of Heroism | Stephen Crane
Soldiers are firing on each other on the battlefield. When Fred says he’s thirsty, his fellow soldiers teasingly tell him to go to the well in no man’s land. Fred asks his captain if he can go.
Enemy Territory | William Melvin Kelley
Young Tommy is sent on an errand by his mother; he is to take Mister Bixby’s hat back to him. This means crossing the street onto the turf of Valentine’s gang, a group of neighborhood kids.
Spunk | Zora Neale Hurston
A large fearless man openly has a relationship with another man’s wife. The cuckolded husband reaches his breaking point.
The Princess and the Puma | O. Henry
Josepha, princess of a large ranch, and Ripley, a ranch foreman, have an encounter with a Mexican lion.
Be-ers and Doers | Budge Wilson
The mother of the house is a “doer”, and wants her kids to be the same way. Her son, Albert, is a “be-er”, one who doesn’t need constant activity. One day, there is an emergency in the home that reveals Albert’s abilities.
The Signal | Vsevolod Garshin
Semyon works as a track-walker, diligently attending to his section of railroad. A neighbor, Vasily, complains about his work and low pay. Vasily’s temper leads to an emergency and Semyon must act decisively.
The Leader of the People | John Steinbeck
Jody Tiflin likes hearing his grandfather’s stories about leading a group of people across the country. Jody’s father, Carl, isn’t very interested, having heard the stories many times.
The Other Death | Jorge Luis Borges
The narrator gets the news that an ex soldier and man he once met, Pedro Damian, has died in his sixties. The man was known for his cowardice in battle. Later, he is told that Pedro Damian actually died over 40 years ago while courageously leading a charge into enemy territory. He investigates the discrepancy.
The Death of Socrates | Plato
Socrates is sentenced to death by hemlock. He accepts his fate with dignity.
Moonbeam Dawson and the Killer Bear | Jean Davies Okimoto
Moonbeam is a vegetarian and has never handled a gun. He meets Michelle on vacation and she asks him to take her bear hunting.
The Taking of the Redoubt | Prosper Merimee
A young soldier has to capture a Russian held fort. The company is discouraged after suffering heavy casualties and seeing a bad sign in the sky.
The Boy with Yellow Eyes | Gloria Gonzalez
Norman, a boy who loves reading, and Willie, an athletic boy, are riding in a train car when they discover a Nazi spy in an adjacent car.
A Worn Path | Eudora Welty
An elderly African-American woman, Phoenix Jackson, walks through the Mississippi forest to get into town. She encounters many obstacles along the way that test her resolve.
The Pale Mare | Marian Flandrick Bray
Consuela, who wants to be an astronomer, has to help her family during the charreada, a Mexican-style rodeo. She is caught between her own desires and tradition. She sees a similarity between herself and the horses at the event.
Beyond the Bayou | Kate Chopin
An African-American woman, La Folle, was frightened “out of her senses” as a child. As a result, she won’t cross an imaginary line in her area; she has never been beyond the bayou. When an emergency arises, her courage is tested.
I will try to add more short stories for students and avid readers about courage, bravery, or heroism that could be helpful for teaching reading and reading comprehension to middle and high school students. Eventually, I hope these pages will become a teaching resource.