The Little Engine That Could


This is the story The Little Engine That Could, a classic children’s story written by Watty Piper and first published in 1930. This story teaches the values of hard work, optimism and belief in oneself. Enjoy!

In a village beside a towering mountain, a cheerful little train chugged along the tracks. She was brimming with joy because her cars were loaded with treasures for boys and girls of all ages.

There were a myriad of toy animals, from giraffes with their elegant necks to teddy bears with no necks at all and even a baby elephant.

Dolls of every kind joined the journey as well. Some had bright blue eyes and golden locks, while others sported warm brown eyes and matching hair. Among them was the quirkiest toy clown imaginable.

The little train didn’t stop there. She carried toy trucks, airplanes ready for adventure, and boats longing to set sail on imaginary seas.

Her cargo also included picture books that held enchanting tales, games to spark creativity, and lively drums that promised rhythmic fun. The little train was a bearer of every toy a child’s heart could desire.

However, her mission wasn’t just about toys. She also transported delicious treats – plump, round oranges, juicy red apples, slender, golden bananas, cold, refreshing milk, and lollipops that promised sweet adventures after dinnertime.

The little train had the honour of delivering these delightful surprises to the children on the other side of the mountain.

With a heart full of anticipation, she thought, “How overjoyed the boys and girls will be when they see me! They’ll adore the toys and savour the scrumptious food I bring.”

But suddenly, her journey hit an unexpected halt. She came to a standstill, and no matter how hard she tried, her wheels refused to budge.

“Oh dear,” sighed the little train. “What could be the matter?” She exerted all her might to move again, but it was futile. “We can help,” offered the toy animals, and so they stepped out of their cars and tried to push the little train.

Still, she remained immobile.

“We can help too,” chimed in the dolls, who joined the effort, but to no avail. The toys and dolls were perplexed; they didn’t know what to do.

Just then, a gleaming new engine approached on another track. “Perhaps that engine can assist us!” exclaimed the clown, who waved a bright red flag vigorously. The Shiny New Engine slowed down, and the dolls and toys explained their predicament.

“Our engine has stopped working,” they said. “Please, pull our train over the mountain. If you don’t, the boys and girls won’t receive their toys and delightful food.”

But the Shiny New Engine wasn’t interested in helping. “I don’t pull toys,” he declared.- “I haul heavy logs and enormous trucks. -“I have no time for the likes of you.” And off he puffed without another word.

The toys and dolls were crestfallen, their hopes dashed. However, the clown’s keen eye spotted another approaching engine, this one large and robust.

Again, the clown waved his red flag, and the Big Strong Engine came to a stop. The toys and dolls urgently pleaded, “Please help us, Big Strong Engine. Our engine isn’t functioning, but you can pull us over the mountain. You must help us, or the boys and girls will have no toys to play with or good food to eat.” Yet, the Big Strong Engine declined. “I don’t pull toys,” he retorted. -“I pull cars filled with heavy logs and haul substantial trucks. -“I have no time for you.” And off he puffed without a second thought.

By now, the little train wasn’t happy at all, and the dolls and toys were on the brink of tears. However, the clown spotted another engine approaching, a little blue engine, quite diminutive in size. “Maybe this engine will lend a hand,” the clown suggested hopefully. Once more, he energetically waved his red flag, and the Little Blue Engine responded promptly.

“What’s the matter?” she inquired kindly. “Oh, Little Blue Engine,” cried the dolls and toys, “will you pull us over the mountain? Our engine has failed us, but you can pull us over the mountain. You must help us, or the boys and girls will be without toys to cherish or delightful food to savour. Just over the mountain, please, please help us.”

“Oh my,” said the Little Blue Engine thoughtfully. “I may not be very big, and I usually don’t pull trains. I usually work in the rail yard, and I’ve never journeyed across the mountain before.”

“But we must reach the other side before the children wake up,” implored the toys and dolls. “Please?” The Little Blue Engine studied the dolls and toys, recognizing their disappointment.

The Little Blue Engine pulled up close to the stranded train. She took a deep breath and thought about the children on the other side of the mountain, who were eagerly waiting for their toys and tasty treats. She couldn’t bear to disappoint them.

Without hesitation, the Little Blue Engine took hold of the little train. The dolls and toys excitedly climbed back into their cars. The Little Blue Engine was ready to attempt the daunting climb. As she started to move, she muttered to herself, “I think I can, I think I can.” Her wheels began to turn slowly. Puff, puff, chug, chug. “I think I can, I think I can,” she repeated, her determination unwavering.

Gradually, the little train began its ascent up the steep mountain. The dolls and toys, initially anxious, couldn’t help but break into smiles and applause. Puff, puff, chug, chug. Up, up, up the mountain they went. The little engine continued to chant, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” Her wheels spun, and her pistons worked tirelessly.

At last, they reached the summit of the mountain, and below them lay the city. “Hooray! Hooray!” cheered the dolls and animals. “The boys and girls will be so thrilled,” said the toy clown. “All thanks to you, Little Blue Engine.”

The Little Blue Engine simply smiled, knowing that she had made a difference in the lives of those children. As she descended the mountain, her mantra changed to, “I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.” She knew that with determination and a kind heart, even the smallest among us can achieve great things.

And so, the Little Blue Engine’s journey taught everyone that with a positive attitude, self-belief, and a willingness to help others, even the most challenging obstacles can be overcome. It was a lesson of perseverance and the power of saying, “I think I can.”

Moral of the Story

The moral lesson of “The Little Engine That Could” is the power of determination, self-belief, and a positive attitude in overcoming challenges.

It teaches us that no matter how small or seemingly unqualified we may feel, with the right mindset and unwavering perseverance, we can accomplish even the most daunting tasks.

Key takeaways from the story include:

Optimism: The little blue engine’s repeated mantra, “I think I can, I think I can,” reflects the importance of maintaining a positive attitude even when facing difficulties.

Self-Belief: The story emphasizes that believing in oneself is crucial. The little blue engine was not the biggest or the strongest, but her self-confidence and determination led her to success.

Hard Work: The engine’s journey up the steep mountain was tough and required hard work and effort. The story teaches us that achieving our goals often involves persistence and a willingness to put in the necessary work.

Helping Others: The little blue engine’s willingness to help others in need, even when it wasn’t her responsibility, demonstrates the value of lending a helping hand and the impact it can have on others.

Summing up, “The Little Engine That Could” encourages readers, both young and old, to have faith in themselves, maintain a positive outlook, and keep pushing forward even when faced with challenges.

It’s a timeless tale that promotes the idea that determination and self-belief can lead to success.

Another moral story: The Elves and the Show Maker

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